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Annual Earth Day Musings: The Language of Food & Farming, Babies & Brunch, Farm Store, CSA with Blue

Posted 4/19/2019 6:28pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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 Farm News

In my self-proclaimed tradition of reflecting on Earth Day from a farmer’s point of view, I’ve decided to write about the current language around food and farming this year.  There’s an ever-growing chasm between those who raise food and those who consume it, leaving those who consume at the mercy of the food labelers and marketers to provide context for food purchasing decisions.  The folks in the middle of the food chain have become the translators. They often use words and images to evoke a 19th century picture of farming: farmers toiling the land with small machinery, growing and harvesting the crops themselves, raising their livestock on pastures, letting their chickens run around the yard.  The intent is to assure consumers that these products are wholesome and healthful, raised with care and kindness. Yet the words and images don’t usually mesh with the reality of our large-scale industrialized food system. If consumers try to verify these claims, they hit a wall of privacy or are led to opaque websites with scant information about the actual farms. 

Contrast this scenario with the language of direct market farmers. Their signs are often hand-written, their products sometimes imperfect, their words often scant, letting the products speak for them.  They grow varieties that don’t ship well, they pick fruits closer to their peak ripeness, they raise their livestock on a small scale, allowing the animals to express their true natures.  They don’t spend much money on slick labels; they want to engage their customers in direct conversations. They want to tell folks what’s tasting really good right now, they want to show patrons pictures of their prized pig or their champion chicken.  The length of their food chain is typically two to three people deep.  Theirs is the language of flavor, of color, of health, of sensory excitement.  On the eve of Earth Day, as we contemplate our relationship to our planet, consider your own food dialect and try learning the language of your local farmers. 

Third Week of Full Menu “Babies & Brunch” with Chef Raquel Ritz

Chef Raquel keeps upping her culinary game. This Saturday’s brunch menu looks amazing and features so many great local farms and food artisans. Be sure to get here early so you can sample as many of the menu items as possible. Remember: Saturday, the farm is open 10 AM to 2 PM. You can visit with the goats, see the babies and enjoy brunch. 

Parking is limited due to continued wet and soggy ground.

We encourage our guests to carpool. New this year-if you have 4 or more people in your car you can park for free! Fewer than four? We are requesting a $5/car donation (this is not mandatory, but with the extremely wet weather we’re experiencing this spring, our parking spaces are quite limited).

Delight Flower Farm will be here doing another Pop-Up Flower Shop in front of our barn.

Cow Creek Farm will be here selling ramps (wild-harvested from their farm’s woodlands near Paxton IL)-ramps are wild leeks that emerge from forest soils before the trees have a chance to leaf out. They have a very short season, and their flavor is beautifully complex—onion x leek x garlic. 

Farm Market Offerings This Weekend

We can’t stop making this special spring flavor of chevre because we can’t stop eating it ourselves: Chevre with Fresh Chives and Lemon Zest.

In addition, we have:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie—first of the season, goat-milk camembert-style—this batch is still young, but we couldn’t resist offering it to you for your holiday tables this weekend
  • Moonglo-celebrate National #rawcheeseday and grab a wedge of our rich and complex raw-goat milk tomme. Each wheel is washed in a cultured brine made with pear-leaf tea. It’s great with charcuterie or melt it for a fancy grilled cheese sandwich

OR get a scoop or pint gelato:

  • Vanilla
  • Lemon Crème
  • Chocolate
  • Stracciatella (chocolate ganache ribbons in vanilla gelato)
  • Black Currant-Cassis—made with locally grown black currants from Midwest Agroforestry Systems (Ogden, IL) and Kentucky distilled cassis (black currant liqueur)

Check out the new items in our farm store and stock up on local products for your spring holiday needs:

-eggs, meats and poultry from Bane Family Meats (Sidney)

-soaps from Red Barn Farm (including loofa soaps and liquid soap)

-pancake mixes from Funks Grove Heritage Fruits & Grains-think pancakes for Easter brunch

-Animal Welfare Approved Bandanas

-Charcuterie from Piemonte Sausage Co.  (pancetta, pork loin filleto)

-locally milled flours from Janie’s Mill AND MORE!

In addition to “Babies & Brunch,” the farm will be open on Sunday from 1-4 pm. If you’re looking for a fun activity to take your holiday guests to between meals, take them to the farm on Sunday afternoon. Although we won’t be offering brunch service, you can “Build your own Cheese Board” with wine/beer, peruse the farm store and visit with the goats-young and old. 

Other Farm Happenings

We’re now taking reservations for our Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet. We have two seatings—10 am to 12 noon and 12:30-2:30. Check out the amazing menu that Chef Raquel has crafted and book your reservations NOW.  Seats are going fast.

I’ve posted a bunch more of the farm dinner themes and dates on our website and our ticket sales page (ShowClix), so check them out and make some reservations. These tickets go fast. 

Yoga with Goats Maggie Taylor, owner of Delight Flower Farm, will once again be offering goat yoga this spring. She has posted a number of dates with ticket sales in progress. Several dates are already sold out! This playful take on yoga practice will surely delight—check out the dates and book your reservations now.

CSA sign up through Blue Moon Farm! Blue Moon Farm is offering a new customizable CSA (Community Supported Agriculture for those unfamiliar). They are partnering with a number of other local farms (including ours) to offer “add-ons” in addition to their weekly vegetable shares. The customizable CSA puts you in charge of deciding what products you want and when you want them.  They have multiple pick up locations too! Their season starts some time in May, so don’t delay in signing up for a one-stop shop of some of the best local food in Central IL. 

Copyright 2019. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2019. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.