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Tomatoes, flat tires and false Doldrums

Posted 7/24/2014 10:02pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farmers’ Markets, Farm Happenings

We’re attending two markets this Saturday, July 26th: Urbana’s Market at the Square and Chicago’s Green City Market.  With the onset of fresh field tomatoes (read all about my first tomato bliss in the blog post below), the bloomy rind cheeses are a must buy. However, I have recommendations for using ALL of our cheeses with tomatoes this week! We’ll have:

  • Angel Food Brie—these are ripe and ready to eat this weekend!
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie—this batch of camembert style goat cheese is a bit young, but can either enjoy it now, or ripen it in your frig for a few days
  • Black goat—the delicate ash-ripened round; also on the young side, but perfectly delicious now or later
  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence or cracked pepper—you can dot your tomato salad with some of this creamy deliciousness, then slice some fresh basil over all of it.
  • Fresh goat milk ricotta—how about stuffing a tomato with some ricotta, a few shallots and fresh herbs and dusting it with some panko bread crumbs before placing it in a hot oven to bake for a 20 minutes?
  • Moonglo—our raw milk tomme. Looking for a way to make fancy grilled cheese and tomato sandwiches? This cheese is the ticket
  • Huckleberry Blue:  toss some tomato wedges in a light vinaigrette; crumble some our blue cheese over the top along with toasted pecans. 

We’ve got some great gelato and sorbetto flavors for you to try this week (* indicates available at both markets this weekend):

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Fresh Mint*
  • Pistachio (very limited quantities)
  • Honey Chevre*
  • Espresso
  • Red Currant-Apple Mint Sorbetto*
  • Peach Sorbetto*  

In addition to our delicious edible products, we’ll be bringing some of non-edible products as well, including our insulated tote bags, some of our goat tee-shirts and our NEW “teat” towels (organic flour sack cloths with a few whimsical versions of Chippy the Goat-play on the tea towel). Check out the “merch” at our stand at the Urbana Farmers’ Market. 

Don’t forget to take a look at the upcoming farmdinners on our website. Several still have seats available.  We will be releasing the tickets for the final five fall dates on Friday, August 15th.  Details to follow.  Also, if you’ve been looking for something unusual to do with out of town guests, check out our August 10th “Fork in the Road” tasting trail tour.  Rumor has it that KD Ranch will have a new baby zebra to show off. 

Farm News:Tomatoes, Flat Tires and False Doldrums

Tomato season has come in with a whimper this year. With the roller coaster rides of rains and air temperatures, my vigilance for ripe tomatoes slackened.  I got tired of watching the green tomatoes hanging from the vines.  With a good several days of drying weather, I regained some hope, only to watch blight set into the vines of several of our heirloom varieties.  Beneath the shriveled brown leaves and black spotted fruit, I spied a few red, black (more like deep purple red) orange and green (yes, yellow-green for the Cherokee Green tomatoes) tomatoes clinging to their vines. 

I collected them with care, brought them into the house, cut out the rotted parts, sliced them, sprinkled some coarse salt and drizzled them with a little olive oil.  The field-warm tomato at peak ripeness—juicy, sweet, tart-a lycopene explosion in my mouth; if Keats didn’t write a sonnet about tomatoes, he should have. 

Unlike last summer’s drought, this summer’s prolific rains have left the farm tall with vegetation, both good and bad.  The orchard grasses have grown too tall between the trees, the weeds are in a race to set seeds, and our lawn looks as lush as springtime.  The vegetation seems to have conspired against us and has consorted with our tractors and lawn mowers to keep their stature intact.  Every time we attempted to mow this past week, we were foiled with either a flat tire or a broken mower blade.  We finally brought in the big guns (aka, our neighbor who has a landscaping business and a fancy whirling riding mower) and won the battle over the lawn.  The orchard grasses will live to fight another day. 

The Doldrums—connotes a time of laziness, of summer heat stultifying humans into a stupor of inactivity.  Farm life in the summer is the antithesis of laziness—milk the goats, make the cheese, feed the kids, weed the garden, harvest the garden, fight the pests, sell the farm products—really there aren’t enough hours in the day to do it all the way you’d like the chores to be done.  Yet, the stillness of the air beckons you to slow down, to stop in your tracks, to sit on your porch and eat corn on the cob and chin-dripping peaches.  I do sometimes pine for that dead calm air to push me down, to force me to relax, even just a little.   

 



Copyright 2014 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2014. 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.