News

Welcome to Leslie's Blog.
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tram to Roosevelt Island was still there, but my memories of a barren urban island with a few decrepit buildings had been replaced by stacks of condos and serene green spaces.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.

Posted 7/4/2019 10:06pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

Farm News

The heat rolled in with the latest round of summer storms and the onset of july.  As dairy farmers, it’s a race to minimize heat stress and its effects on milk production. We go to heroic measures to keep the milk volume from plummeting; every ounce is needed to keep the cogs in the cheese production cycle in motion.

We herd the goats out to the prairie as soon as the morning milking is complete. We want them to stuff their faces (and rumens) with fresh browse before the heat kills their appetites.  We keep fresh cool water in front of them; they even let us spray them down with the hose when they’re really hot in the mid-afternoon. Their normal aversion to getting wet is subdued by their desire to get cool.

Color matters when you’re a dairy goat, so those with darker coats get the special “day at the spa” treatment.  Not only do they get to come into the air-conditioned milking parlor during “off” hours, they enjoy grain treats while we shave them down. After their “hair” is done, we treat them to a goat mani-pedi (aka hoof trim)-no they don’t get to pick out their favorite polish color. The dairy crew gets some reprieve from the heat as well-AC in the parlor, sweeping up the piles of goat hair. 

The fourth of July is a normal day in the life of a dairy farmer-farmstead cheese maker. The goats don’t take holidays off for milking and their milk must be transformed into cheese daily.  Despite the normalcy of the routine, there’s peacefulness about the day. We don’t have to rush off to holiday barbeque or fight the crowds to get the best viewing of fireworks. At the end of the day, we can sit on our porch and watch the sequence of several towns’ fireworks light up the skies from south to east to west. 

Farm Store and Farmers’ Market Offerings

We’re getting a little break in the heat, but there’s a chance of showers this weekend.  Come early to the market and bring a cooler to keep your cheese and gelato in tip top condition. If you’re still entertaining holiday guests, or if you just want to throw yourself a little cheese party, we’ve got you covered:

  • 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 still a bit young but has a nice balanced “feta” flavor. 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.
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie-a goat milk camembert-style bloomy. This batch is young (firm, tangy, perfect for slicing), but 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 two batches to offer you this weekend—the beautifully gooey and ripe version and the young, yeasty and fudgy version. Enjoy both version with some local salami and a glass of summer red wine or local ale.
  • 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). You can also cook with it-salad dressings, cool summer sauces for grilled veggies; let your imagination run wild!

Grab a pint of gelato (3 pint special is still a thing—Buy 3, get $1/pint off): Here's the line-up:

  • Vanilla
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Fresh Strawberry (from Cary’s Garden of Eatin’)
  • Peaches & Cream (also from Cary’s Garden)
  • Fresh Mint (only a couple of pints left)

How about topping off some gelato with our house-made cajeta (goat’s milk caramel sauce)?  We have a few jars left—at the market and in the farm store. Grab one while they last.

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. NOTE: We will be open on Friday, July 5th.

This Friday, 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

-local honey from Two Million Blooms

-eggs (chicken and duck both), 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. We have tickets for our upcoming New England Style BBQ dinner on July 20th. 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 next 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. 

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.

Posted 6/27/2019 10:55pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

Farm News

Farewell to Moonglo, a noble cheese This week, we cut and wrapped the last wheels of Moonglo, from a batch made late last summer.  For a number of reasons, we have decided not to make more Moonglo for a while.  This lovely orange orb, inspired by its alpine cousins, the tomme or toma, has been a fixture in our cheese repertoire for over 12 years.  Not too long after I started making cheese, I wanted to make a raw milk cheese; one that would capture the essence of our farm. I wanted to make a raw milk cheese that would reflect the seasonality of our milk and the native milk microbes that our goats’ rumens had cultivated.  I wanted to tie in our orchard with the dairy, so I decided to make a rind wash with a tea made from the leaves of the Moonglow pear in our orchard. 

Moonglo has had many iterations over the years, partly due to my complete ignorance about how best to make a semi-hard, raw-milk cheese from goat’s milk with a supple paste and a complex flavor. As I honed my craft and sought advice from others to guide the cheese make’s progression, I came to appreciate the role of the aging environment and the importance of micro-climate on rind development and cheese flavor evolution. I came to lament our geography and our inability to build a proper cheese cave (i.e. underground) because of our farm’s flat topography and shallow depth to groundwater (it is wet prairie, after all). 

Despite the cheese’s ups and downs over the seasons and years, we learned that the best milk for Moonglo is fall (richness of fats and protein), that rind washing is an art and that small variations in aging room temperature, humidity and air movement have dramatic effects on the rind.   Moonglo has been like a mythic goddess of cheese for me, elusive in her perfection, temperamental and fickle. Yet when she decides to reveal her best self to you, the reward is sublime. 

Fire fly light show The excesses of rain and the rampant growth of vegetation have made this a year for fire flies.  Seemingly out of nowhere, there has been a population explosion of these luminescent wonders, each species staking out his/her vertical position on the nightly silhouettes of grasses and tree limbs.  The light show begins at dusk with the species that seem to hang low to the ground. As the skies darken, the species that flash a top tall grasses begin to fly and flash on descent.  If I’m lucky to awaken in the middle of the night, I can see them outside my bedroom window, a frenzy of several species flashing and flickering in manic quest to find a mate.  They are my nightly summer fireworks.  I feel no need for the razzle-dazzle of human pyrotechnics. 

Goat Walk Happy Hour Recap Tonight, we hosted our first public goat walk-happy hour. Over 30 guests escorted the milking does from the doe barn after the evening milking out into the prairie. We had set up our portable bar where the pasture meets the prairie and put out straw bales for our guests to sit on.  As the goats fanned out into the prairie, with the guests behind them, they were surprised to find bales of straw. We bed their barn with straw, and they love to rub themselves along the unopened bales like a back scratcher.  Several climbed on the bales and broke them open (and then proceeded to lie in the straw bedding like they do inside the barn). 

The guests were impressed with their openness and friendly demeanor combined with their brash “I own this place” attitude.  The “girls” moved into the prairie to dine on grasses and forbs, while several scaled the cottonwood trees to nibble on the tender leaves.  After getting their drinks, several of the guests led them toward the riparian zone; others (the fortunate guests who were allowed to sit on the straw bales), sipped on their wine or beer while the goats stood still for petting and brushing.

The highlights of the evening were the persistent goats who insisted on partaking of the offerings at the bar. Several kept trying to grab bags of popcorn and nuts; while Sabrina (our milkers’ favorite doe) took a sip of someone’s glass of wine. As the evening progressed and the sun started to fade in the western sky, the goats knew it was getting time to head back to the barn. Their insistence on grabbing snacks intensified, and we decided to open the gate back up to the pasture. With no encouragement, they formed a line and strode back in, following the guests back to the barn. 

Farm Store and Farmers’ Market Offerings

It will be hot over the next few days, but don’t let that slow you down from your weekly local food forays or farm visits.  Come early to the market and bring a cooler to keep your cheese and gelato in tip top condition. Once again, we have a great repertoire of cheeses this week:

  • 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 still a bit young but has a nice balanced “feta” flavor. Check out this simple “Roasted Feta with Honey” recipe from NY Times Cooking.
  • 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 lightly bread it and bake it for a fancy cheese plate.
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie-a goat milk camembert-style bloomy. We have a few ripe rounds, but most of the offerings will be quite young (firm, tangy, perfect for slicing)
  • Black Goat: our funky ash-dusted bloomy rind with a crinkly white-mold rind. This batch is perfectly ripe, bordering on gooey. Enjoy with a local salami.
  • Moonglo-LAST CHANCE--Enjoy a wedge of this complex, raw-milk beauty. Each wheel is washed with a cultured brine made with pear-leaf tea. It’s great with local charcuterie or try some shaved over a salad of greens and roasted broccoli.
  • 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)

Grab a pint of gelato (3 pint special is still a thing—Buy 3, get $1/pint off): Here's the line-up:

  • Vanilla 
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Fresh Strawberry (from Cary’s Garden of Eatin’)
  • Peaches & Cream (also from Cary’s Garden)
  • Honey-Lavender (lavender from Illinois Willows)

How about topping off some gelato with our house-made cajeta (goat’s milk caramel sauce)?  We made a special version with chocolate this time. We’ll be bringing some jars to sell at the market on Saturday, and they’ll be available in our farm store too.

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.

NOTE: We will NOT be open Thursday, July 4th, but will resume normal hours on Friday, July 5th.

This Friday, June 28th, we’ve got a few special treats for you to enjoy with a glass of wine or beer:

  • PFFC popcorn (seasoned with nutritional yeast and truffle salt)
  • Voss Pecan Orchard pecans
  • Mini-baguette sandwiches-choose from veggie & chevre, salami or filletto
  • OR just build your own cheese board

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 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 local products and “merch” in our farm store:  

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

-local honey from Two Million Blooms

-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!

-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)

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

Other Farm Happenings   

Tickets to one of our farm dinners are a hot commodityCheck out themes and dates on our website and our ticket sales page (ShowClix), and make some reservations. There are several this summer that still have plenty of tickets available.

Behind the Scenes Tour & Tasting Michael Darin, our special events coordinator extraordinaire will be offering his "Behind the Scenes" tours this weekend: June 29th/30th 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 weekend’s tasting will feature our chevre, first-of-the-season feta and perfectly ripe black goat.

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.    


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.

Posted 6/20/2019 10:13pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

Farm News

On the eve of the summer solstice, in the pause between rain storms, the farm embodies lushness. Despite the occasional ponding of water in the kid barn or the afternoon flooding of the farm storage room when a gutter dam forced the rain under the door, the farm is green and growing.  The landscape is so vibrant, it is hard to look away.  The garden with vegetables setting and herbs begging to be plucked, the flower farm’s blooms so tidy in rows, the orchard floor so tall it masks the lower branches of the fruit trees-the lushness commands your attention. 

The summer solstice gives us the longest day, yet daylight and twilight have little distinction for the dairy farmers and cheese makers. The bending light of the late afternoon is hypnotic, even for the eyes tired from staring at white walls and lots of little white cheeses. The eastern sky reflects back the deepening colors of the western sky’s setting sun. The green lines of the pasture and prairie intersect with the watercolor pinks, reds, oranges and yellows, punctuated by the occasional brown and blue of a heron flying by. 

Farmers’ Market Offerings Saturday, June 22nd Market at the Square” 7 AM to 12 Noon.

The weather forecast is calling for a chance of rain, but we all should be used to all this rain by now. We have a great repertoire of cheeses this week, including a couple of seasonal debuts. Here’s the cheese lineup for this weekend:

Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper

Goat Milk Feta in Whey Brine: FIRST of the SEASON!--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 still a bit young but has a nice balanced “feta” flavor. Try some on a salad with early hot house tomatoes and a drizzle of olive oil.

Angel Food-our little crottin style bloomy, it’s compact, firm in the center with a slightly gooey edge. This batch is young, bright and firm. As it ages, the mushroom notes from the rind take hold. Slice over a salad of fresh local greens or lightly bread it and bake it for a fancy cheese plate.

Little Bloom on the Prairie-a goat milk camembert-style bloomy, this batch is aging very nicely with subtle mushroom notes. ·  Black Goat: our funky ash-dusted bloomy rind with a crinkly white-mold rind. This batch is aging nicely, yet the paste is somewhat firm and fudgy in consistency. Enjoy with a local salami.

NEWFleur du Prairie-a square bloomy with the delicate crinkly white mold similar to black goat. The squares were sprinkled with a mixture of dried herbs and edible flowers just as the rind was blooming. Aged for about 3 weeks, this cheese is slightly earthy with hints of thyme, fennel and chive flower in every bite. LIMITED offering!

Moonglo-Enjoy a wedge of this complex, raw-milk beauty. Each wheel is washed with a cultured brine made with pear-leaf tea. It’s great with local charcuterie or try some shaved over a salad of greens and roasted broccoli. Probably only two more weeks left and then it’s gone for the foreseeable future. 

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). Quarts and pints available.

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 Mint (chocolate mint plant leaves steeped in the warm gelato base)
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Fresh Strawberry (from Cary’s Garden of Eatin’)
  • Peaches & Cream (also from Cary’s Garden)
  • Honey-Lavender (lavender from Illinois Willows)

How about topping off some gelato with our house-made cajeta (goat’s milk caramel sauce)?  We made a special version with chocolate this time. We’ll be bringing some jars to sell at the market on Saturday, and they’ll be available in our farm store too.

Can’t make it to the market on Saturday morning? No worries: the farm is open this Friday evening, 4-8 pm and weekend, Saturday and Sunday, 1-4 pm. You can visit with the goats (kids and adults alike), stroll through the orchard and check out our herb and vegetable garden.  

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 local products and NEW “merch” in our farm store:  

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

-local honey from Two Million Blooms

-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!

-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

-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!

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

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

Other Farm Happenings   

Tickets to one of our farm dinners are a hot commodityCheck out themes and dates on our website and our ticket sales page (ShowClix), and make some reservations.

There are just five seats left for our “Early Summer Bounty with Beer” dinner this Saturday, June 22nd. Chefs Jordan and Arora of American Harvest Eatery have crafted a gorgeous, menu featuring the freshest summer veggies, many of our cheeses and beer pairings from Rolling Meadows Brewery. The brewer will be our guest to talk about the styles of beer and Rolling Meadows overall.

Behind the Scenes Tour & Tasting Michael Darin, our special events coordinator extraordinaire, will be offering his "Behind the Scenes" tours in two weeks: June 29th/30th 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.   

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.    


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.

Posted 6/14/2019 2:03pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

I’ve been thinking about the concept of “terroir” lately.  Terroir is a French term most often used to describe wines and their flavor profiles as tied to specific geographic regions, their soils and micro-climates.  It is also used to describe cheeses. It is a quintessentially European concept, born of millennia spent developing food and beverage traditions in isolated mountain tops and valleys. 

In the U.S, especially here in the Midwest, our food and beverage traditions, if they ever existed, have been displaced by an embrace of uniformity, an erasure of place-based tastes.  To be sure, there certain cheeses made in specific regions with distinct flavor profiles. But our current food culture, even our “foodie” culture tends to underplay or ignore the relationships between food, flavor and place. 

As a dairy farmer and cheese maker, I obsess over terroir.  I am constantly thinking about our prairie soils amended with our goat manure compost and the forages they grow. We are frequently inspecting our pastures to make sure the mix of grasses, legumes and other plants stays diverse. I want to know what the goats are eating during their daily forays to the pasture and prairie.  The goat herders tell me what they’re craving (sometimes it’s tender grass shoots, other times it’s something with flowers or some cottonwood leaves), and I try to extrapolate how that’s affecting the formation of the curd and the flavor of the chevre. The chevre is my bellwether for subtle changes in the milk related to diet and weather, since we make it daily. 

Our geography and our little slice of central Illinois prairie matter. The genetics of our goat herd matter. Our dark deep soils and, the plants they nourish, feed our goats and flavor our milk.  To assume they have no bearing on the flavors and consistencies of our cheeses would be negligent.   

Farmers’ Market Offerings Saturday, June 15th Market at the Square” 7 AM to 12 Noon. The weather forecast is calling for a chance of rain, but don’t let that slow you down. We have a great repertoire of cheeses this week.  Surprise your favorite dad with flight of PFFC cheeses for Father's Day this weekend.

We still have a few containers of fresh ricotta, a limited number of yogurt quarts and a full house of bloomies. Here’s the cheese lineup for this weekend:

Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper

Fresh Ricotta: simple, sweet, a foundation cheese upon which to build your savory or sweet creations

Angel Food-our little crottin style bloomy, it’s compact, firm in the center with a slightly gooey edge. This batch is young, bright and firm. As it ages, the mushroom notes from the rind take hold. Slice over a salad of fresh local greens or lightly bread it and bake it for a fancy cheese plate.

Little Bloom on the Prairie-a goat milk camembert-style bloomy, this batch is aging very nicely with subtle mushroom notes.

Black Goat: our funky ash-dusted bloomy rind with a crinkly white-mold rind. This batch is aging nicely, yet the paste is somewhat firm and fudgy in consistency. Enjoy with a local salami.

Moonglo-Enjoy a wedge of this complex, raw-milk beauty. Each wheel is washed with a cultured brine made with pear-leaf tea. It’s great with local charcuterie or try some shaved over a salad of greens and roasted broccoli. We are almost finished with our last wheels of this cheese, so grab some while it's still here. 

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--come early if you want some.

Grab a pint of gelato (3 pint special is still a thing—Buy 3, get $1/pint off): Here's the line-up:

  • Vanilla
  • Maple walnut (with Funk’s Grove maple syrup)
  • Chocolate
  • Fresh Mint
  • Salted Caramel Swirl

How about topping off some gelato with our house-made cajeta (goat’s milk caramel sauce)?  We made a special version with chocolate this time. We’ll be bringing some jars to sell at the market on Saturday, and they’ll be available in our farm store too.

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

You can visit with the goats (kids and adults alike), stroll through the orchard and check out our herb and vegetable garden (finally planted and growing like crazy).  

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 local products and “merch” in our farm store:  

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

-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!

-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

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

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

Other Farm Happenings   

Tickets to one of our farm dinners are a hot commodityCheck out themes and dates on our website and our ticket sales page (ShowClix), and make some reservations. The menu for the upcoming “Early Summer Bounty with Beer” is now posted on our website. Chefs Jordan and Arora of American Harvest Eatery have crafted a luscious menu featuring the freshest summer veggies, many of our cheeses and beer pairings from Rolling Meadows Brewery. We have a few seats still available for this dinner, so check out the menu and book your reservations.

Behind the Scenes Tour & Tasting

Michael Darin, our special events coordinator extraordinaire, will be offering his "Behind the Scenes" tours this weekend: June 15th/16th at 2 and 3 pm each day.  For those of you celebrating father's day, why not surprise your dad by taking him to the farm for a tour/tasting, and then order a cheese board with your favorite adult beverages.

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.   

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.    


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.

Posted 6/6/2019 9:40pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

What is cheese making?

Cheese is a humble food, ubiquitous, so seemingly familiar.  The generic name “cheese” implies simplicity and similarity.  Yet, those who skip past the plastic-wrapped blocks and pre-shredded packages in the dairy case and venture to a well-curated cheese case, begin to imagine there is more to cheese than “cheese.” 

For those unschooled in the processes of fermentation, cheese making can seem like magic. Milk, a liquid, is transformed into a solid, cheese, somehow. There are so many styles, flavors, consistencies, rinds, no rinds—how does milk become so diverse in the form of cheese? As a cheese maker, I walk the tight rope of science and art, of respecting certain fundamentals and using my intuition to fill in the gaps. 

There are a few basic universal truths about cheese making: milk is a suspension of solids (fats, proteins, minerals) in a liquid medium (water), and cheese making upends the suspension, causing solids to aggregate and liquids to be expelled.  Most cheeses employ the services of microbes to separate solids from liquids; the microbes eat the milk sugar, lactose, and release lactic acid as a byproduct.  The build-up of lactic acid causes the milk to curdle—this is the beginning of solids sticking together to form the “curd.” 

Many cheeses seal the deal of coagulation with an enzyme called ‘rennet.’ The rennet is like a conductor, orchestrating specific molecules to line up to achieve a firm curd.  Once the curd is formed, the liquid or whey is released. Cheese makers of our scale (small, artisan) let the whey drain on the floor, knowing, sadly, that there must be a higher use for this product still loaded with nutrients and probiotics. 

Accepting these fundamentals, what are the processes that transform milk into so many styles of cheese? The styles are variations along the continuum of microbial and rennet-driven curd formation, the degree to which the cheese maker manipulates the curd (ladling, cutting, heating, washing, stretching), the additions or not of ripening cultures, the care of the rinds (washing, brushing, waxing) and the microclimates of the aging rooms (temperature and humidity. So many variables coupled with different types of milk (cow, goat, sheep, water buffalo….) and your head can begin to spin.  If you want to add even more complexity to the mix, add a seasonal milk supply or have the milking animals eating a varied diet over their lactation. 

Cheese making is a magic trick of sorts, borne of an accidental discovery that you could preserve milk by taking out the water.  Cheese makers use a variety of tools and tricks to attain the ideal versions of the cheese styles they love; some guard their recipes like teenage secrets; others let nature dictate the process.  All cheese makers become the humble servants of their microbial task masters, without whom milk would forever remain liquid.   

 Farmers’ Market Offerings Saturday, June 8th Market at the Square” 7 AM to 12 Noon.

The weather forecast is looking downright pleasant (low 80's for highs) farmers'market shopping. This week, we have a full house of bloomies-little bloom, angel food and black goat, although they are still "young." We were feeling a little ambitious this week, so we decided to make some fresh ricotta today. We'll have that available for sale at the market and the farm store. It (ricotta that is) is screaming to be paired with fresh strawberries and local honey OR stuff some squash blossoms if you can find them.

We still have several quart containers of our goat milk yogurt-simple, plain yogurt with a slight tang. No thickeners added. If you want a thicker yogurt, you can always strain it through cheese cloth to get more of “greek style” consistency. Here’s the cheese lineup for this weekend:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Angel Food-our little crottin style bloomy, it’s compact, firm in the center with a slightly gooey edge. This batch is young, bright and firm. As it ages, the mushroom notes from the rind take hold. Slice over a salad of fresh local greens or lightly bread it and bake it for a fancy cheese plate.
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie-a goat milk camembert-style bloomy, this batch is still young but headed in a very good direction.
  • Black Goat: our funky ash-dusted bloomy rind with a crinkly white-mold rind. This batch is young, so the paste is firm and fudgy in consistency. The yeastiness of the young rind is prominent in a bread-dough kind of way.
  • Moonglo-Enjoy a wedge of this complex, raw-milk beauty. Each wheel is washed with a cultured brine made with pear-leaf tea. It’s great with local charcuterie or try some shaved over a salad of greens and roasted asparagus. We are almost finished with our last wheels of this cheese, so grab some while it's still here. 
  • 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)

Grab a pint of gelato (3 pint special is still a thing—buy 3, get $1/pint off): Here's the line up:

  • Vanilla
  • Maple walnut (with Funk’s Grove maple syrup)
  • Chocolate
  • Fresh Mint
  • Salted Caramel Swirl

How about topping off some gelato with our house-made cajeta (goat’s milk caramel sauce)?  We made a special version with chocolate this time. We’ll be bringing some jars to sell at the market on Saturday, and they’ll be available in our farm store too.

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

Starting mid June (date not determined yet), we will be open Thursdays and Fridays, 4-8 pm in addition to our regular weekend hours of 1-4 pm. You can still visit with the goats (kids and adults alike), stroll through the orchard and check out our herb and vegetable garden (finally planted).  

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 local products in our farm store:  

-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 and capocollo) as well as their frozen sausages (need to be cooked)

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

Other Farm Happenings   

Tickets to one of our farm dinners are a hot commodity. Check out themes and dates on our website and our ticket sales page (ShowClix), and make some reservations. We have some great additions this year:

  • Our July 20th BBQ dinner now has a New England "Surf and Turf" bent to it
  • Jake Chappell, Chef of Vincent in Chicago will be doing a Sunday afternoon lamb dinner with Catalpa Grove Farm Lamb--this chef is up and coming and super talented.
  • 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 (a version of our traditional "100 Yard Dinner")
  • 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.

Behind the Scenes Tour & Tasting

Michael Darin, our special events coordinator extraordinaire, will be offering his "Behind the Scenes" tours next weekend: June 15th/16th at 2 and 3 pm each day.  For those of you celebrating father's day, why not surprise your dad by taking him to the farm for a tour/tasting, and then order a cheese board with your favorite adult beverages.

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.   

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 pm. Make your reservations here for this event (limited to 35 guests only),Tickets are almost sold out: $15/person includes one drink. Additional drinks and cheesy snacks will be available for additional purchase. 


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.

Posted 5/30/2019 8:49pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

There is a proverbial silver lining to the multitude of thunder clouds that continue to unleash their holdings over our landscape; the pastures have never been taller or so lush.  Like excited children wading out into the ocean beyond the shore, the goats meander through the grasses and we quickly lose sight of them. The greenery closes over them as they barely bend their slender necks to sample the tender growth. 

After a long day in the creamery, I decided to pay the bucks a visit in their summer pasture, just north of the orchard.  On my walk through the orchard, I inspected the peach trees again, hoping to spot a budding fruit or two—no such luck. The apples have a respectable fruit set, and there will be a few pears.  As I approached the buck pasture, I could only see Lentil, our La Mancha buck, along the fence line.  There was no sign of Nate or Rik, our two Nubian bucks. As I spoke gently to Lentil, Nate appeared out the tall grass to acknowledge my presence; no sign of Rik. I called his name a couple of times, and then suddenly his head popped up out the tall grass in the middle of the pasture. He looked at me implying “what, what do you want??” then quickly dove back in to enjoy whatever it was he was eating. Lentil and Nate wandered back into the sea of green to disappear again. Happiness is a goat engulfed by his food. 

Bucks in pasture

The return of the purple martins

When we bought our farm 16 years ago, it came with a double decker purple martin house next to our iconic windmill.  As we settled into our first spring on the farm, it was a joy to witness the return of the martins.  They would show up suddenly in late spring, kick out the free-loading English sparrows out of the nest boxes, and set up their own communal broods.  Their socialist, nesting commune, their fierce protective dispositions and their voracious appetites for mosquitos and flies endeared me to them immediately.  Like clockwork, they would return every year, except a few years ago, they did not come.  I had no clue what would have caused this change in their behavior:  different migration pattern, young not imprinting on their birth place; I was never sure. 

The English sparrows resumed their parasitic ways and continued to use the martin house as if they owned the place.  After a couple of seasons of disappointment, we decided to take the house down. We thought this might discourage the avian riffraff.  This spring, Wes cleaned out the house and put it back up, ever hopeful that the martins might spot it and decide to alight.  Sure enough, last Saturday evening (during our first farm dinner, no less), the martins returned.  First two, then several, landed on the top of the house, belting out their song of pleasure in finding a suitable home to lay their eggs. It gave me great joy to watch them pull out the nesting material from the English sparrows and have the sparrows acquiesce to the rightful owners of this house. 

Farmers’ Market Offerings Saturday, June 1st Market at the Square” 7 AM to 12 Noon.

The weather forecast is looking very hopeful for Saturday morning farmers'market shopping. This week, we have some lovely young little bloom and angel food to share with our patrons. Black Goat is on a little vacation until next weekend. Wes will be manning our farm stand, so come by and say hi to him.

We still have several quart containers of our goat milk yogurt-simple, plain yogurt with a slight tang. No thickeners added. If you want a thicker yogurt, you can always strain it through cheese cloth to get more of “greek style” consistency. Here’s the cheese lineup for this weekend:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Angel Food-our little crottin style bloomy, it’s compact, firm in the center with a slightly gooey edge. This batch is young, bright and firm. As it ages, the mushroom notes from the rind take hold. Slice over a salad of fresh local greens or lightly bread it and bake it for a fancy cheese plate.
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie-a goat milk camembert-style bloomy, this batch is young but headed in a very good direction.
  • Moonglo-Enjoy a wedge of this complex, raw-milk beauty. Each wheel is washed with a cultured brine made with pear-leaf tea. It’s great with local charcuterie or try some shaved over a salad of greens and roasted asparagus.
  • 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)

Grab a pint of gelato (3 pint special is still a thing—buy 3, get $1/pint off): Our repertoire is limited this weekend, but we'll be back with more flavors next week

  • Vanilla
  • Maple walnut (with Funk’s Grove maple syrup)

How about topping off some gelato with our house-made cajeta (goat’s milk caramel sauce)?  We made a special version with chocolate this time. We’ll be bringing some jars to sell at the market on Saturday, and they’ll be available in our farm store too.

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

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 local products in our farm store:  

-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 and capocollo) as well as their frozen sausages (need to be cooked)

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

Other Farm Happenings   

Tickets to one of our farm dinners are a hot commodity. Check out themes and dates on our website and our ticket sales page (ShowClix), and make some reservations. We have some great additions this year:

  • Our July 20th BBQ dinner now has a New England "Surf and Turf" bent to it
  • Jake Chappell, Chef of Vincent in Chicago will be doing a Sunday afternoon lamb dinner with Catalpa Grove Farm Lamb--this chef is up and coming and super talented.
  • 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 (a version of our traditional "100 Yard Dinner")
  • 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.

Behind the Scenes Tour & Tasting

Michael Darin, our special events coordinator extraordinaire, will be offering his "Behind the Scenes" tours this weekend: June 1st/2nd at 2 and 3 pm each day.  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 pm. Reservations are now live for this event (limited to 35 guests only), so grab your tickets before they’re gone. $15/person includes one drink. Additional drinks and cheesy snacks will be available for additional purchase. 


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.

Posted 5/23/2019 10:32pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

Farm News

The farm is determined to have its spring in spite of the onslaught of rainy days. In fact, the grey skies accentuate the pale blue of the irises and soft pinks of the peonies. The lilac bush exudes an intoxicating perfume that masks the manure odors emanating from the barns. The prairie is a blaze with the yellow blossoms of a brassica. The goats can’t stop eating those flowers! The bucks, back in their summer pasture, nuzzle their heads in the carpet of red clover and succulent green grass.

Our neighboring water birds seem immune to the stormy weather. The tell-tale white head, white tail and black body of a majestic bald eagle flew over the farm this afternoon, no doubt in search of a piscine meal to feed her brood. The heron rookery in the tree tops along the creek is a riot of feathers and twig nests. The herons traverse the pond and glide gracefully along the creek bank. They do not seem pressed for time or want for food. The ephemeral pools of standing water in our neighbors’ fields, while frustrating to farmers desperate to get their crops planted, provide refuge for migrating water fowl.  So far, the birds are coming out ahead this spring.

Farmers’ Market Offerings Saturday, May 25th Market at the Square” 7 AM to 12 Noon.

The weather forecast for Saturday is calling for a chance of rain. Don’t let the wet stuff deter you from shopping for some great local foods—delicious greens, asparagus, mushrooms, meats, eggs and even strawberries!  We have a few containers of fresh ricotta left, a great selection of fresh chevre and limited bloomies this week (waiting for the next batches to ripen a bit).

We’ve also brought back our own goat milk yogurt for a limited engagement-simple, plain yogurt with a slight tang. No thickeners added. If you want a thicker yogurt, you can always strain it through cheese cloth to get more of “greek style” consistency. Here’s the cheese lineup for this weekend:

  • Fresh Whole Goat Milk Ricotta-creamy and delicate, sweet milk taste-VERY LIMITED
  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Angel Food-our little crottin style bloomy, it’s compact, firm in the center with a slightly gooey edge. 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 soft and creamy with a slightly yeasty bread dough flavor on the palate.  Enjoy with local honey or a dollop of local jam. This batch is perfectly ripe
  • Moonglo-Enjoy a wedge of this complex, raw-milk beauty. Each wheel is washed with a cultured brine made with pear-leaf tea. It’s great with local charcuterie or try some shaved over a salad of greens and roasted asparagus.
  • 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)

Grab a pint of 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

How about topping off some gelato with our house-made cajeta (goat’s milk caramel sauce)?  We made a special version with chocolate this time. We’ll be bringing some jars to sell at the market on Saturday, and they’ll be available in our farm store too.

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

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 local products in our farm store:  

-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 and capocollo)

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

Other Farm Happenings   

Tickets to one of our farm dinners are a hot commodity. Check out themes and dates on our website and our ticket sales page (ShowClix), and make some reservations. We have some great additions this year:

  • Our July 20th BBQ dinner now has a New England "Surf and Turf" bent to it
  • Jake Chappell, Chef of Vincent in Chicago will be doing a Sunday afternoon lamb dinner with Catalpa Grove Farm Lamb--this chef is up and coming and super talented.
  • 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 (a version of our traditional "100 Yard Dinner")
  • 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.

Behind the Scenes Tour & Tasting

Michael Darin, our special events coordinator extraordinaire, launched our “Behind the Scenes” farm tours last weekend, and they were a HUGE hit. He’ll be hosting them again, the weekend of June 1st/2nd at 2 and 3 pm each day.  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 pm. Reservations are now live for this event (limited to 35 guests only), so grab your tickets before they’re gone. $15/person includes one drink. Additional drinks and cheesy snacks will be available for additional purchase. 


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.

Posted 5/16/2019 10:05pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

Farm News

When the clouds lift and the soil no longer squishes under foot, it’s time to get to work.  The long list of postponed projects beckons, and it’s hard to set priorities when they all seem so urgent.  Moving the compost, cleaning out the doe barn, moving the bucks into their summer pasture, getting the kids out to graze the orchard, putting up more fencing so the does can browse unsupervised in the prairie—how do we choose which one to tackle first? Patience and respect for the hours of daylight aid in forming the strategy.  We’re driven by our desire to get our goats in front of as much fresh forage as possible.  The lushness of the new growth must not be wasted.  No doubt, all those succulent greens cause the udders to swell with milk. 

Doelings in the orchard

Indeed, the milk volume is ramping up, and it’s all we can do to keep up with transforming it into cheese.  My mornings are spent moving milk from bulk tank to cheese vats, sometimes making two batches of cheese in a day.  I find myself racing from task to task in the creamery, determined to orchestrate the day’s activities with as much efficiency as possible. Pasteurizing comes first, salting comes next, cleaning the baskets and tables for the next ladle follows and packing chevre ensues thereafter. Then, there are the small jobs—cleaning, flipping cheese, more cleaning, wrapping cheese, more cleaning—these tasks fill in the gaps while waiting for the cheese making process to unfold.  There is beauty and some salvation in organizing the chaos.   

Farm Market Offerings Saturday, May 17th Market at the Square”  7 AM to 12 Noon.

The weather forecast is calling for sultry temperatures, making it perfect for a morning of shopping for some great local foods. We've got a nice selection of cheeses and gelato for our patrons. We're bringing some fresh ricotta to the market! It goes so well with grilled asparagus or fresh strawberries with a drizzle of honey.  Come early if you want some.We'll also be bringing our farm-made ramp pesto. Serve it with some warmed chevre and crusty bread!

Here’s the cheese lineup:

  • Fresh Whole Goat Milk Ricotta-creamy and delicate, sweet milk taste
  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie—This batch is perfectly ripe, but limited in offering-come early if you want one. 
  • Angel Food-our little crottin style bloomy, it’s compact, firm in the center with a slightly gooey edge. 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 soft and creamy 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 try shaving it over a salad of greens and roasted asparagus.

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

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

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 local products in our farm store:  

-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:

  • Our July 20th BBQ dinner now has a New England "Surf and Turf" bent to it
  • Jake Chappell, Chef of Vincent in Chicago will be doing a lamb dinner with Catalpa Grove Farm Lamb--this chef is up and coming and super talented. Check out this Sunday afternoon meal!
  • 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.

LAST CHANCE: 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 this Saturday/Sunday, May 18th/19th at 2 pm and again at 3 pm each day. 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 30 to 40 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.

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

new header

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.