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Casting the dyes of summer market offerings, farm store news, farm dinner updates

Posted 7/25/2019 10:03pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm news

Nature’s toggle switch tends to flip this time of summer as July fades to August.  The open-ended uncertainties of what she will produce end abruptly, leaving in place the certainty of what she has left you on hand.  The farm dyes are cast, from fruit set to flowers bloomed to milk volume peaks.  Suddenly, you realize that growth has plateaued, and that it is now a race to slow down entropy. It takes a while to shift your mindset from the frenzy of maximizing production to the deliberate pace of preserving the bounty. 

It’s a difficult transition; managing way too much segues into managing what remains.  After last week’s heat wave, the arc of milk production began its seasonal decline.  It always seems premature; their June udders so swelled as they waddled into the milking parlor.  Decisions from a month ago of what do to with all of our surplus milk are eclipsed by how best to compromise on cheeses to be made. 

Although the summer squash and cucumbers keep roiling out of the garden as if from a bottomless well, I know that the number of blossoms is finite. As the transformation to pickles ensues, there will soon come a time when the sealed canning jars will outnumber the new fruits hanging from the vines.  The tomato vines have grown into a dense thicket, but I see the green fruits hidden by the leaves. Slowly, they begin to change color and they will become my next victims for the canning pot. 

The purple martin house is stuffed with teenage martins. They peer out of the “windows” with their awkward down, waiting to be fed. Soon their down will be replaced by adult plumage and they will fledge.   It is bittersweet because I want them to stay and I want them to remember their place of birth.  I want them to return next year. 
Purple Martin Fledglings

Farm Store and Farmers’ Market Offerings 

This gloriously pleasant summer weather is expected to last through the weekend-perfect for shopping at the farmers' market and in our farm store. Here's what we're bringing to market this weekend:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper 
  • Goat Milk Feta in Whey Brine: our goat milk feta is firm and tangy. Bathed in a whey-salt brine for at least one month, the texture is what I call “creamy-crumbly.” This batch is tasting mighty fine. It’s perfect crumbled over sweetcorn bathed in a spicy mayo. 
  • Angel Food-our little crottin style bloomy, it’s compact, firm in the center with a slightly gooey edge as it ages. This batch is young-slightly tangy, firm with a slight hint of mushroom. Try grilling it whole and serve with grilled peaches and balsamic glaze. 
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie-a goat milk camembert-style bloomy. This batch is aging beautifully (firm center, starting to get gooey on edges), and has a wonderful buttered mushroom flavor. Adorn with some fresh herbs and drizzle some honey-serve with crusty bread and a cold glass of white wine.
  • Black Goat: our funky ash-dusted bloomy rind with a crinkly white-mold rind. This batch is aging really well and has lovely earthy notes. This cheese holds up well to stronger flavors, such as hard salamis or a really tart summer berry jam.  Add a glass of summer red wine or try our newest sparkling wine offering in the farm store—Illinois’ Sparkling Company’s “Pet Nat” (an unfiltered champagne-style sparkling wine—like a marriage between kombucha and wine)

While you're at the market, grab a pint of gelato (3 pint special is still a thing—Buy 3, get $1/pint off): Here's the line-up:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Fresh Strawberry (from Cary’s Garden of Eatin’)
  • Peach-Ginger (also from Cary’s Garden)
  • Mint Stracciatella (fancy ganache chocolate ribbons in mint gelato)
  • Nectarine sorbetto (from Mileur Orchard)-LIMITED

Can’t make it to the market on Saturday morning? No worries: the farm is open Thursdays and Fridays, 4-8 pm and weekends, Saturday and Sunday, 1-4 pm.

NEWS FLASH: We now have a window-unit air-conditioner installed in the farm store, so it’s actually quite pleasant inside. Come on out to the farm and enjoy a scoop of gelato or a cheese board. We offer a “build your own cheese board.”  You pick out the cheese(s) and accompaniments (jam, honey, pickled veggies or pecans), we provide you with a demi-baguette from Central Illinois Bake House. Complete the experience with a glass of wine or beer. Can’t decide what you want? Ask our staff for recommendations.  

Experience late afternoon and dusk on the farm. Of course, you can visit with the goats (kids and adults alike), stroll through the orchard, and check out our herb and vegetable garden.  If you’re ambitious, you can walk along the path toward the creek.

Check out the local products and “merch” in our farm store:  

-NEW maple syrup from “Sticky Peets”-southern OH maple syrup that oh so good!

-NEW pecans (plain and cinnamon sugar) from Voss Pecan Orchard, Carlyle, IL

-NEW-house-made gooseberry jam--the perfect accompaniment to our bloomy rind cheeses.

Gooseberry Jam and Bloomies

-NEW-Illinois Sparkling Wine Co/August Hill Winery (Peru IL) Champagne style Brut Rose and Pet Nat (Petit Natural)—ask for a taste; these wines are truly amazing from a local winery a couple hours north of us

-local honey from Two Million Blooms

-eggs (chicken and duck), 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 with jam and chevre!

-Autumn Berry Jam-regular and jalapeno-we are restocked; these jams make excellent accompaniments to our cheeses

-Animal Welfare Approved Bandanas

-BACK by popular demand: Our “Three Chippys” tea towel. Chippy the goat is the farm’s logo, and she appears as chef, farmer and sommelier on this organic cotton flour sack tea towel AND our “Damn Kids” tea towel

NEW: Chippy the Chef Denim Aprons-soft, durable with three pockets for the most discerning chef in your family

NEW stock of PFFC T-shirts—new colors, styles—check them out! New children’s t-shirts with the “damn kids” image on the front—quite adorable

-Charcuterie from Piemonte Sausage Co.  (pancetta, pork loin filleto and capocollo) as well as their frozen sausages (need to be cooked) OR salamis from Underground Meats

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

Other Farm Happenings   

Behind the Scenes Tour & Tasting

Michael Darin, our special events coordinator extraordinaire will be offering his "Behind the Scenes" tours this weekend: July 27th/28th at 2 and 3 pm each day.  For the tours, guests will gather under the Prairie Pavilion to start the tour.

Michael will give a brief history about the farm and some background about the owners Wes Jarrell and Leslie Cooperband.  He will then guide guests around the farm and creamery where they will learn about raising goats, how the farm functions day-to-day, as well as how the creamery transforms our goat milk into delicious cheese and gelato. The tour will end with an interactive cheese tasting in the Real Stand Farm Store.  Tours are conducted rain or shine, and last approximately 45-minutes. Please be prepared to walk around the farm; comfortable closed-toed shoes are advised. 

This weekend's featured cheeses are chevre, angel food and black goat.

No reservations are required. Cost is $10 for adults, $6 for kids 12 and under. Glasses of wine or beer can be added to the tasting for a tour price of $6.    

“Dinners on the Farm” Summer is the perfect time to experience one of our farm dinners. Check out the Sunday afternoon lamb dinner in mid-August. We now a few of the planned menu items posted on our website.  Chef Chappell is a young and super talented chef from Chicago.  Be adventurous and give this dinner a shot. Soon, we'll be posting some teaser menu items for  this year’s take on our “100 Yard Dinner-Follow the Milk at the end of August. Check out all the themes and dates on our website and our ticket sales page (ShowClix), and make some reservations.

Our next Goat Walk Happy Hour is August 22nd, 6-8 pm. We’ve changed up the format for the happy hour (and the price), so check out the details and book your reservations NOW. We limit the number of guests to 35 so that you can really get a lot of “quality” time with the goats in the prairie. 


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.