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What's in a name, cheese makes the perfect mother's day gift, farm happenings and more

Posted 5/9/2019 10:32pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

The sun shone for a few days this week. The flood waters retreated just enough to entice the goats to wade through some mud to get to the lush pastures. Their appetites for fresh forage overcame their disdain for wet feet; the sight of heads buried and sounds of goats munching brightened my otherwise over-committed and hectic week.

Meanwhile, the kids are awaiting the renovation of their pasture, content to run wind sprints in their pens and nibble on dry hay and grain.  We settled on our naming theme for this year’s replacement does—gem stones. Today, with little fanfare, we set to naming the next generation of Prairie Fruits Farm milkers: amber, beryl, topaz, lapis, larimar and nephrite to name a few. The new breeding bucklings will be "jasper" and "zircon."  While it is challenging to ascribe personality traits to rocks, the names seem to suit the kids’ color patterns and emotions that certain gem stones evoke.  Soon, they will be sporting their new collars and name tags, awaiting their adoring fans. 

Farm Market Offerings Saturday, May 11th Market at the Square”  7 AM to 12 Noon.

Despite the forecast of showers, we will be at the market on Saturday, loaded with great cheeses and gelato. Cheese makes the perfect mother's day gift. Grab your umbrella and come out and support your local farmers this Saturday.

Here’s the cheese lineup:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie—There’s a nice gooey layer between the rind and the paste now. It tastes like buttery mushrooms! Try warming it with spiced pecans (Voss Pecan orchard will be at the market this weekend!) and a drizzle of local honey
  • Angel Food-our little crottin style bloomy, it’s compact, firm with a tangy paste. As it ages, the mushroom notes from the rind take hold. Slice over a salad of fresh local greens.
  • Black Goat-our ash-coated mold-ripened cheese. The rind looks like brain corral; the paste is firm and fudgy with a slightly yeasty bread dough flavor on the palate.  Enjoy with local honey or a dollop of local jam.
  • Moonglo-Enjoy a wedge of this complex, raw-milk beauty. Each wheel is washed in a cultured brine made with pear-leaf tea. It’s great with local charcuterie or melt it for a fancy grilled cheese sandwich.

Grab a pint gelato (3 pint special is still a thing—buy 3, get $1/pint off) :

  • Vanilla
  • Buttered Pecan (with Voss Orchard pecans)
  • Maple walnut (with Funk’s Grove maple syrup)
  • Salted caramel swirl
  • Chocolate
  • Black Currant-Cassis—made with locally grown black currants from Midwest Agroforestry Solutions and Kentucky distilled cassis (black currant liqueur)

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

NOTE: Sunday, May 12th, we are hosting two seatings our "Mother's Day Brunch." The second seating ends at 2:30 pm. While this is by reservation only (and we're sold out), we will do our best to accommodate visitors to the farm during our regular open hours.

During the month of May, the farm is open weekends, 1-4 pm each day. You can still visit with the goats (the babies are growing so fast), stroll through the orchard and just check for new signs of spring life on the farm.  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 new items in our farm store and stock up on local products:

-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!

-Animal Welfare Approved Bandanas

-Charcuterie from Piemonte Sausage Co.  (pancetta, pork loin filleto)

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

Other Farm Happenings 

I’ve posted a bunch more of the farm dinner themes and dates on our website and our ticket sales page (ShowClix), so check them out and make some reservations. We have some great additions this year:

  • Jake Chappell, Chef of Vincent in Chicago will be doing a lamb dinner
  • Eric Damidot, Chef of NoMi Kitchen (Park Hyatt, Chicago) will be doing a France meets Midwest themed meal
  • Chef Raquel Ritz is tackling a five course meal focused around all things milk
  • The Great Pumpkin Patch is back this year for our very popular Pumpkin & Squashes themed dinner
  • Vicia Restaurant, St. Louis (Chef Michael Gallina) will venture north for a Sunday afternoon local food feast
  • and we’ll end the season with a Whole Hog-Triptych brewery holiday feast.

These tickets go fast, so grab ‘em while you can.

CSA sign up through Blue Moon Farm! Blue Moon Farm is offering a new customizable CSA (Community Supported Agriculture for those unfamiliar). They are partnering with a number of other local farms (including ours) to offer “add-ons” in addition to their weekly vegetable shares.

The customizable CSA puts you in charge of deciding what products you want and when you want them.  They have multiple pick up locations too! Their season starts some time in May, so don’t delay in signing up for a one-stop shop of some of the best local food in Central IL.

Behind the Scenes Tour & Tasting

Michael Darin, our special events coordinator extraordinaire, will be offering weekend tours of the farm with a tasting of several cheeses. The first tours will be offered on Saturday/Sunday, May 18th/19th at 2 pm and again at 3 pm. These tours will be offered twice monthly through the summer. 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.   

Goat Walk Happy Hour

How about accompanying the goats out to pasture after their evening milking and then enjoying a glass of wine or beer or a special cocktail with some cheese? We will be hosting a very special happy hour like no other on Thursday, June 27th, 6-8. We will be taking reservations for this event (limited to 50 guests only), so save the date and stay tuned for more details.  

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.