<< Back to main

Goats meet fruit and fruits are bearing

Posted 5/28/2015 10:01pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

Farm News

Our bucklings have been enjoying the wide open spaces in the north pasture over the past several weeks. They had eaten down the tall grasses in pretty short order, and we had reverted to feeding them alfalfa-grass hay and their pelleted grain inside the east end of the storm-damaged hoop barn.  Meanwhile, the recent rash of thunder storms had begun to leave their humid mark on our fruit trees and cane berries—peach leaf curl, brown rot on the cherries and a bright orange “rust” on the blackberry leaves.  The blackberry rust sealed the fate of berries for this year, leaving us with little choice but to cut the canes way back.  Why cut when we had ruminant pruners lurking on the other side of the fence. So, we decided to take a bold step of extending the buckling fencing to encompass the blackberry patch.  

bucklings in berry patch

Letting goats eat the cane berries intentionally has been anathema to say the least.  Our original farm logo of goats eating peach leaves off the trees was a nod to their love of woody browse and their way-too-numerous break outs into the orchard.  I confess seeing the little guys make their way through the tall grasses engulfing the berry canes brought me joy.  We gave them permission to be the true browsers that they are.  Unknowingly, they became our biological control for a fruit disease.  They might not be so lucky next year.

Cherries are ripening in the orchard. After eleven years, we finally have enough of a cherry crop to make our delicious tart cherry-stracciatella gelato and a few cherry pies.  Dani has been moving the picking ladder from tree to tree at lightning speed, attempting to outpace the robins and cedar waxwings.  Birds against humans: who will win the coveted prize of mouthfuls of juicy tart cherries?  This is a great problem to have.  

bowl of cherries

Farmers’ Markets, Farm Dinners and other Farm Happenings

This Saturday, we’re attending both Urbana’s Market at the Square and Chicago’s Green City Market.  Although the weather forecast is calling for a chance of rain, we hope you’ll put on your rain coats and come out to support your local farmers.  We will have plenty of cheese:

  • Fresh Chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Fresh whole goat’s milk ricotta—with strawberries in season, I’m recommending this cheese drizzled with honey, local granola and fresh sliced strawberries
  • Goat milk feta—tangy and crumbly—perfect for topping a salad of market greens and grilled asparagus; you can even use the whey brine to make a salad dressing
  • Black Goat—this batch is a bit young, but would pair well with a rhubarb jam
  • Angel Food—creamy with a hint of mushroom, slice this cheese on baguette rounds, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle chopped fresh thyme and stick under the broiler for a minute
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie—our camembert style goat milk round has gooey edges and a firm tangy paste; just cut yourself a nice wedge and eat it!

For gelato, we have some fantastic seasonal flavors for you this week in both pints AND single servings (* flavors coming to both markets):

  • *Honey thyme (made with Avery Farm honey and two kinds of thyme from our herb garden—rose and orange)
  • *Lemon Balm—herbal notes with lemon
  • *Rhubarb sorbetto—limited quantities in pints only so come early to the market if you want some
  • *Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Espresso

We will also be bringing our goat milk caramels, house-made crackers (oat-chevre, whole wheat flatbread) and goat milk soaps to the market. 

Our first farm dinner of the season is this Saturday and we have a couple of seats still available.  If you’d like to be tempted, check out the planned menu.  We also have seats open for several other farm dinners (including the beer dinner with Triptych Brewery on June 13th), so check them out. 

Our first Tasting Trail Tour is now set for Sunday, June 21st, and tickets are ready for purchase through our website.  The tour includes Blue Moon Farm (organic vegetables), Sharp’s Crossing Lavender Farm (u-pick lavender and craft making) and Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery (tour and tasting of cheese, gelato, Blue Moon veggies and treats made with lavender). 

Don’t forget to come visit us on Wednesdays from 4-6 pm. If you’re having trouble finding us because of road construction, fear not. We have great directions on our website.  

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.