The din of production, peaches in bloom, april fools (and food) on the farm and other news
A dairy can be noisy. The compressor that runs the milking pulsators rattles like a bad one-man band. The milking pulsators click and hiss rhythmically like a ventilator on life support. When the milk receiver jar is full, the whoosh of the pump pushes milk up the pipe and trickles and sloshes the milk as it cascades into the bulk tank.
More pumps, so many pumps, each with a slightly different timbre-the purring impeller pump that sucks milk from the bulk tank into the cheese vat; the humming boiler pump that circulates hot water around the jacket of the cheese vat to warm the milk; the low-rumbling recirculating pump that moves chemicals through the pipelines to keep the stainless steel shiny clean.
The cheese vats have their own sound too. The motor that turns the stir paddles has a dull pitch that drowns out radio talking heads. When the paddles accidentally move too close to the vat lids, the screech-on-a-chalkboard sound is so discordant; you know you need to move the paddle back to the center instantly. Then, there’s swishing sound of the spray nozzle, so constant in the creamery make room—so much cleaning; on and off it turns throughout the day.
In the kitchen, the gelato batch freezer has its own orchestra of noise: the whizzing spin, ever accelerating into high pitch crescendo, as the liquid base slowly freezes. The beep, beep, beep percussion as the machine signals it’s ready to dispense. Then, sudden quiet as the soft but frozen confection slithers out of the dispensing chamber, guided deftly by the hand of the gelato maker maestro.
The sounds become so familiar you forget they are there. You only notice when the machines pause throughout the day, done with a cycle, finished with a batch of something, some delicious dairy product. Even as we shut the lights in the milking parlor at the end of the evening milking, you listen for the sound of the sink filling with wash water to make sure it will all be clean for the next day.
Babies and Breakfast, Take Three
This Saturday, April 1st, from 9 AM to 12 Noon will be our Third “Babies & Breakfast.” The weather should be slightly sunny and seasonably warm. Come visit with the goats, watch the babies run and jump and see our peach trees in bloom. NO RESERVATIONS REQUIRED AND NO ADMISSION FEE. MENU ITEMS ARE A LA CARTE AND PRICED BETWEEN $3-7/ITEM.
The Elbertas and our “mystery” white peach are just starting to flower now. We might even have some little “april fools” pranks in store for our visitors (like no line for breakfast—ha ha!)
Here’s the menu for this week:
- Doughnuts: Cinnamon Sugar; Cardamom Glaze
- Beignets: Chocolate; PFF Herb Chevre w/ Honey
- Cornbread with homemade jam and butter
- Cornbread with homemade sausage patty (PFF goat and Bane Family pork)
- Breakfast Burrito - Meat (Bane Family pork, rice, slaw (Blue Moon), and PFF chèvre)
- Breakfast Burrito - Vegetarian (Curried potatoes (Blue Moon), peas, rice, and PFF chèvre)
- PFF goat yogurt parfaits with homemade local grains granola (ginger, cranberry, pepita granola)
- Hard-boiled Bane Family eggs
- Hot Tea
- Coffee (Columbia Street Roastery)
- Iced Coffee (Columbia Street Roastery)
- PFF Goat's Milk Hot Chocolate
- Affogato—coffee with a scoop of gelato (vanilla or hazelnut)
We will also be selling cheese, yogurt, gelato by the scoop as well as pints. Here are a few highlights:
- Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence and cracked pepper
- Moonglo-it makes the most perfect grilled cheese
- Huckleberry Blue-if you’re a blue cheese lover (or not), you must try our raw goat milk blue
- Little Red—a one-of-a-kind raw cow-milk cheese made by one of our cheese making classes last December. They did a fantastic job—this hard cheese is mild with a slight tartness and a hint of smokiness from the smoked paprika-olive oil rub on the rind.
- Plain, Whole Milk Yogurt-in pints and quarts
Pick up some house-made jams to go with those cheeses too: red currant-lavender, green tomato jam are the perfect accompaniments to our cheeses.
Fresh gelato Flavors: vanilla, chocolate, hazelnut and salted caramel swirl—can’t really go wrong with these.
We also have lots of other great local foods: eggs from Bane Family Meats, beef, pork and chicken from Bane Family Meats, ground lamb and lamb shoulder steaks (ON SALE!!) from Caveny Farm, artisanal sausages from Piemonte Sausage Co, Elk Summer Sausages and beef sticks & jerky from KD Ranch.
Want something to remember your experience at Prairie Fruits Farm? Check out our “merch:” t-shirts, hooded sweatshirts, onesies, tea towels, goat milk soaps.
DIRECTIONS TO THE FARM--DETOUR ON NORTH LINCOLN: This past week, North Lincoln Avenue has been completely closed to through traffic. If you encounter a road closed sign, just before you need to turn RIGHT to stay on Lincoln, turn around and go to I-74 going EAST. Take the next EXIT—Cunningham Rd. (HWY 45) and go North (left at the light) for several miles. Take a LEFT onto Ford Harris Rd. and proceed 1.5 miles until the intersection of North Lincoln and Ford Harris. Turn LEFT and the farm will be ½ mile down on your left. Watch for the signs of where to park as it might be full at the farm driveway. We have an overflow lot in our north pasture that will be signed. If you’re coming from Champaign, simply take Olympian Drive EAST until it ends just 100 yards south of our driveway—easy.
CU Farmers: an online farmers’ market for Champaign Urbana. If you can’t make it to the farm this weekend or next; no worries. You can check out our offerings through CUFarmers (as well as those from Blue Moon Farm and Bane Family Meats). We have added some new items, including yogurt, new gelato flavors, chevre and some aged cheeses. Ordering opens this Monday, April 3rd at 9:00 AM and closes Tuesday evening, April 4th at 10:00 PM. Pick up at the Urbana “Market in the Square” on Saturday, April 8th with Blue Moon Farm (9-12).
Cheese and Gelato CSA-still time to sign up for the season
We still have a few openings for our 2017 Cheese and Gelato CSA and a discount on pricing if you sign up by the end of April. Our CSA is designed to give members the maximum flexibility to choose which cheeses and gelato flavors they want for each pick up. We have four convenient pick up locations in central Illinois: two in Champaign-Urbana and two in Bloomington-Normal. Check it out.
Farm to table Meals-An Update
As I mentioned last week, we have added a few more dinner themes and dates to our 2017 season. I’m very excited about this year’s offerings. From the “farm fancy” multi-course meals to the casual pop-ups, there’s something for everyone. We added a pop-up “Fish & Chips” dinner with guest chef Ryan Lewis of Driftwood Eatery, Springfield. He’ll be cooking up some Asian carp (an invasive species in the IL River that is NOT carp and is actually a very delicate and delicious white fish). We’re super excited to tell some really tall fish tales with this one.
Also in the line-up—a Summer Vegetarian Cook Out with guest chef Dan Compton of Vie Restaurant, Western Springs. On the multi-course menu side, we’ve added a fall squash feast dinner with guest chef Nicole Pederson (Found Restaurant, Evanston, IL) and guest farmer Mac Condill of the Great Pumpkin Patch and the last dinner of the season will be tasting tour of Mexico featuring guest chef Andres Padilla of Frontera Grill-Topolabamba fame, Chicago, IL. Don’t forget about the great meals from our friends at Sunday Dinner Club 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.