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Summer solstice lushness, Farmers' Market offerings, Farm Dinners & More

Posted 6/20/2019 10:13pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

On the eve of the summer solstice, in the pause between rain storms, the farm embodies lushness. Despite the occasional ponding of water in the kid barn or the afternoon flooding of the farm storage room when a gutter dam forced the rain under the door, the farm is green and growing.  The landscape is so vibrant, it is hard to look away.  The garden with vegetables setting and herbs begging to be plucked, the flower farm’s blooms so tidy in rows, the orchard floor so tall it masks the lower branches of the fruit trees-the lushness commands your attention. 

The summer solstice gives us the longest day, yet daylight and twilight have little distinction for the dairy farmers and cheese makers. The bending light of the late afternoon is hypnotic, even for the eyes tired from staring at white walls and lots of little white cheeses. The eastern sky reflects back the deepening colors of the western sky’s setting sun. The green lines of the pasture and prairie intersect with the watercolor pinks, reds, oranges and yellows, punctuated by the occasional brown and blue of a heron flying by. 

Farmers’ Market Offerings Saturday, June 22nd Market at the Square” 7 AM to 12 Noon.

The weather forecast is calling for a chance of rain, but we all should be used to all this rain by now. We have a great repertoire of cheeses this week, including a couple of seasonal debuts. Here’s the cheese lineup for this weekend:

Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper

Goat Milk Feta in Whey Brine: FIRST of the SEASON!--our goat milk feta is firm and tangy. Bathed in a whey-salt brine for at least one month, the texture is what I call “creamy-crumbly.” It is still a bit young but has a nice balanced “feta” flavor. Try some on a salad with early hot house tomatoes and a drizzle of olive oil.

Angel Food-our little crottin style bloomy, it’s compact, firm in the center with a slightly gooey edge. This batch is young, bright and firm. As it ages, the mushroom notes from the rind take hold. Slice over a salad of fresh local greens or lightly bread it and bake it for a fancy cheese plate.

Little Bloom on the Prairie-a goat milk camembert-style bloomy, this batch is aging very nicely with subtle mushroom notes. ·  Black Goat: our funky ash-dusted bloomy rind with a crinkly white-mold rind. This batch is aging nicely, yet the paste is somewhat firm and fudgy in consistency. Enjoy with a local salami.

NEWFleur du Prairie-a square bloomy with the delicate crinkly white mold similar to black goat. The squares were sprinkled with a mixture of dried herbs and edible flowers just as the rind was blooming. Aged for about 3 weeks, this cheese is slightly earthy with hints of thyme, fennel and chive flower in every bite. LIMITED offering!

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 broccoli. Probably only two more weeks left and then it’s gone for the foreseeable future. 

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). Quarts and pints available.

Grab a pint of gelato (3 pint special is still a thing—Buy 3, get $1/pint off): Here's the line-up:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Fresh Mint (chocolate mint plant leaves steeped in the warm gelato base)
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Fresh Strawberry (from Cary’s Garden of Eatin’)
  • Peaches & Cream (also from Cary’s Garden)
  • Honey-Lavender (lavender from Illinois Willows)

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 Friday evening, 4-8 pm and weekend, Saturday and Sunday, 1-4 pm. You can visit with the goats (kids and adults alike), stroll through the orchard and check out our herb and vegetable garden.  

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 and NEW “merch” in our farm store:  

-NEW maple syrup from “Sticky Peets”-southern OH maple syrup that oh so good!

-local honey from Two Million Blooms

-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!

-Autumn Berry Jam-regular and jalapeno-we are restocked; these jams make excellent accompaniments to our cheeses

-Animal Welfare Approved Bandanas

-BACK by popular demand: Our “Three Chippys” tea towel. Chippy the goat is the farm’s logo, and she appears as chef, farmer and sommelier on this organic cotton flour sack tea towel

-NEW: Chippy the Chef Denim Aprons-soft, durable with three pockets for the most discerning chef in your family

-NEW stock of PFFC T-shirts—new colors, styles—check them out!

-Charcuterie from Piemonte Sausage Co.  (pancetta, pork loin filleto and capocollo) as well as their frozen sausages (need to be cooked)

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

Other Farm Happenings   

Tickets to one of our farm dinners are a hot commodityCheck out themes and dates on our website and our ticket sales page (ShowClix), and make some reservations.

There are just five seats left for our “Early Summer Bounty with Beer” dinner this Saturday, June 22nd. Chefs Jordan and Arora of American Harvest Eatery have crafted a gorgeous, menu featuring the freshest summer veggies, many of our cheeses and beer pairings from Rolling Meadows Brewery. The brewer will be our guest to talk about the styles of beer and Rolling Meadows overall.

Behind the Scenes Tour & Tasting Michael Darin, our special events coordinator extraordinaire, will be offering his "Behind the Scenes" tours in two weeks: June 29th/30th at 2 and 3 pm each day

For the tours, 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.    


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.