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Farming at 30,000 feet, winter market and other farm news

Posted 2/9/2017 10:36pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farming at 30,000 feet

We’ve been doing a lot of traveling lately. Winter is the only time of year when both Wes and I can leave the farm together and not worry too much about what’s happening at the farm.  The goats just eat and grow their girth with child (many), the cheeses that are aging need just a little loving care.  Orders are placed and filled; faucets go to slow drip when the temperature drops below 20 degrees.  So, we take to the skies to travel in this narrow band of time.  Gaining distance and elevation has a cleansing effect. If I’m lucky, I can peer out of the plane window to watch the landscape change from jagged snow caped peaks to arid irrigation circles, back to the familiar darkened flat earth with a skiff of snow-- the abstract patterns so removed from the minutiae of the quotidian.

Winter Farmers’ Market

This Saturday, February 11th, we’re attending the Urbana “Market in the Square.”  For those of you unfamiliar, the market is held in the south hall of Lincoln Square Mall (enter by Tang Dynasty), but our booth is located at the north end of this hall, close to Blue Moon Farm’s booth.  For this Saturday, we have a great selection of cheeses, gelato and some other farm products (sausage, stew meat, jams, goat milk soaps): If you’re planning something special for your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day, pick up some cheese, jam and gelato (limited flavors including vanilla, coconut, ginger, salted caramel). I’ve recommended some specific cheeses that would go well with chocolate below:

Chevre (has been frozen, so you can either thaw it to use right away or keep it frozen): plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper. For Valentine’s Day, why not dress up the plain chevre with a drizzle of chocolate sauce.

Raw milk feta: you may not think of feta as a ‘winter’ cheese, but it is perfect to liven up a hearty stew, a bowl of chili or even a winter salad—this is the last of the fall milk feta, and we have very little left (come early if you want some).

Snow Fog: our cow’s milk bloomy rind (“Chaource”) is slightly lemony and fudgy in texture.  It would be great served with chunks of dark chocolate.

Moonglo: our raw milk “tomme” makes a delicious and fancy grilled cheese sandwich. It’s also great with pickles or jam. 

Huckleberry Blue: This raw milk blue is dense and creamy and very approachable.  Talk about a perfect accompaniment to chocolate—try it with a melty milk chocolate or a chocolate hazelnut bar.

Upcoming Special Event at the Farm: Storytelling about resilient agriculture – a case study Laura Lengnick, author of Resilient Agriculture, will be at Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery on Saturday, Feb. 18, from 2 -- 4 pm to discuss her book and look at PFF&C as a case study of resilience in the face of climate change.

Laura will meld two areas of her experience and expertise, climate change in agriculture and storytelling, to help others understand what lies ahead and how we can respond to it.  Copies of her book, “Resilient Agriculture: Cultivating Food Systems for a Changing Climate,” will be available for purchase, and we’ll have some local food snacks available as well. At 4 pm we’ll wind it up, and go forward with our ideas to make our responses to climate change accessible and meaningful to our customers and the greater public.  

Laura’s visit is hosted by U of I’s Agroecology and Sustainable Agriculture Program and Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery.  PFFC is located at 4410 N Lincoln Ave, Champaign, IL 61822    

Tree Pruning Workshops at the Farm

Although March means mostly baby goats here at the farm, it’s also the time of year to prune our fruit trees so they have the greatest opportunities to bear fruit.  This March, Dani and Erica, the “fruit gals” are hosting two free workshops on tree fruit pruning: one for apples and one for peaches.  No experience necessary. We will go over general pruning techniques for each type of tree and then let you prune your own tree or two (with some guidance, of course).  A digital copy of our guide to pruning fruit trees will also be available to attendees.   

There is limited space (8 people per workshop) and pre-registration through our website is required.   Bring your own pruning shears if you have them (we have plenty of extras if you don't) and dress warm! Gloves and warm, sturdy shoes are especially important.  

March 4th: Apple Tree Pruning Workshop, 10am-1pm

March 11th: Peach Tree Pruning Workshop, 10am-1pm  

**If you would like to register, but the workshop is full, please email us at pffcfruit@gmail.com and let us know. If there is enough interest we will create a waiting list or hold another workshop in mid-March.  If you sign up and can’t attend, please let us know at least 24 hours in advance so we can contact others who might wish to attend.  

Celebrate CSA Day on February 24th  

February 24th is National CSA Day. We will be sending out little reminders leading up to the day, but our hope is that those of you in central Illinois feel moved to sign up for our Cheese and Gelato CSA.  We treat our CSA members REALLY well! We offer them discounted prices on our cheeses, first dibs on special “CSA members only” cheeses and other “first of the season” cheese offerings.  Members get to choose which cheeses they want for each pick up (twice monthly from May through October).  The “cherry on the sundae” is that we host a special “CSA Members Farm Feast” in the fall.  So, if you want to wait to sign up on February 24th, that’s fine, but WHY WAIT?? SIGN UP NOW.  


Copyright 2017. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2017. 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.