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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.

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

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