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Taking the farm to the big city, Farmers' Market Offerings, Farm Happenings

Posted 7/12/2019 12:29pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header Farm News

This week I took the farm on a little trip to the big apple—that’s right NYC. The Illinois Office of Tourism invited me, as one of “Illinois’ Makers” to attend a media event at the headquarters of Meredith Publications. This publications giant owns Time Magazine, Martha Stewart Living, Rachel Ray Today, Parenting, Real Simple, Midwest Living, Food & Wine to name a few prominent magazines.  The IL Office of Tourism organizes such events to promote the state’s attractions. 

I packed my bags full of cheese and lots of PFFC “Merch” (you know: tea towels, t-shirts, aprons and the like), put on my city digs and hopped on a plane to NY.  It had been well over a decade (maybe even close to 15 years) since my last trip to NYC, and for the first time, I felt more like a country bumpkin than the urban sophisticate of my youth.  I faked my way through what had once been second nature of giving the taxi driver explicit directions about how best to drive to my destination.  Secretly, I wasn’t even sure if the Meredith Building was on the east or west side of Manhattan; I had a vague notion of it being in lower Manhattan in the financial district. 

As we headed south on the FDR Drive, I searched for the familiar landmarks, all the while disoriented by the explosion of new sky scrapers.  The tram to Roosevelt Island was still there, but my memories of a barren urban island with a few decrepit buildings had been replaced by stacks of condos and serene green spaces.  I did not recognize the Williamsburg Bridge, but how could I forget the majestic Brooklyn Bridge? The trappings of over-built Brooklyn on the other side of the east river were completely unfamiliar to me.

My destination, located in Battery Park, was modern, gentrified and sculpted into well-populated city park.  Families, tourists, and suited office workers strolled along the pathway along the southern tip of Manhattan. Lady Liberty, torched arm outstretched over the water, stood firm in the hazy distance.  Tug boats, ferries, jet skiers and fishing boats navigated the choppy waters, seemingly choreographed to avoid collisions.  As I walked north, away from the water, to meet an old friend, I was attracted to the sound of rushing water, akin to waterfalls. I followed the sounds and the myriad of tourists heading in the same direction to witness a massive hole in the ground with cascading water flowing into a giant crater in the center. Until I describe what I had seen to my friend, did I realize I had witnessed the 9-11 Memorial. 

The next morning’s media event with editors from several of Meredith Publication’s magazines was akin to two hours of speed dating. I had several minutes with each editor to engage them in the art of the pitch—who we are, where we are (no one from the east coast knows where Champaign-Urbana IL is located, let alone where the state of Illinois is), what we do, what we make (“would you like to try some cheese??”), what we offer to folks who visit our farm….. I tried different angles depending on the magazine that they represented.  It was whirl wind of talking, sampling, handing folks some media content in the hopes that something I said or offered would click with them.  Before I knew it, it was over and the room was left to the tourism folks representing other parts of Illinois.  We sampled each other’s left overs and packed up our “merch.” I haled another cab, this time confident in suggesting how best to get to the airport, got back on a plane and relaxed into the solace of returning to my flat, green and slow-paced homeland. 

Farm Store and Farmers’ Market Offerings

The temperatures are expected to climb back into the ‘90’s tomorrow, so definitely come early to the market and bring a cooler with ice packs to keep your cheese and gelato in tip top shape. Here’s the line-up for this weekend:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Goat Milk Feta in Whey Brine: 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 really delicious.  Check out this simple “Roasted Feta with Honey” recipe from NY Times Cooking. It’s simple and it will definitely impress your friends.
  • Angel Food-our little crottin style bloomy, it’s compact, firm in the center with a slightly gooey edge. This batch is mature, with lots of mushroomy notes. Slice over a salad of fresh local greens or try grilling it to warm it up just a bit. VERY LIMITED availability
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie-a goat milk camembert-style bloomy. This batch is aging beautifully (firm center, starting to get gooey on edges), and has a wonderful flavor. Try with roasted fennel and a drizzle of honey
  • Black Goat: our funky ash-dusted bloomy rind with a crinkly white-mold rind. We have the young-ish batch to offer this weekend-firm, slightly yeasty and densely fudgy in texture. Enjoy with local salami and a glass of summer red wine or try our newest sparkling wine offering in the farm store—Illinois’ Sparkling Company’s “Pet Nat” (an unfiltered champagne-style sparkling wine—like a marriage between kombucha and wine) 
  • 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).  VERY LIMITED availability this week

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 Strawberry (from Cary’s Garden of Eatin’)
  • Peach-Ginger (also from Cary’s Garden)
  • Mint Stracciatella (fancy ganache chocolate ribbons in mint gelato)
  • Nectarine sorbetto (from Mileur Orchard)

Can’t make it to the market on Saturday morning? No worries: the farm is open Thursdays and Fridays, 4-8 pm and weekends, Saturday and Sunday, 1-4 pm.

This Friday (that's today!), consider building your own cheese board, or ask us to make some recommendations. You pick out the cheese(s) and accompaniments (jam, honey, pickled veggies or pecans), we provide you with a demi-baguette from Central Illinois Bake House. Complete the experience with a glass of wine or beer: Experience late afternoon and dusk on the farm. It’s magical.

Of course, you can visit with the goats (kids and adults alike), stroll through the orchard, and check out our herb and vegetable garden (growing like crazy and starting to bear fruit too).  If you’re ambitious, you can walk along the path toward the creek. You can also enjoy a scoop of gelato.

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 “merch” in our farm store:  

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

-NEW pecans (plain and cinnamon sugar) from Voss Pecan Orchard, Carlyle, IL

-NEW-Illinois Sparkling Wine Co/August Hill Winery (Peru IL) Champagne style Brut Rose and Pet Nat (Petit Natural)—ask for a taste; these wines are truly amazing from a local winery a couple hours north of us

-local honey from Two Million Blooms

-eggs (chicken and duck), 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 AND our “Damn Kids” 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! New children’s t-shirts with the “damn kids” image on the front—quite adorable

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

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

Other Farm Happenings   

Tickets to one of our farm dinners are a hot commodity. Summer is the perfect time to experience one of our farm dinners. The menu is now posted for our New England Style BBQ dinner on July 20th. There are only a few seats left, so grab ‘em while you can.

Check out all the themes and dates on our website and our ticket sales page (ShowClix), and make some reservations.

Behind the Scenes Tour & Tasting

Michael Darin, our special events coordinator extraordinaire will be offering his "Behind the Scenes" tours THIS weekend: July 13th/14th 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. 

This week’s featured cheeses are chevre, little bloom and feta. 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.   

Our next Goat Walk-Happy Hour is scheduled for July 25th. We’ll be posting details and ticket sales for the event next week, but for now, SAVE THE DATE


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.