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Explosions of color, water birds delight, market offerings, farm happenings

Posted 5/23/2019 10:32pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

The farm is determined to have its spring in spite of the onslaught of rainy days. In fact, the grey skies accentuate the pale blue of the irises and soft pinks of the peonies. The lilac bush exudes an intoxicating perfume that masks the manure odors emanating from the barns. The prairie is a blaze with the yellow blossoms of a brassica. The goats can’t stop eating those flowers! The bucks, back in their summer pasture, nuzzle their heads in the carpet of red clover and succulent green grass.

Our neighboring water birds seem immune to the stormy weather. The tell-tale white head, white tail and black body of a majestic bald eagle flew over the farm this afternoon, no doubt in search of a piscine meal to feed her brood. The heron rookery in the tree tops along the creek is a riot of feathers and twig nests. The herons traverse the pond and glide gracefully along the creek bank. They do not seem pressed for time or want for food. The ephemeral pools of standing water in our neighbors’ fields, while frustrating to farmers desperate to get their crops planted, provide refuge for migrating water fowl.  So far, the birds are coming out ahead this spring.

Farmers’ Market Offerings Saturday, May 25th Market at the Square” 7 AM to 12 Noon.

The weather forecast for Saturday is calling for a chance of rain. Don’t let the wet stuff deter you from shopping for some great local foods—delicious greens, asparagus, mushrooms, meats, eggs and even strawberries!  We have a few containers of fresh ricotta left, a great selection of fresh chevre and limited bloomies this week (waiting for the next batches to ripen a bit).

We’ve also brought back our own goat milk yogurt for a limited engagement-simple, plain yogurt with a slight tang. No thickeners added. If you want a thicker yogurt, you can always strain it through cheese cloth to get more of “greek style” consistency. Here’s the cheese lineup for this weekend:

  • Fresh Whole Goat Milk Ricotta-creamy and delicate, sweet milk taste-VERY LIMITED
  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Angel Food-our little crottin style bloomy, it’s compact, firm in the center with a slightly gooey edge. As it ages, the mushroom notes from the rind take hold. Slice over a salad of fresh local greens.
  • Black Goat-our ash-coated mold-ripened cheese. The rind looks like brain corral; the paste is soft and creamy with a slightly yeasty bread dough flavor on the palate.  Enjoy with local honey or a dollop of local jam. This batch is perfectly ripe
  • Moonglo-Enjoy a wedge of this complex, raw-milk beauty. Each wheel is washed with a cultured brine made with pear-leaf tea. It’s great with local charcuterie or try some shaved over a salad of greens and roasted asparagus.
  • Goat Milk Yogurt-our very own goat milk yogurt—just milk and live cultures—no thickeners or sweeteners added. It’s great mixed with fresh berries, nuts and a drizzle of local honey or maple syrup (it’s my breakfast staple every morning)

Grab a pint of gelato (3 pint special is still a thing—buy 3, get $1/pint off):

  • Vanilla
  • Buttered Pecan (with Voss Orchard pecans)
  • Maple walnut (with Funk’s Grove maple syrup)
  • Salted caramel swirl

How about topping off some gelato with our house-made cajeta (goat’s milk caramel sauce)?  We made a special version with chocolate this time. We’ll be bringing some jars to sell at the market on Saturday, and they’ll be available in our farm store too.

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

During the month of May, the farm is open weekends, 1-4 pm each day. You can still visit with the goats (the babies are growing so fast), stroll through the orchard and just check for new signs of spring life on the farm. 

You can also enjoy a scoop of gelato OR cheese board with a glass of wine/beer or a black currant spritzer.  Need a little caffeine? We can make you a special espresso drink. We can even put a scoop of gelato for an “affogato. 

Check out the local products in our farm store:  

-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 with jam and chevre!

-Animal Welfare Approved Bandanas

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

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

Other Farm Happenings   

Tickets to one of our farm dinners are a hot commodity. Check out themes and dates on our website and our ticket sales page (ShowClix), and make some reservations. We have some great additions this year:

  • Our July 20th BBQ dinner now has a New England "Surf and Turf" bent to it
  • Jake Chappell, Chef of Vincent in Chicago will be doing a Sunday afternoon lamb dinner with Catalpa Grove Farm Lamb--this chef is up and coming and super talented.
  • Eric Damidot, Chef of NoMi Kitchen (Park Hyatt, Chicago) will be doing a France meets Midwest themed meal
  • Chef Raquel Ritz is tackling a five course meal focused around all things milk (a version of our traditional "100 Yard Dinner")
  • The Great Pumpkin Patch is back this year for our very popular Pumpkin & Squashes themed dinner
  • Vicia Restaurant, St. Louis (Chef Michael Gallina) will venture north for a Sunday afternoon local food feast
  • and we’ll end the season with a Whole Hog-Triptych brewery holiday feast.

Behind the Scenes Tour & Tasting

Michael Darin, our special events coordinator extraordinaire, launched our “Behind the Scenes” farm tours last weekend, and they were a HUGE hit. He’ll be hosting them again, the weekend of June 1st/2nd at 2 and 3 pm each day.  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. 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.   

Goat Walk Happy Hour

How about accompanying the goats out to pasture after their evening milking and then enjoying a glass of wine or beer or a special cocktail with some cheese? We will be hosting a very special happy hour like no other on Thursday, June 27th, 6-8 pm. Reservations are now live for this event (limited to 35 guests only), so grab your tickets before they’re gone. $15/person includes one drink. Additional drinks and cheesy snacks will be available for additional purchase. 

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.