News

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Posted 7/14/2015 9:45pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Come out to the farm tomorrow from 4-6 PM.  It will be a beautiful sunny July day. Come celebrate the sun with us by enjoying a scoop of gelato.  This week's special flavor will be "Strawberry Cheese Cake." Made with local strawberries, chevre and house-made graham cracker "crust," it should be delicious.  We will have other flavors by the scoop as well as pints. 

In celebration of "Bastille Day," come eat some french-inspired cheeses:

  • Fresh Chevre
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie (camembert style)
  • Black Goat (ash-ripened-very French)
  • Moonglo (a raw milk tomme)

We have other cheeses as well:

  • Fresh ricotta
  • Feta
  • Huckleberry Blue

You can also do a lot of mid-week shopping if you missed the farmers' markets:

Stewart's Artisan Breads will have breads, bagels, cookies and granola

Tomahnous Farm will have organic veggies and lots of blueberries

Heirloominous Farm will have veggies and herbs

Seven Sisters Farm will be bringing us pastured eggs and chickens

Piedmonte Sausage has a great assortment of old-world recipe sausages

Laurence the Knife Dude will be here to sharpen knives too.   

Other farm events that you should know about:

Third Friday Pop-Up:  This Friday, July 17th, 5:30-7:30  NO RESERVATIONS-CHECK OUT THE MENU!

Saturday, July 18th: Book reading and signing PLUS a tasting of cheese, gelato and wine.  Come out to the farm from 4-6 PM to meet Alan Guebert, author of "Land of Milk and Uncle Honey."  This event is now FREE, but you need to contact The Land Connection so we know how many people will be coming.  

Sunday, July 19th: "Two Milks Tasting Trail"  We're partnering with Ludwig Farm Creamery in Fithian IL to give you an inside view of two creameries right here in Central IL: cow and goat.  You''ll tour and taste cheese at both locations.  For details and to book reservations, visit our website.

Thursday, July 23rd: Rhine Hall Distillery Brandy Tasting 6-8 PM.  Come meet the founder of Chicago's brandy distillery, Jenny Soldberg. She and her father make craft brandies using local fruits sourced from Michigan. Our chef Alisa will be preparing small plates to accompany four of the spirits made at the distillery.  It should be a magical evening.  


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 7/10/2015 7:03am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News from near and far

The guinea keets (the baby guineas) arrived early this week on the farm.  They will be the star attraction for this year’s 100 Yard Dinner in October.  We raised guinea fowl a few years ago, and thankfully, slight amnesia has set in for the challenges they present.  Right now, they are tiny, fast-moving balls of down that dart around the stock tank (their temporary home inside the kid barn), eating, drinking water and sleeping en masse under a heat lamp’s warmth. 

On Wednesday, I swapped farm clothes for finer threads and headed to the big city (Chicago) to sample cheese with cheese mongers and chefs.  I brought our cheese making intern, Kathy with me, so she could witness the pen-ultimate fate of the products she was helping to make: the art of selling cheese and the process of transforming cheese into something delicious that restaurant diners will devour.  Although we connect with our customers weekly at the farmers’ markets, I often forget the important role that mongers and chefs play in “marketing” our cheese.   They are the gate keepers to the world of cheese for so many more people than we will ever encounter at the farmers’ markets.  

I found them hungry for understanding the nuances of milk seasonality and the processes of cheese making.  They were genuinely curious about our breeds of goats and the ups and downs of their milk’s butterfat and protein. Their palates are tuned for tasting, and they have the vocabulary for translating their taste buds sensations:  “chevre is bright and lemony, “feta is sharp with a fatty-acid finish,” “Moonglo has notes of tropical fruit and strawberries”—kindred spirits.  We also talked a bit about how to confer their knowledge to their customers, how to offer suggestions for pairings and preparations, how to clinch the sale.  Cheese can be scary and overwhelming to folks on the street, and these great cheese ambassadors can help folks navigate the murky sea of cheese choices. 

Farmers’ Markets

We’re attending Urbana’s Market at the Square and Chicago’s Green City Market this Saturday, July 11th.  We’re hoping the sun shows her face so you’ll be enticed to come out and soak up her rays at the markets.  We’ve got cheese

  • Chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Fresh Ricotta: it is so sweet and creamy right now, a perfect foil for fresh berries and sliced peaches
  • Feta: tangy and crumbly, try rolling your sweet corn (buttered first) in a fine crumble of feta and sprinkling it with smoked paprika—this was our 4th of July treat last weekend
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie—still slightly gooey deliciousness
  • Black Goat:  ash-ripened, yeasty rind—yummy
  • Moonglo: that spring milk fruitiness is perfect for a summer cheese plate
  • Huckleberry Blue: creamy blue cheese with a hint of nuttiness

Need crackers and salted goat milk caramels to accompany those cheeses? We have those too. It should be hot and perfect weather for gelato:

  • Vanilla 
  • Chocolate
  • Salted caramel
  • Fresh mint
  • Thai Basil
  • Sangria Sorbetto
  • Red Currant Sorbetto

Are highlights of the flavors we’ll have in pints and single servings.

Farm Happenings

We still have a few seats left for our farm dinner with guest chef, Cleetus Friedman of Fountainhead Restaurant in Chicago. He is pairing up with New Holland Brewery of Michigan for this one. You can check out the menu and the pairings on our website.  It’s going to be FANTASTIC!

Next weekend, we have a  lot going on at the farm:

Third Friday Pop-Up on the 17th, featuring fresh-ground burgers and sides and Ryan Groff of Elsinore to serenade you.

Saturday, July 18th: Cheese, wine and gelato tasting AND a book reading and signing “The Land of Milk and Uncle Honey” with acclaimed author, Alan Guebert.  This event, from 4-6 PM, is co-sponsored with The Land Connection, and all proceeds will go to their efforts to train the next generation of sustainable farmers.  Here's a few more details about the author and the book:

"Nationally syndicated columnist Alan Guebert and his daughter Mary Grace
Foxwell will read from their recently released book *The Land of Milk and
Uncle Honey* at various upcoming events throughout Iowa. Published by the
University of Illinois Press, the book is a collection of personal memories
written over the past two decades as part of Guebert’s weekly Farm and
Food File column. Each column recalls and reflects on the people, food, and
values he learned on the 720-acre, 100-cow “southern Illinois dairy farm
of my youth” in the late 1960s.

*The Land of Milk and Uncle Honey* was recently included on Bon Appetit
Magazine's 20 Food Books to Read This Summer, LA Magazine's Top 10 Summer
Books for Foodies, and Food Tank's Summer Reading List."

For tickets, go to: http://thelandconnection.org/community/unclehoney

Sunday, July 19th: “Two Milks Tasting Trail” with Ludwig Farmstead Creamery (Fithian) and Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery.  This trail includes tours and tastings of both dairies and creameries.  For times, details and reservations, go to our website


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 7/7/2015 9:45pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Tomorrow (July 8th) our Farm Open House is chock full of farm fresh goodies.  We'll be dipping scoops of some great gelato flavors:
  • Tart Cherry Stracciatella
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Thai Basil
  • Sicilian Pistachio
  • Berry-Sangria Sorbetto

We'll also have pints of several other flavors for sale too.  

If you missed out at shopping the farmers' markets this past weekend, you can do a lot of your local foods shopping right at the farm. From cheese & crackers, to breads & desserts (Stewart's Artisan Breads) to organic vegetables & berries (Tomahnous Farm and Heirloominous Farm), to pastured chicken and eggs (Seven Sisters Farm) and Italian sausages to throw on the grill (Piedmonte Sausage). Laurence the Knife Dude will be here to sharpen knives too.   

By the way, if you haven't tried Tomahnous Farm's organic blueberries this season, you don't know what you're missing. They are plump and sweet, and she's having a bumper crop.  They go perfectly with a wedge of our ricotta drizzled with some local honey or maple syrup.

Looking for some great cheeses to enjoy with a glass of wine al fresco? We'll have:

  • Chevre
  • Fresh Ricotta (and I mean FRESH--it was made today!)
  • Feta
  • Bloomy rind cheeses (little bloom and black goat)
  • Huckleberry Blue
  • Moonglo

Ask us for a taste.   On another note, our peach crop is ripening nicely now that we've got some sun and heat shining down on the orchard. Wes expects the Red Havens to be ready for picking in another couple of weeks. Stay tuned for details about U-Pick.  


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 7/2/2015 9:28pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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 Farm News

Last Friday, during torrential downpours, we tattooed this year’s crop of keeper doelings.  Goat tattooing has a more mundane goal (animal identification) compared with the elaborate self-adornment ends of human tattooing.  Since I don’t have any tattoos, I am not sure how far the analogies between goats and humans can be taken.  Goat tattoos either go in the ears (in the skin between the ribs of the ear) or on the tail (as is the case for our La Manchas and La Mancha hybrids).  First, you need to set up the letters and numbers in the tattoo press so that they will read right side up when imprinted on the goat.  For folks who are spatially challenged (I include myself in this category), this is not always obvious.  Then, you must restrain the goat (we use our old wooden milk stand) because it can be slightly painful when the press is clamped down on their skin.  Then, you slather neon green tattoo ink in the spot where the tattoo will go, count to three and clamp down on the press.  Then, you rub the ink really well into the imprint so it takes. It’s all over in a matter of seconds, and the kids are back in their pens eating and frolicking with green faces and tails. 

goats with green ears

escape goat eating humble pie

Blue, our dog, has taken on the role of goat kid protectorate. He barks whenever someone gets their head stuck in the fence during feeding time. He barks when one of the kids escapes or calls out in distress. Often, he accompanies his barking with carrying a large piece of firewood in his mouth (this is his version of a stick).  He also has a terrible fear of thunderstorms, so he sought refuge in the kid barn during tattooing.  Each goat’s tattooing was met with barks and dropping the firewood on the wooden stand.  Before long (and after many attempts to get him to stop barking), his “stick” was covered in green tattoo ink as was his mouth and head.  As the rain subsided, we were able to convince him to find another job elsewhere on the farm. 

blue dog with green tattoo

Fourth of July Farmers’ Markets

This Saturday, we’ll celebrate our nation’s birthday with an assortment of fireworks for your taste buds.  We'll be attending both Urbana's Market at the Square and Chicago's Green City Market. We have a full house of cheeses that you can either cook with or take along for your fireworks picnic:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Fresh ricotta:  make a pasta and grilled veggie salad and cube up some ricotta to blend in
  • Feta: think salads, grilled sweetcorn (if you’re so lucky to score some at the farmers’ market) or grilled summer squash
  • Angel Food: very limited number available—just enjoy with a baguette and gooseberry jam
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie—this batch of goat milk camembert is a bit young, but is tasting delicious (buttery, slightly mushroomy)
  • Black Goat—hint of yeast on the rind, deliciousness inside (creamy)
  • Huckleberry Blue—think burgers, salads, quiches; the skies, the limit
  • Moonglo—our first SPRING-MILK batch is READY and boy is this delicious, it’s got a nice tang and a nutty finish. You could melt it on a burger OR just slice it and eat it!

How about some gelato to go with the 4th of July pies? So many flavors, so many pie options!

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Mint Stracciatella
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Lemon Chevre
  • Strawberry
  • Lemon Balm
  • Fresh Mint
  • Key Lime Pie (single servings only)
  • Red Current Sorbetto
  • Sangria Sorbetto (single servings only)

Don’t forget to pick up some artisan crackers to accompany your cheeses on your holiday picnic.  Feel free to ask us for picnic cheese recommendations.  We love to give you our opinions.  AND indulge your family’s sweet teeth with our mouth-melting salted goat-milk caramels. 

Farm Dinner Tickets are still available:  I’ve heard many comments from Farmers’ Market customers assuming that all of our dinners are sold out. In fact, we have seats open for two upcoming dinners: July 11th and August 8th.  Chef Cleetus Friedman of The Fountainhead Restaurant in Chicago will be our guest chef on July 11th, and he’s partnering up with New Holland Brewery.  Check out the menu (including beer pairings) and book your reservations today!  Chef Niall Campbell of Firefly Grill in Effingham will be our guest chef on August 8th.  We hope to have the menu posted for that dinner (or at least a few tidbits of what he’s planning to prepare) very soon. 


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 6/29/2015 2:40pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Greetings!  The solstice has ushered in summer officially, and we're soaking up the sun's rays in between the drops of rain.  Nothing says summer better than frozen treats, and boy do we have lots of those right now:
  • Fresh Mint Stracciatella (that's italian for "chocolate chip")
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Lemon Chevre
  • Red Currant Sorbetto
  • Berry-Sangria Sorbetto

are some of the gelato flavors we have in pints and single servings.  Come see us at The Land Connection's Downtown Champaign Farmers' Market on Tuesday evening (4-7PM). We will also have cheese, salted goat-milk caramels and crackers for sale too.

Can't make it then? Come to the farm on Wednesday from 4-6 PM.  In addition to the pints of gelato,  we'll have gelato by the scoop (flavors yet to be decided).  You can do a lot of your pre-holiday (that's 4th of July) local foods shopping right at the farm. From cheese & crackers, to breads & desserts (Stewart's Artisan Breads) to organic vegetables & berries (Tomahnous Farm and Heirloominous Farm), to pastured chicken and eggs (Seven Sisters Farm) and Italian sausages to throw on the grill (Piedmonte Sausage)--you won't have to fight the grocery store crowds.

 Laurence the Knife Dude will be here to sharpen knives to get them in mint condition for slicing and dicing over the holiday weekend.  AND... we have a special guest vendor this WEDNESDAY only: Sticky Pete's Maple Syrup from Athens Ohio returns to the farm.  Southeast Ohio Maples must be growing in some complex soils, because their maple syrup is DELICIOUS!! They'll have a variety of sizes of syrup containers as well as maple sugar and maybe even maple candies.  


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 6/25/2015 9:56pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

When the temperature and humidity rise in tandem and the prairie winds fall silent, I know that summer has arrived.  The fireflies pollinate the cover crops by day and flash dance for their mates by night.  The weeds overtake all crops intentionally planted, even though you weeded just a couple of days ago.  The exceptional thunderstorms that have traversed the state for the past month dumped another 2 ½ inches on the farm last night, leaving rivers and ponds inside the barns and out.  I’m not sure I remember experiencing this much standing water on our farm, but I imagine this is what our region looked like before white Europeans settled here and drained the wet prairie.  The goats might need a kayak to move from their barn to the milking parlor if the rains don’t quit soon. 

baby goat in milk crate

(I know this picture of the Liberty baby in a milk crate hay feeder has nothing to do with my story, but I couldn't resist.)

Inside the cheeserie, it’s been hot and humid as well. Every time we make aged cheeses (that includes the bloomy rind cheeses as well as our raw milk cheeses), we intentionally heat the room to close to the temperature of the curd in the vat.  The theory goes that when the curd is ladled from the vat to the molds, it won’t be shocked by drastic changes in temperature.  The curd, laden with millions of lactic acid bacteria chowing down on lactose, needs to be pampered so the microbes keep to their task at hand: eating lactose and producing lactic acid (to acidify the cheese and expel the whey).  So, for the cheese makers, hot and humid outside lets them acclimate to hot and humid on the inside, just like the cultures they tend so carefully. 

Farmers’ Markets

We’ll be attending the Urbana Market at the Square and Chicago’s Green City Market this Saturday.  The forecast is calling for SUN, so come dry out and shop for all the great local foods cropping up at the markets.  Hothouse tomatoes are starting to make their appearance, so why not make a tomato salad and adorn it with CHEESE:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Fresh, whole-milk ricotta: here’s a link to a recipe for ricotta pancakes that one of our customers shared with us: http://www.food.com/recipe/ricotta-souffl-pancakes-with-raspberries-432826. It sounds absolutely delicious. 
  • Goat milk feta: tangy, crumbly, delicious—crumble it on that tomato salad
  • Angel Food: this batch is firm but tasting creamy and buttery
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: although it’s not super gooey, the delicate mushroom and cream will knock your socks off
  • Black Goat: Delicate flavor, crinkling rind
  • Huckleberry Blue: we’re offering the next batch made early this spring and it’s creamy, nicely veined and slightly nutty

We have several great flavors of GELATO in both pints and single servings:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Lemon Chevre
  • Mint Stracciatella
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Sangria Sorbetto—you must ask us for a taste—it’s incredible
  • Red Currant Sorbetto

Of course, there will be goat milk salted caramels .Urbana will also be able to get some of our highly addictive crackers to accompany our cheeses. 


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 6/23/2015 9:28pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Come out to the farm tomorrow (Wednesday) afternoon from 4:00-6:00 PM.  We've got some new gelato and sorbetto flavors for you to try including:
  • Fresh Mint Stracciatella
  • Red Currant Sorbetto
  • House-made Sangria Sorbetto (for adults only)

We'll also have a few of the popular standards such as Salted-Caramel Swirl.  

We have plenty of cheese for you to try and buy too:

  • Fresh chevre
  • Ricotta
  • Feta
  • Bloomy rind cheeses
  • Huckleberry Blue

Seven Sisters Farm will be bringing us lots more pasture-raised hen eggs AND fresh (yes, you heard right) pastured broilers ($4/lb.--very reasonable price considering these birds are fresh not frozen) and a few poussin (this is the french version of cornish hens; these are frozen).  

Looking for some artisan sausages to accompany those chickens on your grill? Try some Piedmonte Sausages--these pork and chicken sausages are made right here in Champaign-Urbana using old world recipes.  

Tomahnous Farm will have ORGANIC BLUEBERRIES along with a great selection of early summer veggies. Heirloominous Farm has the most fantastic breakfast radishes along with succulent kale.  

Stewart's Artisan Breads will have an assortment of rustic breads, bagels, cookies and granola.  

Laurence, the Knife Dude, returns to the farm, fresh from vacation, to sharpen your knives while you shop and visit with the goats.  

Lots of great reasons to make the journey out to the farm tomorrow. Don't forget to follow the detour signs or follow our directions so you don't get lost.  

 


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 6/18/2015 9:50pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

It’s a straightforward concept: goats feed on diverse forages; this produces complex compounds that get into their milk and this milk does strange things to the cheese making process.  The transformation of forage to milk begins in their multi-compartment rumen, churning leaves and stems and rearranging their chemistries into a cocktail of carbon-rich compounds that cross the membranes of the mammary system.  The process and the outcome are a bit of a black box (or should I say a “white” box) in that we can sense relationships between what they eat and the quality of their milk (and quantity too), but we really have no idea which plants and which compounds produced from eating these plants end up in their milk.   

This week, we experienced some strange behavior as we turned milk into cheese.  It was as if these compounds were fighting against the actions of cultures that eat lactose (milk sugar) and turn it into lactic acid.   In the end, the microbes won the battle, but the mystery compounds made them work for it.  We’ll have to wait a few weeks to see how their forays in the pasture and prairie affect the final flavor of the cheeses. “You are what you eat” has clear but mysterious meaning in the world of the goat udder. 

Farmers’ Markets

We’ll be attending Urbana's Market at the Square and Chicago’s Green City Market this Saturday.  Don’t let the rain-soaked streets slow you down—all the great berries are starting to make appearances at the markets and they are GREAT with cheese:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Fresh, whole-milk ricotta: our ricotta is firm enough to slice—try toasting a few slices of baguette, placing a slice of ricotta on top, drizzling with local honey and topping with fresh raspberries or strawberries. You won’t want to eat it any other way!
  • Goat milk feta: tangy, crumbly, delicious
  • Angel Food: this batch is a bit young, but it tastes creamy and buttery
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: nice notes of mushroom and delicate milk
  • Black Goat: don’t let the funky rind scare you—this little disc is loaded with flavor
  • Huckleberry Blue: we’re still serving up our early season blue and boy is it creamy, tart and somewhat sweet

Gelato is here too with several flavors in both pints and single servings:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Espresso
  • Honey Thyme
  • Fresh Mint
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Strawberry-Rhubarb Sorbetto (limited quantities)

The goat milk salted caramels are flying off the shelves, so we’ve made a fresh batch for you to enjoy this weekend.  It’s the perfect gift for Fathers’ Day (or really anyone special in your life). Urbana will also be able to get some of our highly addictive crackers to accompany our cheeses.

Farm Food Don’t forget to come out to the farm tomorrow (Friday) evening from 5:30 to 7:30 pm for our June Third-Friday Pop-Up. The Mediterranean-inspired menu alone should make you salivate, and with Rebecca Rego and the Trainmen strumming some tunes, it should be the perfect evening.  We now have our liquor license, so you don’t need to bring anything but yourselves.  If the rain holds off, we should have plenty of outdoor seating on the patio and the lawn.   


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 6/16/2015 11:45am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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We have lots going on this week that I'd like to share with you.  This evening (Tuesday), we'll be at the downtown Champaign Farmers' Market, 4:00-7:00 pm with cheese, gelato, caramels, crackers and more.  

Tomorrow, our Wednesday Open House will feature Red Currant Sorbetto along with several other delicious gelato flavors (honey thyme and fresh mint for sure) by the scoop.  Of course, we'll have cheese, crackers and caramels.  Our farmer and food artisan friends will be here with organic vegetables, breads and sweet baked goods, sausages and pasture-raised eggs.  Really, you can do most of your mid-week food shopping right here at the farm.  

Friday, June 19th is our "Third Friday Pop-Up" from 5:30-7:30 pm. Check out the menu and the music and make your way out to the farm. The weather should be perfect for a summer evening of great local food and music. We have our liquor license at last, so we'll even supply the beer and wine (no BYOB).  

 


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 6/11/2015 10:56pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

We’re employing a full arsenal of biological approaches to insect pests on the farm this year.  Each week we receive a package containing parasitic wasps that prey on fly larvae.  We sprinkle the pupae on the bedding in the goat barns and along the edges of our compost pile.  When the wasps hatch, they burrow into the bedding on the hunt for their prey.  We’re also using a liquid of beneficial micro-organisms called “Effective Micro-Organisms” or “EM.”  These are produced via fermentation of organic matter and ironically consist mostly of the same bacteria that ferment our milk into cheese.  Each week, we spray the EM on the bedding in the barns. 

kathy with packpack sprayer

 Our intern, Kathy, backpack sprayer on, ready for spraying EM's and nematodes

Their job is to accelerate the breakdown of the organic matter, thereby creating a less hospitable environment for the flies to lay their eggs.  Our third strategic weapon is beneficial nematodes.  These microscopic worm-like critters predate larvae of many pests, flies among them.  With the 2.5 inches of rain that fell on the farm last Sunday and the ensuing heat, it’s a bit hard to tell if the biological arsenal is powerful enough to keep the enemy’s population in check.  Flies love hot rotting wet organic matter, and we have lots of that right now. 

We also planted cover crops in the orchard to attract beneficial insects.  We have strips of mustard and buckwheat between the rows of peaches, pears and apples.  They have started to flower in the past week, and I’ve noticed an explosion of other-worldly arthropods hovering over their nectaries.  The cover crops provide food and shelter for these working insects; their job is to eat or parasitize the insects that destroy our fruits—codling moth, plum curculio, oriental fruit moth.  We’re helping the biological soldiers along with a bit of human intervention: picking off the small fruits that have already been damaged by insect pests and spraying the trees with a white kaolin clay to make the leaves and fruit unpalatable to those insects that break through the onslaught of predators and parasites.   

mustard flowers

 

Lovely yellow mustard flowers attract beneficial insects

Farmers’ Markets

We’re attending two farmers’ markets this Saturday: Urbana’s Market at the Square and Chicago’s Green City Market.  Once again, I’ll be traveling north to Chicago to greet our Green City Market customers. Wes and Maureen will attend to the folks in Urbana-Champaign.  You’ll need cheese to compliment the wonderful summer vegetables and fruits you’ll be buying at the markets:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Fresh ricotta
  • Feta
  • Angel Food
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie
  • Black Goat
  • Huckleberry Blue

Of course, we have seasonal and traditional flavors of gelato to cool you off:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Local Strawberry
  • Fresh Mint
  • Lemon Balm
  • Strawberry-Rhubarb sorbetto  

Farm Happenings

If you’re considering making reservations to our Beer and Cheese Soiree,” this Saturday evening, don’t delay. There are still a few seats left.  Our chefs have been testing out the recipes for the Bavarian pretzel and the coffee cookies for the gelato sandwich. Wes (the pretzel maven) said it was the best soft pretzel he’d ever eaten. I didn’t even get to taste the cookies since our staff inhaled them before I could get to them. 

Our kitchen is putting the final touches on the menu for our June “Third Friday Pop-Up” (June 19th from 5:30-7:30 PM) and all I can say is house-made pita bread will be the star attraction (along with local chicken and lamb). Rebecca Rego and the Trainmen will be our featured musicians for the evening. 

Don’t forget to mark June 21st on your calendar and make a date with us for an afternoon of farms and local food tastings—from 1-5 PM, you’ll visit Blue Moon Farm’s organic vegetable operation, pick your own lavender at Sharp’s Crossing Lavender Farm and visit with the goats at Prairie Fruits Farm.  This is the first “Tasting Trailof the season, so we hope you’ll make your reservations NOW.   


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.