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Does in the prairie AND Farm Food Events PLUS cheese specials this week at markets

Posted 6/4/2015 10:19pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Does in the prairie

We took a step closer to our European herding role models this week when we decided to bring the does into our un-fenced prairie and former hay field.  They followed Wes and Erica (our new herd manager) out through their fenced pasture pretty briskly, but when they got to the gate, there was some hesitation. It didn’t help that our bee hives are now placed at the intersection of the prairie and the pasture and their curiosity of the hives got the best of them.  As they swarmed the hives, the bees swarmed them.  Stinging bees sent several of the does careening back to their barn, persistent bees in hot pursuit. 

does with bees

The prospect of an adventure, a foray into a forbidden zone, lured them back out through the pasture and into the prairie in short order.  Once they discovered the cottonwood saplings towering over the prairie grasses and forbs, their browser instincts consumed them, and they devoured the leaves of the small trees.  Several goat leaders stood tall on their hind legs to pull the branches down so the rest of the does could access the leaves.  They ripped the leaves on the branch with gusto; within seconds, the branch was stripped bare.  Their piranha-like thoroughness brought smiles to our faces and warmth to our hearts. 

eating cottonwoods

The does lingered a bit longer in the lush growth of our abandoned old hay field, rich with alfalfa, birdsfoot trefoil and red clover.  Some of the more brave girls ventured down the hill toward the promise of more cottonwoods; the rest grabbed mouthfuls of alfalfa and fresh grass.  After a while, we decided it was time to head home, so they followed Wes, the goat herder/pied piper back to the barn.  For now, the tension between their love of browse and their curiosity and fear of uncharted territory is strong.  Their respect for the goat herder is high.  We’ll see how long this lasts.  

following the goat herder

Farm Food Events We have a couple of mouth-watering farm food events coming up in the next couple of weeks, and we want you to come.  Our “Beer and Cheese Fete with Triptych Brewery (Savoy, IL) is slated for Saturday, June 13th.  Here’s a sneak preview of some of the planned menu items:

  • Bavarian pretzels with cheese and mustard sauces
  • Beer-braised onions and smoked ham tart with goat cheese
  • Piedmonte chicken jalapeño sausage with potato croquettes
  • Chocolate gelato sandwiches with bourbon caramel swirl

Our first Fork in the Road Tasting Trail is Sunday, June 21st with Blue Moon Farm, Sharp’s Crossing Lavender Farm and Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery.  This is a one-of-a-kind tour and tasting experience—where else could you visit an organic vegetable farm, a lavender farm and a goat dairy all in one afternoon? 

Farmers’ Market News

Once again, we’ll be bringing lots of great dairy products to both the Urbana Market at the Square and Chicago’s Green City Market. I will be going to Chicago, while Wes and Maureen serve our Urbana patrons.  Cheese, you ask? Yes, we’ve got that:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Fresh whole milk ricotta—try it with fresh market strawberries and local honey—you’ll be hooked
  • Goat milk feta
  • Angel Food
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie
  • Black GoatON SALE this week only
  • Huckleberry Blue—YES!! The first spring batch of the season is ready and boy is it tasty! Creamy and nicely veined with blue, you will love it crumbled on a salad of fresh market greens.

Pick up some of our very addictive crackers to go with these cheeses—oat chevre and seeded olive-oil flatbread.

Gelato—all the local flavors are coming in, so Maureen has gone a bit crazy this week:
  • Strawberry-made with strawberries from Meyer Farm and Carrie’s Garden of Eatin’
  • Aronia Berry-this comes to us from Sunny Lane Farm in Eureka—a native berry with a hint of tartness—the color alone will make you want to take home a pint.
  • Honey Thyme—two kinds of thyme and Avery Farm honey
  • Lemon Balm
  • Fresh mint
  • Salted caramel swirl
  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Toasted coconut

If the gelato doesn’t satisfy your sweet tooth, then pick up a bag of our salted goat milk caramels.  Stay tuned for details about next week’s Farm Open House (Wednesdays 4-6 pm).  Summer really is here now. 

Copyright 2015 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2015. 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.