News

Welcome to Leslie's Blog.
Posted 6/9/2015 8:57pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Summer's here and the time is right for dancin' at the farm (shamelessly plagiarizing a famous Motown song).  Come out to the farm tomorrow (Wednesday) from 4:00-6:00 pm and cool off with a scoop of gelato. We have a couple of special flavors for you: tart cherry stracciatella (using our VERY OWN cherries!!!) and strawberry-rhubarb sorbetto.  

We have cheese too (chevre, ricotta, feta, bloomies and Huckleberry Blue).  Stewart's Artisan Breads will be here along with Tomahnous Farm (organic strawberries AND veggies) and Heirloominous Farm.  We will also have fresh pasture-raised eggs from Seven Sisters Farm and artisan sausages by Piedmonte Sausage. Cara's Garden will be bringing out some new cheese boards and cheese knives as well. Laurence the Knife Dude is on vacation, but he'll be back in a few weeks.  


 

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 6/4/2015 10:19pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Does in the prairie

We took a step closer to our European herding role models this week when we decided to bring the does into our un-fenced prairie and former hay field.  They followed Wes and Erica (our new herd manager) out through their fenced pasture pretty briskly, but when they got to the gate, there was some hesitation. It didn’t help that our bee hives are now placed at the intersection of the prairie and the pasture and their curiosity of the hives got the best of them.  As they swarmed the hives, the bees swarmed them.  Stinging bees sent several of the does careening back to their barn, persistent bees in hot pursuit. 

does with bees

The prospect of an adventure, a foray into a forbidden zone, lured them back out through the pasture and into the prairie in short order.  Once they discovered the cottonwood saplings towering over the prairie grasses and forbs, their browser instincts consumed them, and they devoured the leaves of the small trees.  Several goat leaders stood tall on their hind legs to pull the branches down so the rest of the does could access the leaves.  They ripped the leaves on the branch with gusto; within seconds, the branch was stripped bare.  Their piranha-like thoroughness brought smiles to our faces and warmth to our hearts. 

eating cottonwoods

The does lingered a bit longer in the lush growth of our abandoned old hay field, rich with alfalfa, birdsfoot trefoil and red clover.  Some of the more brave girls ventured down the hill toward the promise of more cottonwoods; the rest grabbed mouthfuls of alfalfa and fresh grass.  After a while, we decided it was time to head home, so they followed Wes, the goat herder/pied piper back to the barn.  For now, the tension between their love of browse and their curiosity and fear of uncharted territory is strong.  Their respect for the goat herder is high.  We’ll see how long this lasts.  

following the goat herder

Farm Food Events We have a couple of mouth-watering farm food events coming up in the next couple of weeks, and we want you to come.  Our “Beer and Cheese Fete with Triptych Brewery (Savoy, IL) is slated for Saturday, June 13th.  Here’s a sneak preview of some of the planned menu items:

  • Bavarian pretzels with cheese and mustard sauces
  • Beer-braised onions and smoked ham tart with goat cheese
  • Piedmonte chicken jalapeño sausage with potato croquettes
  • Chocolate gelato sandwiches with bourbon caramel swirl

Our first Fork in the Road Tasting Trail is Sunday, June 21st with Blue Moon Farm, Sharp’s Crossing Lavender Farm and Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery.  This is a one-of-a-kind tour and tasting experience—where else could you visit an organic vegetable farm, a lavender farm and a goat dairy all in one afternoon? 

Farmers’ Market News

Once again, we’ll be bringing lots of great dairy products to both the Urbana Market at the Square and Chicago’s Green City Market. I will be going to Chicago, while Wes and Maureen serve our Urbana patrons.  Cheese, you ask? Yes, we’ve got that:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Fresh whole milk ricotta—try it with fresh market strawberries and local honey—you’ll be hooked
  • Goat milk feta
  • Angel Food
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie
  • Black GoatON SALE this week only
  • Huckleberry Blue—YES!! The first spring batch of the season is ready and boy is it tasty! Creamy and nicely veined with blue, you will love it crumbled on a salad of fresh market greens.

Pick up some of our very addictive crackers to go with these cheeses—oat chevre and seeded olive-oil flatbread.

Gelato—all the local flavors are coming in, so Maureen has gone a bit crazy this week:
  • Strawberry-made with strawberries from Meyer Farm and Carrie’s Garden of Eatin’
  • Aronia Berry-this comes to us from Sunny Lane Farm in Eureka—a native berry with a hint of tartness—the color alone will make you want to take home a pint.
  • Honey Thyme—two kinds of thyme and Avery Farm honey
  • Lemon Balm
  • Fresh mint
  • Salted caramel swirl
  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Toasted coconut

If the gelato doesn’t satisfy your sweet tooth, then pick up a bag of our salted goat milk caramels.  Stay tuned for details about next week’s Farm Open House (Wednesdays 4-6 pm).  Summer really is here 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.

Posted 6/2/2015 9:57pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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It's strawberry season here in Central Illinois and we've been busy processing local strawberries from Carrie's Garden of Eatin' and Meyer Farm into strawberry gelato. You can get in on the first strawberry gelato of the season made fresh tomorrow at our Wednesday Open House: 4:00-6:00 pm. We'll also have salted caramel swirl, vanilla and fresh mint for hand-dipped scoops as well as pints of several other flavors.

We'll also have plenty of cheese for you to try--fresh chevre, fresh ricotta and several bloomy rind cheeses.  Don't forget some house-made crackers and jams to go with those cheeses and satiate your sweet tooth with goat milk caramels.   

Our farmer friends and food artisans will be here too with gorgeous veggies and hearty breads--Tomahnous Farm, Heirloominous Farm and Stewart's Artisan Breads.  You can also purchase incredibly yellow and delicious pasture-raised eggs from Seven Sisters Farm (Sidney) and authentic sausages from Piedmonte Sausage (Champaign).  Laurence the Knife Dude will be here to sharpen your knives while you shop and visit the farm.  He's taking a long summer vacation for the next two weeks, so if you have a bunch of dull knives, bring them out to the farm tomorrow.  

Come meet the newest arrivals to the farm--the last kids of the season born last week to Liberty and Viviane:  If you missed your newborn goat kid fix earlier, now's your chance.  Their cuteness never gets old.

newest goat babies

You can also see the baby peaches swelling on the peach trees--looks like we'll be having u-pick peaches in mid to late July!

 


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 5/28/2015 10:01pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

Our bucklings have been enjoying the wide open spaces in the north pasture over the past several weeks. They had eaten down the tall grasses in pretty short order, and we had reverted to feeding them alfalfa-grass hay and their pelleted grain inside the east end of the storm-damaged hoop barn.  Meanwhile, the recent rash of thunder storms had begun to leave their humid mark on our fruit trees and cane berries—peach leaf curl, brown rot on the cherries and a bright orange “rust” on the blackberry leaves.  The blackberry rust sealed the fate of berries for this year, leaving us with little choice but to cut the canes way back.  Why cut when we had ruminant pruners lurking on the other side of the fence. So, we decided to take a bold step of extending the buckling fencing to encompass the blackberry patch.  

bucklings in berry patch

Letting goats eat the cane berries intentionally has been anathema to say the least.  Our original farm logo of goats eating peach leaves off the trees was a nod to their love of woody browse and their way-too-numerous break outs into the orchard.  I confess seeing the little guys make their way through the tall grasses engulfing the berry canes brought me joy.  We gave them permission to be the true browsers that they are.  Unknowingly, they became our biological control for a fruit disease.  They might not be so lucky next year.

Cherries are ripening in the orchard. After eleven years, we finally have enough of a cherry crop to make our delicious tart cherry-stracciatella gelato and a few cherry pies.  Dani has been moving the picking ladder from tree to tree at lightning speed, attempting to outpace the robins and cedar waxwings.  Birds against humans: who will win the coveted prize of mouthfuls of juicy tart cherries?  This is a great problem to have.  

bowl of cherries

Farmers’ Markets, Farm Dinners and other Farm Happenings

This Saturday, we’re attending both Urbana’s Market at the Square and Chicago’s Green City Market.  Although the weather forecast is calling for a chance of rain, we hope you’ll put on your rain coats and come out to support your local farmers.  We will have plenty of cheese:

  • Fresh Chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Fresh whole goat’s milk ricotta—with strawberries in season, I’m recommending this cheese drizzled with honey, local granola and fresh sliced strawberries
  • Goat milk feta—tangy and crumbly—perfect for topping a salad of market greens and grilled asparagus; you can even use the whey brine to make a salad dressing
  • Black Goat—this batch is a bit young, but would pair well with a rhubarb jam
  • Angel Food—creamy with a hint of mushroom, slice this cheese on baguette rounds, drizzle with olive oil, sprinkle chopped fresh thyme and stick under the broiler for a minute
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie—our camembert style goat milk round has gooey edges and a firm tangy paste; just cut yourself a nice wedge and eat it!

For gelato, we have some fantastic seasonal flavors for you this week in both pints AND single servings (* flavors coming to both markets):

  • *Honey thyme (made with Avery Farm honey and two kinds of thyme from our herb garden—rose and orange)
  • *Lemon Balm—herbal notes with lemon
  • *Rhubarb sorbetto—limited quantities in pints only so come early to the market if you want some
  • *Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Espresso

We will also be bringing our goat milk caramels, house-made crackers (oat-chevre, whole wheat flatbread) and goat milk soaps to the market. 

Our first farm dinner of the season is this Saturday and we have a couple of seats still available.  If you’d like to be tempted, check out the planned menu.  We also have seats open for several other farm dinners (including the beer dinner with Triptych Brewery on June 13th), so check them out. 

Our first Tasting Trail Tour is now set for Sunday, June 21st, and tickets are ready for purchase through our website.  The tour includes Blue Moon Farm (organic vegetables), Sharp’s Crossing Lavender Farm (u-pick lavender and craft making) and Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery (tour and tasting of cheese, gelato, Blue Moon veggies and treats made with lavender). 

Don’t forget to come visit us on Wednesdays from 4-6 pm. If you’re having trouble finding us because of road construction, fear not. We have great directions on 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 5/26/2015 9:16pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Tomorrow's Open House (Wednesday, May 27th, 4:00-6:00 pm) will be full of new farm-fresh products as well as our regulars.   Our herb garden is starting to kick in full force, so we've made a couple of seasonal gelato flavors: lemon balm and honey-thyme (Avery Farm honey with our rose and orange thyme).  We're welcoming Seven Sisters Farm to our line up of farm-fresh products with pasture-raised eggs.  Piedmonte Sausage has a new sausage we encourage you to try: chicken apple.  

Of course, we'll have plenty of cheese for you to try and buy, Tomahnous Farm and Heirloominous Farm will both be here with spring veggies (greens, salad mix, asparagus, radishes), Stewart's Artisan Breads will have a great assortment of breads, bagels, cookies and granola AND Laurence the Knife Dude will be here to sharpen your knives while you shop and visit the farm.  

So, pack up your families or yourself, and come on out to the farm tomorrow afternoon.  We hope to see you here!

 


 

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 5/21/2015 10:37pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

Our donkey, Jemimah, came to us almost five years ago.  Her “job” as guardian had been cut short when her flock of sheep was sold.  Jemmy or “Rusty,” as our former farm hand Ben fondly called her, had come from the school of hard knocks.  She was already an old lady when she arrived on our farm (no one knew her age exactly, but we suspected she was close to 30 years old), but her defiant nature belied her age.  

I’ll never forget the day she arrived at the farm.  As we unloaded her from the stock trailer and moved her into the doe barn, a myriad of goat heads turned, in unison, in her direction, Nubian ears curled and pointing towards this very tall and fury equine.  Their curiosity reminded me of nosy and suspicious neighbors peering behind the curtains of their houses as the new family on the block moves in.  At first, a fence separated the donkey from her future herd, as she was suffering from a severe case of despondency after losing her sheep flock.  It took weeks to get her to lift her head high and bray when she wanted something.  She was leery of strangers, but gradually, she became more relaxed, letting us pet her muzzle and give her carrots. 

Once she was ready to move in with the goats, they played the dance of familiar strangers; simultaneously drawn to each other and terrified.  Over the years, she forged a strong bond with her herd of goats; at times their cacophonous nature annoyed her, at other times she would protect a doe in labor from the head butts of her fellow herd mates.  She showed her might as guardian when our dog, Blue first arrived at the farm, baring her teeth at the dog, then turning to bare them at the goats to shoe them away from the “predator.”

Jemimah had bad feet when she arrived on the farm, and despite frequent visits from our ferrier, her hooves finally foundered.  She has been stoic throughout her time as our goat guardian.  She has hidden her pain well. However, a visit from the vet yesterday confirmed that her age and her prior living conditions have finally caught up with her.  Tomorrow we will say our good-byes to her, our fuzzy equine with an attitude.  Wes came in from milking this evening, singing this old Gene Autrey song, his homage to our donkey:

There's a gold mine in the sky far away

We will find it, you and I some sweet day

There'll be clover just for you down the line

Where the skies are always blue, pal of mine

Take your time, ole mule I know you're growing lame

But you'll pasture in the stars, When we strike that claim

And we'll set up there and watch The world roll by

When we find that long lost gold mine In the sky,

far away, far away we will find that Long lost gold mine some sweet day

And we'll say hello to friends who said goodbye

When we find that long lost gold mine

In the sky, far away, far away in the sky.  

Jemimah the donkey

 

Farmers’ Markets

This Saturday, Memorial Day weekend, we will be attending both Urbana’s Market at the Square and Chicago’s Green City Market.  Cheese and gelato are the perfect foundations for a holiday pick nick or backyard soiree, so let us set you up for a great weekend of eating.  Our raw milk cheeses are on break as we wait for the early spring batches to ripen. However, we have LOTS of fresh and bloomy rind cheeses for you to enjoy:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Fresh, whole milk ricotta
  • Goat milk feta
  • Angel Food
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie
  • Black Goat

If you’re planning for pie, how about some gelato to top it off? 

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Salted caramel swirl
  • Toasted Coconut
  • Green Tea
  • Fresh Mint
  • Rhubarb sorbetto

We’ll also have a few single servings of vanilla, lemon chevre, rhubarb crème and fresh mint. In addition to cheese and gelato, we’ll have salted goat milk caramels, house-made crackers, goat milk soap and a few other items.  Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Twitter for the latest farm happenings including Wednesday Farm Open House, Third-Friday Pop-ups and Dinners on the Farm. 


Copyright 2014 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2014. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 5/14/2015 7:31pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

The litmus test for farmers this time of year is the degree to which they understand the expression “growin’ like a weed.”  City folks invoke this expression when seeing other people’s kids; how fast they’ve grown since the last time they saw them.  Farmers’ understanding of weeds is more profound and humbling.  Weeds, by definition, are plants that thrive in places where we don’t want them to grow.  They have finely honed evolutionary strategies to emerge quickly when environmental conditions are optimal.  Warmth and rain trigger their slumbering seeds to jolt into action, germinate and rapidly colonize the bare soil around them.  Somehow, their genetic knowledge outpaces that of seeds planted intentionally. 

It’s not just about pace either. The upshot: utter frustration in trying to find the beet and onion seedlings in a sea of tiny grasses and broad-leafed seedlings designed to look like vegetable seedlings.  The plasticity of weed genes to make them grow so rapidly and mimic the “good guys” beguiles me the most.  When my fingers accidentally pluck a vegetable seedling in place of a weed, I am humbled and exasperated.

Farmers’ Markets

This Saturday, we’re returning to both the Urbana Market at the Square and Chicago’s Green City Market. There is a chance of rain on Saturday, but don’t be deterred; just bring an umbrella and you can shop with impunity.  We’ve got a beautiful line up of cheeses for you:

Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper

Fresh Ricotta—it’s back and it lasts! We’ve modified our recipe a bit so that the shelf life on this fresh cheese is similar to our chevre (under refrigeration of course): two weeks. It’s a great cheese for cooking. It’s also simply delicious with honey and fresh fruit.

Goat milk feta—ask us for a sample of this tangy and sharp feta. It tastes great and it crumbles perfectly.

Black goat—young but tasty; slight yeastiness on the rind and a firm paste. If you like it more pungent, just leave it in your frig for another week

Little Bloom on the Prairie—our camembert style goat round; also a bit young but perfect served with roasted asparagus or kale

Angel Food—our little crottin-like rounds go really well with pickled ramps and a slice of baguette

Moonglo—still cutting into our late December batches of this complex raw milk cheese. Just try it (Huckleberry Blue is on hiatus until our early spring batches are ready by the end of June). 

We have some great flavors of gelato for you as well (* indicates flavors going to Green City Market as well as Urbana):

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Fresh Mint*
  • Lemon Chevre*
  • Rhubarb Cream*
  • Salted Caramel Swirl*

We will also be bringing our salted goat-milk caramels to both markets and our “artisan” crackers to the Urbana market.  So, sing in the rain and make your way to the markets on Saturday. 

Farm Happenings

If you’re looking for a great way to spend your Friday evening, come out to the farm TOMORROW (FRIDAY, MAY 15TH) for the first “Third Friday Pop-Up” of the season.  From 5:30 to 7:30 pm, we’ll be serving up some southern-Midwestern fare and grooving to the mountain music of “The Young and the Fretless.”  NO RESERVATIONS REQUIRED. 

Tuesday, May 19th, we will be at the downtown Champaign Farmers’ Market (4-7 pm).  Next Wednesday, May 20th, our midweek farm “Open House” returns, 4-6 PM—lots of great farm and artisan food products for sale as well as gelato by the scoop.  Thursday, May 21st, from 7:00-8:30 pm, we’ll be hosting a workshop on healthy eating with an emphasis on local foods. The workshop will be led by Maria Ludeke, Founder and CEO “Creative Health” and Maureen Sullivan.  To get more information and to register, please email either Maria (maria.ludeke@gmail.com) or Maureen (msullivan9217@gmail.com). 

healthy habits workshops

Copyright 2014 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2014. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 5/11/2015 9:45pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Even though the official start of summer is about a month away, we're getting a jump-start on the summer this week.  Starting this Wednesday, May 13th (through the end of August), we will host a weekly farm "open house" from 4-6 pm.  You can visit the farm, stroll the grounds, blow kisses to the goats and enjoy an array of farm products from our farm and others.  We'll have:
  • Cheese: fresh chevre, bloomy rinds, feta, Moonglo
  • Gelato (by the scoop and pint BOTH)
  • House-made crackers
  • Goat milk caramels
  • Bread and baked goods by Stewart's Artisan Breads
  • Artisan sausages by Piedmonte Sausage Co. (he's introducing a new line of chicken sausages this week in addition to the pork sausages we've been carrying)
  • Pasture-raised eggs and poussin (young chickens similar in size to Cornish Hens) by Seven Sisters Farm
  • Organic veggies by Tomahnous Farm and Heirloominous Farm
  • Knife Sharpening by the now famous Laurence "The Knife Dude"

On Friday, May 15th, we'll host of our first "Third Friday Pop-Up" of the season.  From 5:30-7:30 pm, we'll be serving up southern foods with a Midwest twist.  Guests will be serenaded by "The Young and the Fretless." For the full mouth-watering menu and all the details, visit our website.  

cara's pear

We have more art work adorning our barn dining room walls now.  In addition to the luscious watercolors by Cara Cummings (see the pear above), we now have surreal nature photography by Lance Merry.  His work showcases the natural world in our midst; terrestrial orchids, fresh water fish and amphibians. You'll be amazed by the beautiful creatures right in our prairie back yard.  

salamanders

You can just enjoy these pieces, but they are also for sale.  We look forward to seeing you AT THE FARM this week.

 

 

 


Copyright 2014 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2014. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 5/7/2015 9:33pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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 Farm News

Warm days following cold; I have mixed emotions over the abruptness of the change.  There’s a subconscious relaxation of my shoulders as the temperature rises—I notice that they aren’t quite so close to my ears.  There’s a burning desire to get stuff in the ground—to plant seeds, to buy bedding plants, to pot up some flowers.  There’s excitement about the first farmers’ markets, seeing our old customers, meeting new ones, renewing the dialogue about milk flavors and cheese textures.  Our asparagus spears grew about 12 inches overnight, and our rhubarb is ready to pick. 

The flip side is the wall of project lists staring us in the face. We made the lists when there was still snow on the ground and our hours of nightly sleep were close to what is recommended.  Now, those “essential” projects that will make the farm run better must be wedged in between the daily chores of kid care, milking, cheese making, barn cleaning and orchard upkeep.  Throw on top of the daily routine a few mishaps—goats getting into orchards, trailer tires going flat, coolers losing their cool—and we’re thrust into survival mode.  We’ll re-examine our lists, re-set our priorities and let the warming sun energize us to work a few more hours each day. 

Farmers' Markets

We’re attending BOTH Urbana’s Market at the Square AND Chicago’s Green City Market.  It’s Mother’s Day weekend, and we have a full array of dairy products to indulge all the mothers in your life.  For cheese, we have:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence and cracked pepper
  • Angel Food—our little bloomy rind “crottin”
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: You can dress it up with some jam or honey and serve it with our house-made crackers
  • Black Goat: This batch of ash-dusted geo-rinded cheese is perfectly ripe and ready to eat this weekend
  • Goat Milk Feta: It’s perfect on a salad of market greens and strawberries (you can get them at the Urbana market if you get there early)
  • Moonglo—this cheese is now about five months old and the flavor is rich, meaty and complex.

If you’re making your mother a special pie or cake, why not top it off with some fresh goats’ milk gelato. Our flavors this week include (* indicates flavors available at Green City Market):

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Pistachio (yes, we decided to splurge and get some Bronte Sicily Pistachio Paste)
  • Fresh Mint*
  • Salted Caramel Swirl*
  • Espresso
  • Ginger
  • Green Tea

We will also be bringing our melt-in-your-mouth salted goat milk caramels, our house-made crackers and our goat milk soaps.  If you’re in need of suggestions for a special mother’s day gift basket, just ask us for assistance.  We’d be happy to put something special together for your mom.

Other Happenings Next Week: First CSA pick up, First Summer Open House

We’ll be starting our CSA season next Tuesday and Wednesday with pick ups in Bloomington-Normal (Tuesday) and at the farm (Wednesday). Wednesday, May 13th from 4-6 pm is the FIRST SUMMER OPEN HOUSE.  We’ll have gelato by the scoop, cheese and several other guest farmers and food artisans.  Stay tuned for details early next week. 

Don’t forget to check out our farm dinners and make a reservation. Whether you’re celebrating a special occasion or just wanting to enjoy a local foods extravaganza under the prairie skies, we still have seats open.  The first dinner of the season, “Rites of Spring” has 7 seats left.  We’ll be featuring spring Katadin lamb from Caveny Farm. Chef Alisa is fleshing out the menu now, and it will be scrumptious.  


 

 

Copyright 2014 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2014. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 5/1/2015 9:46am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

At last, we were able to move the oldest bucklings out to the north pasture this week.  Following a short ride in the back our pick-up truck, they were turned out into their new home.  With a little human encouragement, they went straight for the tall grass, learning quickly that a touch to the fence (electro-netting and hot wires) would lead to unpleasant sensations.  It’s a painful lesson (I really do feel their pain), but once they learn to respect the fence, contentment reigns.

The pasture is tall and lush, and I love watching them move as herd from a distance.  I can stand at the south end of the orchard and see a school of little goat heads swimming through a sea of green.  Their ruminant brains guide them to seek out the best forage, but they always come running when they hear the sound of the grain bucket filling.

Baby peaches are beginning to set on some of the trees.  It appears that the orchard survived the freezing temperatures of last week. Our apples are in full bloom now, and our new bee hives have been placed next to the prairie.  The bees seem excited about dandelions, but I have seen them in the orchard too.  We’re trying really hard not get too excited about the prospects of fruit, but in truth, we’re pretty excited.  The game is on to prevent insect pests from getting to the fruit before we do.

The rhythm of cheese making is shifting from waltz to merengue.  Our does are about to start peaking in milk production, and we’ve quickened our step in the make room.  We’re making cheese every day now; bloomy rind cheeses are populating the aging rooms and the dishes are filling our large cleaning vat.  The dance of little cheeses: flip, brine, flip, wrap, price, sell; the steps and the partners are familiar. 

Farmers’ Markets

Yes, it’s the start of the Farmers’ Market Season Saturday, May 2nd.  We’ll be attending two markets on Saturday: Urbana’s Market at the Square and Chicago’s Green City Market. Wes and Maureen (our wonderful gelatieri) will be serving you in Urbana. I will be coming up to Chicago and introducing our GCM patrons to our new market cheese monger, Mark Hartstein.  We’ve got a great repertoire of cheeses for you on opening day:

  • Plenty of fresh chevre—plain, herbs de Provence, cracked peppercorn
  • Fresh whole milk ricotta-it’s firm but creamy—perfect for cooking or just drizzle some honey on top, add some fresh fruit and granola and you have a breakfast made in heaven
  • Introducing our new goat milk feta—our sheep milk feta was a very hard act to follow. So, we’ve been working on a recipe for a goat milk version that could live up to its ovine cousin.  I’m happy to report that this goat milk feta is NO wallflower. It’s got lots of tangy and slightly bitey flavor AND it’s nice and crumbly with a creamy mouthfeel—everything you crave in a feta cheese. Come try it. 
  • The bloomy rinds are back: Little Bloom on the Prairie (our camembert style) and Black Goat (ashed, geo-rinded cheese) will be making their appearances at the markets.  Both have beautiful but different rinds and will go perfectly with the spring vegetables you’ll be buying at the market, including shitake mushrooms and ramps if you’re lucky to find them.
  • Want raw milk cheese? We’ve got some beauties for you: late fall milk Moonglo and Huckleberry Blue—these batches were made last December and they are full of complex flavors.

You know you want gelato too.  So, Maureen has been busy crafting a rainbow of flavors (* indicate the flavors coming to Green City Market):

  • Vanilla 
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Espresso
  • Margot’s Fresh Mint * (mint from Tomahnous Farm)
  • Salted caramel swirl * 
  • Toasted coconut
  • Ginger
  • Green Tea
  • Carrot cake (made with Blue Moon Farm carrots)*
  • Honey chevre (Green City Market only)*

We’ll also be bringing our now famous goat milk caramels and our house made crackers (olive oil and multi-grain).  It should be a beautiful spring day for the first market, so come out and support your local farmers.

Other Farm Happenings—Lots going on, so read on

Road closure on North Lincoln-Detour in effect: It’s finally happened; construction for extending Olympian Drive eastward to North Lincoln has begun and the road is now closed just south of our driveway. That does NOT mean you can’t get to Prairie Fruits Farm! To the contrary, we have clear detour directions on our website.  The detour signs are in place and our logo (Chippy the Goat) with arrow signs are up along Ford Harris and Oaks/Willow Roads.

Other Markets, Open Houses, Farm Hours, etc.: In addition to the two Saturday markets, we’ll be attending the first downtown Champaign Farmers’ Market (run by The Land Connection) starting Tuesday, May 5th (4-7pm). We will attend every two weeks.  On alternate Tuesdays, we’ll be delivering CSA shares to folks in the Bloomington-Normal area. 

Our Wednesday Farm Open House starts Wednesday, May 13th (4-6pm). We’ll have gelato by the scoop, cheese and plenty of other treats. Stay tuned for details.  Our farm will be open to the public on weekdays: Monday-Friday from 10 AM to 5 PM.  You can walk around the farm (on your own) and peruse our farm shop. 

Wine Tasting—May 6th A tour of France with Todd Fusco from ArtMart 4-7PM. We will be tasting over 30 wines from all the major regions, paired with French themed appetizers prepared by Chef Alisa DeMarco. We will also have cheese and gelato available for purchase. Special discounts for wines ordered that evening. So grab your chapeau and joie de' vivre and join us for vinous soiree! Tickets are $25 and can be purchased at art mart (217-244-7979) or by calling Sarah Hess at 217-840-4097.  We have no ticket limit, so bring your friends. If the weather is nice, we’ll be tasting outdoors on the patio!   


Copyright 2014 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2014. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.