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Meeting needs, Farmers' Market News, Farm Happenings over Memorial Day Weekend

Posted 5/25/2017 9:16pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

As I go about my daily routine of feeding baby goats, I reflect on the varying types of needs I must satiate.  The oldest kids clamor for grain.  I dash from grain feeder to feeder, deftly scooping and filling, rushing to fill the next one, lest they all crowd the one full feeder and get their heads stuck. Then, there’s the bleating of the newborns, milk bucket feeder empty and needing more milk; make it warm and make it snappy.  Once the older and bigger kids have had their fill at the bucket, I must coax the youngest onto the nipples, teaching them the trick of wrapping their muzzle over the wide part so they can squirt the milk into their mouths.  It’s satisfying to watch them catch on to the technique, crouch down and chow until their bellies swell like mosquitos on a blood binge.

The newly weaned group screams at full throttle, indignant that their offerings of food and drink (of which there are plenty-grain trough overflowing, hay manger brimming with fresh grass, water bucket clean and refreshing) do not contain the white stuff.  I offer them consoling pats on the head and handfuls of grain, but their lips grab for my fingers, hoping they are full of milk. 

The group that complains the least is the group on the self-feeder.  Since they can drink milk whenever they want, nibble on grain or hay whenever they feel like it and lounge when they’re full, they meet their own needs with very little human intervention. As long as the feeder’s hopper is full of milk replacer and the lines and nipples stay clean, they just want my attention for play and affection.  I prioritize meeting all these needs in order of who screams the loudest. Hugs and head pats come last.

Farmers’ Markets This Saturday, we’re attending just one market: Urbana’s Market at the Square (7-12).  Pick up some great cheese, yogurt and gelato for your long holiday weekend needs:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper—light, fluffy, lemony, YUM!
  • Fresh Ricotta: this delicate, mild and slightly sweet cheese is the essence of spring.
  • Angel Food: our little compact bloomy rind—firm paste; great with some homemade rhubarb jam
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: our goat milk camembert. Our favorite chefs love to put this cheese on the grill to give it a light smoke. OMG
  • Black Goat: our ash-coated bloomy with a hint of yeast on the rind; it is perfect on a baguette with a drizzle of local honey
  • Moonglo: these raw-milk tomme wedges are the last of the late fall-milk batches. Get ‘em while they last
  • Little Red: raw cow-milk, grating style with a smoked paprika rub. It is a perfect substitute for any grating cheese—use in a pesto, grate it over pasta or roasted veggies. 
  • Huckleberry Blue: the last of the raw-goat-milk blue made last December. This cheese is creamy, sweet & salty—the most flavorful blue in central IL.  
  • Goat Milk Yogurt: plain, whole milk, available in pints or quarts. I eat this every morning for breakfast (my version of breakfast of farmer champions).  Only available at the markets and on the farm.

Need some gelato? Here’s the line- up of flavors by the pint:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Fresh Mint
  • Lemon Balm
  • Fruitti di Bosco & Yogurt
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Rhubarb Swirl
  • Mexican Coffee (coffee with cinnamon and kick of cayenne)

Farm Happenings

Farm Summer Hours resume: Summer hours are low key and a great way to see the farm transform as veggies, fruits and flowers start to grow.  The goat kids are growing like weeds too, so come see them before they get too big.  Our last doe, Velvet, kidded last Saturday with twin bucklings, so come check them out in the newborn pen (the black & white twins).  Come meet our new La Mancha breeding buck, “Chocolate Cosmo.” He’s got a southern accent (he’s from Arkansas).  As always, we’ll be open for you to purchase cheese, gelato (pints and single servings both), local farm products and PFFC “merch.”  From time to time, we’ll have special things to see and do (special gelato flavors or u-pick fruits for example).  For now, open hours are:

  • Wednesdays, 3-6 PM
  • Fridays, 11 AM to 6 PM (except when we have Happy Hour; then we're open until 7 PM)
  • Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 PM

Don't forget to follow directions to the farm from our website. This will ensure easy travels during the road construction on N. Lincoln Avenue.

Family Friendly Friday Happy Hour on the Farm Friday, May 26th (YES, THAT’S TOMORROW) and running every other Friday through September 1st, we’re hosting a Friday Happy Hour (5-7 PM).  Come out to enjoy a summer evening at the farm-bring yourself or your whole family. NO RESERVATIONS REQUIRED. We’ll have local microbrews available as well as wines by the bottle or glass (all of our wines are either organic or biodynamic and our prices are VERY reasonable).  For the non-alcohol drinkers, we’ll have Homer Sodas available, iced tea and a special goat milk chai drink for the kids.

Grab some cheese, a wedge of Pekara Bakery baguette, charcuterie from Smoking Goose, a jar of Autumn Berry Jam and farm-made treats (pickled asparagus, ramps and mushrooms anyone?) and you’ve got some delicious local food snacks to accompany your beverages.  Guests can stroll around the farm, or just hang out on our lovely stone patio and watch the sun go down.  Of course, you can visit with the goats too. 

Tomorrow night, we’re featuring wood-fire roasted chicken from Bane Family Meats. Farmer Dave himself will be manning the grill, and serving up some of the best pastured-poultry you’ll ever eat.  The Jaybirds (a local jazz ensemble) will serenade you with some lovely jazz tunes.  

CU Farmers Resumes with two outdoor pick up locations weekly-ordering opens tomorrow (5/26 at 8:00 AM)

Blue Moon Farm, Bane Family Meats and Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery are teaming up again to offer the CU Community an online farmers’ market.  If you can’t make it to the markets on Saturday, or you just don’t want to fight the crowds, consider CU Farmers.  It is simple, convenient and comprehensive (veggies, meats, eggs, cheese and gelato).  You won’t find a better deal on some of the highest quality local foods around. Here’s how it works:

1)  Go to the website and set up an account

2)  Order products from Friday (8AM) through the following Monday (10 PM). Select your pick up location (one in Champaign, one in Urbana) before you check out.  Pay online with a credit card.

3) Farmers fulfill your orders and bring them to two pick up locations on Wednesdays for you to pick up (5-6 PM for both locations)

4) Pick up locations are either Faith United Methodist Church in Champaign on Prospect Avenue OR the east parking lot of Lincoln Square Mall in front of Common Ground Food Co-op.   

Farm Dinner Updates Dinner Tickets are selling at a brisk pace, and our June 10th “Big Steak dinner” is now sold out as well our “100 Yard Dinner” in September.  There are some fantastic casual meals planned for July and August—burgers, fish fry, summer vegetarian—check them out and make your reservations now before they sell out too! 

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.