News

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Posted 3/17/2016 9:13pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

Having passed the 100th kid born earlier this week, we’re in a relative calm spell with kidding season.  The balmy weather has breathed life back into our dormant orchard, and our “fruit girls” (that’s my nickname for Dani and Erica, the lovely ladies tending our orchard; Dani is one of our cheese makers and Erica is a baker oh so fine) have been spending long days furiously lopping branches for our annual orchard prune.  The high temps came with wind, lots of wind, gusty winds approaching 30-40 miles per hour.  They bravely climbed ladders (my mothering instincts gave me great concern about the combination of ladders and high winds), pruning shears in one hand, clinging to a lead branch with the other hand, racing against bud break.  The orchard floor is strewn with their handiwork. They also performed their first grafts on both apples and peaches.

Dani and Erica with their graft

With forecasts calling for lows in the high twenties over the next several days, it’s a roller coaster ride of anxiety: if trees break bud, we might lose some blossoms to freeze. The dilemma is what to do to prevent bud damage. The girls have done a lot of research, and we plan to try spraying cheese whey and liquid seaweed on the buds if frost is imminent.  The minerals and nutrients in these liquids will help keep the temperature around the buds slightly higher than the air temperature (that’s the theory at least).  While wind was our enemy during pruning, it might be our friend if the temperatures dip below the freezing point; wind prevents the frost from settling on the tender buds. You really need to strap yourself in tight if you’re going to grow tree fruits in the Midwest. 

prunings on the orchard floor

Farm Happenings and Other News

It’s finally here: our first Spring Open House is this Saturday, March 19th (aka “breakfast and baby goats”).  We open the farm to the public from 9 AM to 12 noon, rain or shine, starting this Saturday through the end of April (total of seven Saturdays ONLY).  Come visit with the goats (babies and adults alike), stroll the farm (check out the orchard while you’re here) and look for early signs of spring.  We will feed you too: 
  • Goat Milk Hot Chocolate (a la Mexicana with cinnamon)
  • Strong hot coffee from Columbia Street Roastery  
  • Garlic Mashed-Potato-Dilly Bean hand pies (some will be made with local corned beef)
  • Braided, Yeasted Fruit Bread filled with Prairie Fruits Farm Peaches
  • "Southern-style” (gluten-free) corn bread (made with local cornmeal) served with butter and jam

Of course we will be selling our luscious lemony fresh chevre and several other cheeses too:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, Cracked Pepper
  • Snow Fog: our winter cow’s milk camembert
  • Moonglo
  • Huckleberry Blue
  • Feta in Olive Oil
  • Goat Milk Yogurt

How about some gelato?? We have pints for sale:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Ginger
  • Espresso

We will also be selling peach and apple branches that are about to burst open with beautiful flowers—perfect harbingers of spring to adorn your home.

Blue Moon Farm will be here with carrots, beets, potatoes, turnips, kale, salad mix, spinach, arugula and more!  We have sausages from Piedmonte Sausage as well (including our goat merguez and several styles of pork sausage). 

Farm Dinner Tickets are NOW on Sale for both Sunday Dinner Club on the Farm and Paul Virant & Friends series.  To get all the details and make your reservations, click HERE.  Don’t delay as these tickets are a hot commodity.

Consider signing up for our Cheese and Gelato CSA. It’s a great way to lock in great prices for a season’s worth of our cheeses and gelato.  We have pick up locations in Champaign Urbana (at the farm), Bloomington-Normal and Chicago (in partnership with Mint Creek Farm's CSA).  We’re running a 5% discount off retail prices through the end of March, so act now

Sneak Preview: Next weekend (March 25-26th) is The Good Food Festival in Chicago (UIC Convention Center).  Wes will be there on Friday and Saturday as part of the Good Food Festival Farmers’ Market and Vendor Fair. He will be bringing cheese and gelato, Chicago, so stay tuned for more details next week. Also, the Festival will be screening “A Farmers’ Road,” the documentary film about our farm.  If you haven’t had a chance to see the film, now’s your chance. It will be shown on Saturday afternoon, March 26th. You can purchase tickets for the day at the festival and attend the screening.


Copyright 2016. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2016. 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 3/11/2016 8:35pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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All this warm weather has given us spring fever. The goat milk is flowing, and we're making lots of fresh chevre.  If you forget what our luscious and lemony spring chevre tastes like, you can get some at the Urbana Middle Market TOMORROW (THAT'S SATURDAY, MARCH 12TH).  We will be there (inside Lincoln Square Mall at the north end of the market hallway (across from Blue Moon Farm and next to Sleepy Creek Winery) from 8AM to 12 NOON.  We have:
  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Feta in olive oil
  • Moonglo: our raw milk tomme--it's very creamy and has an almost cheddar-like taste
  • Magia Negra: our raw milk grating style cheese--nutty and sharp
  • Huckleberry Blue: our fall-batch raw milk blue--this is the last batch of the year, so get it while it lastsGoat Milk Yogurt--it's really thick and creamy this time of year, naturally (no added thickeners)
  • Goat milk gelato: vanilla, chocolate, hazelnut, espresso, local ginger
  • Goat sausage: Moroccan style "merguez"

For those customers able to come out to our farm this weekend, we have a little extra raw milk that we will be selling. You must bring your own container. We'll be open for raw milk sales Saturday and Sunday afternoons, 1-5 PM. First come first served.  $14/gallon.  

Update on Farm Dinner Ticket Sales: Don't forget to check out our 2016 Farm to Table Meal season's dinner series with Sunday Dinner Club and Paul Virant (PV) & Friends.  Tickets for the PV dates are on sale NOW.  Sunday Dinner Club tickets will go on sale Monday, March 14th at 10 AM.  Click HERE for the link to their TOCK ticket sale page (Please note: YOU WON'T SEE OUR DINNER SERIES WITH SDC ON TOCK UNTIL MONDAY THE 14TH AT 10 AM; HOWEVER, YOU CAN SIGN IN (JUST NAME AND EMAIL ADDRESS) AND FAMILIARIZE YOURSELF WITH HOW THE SYSTEM WORKS BEFORE THEN.)


Copyright 2016. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2016. 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 2/25/2016 9:55pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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 Farm News

The pattern of kidding seasons past is that snow storms bring torrents of baby goats. Yesterday’s predictions of blizzard conditions—50 mph winds, 8-9 inches of snow-stirred visions of trudging through knee-deep snow, cradling armfuls of new-born kids.  While we fought the winds on our frequent visits to the doe barn over the course of the day, neither the snow nor the kids amounted to much yesterday.  The two does who have kidded to date book-ended the storm: Gloria, one of our heavy-hitter La Mancha does, kidded with triplets on Monday, and Money Penny, a shy but solid La Mancha, kidded with a large single buckling this morning.

As I waited for Money Penny to deliver the bundle of hooves sticking out of her backside this morning, I witnessed a phenomenon all too common in the hierarchical world of the herd. She was challenged by Bambi while in full labor—head butting in full force. I tried to break it up, but it was clear they had to work it out on their own goat terms.  I stood aside, while Money Penny pushed the emerging kid back into her birth canal so she could fight back and focus on holding her place in the hierarchy.  Millie, our 10-year-old retired matriarch, intervened on behalf of the doe in labor; amazingly, she gently put her head between the two rivaling does and didn’t move until the tension de-escalated.  Millie the mediator; this is her new job title. 

The rest of the does are focused on two things: eating and reclining.  Some are so big they have to lie with their front legs under their sternum to prop themselves up.  As we refreshed their bedding after the storm, they luxuriated in a roll in the clean, dry straw.  It will be raining baby goats soon enough.

reclining pregnant does

These girls are huge. Photo by Elena Newmark.

a day in the straw

Nothin' better than a role in the straw, especially when it's fresh and clean. Photo by Elena Newmark.

Cheese sales and National CSA Sign-Up Day

Although our winter cheese “cupboards” are sparse, we have enough cheese to make it to Urbana’s Middle Market this coming Saturday, February 27th.  We’ll be there (close to the food court area, across from Blue Moon Farm) from 8AM to 1PM (or until we sell out).  The snow will be melting fast and furious as the temperatures reach 50 degrees, so come out and support your farmers at the tail end of winter.  We will have:

  • Cracked pepper chevre (it’s been frozen, but thaws beautifully)
  • Goat milk feta packed in extra virgin olive oil
  • Snow fog: our winter cow milk camembert-style cheese; rich, creamy and slightly gooey on the edges
  • Moonglo: fall-milk makes these batches of raw-milk tommes especially flavorful—slightly nutty, slightly sharp, perfect for slicing and eating
  • Huckleberry Blue: we only made a few batches of this cheese last fall, so if you love blue cheese, get some while it lasts
  • Magia Negra and Pelota Roja:  this is our hard, grating style (really very similar to a Manchego); one has a black currant paste on the rind, the other has guajillo chile paste on the rind.  Both have a great nutty flavor and are excellent for grating over a hearty stew or roasted vegetables.
  • We will also have a few pints of gelato (mostly chocolate), some of our farm-house plum jam and our goat milk soaps

Friday, February 26th is National CSA Sign-Up Day:  As many of you know, we have a cheese and gelato CSA for folks here in central IL (pick-ups at our farm and in two locations in Bloomington-Normal IL).  We partner with other farms (Bane Family Meats and Delight Flowers) to offer our central IL members meat eggs and flower shares in addition to our products.  It is NOT too late to take advantage of a 10% discount off our central IL CSA NOW through the end of February. 

We have just established a NEW partnership with Mint Creek Farm CSA (Stelle, IL).  While we have been farm friends for a number of years, we share a lot of the same ideals for high animal welfare and pasture-based livestock production practices.  Here’s a little background about Mint Creek Farm and their CSA:

"Mint Creek Farm started as a small 50 acre “passion” farm with sheep and laying hens in 1992,  and has since grown to a 220 Certified-Organic acre farm including sheep, goats, pigs, cows, and poultry. Rotational grazing and local organic, non-GMO, soy-free feed make our products some of the highest quality available in the area. We offer our premium quality meat and eggs in a variety of different CSA options for pick-up or delivery around the city of Chicago. We suggest our Just Protein weekly CSA or our Traditional 10lb. monthly CSA for pairing with cheese and gelato, though we will offer all our CSA options for Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery's 6-month season. Please check out our website for more information about our different CSA options and to sign up for our CSA." http://mintcreekfarm.com/our-csa/

mint creek farm pastured poultry

Signing up for a season of farm-fresh products in winter is significant to many farmers. As seasonal producers, the late winter influx of resources helps us get a jump-start on the coming growing and producing season.  Because we value our CSA members so highly, we offer them special perks: discounts on retail prices of our products, special “CSA-member only” cheese styles and gelato flavors and a special CSA member-only farm dinner.  Support your local farmers and sign-up TODAY!

In the works: for those of you who work or live close the University of IL Research Park, we are planning a “pay as you go” style CSA for this growing season. We are partnering with Blue Moon Farm (certified organic vegetables) and Bane Family Meats and possible a few other local farmers to offer weekly pick-ups of fresh veggies, cheese, meats, eggs, gelato, honey and other products. Stay tuned for more details.  We hope to start this project in April or May of this year.   


Copyright 2016. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2016. 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 1/26/2016 2:20pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

Having never made cheese in winter before, I have struck by the comfort I find in ladling curd when it’s cold, grey and snowy outside.  There is something about the scent of the fresh milky curd, the beautiful yellow cream line and the rhythm of ladling curd into forms that warms my spirits.  I admit that I was worried I would be too tired and too emotionally spent to muster enthusiasm for winter cheese making, but we’re only making one batch of cow milk cheese every two weeks, and this pace suits me fine. 

How fitting to experience a little bit of true winter last week with a light snow fall followed by a night of fog.  We awoke to a clichéd landscape of “winter wonderland” as all vertical vegetation was coated in a fine fuzz of frozen fog.  How fitting that our cow’s milk winter cheese is called “snow fog.” 

Real snow fog

Farm Product Sales and Other Important Matters Saturday Sale at Urbana’s Lincoln Square Mall (in Front of Piato's Food Court)—Saturday, January 30th 9:00-11:00 AM. Once again, we are partnering with Blue Moon Farm to offer our customers some cheese, gelato, farm eggs and few other items:

  • Chevre (previously frozen): plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper—we have limited supplies of herbs de Provence, but plenty of plain and cracked pepper
  • Goat milk feta packed in olive oil—we decided to dress up our remaining fall feta so you can enjoy a special treat over the winter. Jars contain a little less than ½ lb. feta in a bath of extra-virgin olive oil—super delicious
  • Snow Fog: this is our second batch of this creamy, unctuous cow milk bloomy rind. It’s young but quite tasty
  • Moonglo: our fall raw-milk tomme; creamy, slightly sharp—perfect for melting on a burger or just slicing and eating
  • Huckleberry Blue: This fall batch is lightly veined, but has a great smooth texture and sufficient “blue-ness” to satisfy the blue cheese lover in your life
  • Magia Negra: the firm and nutty raw-milk cheese that can be grated, shaved or sliced. 
  • Gelato: Chocolate and maybe vanilla (very limited)
  • Yogurt: quarts of plain, jersey cow milk yogurt (made with Kilgus whole milk)-very limited quantities
  • Farm Eggs:  our hens are laying despite the cold weather—we’ll bring a few dozen to sell.

Farm Events-here and far

It’s not too late to sign up for our very first winter “Dinner & A Movie,” this coming Sunday, January 31st (5-9 PM).  We’re really excited to welcome chef Ryan Lewis (Driftwood Eatery, Springfield IL) to the farm.

Ryan Lewis and his ham

His menu is shear comfort food, crafted with MOSTLY locally sourced ingredients (yes, this is possible, even in winter).  The film, “A girl From Paris” is a charming tale of a city girl who decides to become a goat farmer in rural France (sound familiar?? Except for the French venue). 

A girl from Paris

Farm CSA: Don’t forget to check out our cheese & gelato CSA.  We also have shares for Bane Family Meats meat, poultry and eggs and Delight Flowers flower shares.  We’re currently offering a 10% discount on sign-ups before the end of February. DON’T DELAY! Sign up TODAY!!

Screenings of “A Farmer’s Road” -- If you missed the screening of the documentary film about our farm, there are several upcoming screenings in central IL, Chicago and Beloit, Wisconsin.  To get the specifics of all the film’s happenings, check out the website.  The most immediate screening will be this Saturday, January 30th in conjunction with Slow Food Springfield’s local food festival: https://www.facebook.com/events/1499964723639420/. The next opportunity is February 16th as part of the Illinois Farmers’ Market Association’s Annual Conference and Fundraiser in Chicago: https://www.eventbrite.com/e/2016-ifma-pre-conference-event-tickets-20115323474 

A Farmer's Road

 


Copyright 2016. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2016. 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 1/12/2016 10:46am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Hello folks:

In my haste to tell you about our exciting new farm meal this winter, I provided you with the wrong date. The Farm Dinner and a Movie will be held on SUNDAY, JANUARY 31ST FROM 5-9 PM (NOT SATURDAY, THE 30TH).  I apologize for any inconvenience. 

 


Copyright 2016. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2016. 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 1/11/2016 7:18pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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As much as I hated to see the balmy temperatures leave, I'm relieved that winter is finally here.  Although this is our "down time," we still manage to find ways to fight off complete farmer hibernation.  

This Saturday, January 16th, we will once again partner with Blue Moon Farm and offer cheese sales inside Lincoln Square Mall (Urbana). Specifically, we'll be in the food court area in front of Piato's from 9-11 AM.  We will be bringing the following:

  • Chèvre (frozen): plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Goat milk feta
  • Snow Fog (cow milk camembert: some of them are pretty ripe and gooey, but they still taste yummy)
  • Moonglo
  • Huckleberry Blue (very limited supply)
  • Magia Negra
  • Kilgus Cow Milk Yogurt (whole milk with cream on top-it's divine)
  • Artisan Cottage Cheese made with whole Kilgus milk and a dash of heavy cream
  • We may also bring a few dozen eggs from our hens--they are laying despite the cold weather.
  • Gelato: Chocolate and Vanilla only

CSA sign-up: the 15% early bird discount will expire this Friday, January 15th (end of day), so if you've been thinking about it, act now to lock in the best pricing. Starting January 16th, the discount goes to 10%.  

We have started planning our 2016 Farm Dinner season.  To kick things off, we're hosting our very first winter "Dinner & A Movie" on Saturday, January 30th, 5-9 pm. We will be partnering with Chef Ryan Lewis of the Driftwood Eatery in Springfield.  The movie is "A girl from Paris."  Check out the menu and book your reservations NOW!

 


Copyright 2016 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2016. 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 12/31/2015 2:39pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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News from the Farm

This holiday season will be remembered for eerie weather.  On Christmas day, the goats were all out in the pasture; sun shining, grass green and temperatures hovering in the ‘60’s. Less than one week later, our fields are flooded and there’s a skiff of ice crystal coating the ground where the water has receded. We have been spending our holiday time lusciously: lots of sleeping, lots of reading (so many New Yorkers and Atlantic Monthly magazines to catch up on), movie watching and lots of delicious meals enjoyed in the company of great friends. 

Well, the proverbial party is over (well, sort of ...).  We have some cheese, gelato and few crackers and caramels to sell, so we’re getting off the “couch” this Saturday, January 2nd to offer these great products to our Champaign-Urbana patrons (and really anyone else who wants to travel to Urbana).  Here are the specifics:

We will be joining our friends at Blue Moon Farm (who also have lots of salad mix, spinach and other assorted veggies—warm December days made the leafy greens in their greenhouses grow like crazy) inside Lincoln Square Mall’s Food Court in front of Piatto’s Café from 9-11 AM Saturday, January 2nd—that’s this coming Saturday!

We will have:

  • Chevre (has been frozen, but thaws beautifully—you won’t be able to tell the difference from fresh)—plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Feta in whey brine
  • Moonglo
  • Huckleberry Blue
  • Snow Fog (our new cow-milk camembert made with Kilgus Farmstead Milk)
  • Magia Negra (our hard, raw-milk grating style cheese rubbed with black currant-olive oil paste)
  • Pints of Vanilla, Chocolate and Honey-Lavender-Chevre Gelato
  • Oat-Chevre crackers
  • Salted goat milk caramels (very limited supply)

Also, sign up for our 2016 CSA is open and there are only a couple of weeks left to get the best discount on pricing (15% off the full price expires on January 15th).  Don’t delay.  Stay tuned for exciting news about our 2016 Farm Dinner Season and other winter happenings at the farm.  HAPPY NEW YEAR!!


Copyright 2015. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2015. 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 12/17/2015 7:38pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

Farm News

This is the time of year when the number of tasks on my mental “to do” list starts to dwindle. It’s the time when sleep deprivation fades to sleep banking (I really do need to believe I can bank hours of sleep for next spring, even if that’s totally false) and thoughts beyond the farm’s immediate needs start to wander into my brain: all the great things I’m going to cook over the holidays, all the movies I want to see, all those Caribbean islands that I day-dream of visiting.   

I can also clear my head enough to reflect on the season that’s now lapping at our heels.  Overall, it’s been a good season, and we have a lot for which to be thankful. Although we lost some of my most favorite older does, our girls kidded with very little drama and put out a respectable amount of milk.  Our able and diligent cheese makers transformed their beautiful milk into lots of lovely little cheeses.  We hired a herd manager with an Animal Science degree who raised goats as a teenager (and she LOVES our goats and is REALLY smart and creative).  We had a farm & cheese-making intern who worked her tail off, put up with living in our “rustic” RV (the famous “Goat Road Warrior” that we drove east from Oregon a couple of years ago) and blew us away with her talents. We had two hard-working women manage our long-neglected orchard and harvest a great number of delicious peaches, pears and apples.  One of them worked her baking magic on the ‘seconds,’ turning them into exquisite pastries. Our chef, Alisa, and her culinary team put out some show-stopper meals. We now bid her farewell, but we acknowledge her contribution to building a now-integral part of Prairie Fruits Farm-the kitchen!

We’re already scheming and planning for the 2016 season.  Being the eternal optimists that we are, we continue to generate grand ideas and dreams for the future.  We will force ourselves to rest and hold our dreams at bay for a bit, because we need to.  Thankfully, the darkness of the winter solstice is a strong force for slumber.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL OF YOU, OUR FRIENDS AND PATRONS

holiday goat

Holiday Markets and Farm Open House

We are attending the last two holiday markets of the season this Saturday December 19th: Urbana’s Holiday Market inside Lincoln Square Mall and Chicago’s Green City Market inside the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum (we are upstairs—please come upstairs from the Lobby). 

We have a GREAT lineup of cheeses for you to share with family and friends over the holidays:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Feta in whey brine:  you can dress it up for the holidays by cutting it into cubes and marinating it in olive oil with fresh herbs and orange zest—serve with some of our farm-house crackers and people will be really impressed.
  • NEW: THE DEBUT OF OUR FIRST BLOOMY-RIND COW MILK CHEESE “Snow Fog”: We tasted this cheese yesterday, and while it’s young, we are quite pleased with its buttery flavor and delicate rind.  This cheese will be PERFECT for Christmas and New Year’s.  So, just put it in your frig until the holidays arrive, and take it out 30 minutes before serving. Serve with one of our jams and our crackers.
  • Moonglo: this firm, raw milk tomme will be perfect on a cheese board with the Snow Fog and your ‘dressed up’ marinated feta.  Serve with spiced pecans (we have those too!)
  • Huckleberry Blue: this batch is made for a winter greens salad; crumble and toss with the spiced pecans and some dried fruits.

The cheese accompaniments:

  • Crackers: oat chevre, black pepper flatbread and oat-cornmeal
  • Jams: plum, peach, tomato and strawberry-balsamic
  • Spiced Illinois Pecans (from Voss Family Farms in Southern IL)

Now onto desserts and sweets:

Gelato (sorry Chicago, no gelato for you guys):

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Honey-Lavender-chevre

Other sweets: salted goat-milk caramels

Looking for other non-food gifts? We’ll have Chippy the Goat T-shirts, Tea Towels (very limited supply) and Goat Milk Soaps made for us by Red Barn Farm.

Holiday Farm Open House: If you can’t make it to the markets on Saturday, we will be OPEN on Sunday, December 20th from 10 AM to 4 PM.  Whatever is left over from the markets will be available for purchase.  I’ll make some hot spiced chai tea (with milk and honey), and have some holiday cookies for you to munch on while you peruse the farm shop.  We'll have samples of cheese and gelato to taste too. Wes and I will be around to greet you and chat. Of course, everyone is welcome to visit with the goats  or take a stroll around the farm (there’s not much growing, but you can walk down to the prairie if you like—it’s very peaceful and serene this time of year).  Blue the dog will be here too, and will expect you to pet him.

If you can't make it the markets or the farm, we have some gifts you can order through our on-line store (soaps, t-shirts).  You could also gift someone a membership in our CSA OR you could get a gift certificate through our Credibles Program. These gift certificates can be used to purchase PFFC products, farm to table meals or classes or events at the farm. 


Copyright 2015. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2015. 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 12/17/2015 7:31pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

Farm News

This is the time of year when the number of tasks on my mental “to do” list starts to dwindle. It’s the time when sleep deprivation fades to sleep banking (I really do need to believe I can bank hours of sleep for next spring, even if that’s totally false) and thoughts beyond the farm’s immediate needs start to wander into my brain: all the great things I’m going to cook over the holidays, all the movies I want to see, all those Caribbean islands that I day-dream of visiting.   

I can also clear my head enough to reflect on the season that’s now lapping at our heels.  Overall, it’s been a good season, and we have a lot for which to be thankful. Although we lost some of my most favorite older does, our girls kidded with very little drama and put out a respectable amount of milk.  Our able and diligent cheese makers transformed their beautiful milk into lots of lovely little cheeses.  We hired a herd manager with an Animal Science degree who raised goats as a teenager (and she LOVES our goats and is REALLY smart and creative).  We had a farm & cheese-making intern who worked her tail off, put up with living in our “rustic” RV (the famous “Goat Road Warrior” that we drove east from Oregon a couple of years ago) and blew us away with her talents. We had two hard-working women manage our long-neglected orchard and harvest a great number of delicious peaches, pears and apples.  One of them worked her baking magic on the ‘seconds,’ turning them into exquisite pastries. Our chef, Alisa, and her culinary team put out some show-stopper meals. We now bid her farewell, but we acknowledge her contribution to building a now-integral part of Prairie Fruits Farm-the kitchen!

We’re already scheming and planning for the 2016 season.  Being the eternal optimists that we are, we continue to generate grand ideas and dreams for the future.  We will force ourselves to rest and hold our dreams at bay for a bit, because we need to.  Thankfully, the darkness of the winter solstice is a strong force for slumber.

HAPPY HOLIDAYS TO ALL OF YOU, OUR FRIENDS AND PATRONS

holiday goat

Holiday Markets and Farm Open House

We are attending the last two holiday markets of the season this Saturday December 19th: Urbana’s Holiday Market inside Lincoln Square Mall and Chicago’s Green City Market inside the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum (we are upstairs—please come upstairs from the Lobby). 

We have a GREAT lineup of cheeses for you to share with family and friends over the holidays:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Feta in whey brine:  you can dress it up for the holidays by cutting it into cubes and marinating it in olive oil with fresh herbs and orange zest—serve with some of our farm-house crackers and people will be really impressed.
  • NEW: THE DEBUT OF OUR FIRST BLOOMY-RIND COW MILK CHEESE “Snow Fog”: We tasted this cheese yesterday, and while it’s young, we are quite pleased with its buttery flavor and delicate rind.  This cheese will be PERFECT for Christmas and New Year’s.  So, just put it in your frig until the holidays arrive, and take it out 30 minutes before serving. Serve with one of our jams and our crackers.
  • Moonglo: this firm, raw milk tomme will be perfect on a cheese board with the Snow Fog and your ‘dressed up’ marinated feta.  Serve with spiced pecans (we have those too!)
  • Huckleberry Blue: this batch is made for a winter greens salad; crumble and toss with the spiced pecans and some dried fruits.

The cheese accompaniments:

  • Crackers: oat chevre, black pepper flatbread and oat-cornmeal
  • Jams: plum, peach, tomato and strawberry-balsamic
  • Spiced Illinois Pecans (from Voss Family Farms in Southern IL)

Now onto desserts and sweets:

Gelato (sorry Chicago, no gelato for you guys):

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Honey-Lavender-chevre

Other sweets: salted goat-milk caramels

Looking for other non-food gifts? We’ll have Chippy the Goat T-shirts, Tea Towels (very limited supply) and Goat Milk Soaps made for us by Red Barn Farm.

Holiday Farm Open House: If you can’t make it to the markets on Saturday, we will be OPEN on Sunday, December 20th from 10 AM to 4 PM.  Whatever is left over from the markets will be available for purchase.  I’ll make some hot spiced chai tea (with milk and honey), and have some holiday cookies for you to munch on while you peruse the farm shop.  We'll have samples of cheese and gelato to taste too. Wes and I will be around to greet you and chat. Of course, everyone is welcome to visit with the goats  or take a stroll around the farm (there’s not much growing, but you can walk down to the prairie if you like—it’s very peaceful and serene this time of year).  Blue the dog will be here too, and will expect you to pet him.


Copyright 2015. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2015. 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 12/13/2015 10:49pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Greetings and Happy Holidays!
I'm happy to announce that our 2016 CSA is now ready for sign ups.  We have made a number of changes to the offerings for the new season:

  • More variety and options for both cheese and gelato
  • A meat/poultry/egg share with Bane Family Meats
  • A flower share with Delight Flower Farm

Although you can find our products locally at farmers' markets, on the farm and at retail outlets, becoming a member of our CSA affords you special/discounted pricing, "members-only" cheeses and gelato flavors and a very special "members-only" farm to table meal.  Depending on our fruit season, we may also offer members-only U-pick hours too. I encourage you to check out the details and BECOME A MEMBER. 

For those of you in the greater Chicagoland area, we are working on expanding our CSA offerings to your area. Stay tuned for forthcoming details.


Copyright 2015. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2015. 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.