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They grow up so fast, Holiday Farmers' Markets and Farm Happenings

Posted 6/29/2017 8:38pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

Just last week I was cradling tiny chicks in the palm of my hand. Today, the Freedom Ranger chicks are stretching their wings, fresh with adult plumage.  The rest of their bodies are still covered in down, but their sturdy little legs propel them so fast, I can’t catch them anymore.  By next week, their down will be shed, leaving bald spots where quills push forward to reveal the new feathers.  Once their adult plumage is in place, they’ll get moved outside to the orchard to graze on grasses and other green plants and catch lots and lots of flies.  Poultry are great insectivores and Freedom Rangers are great foragers. 

Goat babies are growing up fast as well. We weaned the last three kids this week. They had the good fortune of a slow weaning process-gradually decreasing the amount of milk that they were drinking over the week (the youngest are always the most spoiled, right?), unlike their predecessors whose milk consumption was cut cold turkey.  They’ll still protest a bit until they realize that the grain and hay laid before them is as delicious and nourishing as their milk. 

The garden is growing with the help of irrigation.  The pop up thunderstorms keep missing us, and our soil is so dry that cracks are starting to appear.  The peaches clinging to the peach tree branches seem to be in suspended animation; they’re starting to pink-up just a bit, but they’re not growing in size. Although I lamented the copious rains in May and early June, I am hoping that the rumble of thunder I hear as the sun sets tonight brings more than five-minute shower.  I see raindrops on our window as I write. Our parched soils need a good soaking. 

Farmers’ Market News

Happy July 4th Everyone!! This holiday weekend, we’re attending both Urbana’s Market at the Square and Chicago’s Green City Market.   Cheese is great to take to 4th of July picnic or backyard barbeque. Impress your friends and family by “dressing up” a few of our cheeses:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper—summer deliciousness-how about chevre-stuffed dates or little peppers stuffed with fresh goat cheese and heated under the broiler
  • Fresh ricotta: sweet, creamy, mild-go sweet or go savory-how about a summer salad with grilled summer squash, charred cherry tomatoes (the first greenhouse tomatoes have made their debut at the markets!!) or how about mixed berries with sweetened whipped ricotta?
  • Raw-milk Feta: Packed in whey brine for flavor and preservation, this cheese is perfect for salads-maybe you might score some melons to do a sweet-savory salad? Or how about going Greek with chopped tomatoes, cukes, feta, fresh herbs and olives?
  • Angel Food: our little compact bloomy rind—firm paste; great with some homemade peach jam on a rustic bread slice and you have a simple crostini
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: our goat milk camembert. Perfect on a burger-gooey deliciousness
  • 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
  • Magia Negra: our nod to a Manchego style cheese, sharp nutty notes with hints of tart berries. Rind is rubbed with an olive oil-black currant & aronia berry paste.  Wrap it with some local ham or prosciutto (La Quercia would be perfect for this)
  • 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. Blue burgers anyone?
  • Whole milk Yogurt: plain and simple—goat milk and live cultures (no thickeners, no sugar, just pure goodness)-only available at Green City Market this week

We will have crackers for you to accompany those cheeses- oat chevre, lavender-semolina and herbed flatbread.

Celebrate the 4th with an ice cream social (our gelato is Italian-style ice cream after all):

  • Lemon Crème (made with Meyer Lemons)
  • Red Currant-Aronia Berry*
  • Tart Cherry-Amaretto-Stracciatella (this is a premium flavor and costs a bit more than our regular flavors-$12/pint instead of $10/pint)
  • Maple Chevre: made with our goat cheese and “Sticky Pete’s maple syrup from Athens OH*
  • Lemon Balm-straight from our herb garden
  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Salted Caramel Swirl*
  • Mexican Coffee (cinnamon and a hint of cayenne take this flavor into the stratosphere)
  • Plum Sorbetto*: made with plums from an Urbana customer’s plum tree

* indicates flavors for the Green City Market

CU Farmers: Online Farmers Market with two outdoor pick up locations; weekly ordering opens Friday (6/30) at 8:00 AM through Monday, 7/3, 10 PM) Blue Moon Farm, Bane Family Meats and Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery have teamed up 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 or login

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 Happenings Farm Summer Hours:  

Things are growing despite the lack of rain. Come see the changing landscape and enjoy a scoop of gelato on the patio. The goats love visitors. Open hours are:

  • Wednesdays, 3-6 PM
  • Fridays, 11 AM to 6 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 Happy Hour on the Farm

Friday, July 7th (5-7 PM) will be our fourth Family Friendly Happy Hour on the farm. . .  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 and iced mint tea. NEW: Delight Flower Farm will be making a special herbal infused cocktail for purchase.

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.  We’ll be grilling some goat merguez sausages for you to enjoy. Musical guest details coming next week. Farm-fresh produce will be available for sale out of the garden too-details to follow.

Farm Dinner Updates July dates feature the best burger you’ll ever eat (courtesy of the chefs from Sunday Dinner Club) AND a very special fish & chips fry featuring invasive species (Asian Carp cooked to perfection by Chef Raquel Aikman-Ritz)-curious? There are two seatings for the Burger Night dinner and we have lots of openings for the first seating (2nd seating is almost sold out). Check them out

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.