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Posted 11/20/2014 10:45pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

It’s easy this time of year to fix my mind toward next season.  I’m already thinking about January slumbers and March kids. I’m thinking about all the repairs that need to be made, all the changes I’d like to make in our cheese production schedule, all the things we can do better next year to make even better farmstead products.  The seasonal rebirths that go with farming make it easy to just move on to the next season without really taking stock of the season at hand.  So, at this time of year when we sunset fall and move into winter, I want to be more present in my reflections and to give deliberate thanks for what we have before us. 

I am thankful for the does that have given us such wonderful milk this year and for the legacy their grandmothers and great grandmothers are leaving in their wake. I am thankful for our black prairie soils that put out pounds and pounds of produce with just a little goat manure compost. I am thankful for our staff, their perfectionist tendencies and their dedication to craft.    I am thankful for our enthusiastic customers who come out to the farm even under threat of inclement weather.  The Thanksgiving Holiday often gets buried under turkey and stuffing and pie. This year, I will remind myself of the things just under the surface, the roots of things, the reason why we keep doing what we do.  

 Farmers’ Markets

We’re attending two markets this coming Saturday, November 22nd: Urbana’s Holiday Market and Chicago’s Green City Market.  Urbana’s Holiday Market takes place inside Lincoln Square Mall and Green City Market is held inside the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum (on Canon Drive). Both run from 8AM to 1 PM. 

We have been busy making lots of bloomy rind cheeses for the Thanksgiving Holiday. Here’s the lineup:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Angel Food
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie
  • Black Goat—these rounds are young, but they should be great by Thanksgiving
  • Red Dawn—we made this smoked paprika-dusted bloomy rind just for the holidays.  The smokiness of the paprika is reminiscent of bacon. It should be a great addition to your holiday cheese board. 
  • Moonglo
  • Huckleberry Blue: we decided to cut just a couple of wheels of our first fall batch of this raw goat milk blue for the holiday. It is young and mild, but has a nice creamy texture.  I recommend stuffing dates with this cheese and serving them to your guests when they arrive. It would also be good lightly melted on roasted squash. 

Sarah has made some outrageously good crackers to accompany our cheeses this holiday season: Olive Oil and Sea Salt, Whole Wheat & Sesame, Fruit and Nut Crisps and Chevre-Oat. We’ll be selling bags of crackers at the Urbana Farmers’ Market. Alisa has made some delicious jams and we’ll have a limited number of jars on hand for you to purchase as well. 

Our gelato supply is limited in quantities and flavors, so we will only be bringing pints to the Urbana Farmers’ Market.  If you want some, I recommend getting to the market early.

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Pumpkin
  • Cardamom

Last call for Thanksgiving Catering Orders and Farm Holiday Hours

If you ‘ve been mulling over our catering menu trying to decide what you’d like to order, time is running out.  We must have all orders in hand by Saturday November 22nd at 5:00 PM so we can have all of our local ingredients on hand and start cooking for you early next week.  We are very excited about this new venture, and we hope you’ll give some of these treats a try.  If you’re  looking for last minute gifts to bring your Thanksgiving Holiday hosts, I recommend our “All-Illinois” cheese boards.  These are ONE of a KIND!! Check them out along with the other foods offered on our holiday menu.

The farm is OPEN during the holiday season: Weekdays from 10AM to 6PM and Sundays from 12-4PM. If you can’t make it to the farmers’ markets, come out to the farm. We’ll have cheese for sale as well as other farm products.   


 

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 11/17/2014 2:58pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Although it feels like February outside, Our Pre-Thanksgiving Holiday Sale will be held this WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 19TH FROM 4-6 PM.  We have a great selection of cheeses, a limited supply of gelato and a lot of great jams, crackers, pickles and more.

We'll be loading up the wood stove to make our barn dining room nice and cozy for shopping.

If you want to get a jump start on holiday gifts, we'll have Chippy the Goat T-shirts and hand-made goat milk soaps (made by Red Barn Farm for us with our goat milk, our cheese whey and our flowers, herbs and honey).  


Stewart's Artisan Breads will be here with an assortment of beautiful breads, bagels, rolls, cookies and chocolate babka (if you haven't tried this yeasted rich cake, you don't know what you're missing).  


Heirloominous Farm will have fall greens (kales, chard), squashes and other seasonal vegtables.

Seven Sisters Farm will have fresh, pastured-eggs and a few scans of yarn.

Caveny Farm will be here for those who have pre-ordered their Thanksgiving turkeys

Laurence, the knife dude, will sharpen your knives so they are perfect for slicing and dicing and carving the holiday bird.  

THE KITCHEN AT PRAIRIE FRUITS FARM IS OPEN FOR BUSINESS. If you're waiting to place your orders for cheese boards or other holiday foods, don't delay! These are one-of-a-kind, locally-sourced foods made with love in our farm kitchen. Sarah would love to talk to you about all the options we have!  Check out the menu and then give Sarah a call (217-840-4097) or an email (prairiefruitsinfo@gmail.com).  

You can pick up your order at the farm open house or during our holiday hours (M-F 10AM to 6PM--starts Wednesday, the 19th; 12-4pm on Sundays).  

 


 

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 11/13/2014 9:59pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

Shock and awe of a frozen nature descended from the frigid skies today: snow!  Having lived here almost 12 years, I have never seen snow fall so early in November.  It wasn’t even a few flurries mind you; at times, the sky was more white than grey, and snowflakes started to pile up on car windows and even to skiff the ground.  We rushed to cover up the garlic bed with straw mulch and batten down the goat barn hatches.  We laid down extra bedding, plugged in the water bucket heaters and put up the side windows.  All the while, the does puffed up their fur and snuggled to stay warm. 

Tonight, during milking, I went out to the barns to check on them.  Nate and Mocha were busy chasing after Habanero, who amazingly, has decided to come into heat during this turn of frigid weather.  The yearlings were nestled in a large pile underneath the hay feeder, cozy and protected from the sharp chill in the air.  The senior does were huddled in a tightly knit pile too, perfectly interwoven to maximize rumen- to-rumen contact. It’s the active rumen, digesting its hay contents, which will generate heat to stave off the unexpected cold. 

Having been lulled into a false sense of never-ending autumn, I am totally caught off guard by this sudden rush of arctic air.  The goats, too, are scrambling to cope; surely their winter coats will grow a little faster so they can better shield themselves from winter’s lashings. I’ll have to settle for layers, mittens and a brand new Carhart fleece-lined jacket. 

Farmers Markets and Holiday Sales News

We are attending the Urbana “Holiday Market” this Saturday, November 15th.  It will be cold, but we’ll be inside Lincoln Square Mall from 8AM to 1PM.  For those of you in Chicago wondering if we will be coming back to attend the indoor Green City Market, fear not. We will be there next Saturday, November 22nd for the pre-Thanksgiving holiday market.  For this Saturday, we have a nice selection of cheeses to keep you warm:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: perfectly ripe for eating this weekend; you could even pop it in the oven for a few minutes and serve it with honey and toasted nuts.
  • Black Goat: also perfectly ripe for eating this weekend; this cheese is tasting beautifully with pickled berries (maybe grapes or gooseberries) or a nice tart jam.
  • Moonglo: think fancy grilled cheese
  • Huckleberry Blue: I might have a few pieces of this piquant goat milk blue available—come early if you want some.

You might think it’s too cold for gelato, but it’s never too cold if you plan to serve it with warm pie:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Ginger—made with southern Illinois ginger!!
  • Cardamom
  • Salted Caramel
  • Pumpkin

Holiday Farm Foods and Sales

Mark your calendars for November 19th for the start of our holiday market hours.  We will be open from 10 AM to 6PM, but our “Open House” will be held from 4-6PM that day. During the open house, we’ll have cheese, gelato and other PFFC treats available for sale. Stewart’s Artisan Breads will be here with his breads, bagels, holiday rolls and other goodies. Heirloominous Farm will be here with a nice selection of fall greens, winter squash and tubers.  Caveny Farm will be here delivering pre-ordered Bourbon Red turkeys.  We may even have a few other special guests (stay tuned for more details early next week). 

It’s not too early to start placing your orders for Thanksgiving cheese boards, pies and savory dishes.  Our cheese boards feature “all Illinois” Artisan farmstead cheese makers including yours truly (PFFC), Ludwig Creamery, Marcoot’s Creamery and Jacobs and Brichford (Matt Britchford was raised in Urbana, even though their farm and creamery is in southern Indiana).  With house made crackers and jam, you won’t find this delicious and unique offering anywhere else!  To peruse the menu options and place your orders, visit our website.

Farm will be open for the Holidays

Starting November 19th (that’s next Wednesday), we will be open weekdays (Monday through Friday) from 10 AM to 6 PM.  On Saturday’s you can find us at Urbana’s Holiday Market from 8AM to 1 PM. On Sunday’s we’ll be open at the farm from 12 noon to 4PM.  Come pick up your holiday food orders, buy some cheese, gelato or other farm goodies and say hi to the goats.   


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 11/7/2014 9:46pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Greetings!

I hope you are enjoying this crisp fall evening brightened with the light of the waning moon.  I have some wonderful, late-breaking news: the menu items for our Thanksgiving Holiday fare are now posted on our website under the subheading "Holiday Food Menu."  

We will start taking orders on Monday, November 10th at 9:00 AM. You can either call or email Sarah Hess.  Her contact information is posted at the top of the page along with our guidelines for ordering. If she is not available when you call, she will get back to you within 24 hours.  We are very excited about the menu items.  Our chefs are looking forward to preparing delicious, locally-sourced foods for you and your guests!  Please note: you will have to come out to the farm to pick up your orders. We will not be able to ship.  


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 11/6/2014 9:47pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

The dairy goat equivalent of fledging the nest is their first breeding.  This week was our yearlings’ turn to fly.  I’m always a bit apprehensive about letting my “babies” grow up to become expectant mothers, but the world of production dairy is fast.  There’s not much time for codling, lest we miss an entire season of milk production. So, I developed the breeding plan (aka the selection of their mates), and we set about to ready the pens for suitors Harry, Rex and Eddie and their respective intendeds. 

While we were cleaning out the barns, I noticed that a couple of the doelings were already in heat.  Sidling up to the fence where the bucks were loitering on the other side, they waived their tales in coquettish fashion.  Not really sure what’s driving them, their instincts push them forward into adulthood.  I just stand aside and restrain myself from wanting to hold them back. 

Puttin’ on the holiday spirit at the farm We’ve been busy scheming and planning to open the farm for holiday hours and sales.  Our kitchen staff has been pulling out the cook books and the gourmet magazines to get their creative culinary juices flowing.  We’re doing a lot of fall cleaning and decorating the barn to transform it into a beautiful holiday shop.  Tomorrow afternoon or evening, I’ll be sending out the details of our Thanksgiving offerings. 

Please mark November 19th from 4 to 7pm as the launch of our holiday sales. We’ll be holding an open house that afternoon that will include cheese and gelato sales as well as sales of some of the prepared foods.  Stewart’s Artisan Breads will be here that afternoon with breads, bagels, bagel chips, biscotti, coconut macaroons, chocolate meringue cookies, granola, chocolate babka, galettes and mini-pecan pies.  We will also host Caveny Farm’s pick up of Thanksgiving Turkeys (these need to be pre-ordered through Caveny Farm).   We hope to have other farmers here as well. 

Thereafter, we plan to have regular hours of business during which time you will be able to come out and shop and pick up pre-ordered holiday foods. 

Farmers’ Market News At last, the Urbana Farmers’ Market has moved inside Lincoln Square Mall to become the Urbana “Holiday Market.” We will be just inside the south entrance of the mall (near ArtMart) from 8AM to 1PM.  Please note the slight change in venue and time.  We’ll have a nice assortment of cheeses including:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Angel Food: because we have changed the shape of the Angel Food from disc to tall cylinder, we have also changed the ripening process and flavor-texture profiles of this cheese. I have always referred to this cheese as a “brie” style, but the new shape’s flavor and texture is more reminiscent of a mini-boucheron.  If you haven’t tried this cheese in a while, I encourage you to taste it at the market.
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: the latest batch is a bit young, but is super creamy and delicious
  • Black Goat: perfect for enjoying this week
  • Moonglo: the last wheels of late spring milk batches.  The texture is still creamy and the flavors are complex and linger on the palate.  

We’re still continuing to make some gelato, despite the decline in milk production. If you’re planning to stock up for winter, now is the time. This week, we have:

  • Lemon Balm
  • Pumpkin
  • Chocolate-covered Cherry
  • Ginger
  • Cardamom
  • Honey Thyme
  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Buttermilk & Chocolate Cake

We’ll also be selling our Prairie Fruits Farm “goat-t” shirts, our goat milk soaps and our insulated tote bags.  Come see us inside Lincoln Square mall on Saturday morning. 


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 10/30/2014 9:01pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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 Farm News

I have a confession to make on the eve of Hallows eve (aka Halloween); I’m longing for plant death. We’re expecting our first killing frost tomorrow night with temperatures expected to dip into the high 20’s by midnight.  Although such sentiments seem gruesome, they really reflect a mercy killing---pepper plants that have been picked so many times, there’s just no more room for pickled peppers; okra flowers that have been enjoyed all summer; zinnia blooms of fuchsia, neon orange and lime green that just seem jarring against the muted fall hues of senescing maple leaves.   The plants that get better with frost—kale, chard, broccoli—they need some relief too. 

maple tree in color

 

For the first time in a while, we’re actually on top of the gradual process of laying our garden beds to rest.  We bit the proverbial bullet earlier this week and ripped out the remaining tomato vines.  On Tuesday, we spread some of our miracle goat manure compost, tilled it all in and planted a rye cover crop just as rains started to fall.  We even got our garlic and shallots ordered in time and planted before the rain. 

garlic planting

 

Killing frost gives a clean finality to the growing season.  You no longer have to feel guilty about trying to keep summer crops going or harvesting them when you know they have given you more bounty than you could possibly use over the winter.  Killing frosts give the farm permission to slow down, to indulge in a bit of laziness, to rest. 

Farmers’ Markets:

It will be chilly on Saturday November 1st, but we will be attending the final outdoor farmers’ market of the season at Urbana’s Market at the Square.  Put on your long underwear and come out to get some of the best local food around.  We’ll be there with our coveralls on with plenty of cheese and gelato:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence and cracked pepper
  • Angel Food Brie
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie
  • Black Goat-still a bit young, but patience in your refrigerator will be your reward for this cheese
  • Moonglo

On the gelato front, we have some delicious flavors for you.  On the bright side, it won’t melt on your way home from the market:

  • Ginger
  • Pumpkin
  • Honey Thyme
  • Cardamom
  • Salted Caramel & Gingerbread
  • Chocolate
  • Vanilla
  • Buttermilk & Chocolate Cake
  • Espresso (limited)
  • Hazelnut (limited)
  • Quince Swirl (limited)

NORTH LINCOLN AVENUE’S DETOUR FOR ROAD CONSTRUCTION IS SUSPENDED FOR THE REMAINDER OF THE FALL AND WINTER.  You can now come directly to our farm via North Lincoln without having to go around Willow and Oak Streets.  This brings me to some other great news.  The Kitchen at Prairie Fruits Farm will be crafting a range of holiday treats this holiday season. 

Holiday Farm Cooking and Farm Sales

We’ll be preparing both savory and sweet dishes to ease the burden of holiday cooking.  From cheese boards with house-made crackers and jams to stuffing to gravy to pies, we’ll make these show-stopper delectables using all local ingredients.  By the end of next week, we’ll have an ordering system in place and then you’ll be able to come out to the farm to pick them up before the holidays.  We will be hosting a holiday farm open house on Wednesday, November 19th to launch holiday food sales. Of course, you’ll also be able to purchase our regular dairy products too.  Stay tuned for details next 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 10/23/2014 9:58pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

 For some reason, I’ve been procrastinating about selecting a theme for this year’s crop of replacement doelings.  Maybe it’s been my preoccupation with breeding season, maybe it’s my worries over how to keep the does’ milk production up once they’re bred or maybe it’s just denial that this year’s “babies” will soon be grown up enough to breed.  Well, we have settled on a theme at last, thanks to Sarah, our wholesale cheese sales manager, sous chef and tour coordinator extraordinaire.  Drum roll please… It’s “weed’s and invasive plants of Illinois.”  

I admit that I resisted this theme at first. I’m partial to conferring human names on our girls.  However, once I delved into a website rich with latin and common names of well over 100 plants that invade our landscape, I was struck by the beauty of these names: Mallow, Chicory, Absinthe, Valerian.  Moreover, so many of the growth habits of these plants matched the personalities of these girls to a t. The choice was meant to be.  So, with great pleasure and not a whole lot of fanfare, I introduce some of this year’s doelings.

Chicory

AKA "Nina baby"-- beautiful and sweet like her blue flowering namesake

Thistle

AKA "Cecilia baby" but also known as "houdini" and "docent goat" because of her propensity to escape from her pen during farm tours.

Purslane

AKA "Squirrel baby"  also known for her running habits (similar to the way purslane spreads over the ground).  

Farmers’ Markets

We’re down to one outdoor farmers’ market this weekend: Urbana’s Market at the Square.  Please remember that although the outdoor market ends on November 1st, the market moves inside Lincoln Square Mall on Saturday, November 8th.  The weather this Saturday is forecast to be gorgeous, so I hope you will make time to patronize the farmers’ market.  We’ve got a nice selection of cheeses:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper and the final batch of heirloom tomato
  • Angel Food Brie
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie
  • Black Goat (very young, but will ripen in your frig if you let it)
  • Moonglo

Our fall gelato flavors just keep getting better and better:

  • Quince Swirl
  • Pumpkin
  • Buttermilk-Chocolate Cake
  • Cardamom
  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Espresso
  • A few pints of assorted other flavors including Peanut Butter and Local Grape Jam (PBJ), Toasted Coconut, Pecan Biscotti,Pear Sorbetto, Peach-Raspberry Sorbetto.
Farm Dinner Tickets Update Due to a cancellation, we have a couple of tickets available for the November 8th Farm Dinner “Autumnal Bliss” with Guest Chef Bruce Sherman of Northpond Restaurant in Chicago.  We also have plenty of seats available for the “Unthanksgiving” dinner on November 22nd (featuring comfort foods our eastern European roots) and the final dinner of the season on December 6th.  If you’ve been thinking about coming to a dinner this year, and haven’t had a chance, we’ve got some tickets for you.   


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 10/16/2014 10:00pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

We’re approaching mid-October without the slightest frost, let alone a killing frost.  Typically this time of year, the tomato vines have been struck down by a skiff of night freeze; their brown remains hanging from the trellises that have supported them all summer.  Instead, our tomatoes continue to ripen (albeit slowly and lacking in rich sweet tomato flavor so characteristic of sun-drenched summer fruit), and we feel some obligation to keep picking them.  Our herb garden is flourishing too; Thai basil, parsley, cutting celery, lemon balm, thyme and pineapple sage continue to grow with abandon.  The flowers are most impressive; the zinnias and cosmos open new vibrant blooms daily. 

fall flowers

If it were not for the utterly flat landscape and big sky that surround us, I could easily convince myself that our farm has been transported to western Oregon.  The days-on-end of rain, the cool temperatures hovering in the ‘40’s and ‘50’s, the fog that hangs low to the ground in the mornings—these signs point clearly to classic Oregon fall weather.  The forecast is calling for peaks of sun and tepid temperatures for the next week or so.  We may not see a killing frost for a while.  This presents an ethical dilemma: do we continue to pick our ripening tomatoes or let them rot on the vine? 

Nomad Pizza Returns to the Farm

Jared mans the pizza oven

Jared Batson (Chicago's Nomad Food Co.) and his portable wood-fired oven (and more importantly the pizzas he makes in this little oven) were so wildly popular at our last pop-up event in August, that we’ve invited him back to the farm for a fall Pop-Up event. He will be here this Sunday, October 19th from 12 noon to 3PM.  In addition to his Neopolitan style pizzas, he’ll be preparing some sandwiches and a side salad for our guests to enjoy as well. 

Pizzas

  • PFF Margherita w chevre
  • Black & White
  • Potato/Bacon/Carmelized Onion Jam/Cheddar/Cauliflower
  • Wild Mushroom w Chèvre and herbs  

Sandwiches

  • Portabella w herb chèvre, roasted squash, and fresh green herb mix
  • “Pep In your step” - Sliced Peperone & peppered sopresatta, roasted poblano, peppered chèvre, watercress or arugula  

Side dish Nomad Grain Salad - Ancient grain mix of red/brown quinoa, buckwheat, barley, and farro w fresh herbs, chèvre and toasted spiced pecans and pepitas - green herb vinaigrette .  

We’ll also open up the gelato dipping cabinet to offer gelato by the scoop.  As in keeping with our Pop-Up protocol, NO RESERVATIONS ARE REQUIRED AND FOOD IS AVAILABLE FIRST-COME-FIRST SERVED.  We’ll have Homer Sodas for sale, but you’re welcome to bring your own beer or wine to accompany the food.  We’ll also have live, acoustic music by Ben Bradford, a Springfield-based musician.  The weather should be mighty fine for a fall outing to the farm, so come on out this Sunday.   

Farmers’ Markets We’re attending two farmers’ markets this Saturday, October 18th: Urbana’s Market at the Square and Chicago’s Green City Market.  This will be our last outdoor market at Green City, and I will be coming up to peddle our cheese and gelato.  We’ve got:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence and cracked pepper
  • Angel Food Brie
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie
  • Moonglo

We’ve got some delicious new gelato flavors for you to try as well:

  • Chocolate-covered cherries
  • Peanut butter and local grape jam
  • Pecan Biscotti
  • Honey Thyme
  • Toasted Coconut
  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Pear Sorbetto
  • Raspberry-Peach Sorbetto

Come see us at the markets this Saturday and stock up.   


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 10/10/2014 8:54am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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We traveled north to Michigan this week to pick up our new Nigerian Dwarf bucks.  In my search for commercial milking herds with Nigerian Dwarf does, I had found a small young creamery nestled just outside of Ann Arbor.  The quest had been difficult; most folks who raise Nigerian Dwarf goats keep them for show, not for milk production.  Although they are remarkably adorable, I’m really in love with their rich milk. 

As we crossed the state line from Indiana into Michigan, the onslaught of semis dropped away and the rolling hills lined with neat rows of apples, peaches and grapes became more numerous.   Although tempted to stop to pick apples, we journeyed on, late with our date to meet the newest members of our herd.  Approaching our exit on I-94E, we entered a zone of intense thundershowers.  We drove our way through it, met by the most intense double rainbow either of us had ever seen.  The color lines were so sharp, you could see the full ROY G BIV in all its glory. The V (for violet) was especially beautiful; a benevolent omen to the start of our storybook journey.

rainbow over the highway

 

We arrived at White Lotus Farm just before sunset to see the end of the evening milking shift.  The dwarf does filed into the little milking parlor onto the little four-doe stantion. Their milk flowed into a bucket milking machine.   The creamery, located in a room attached to the same building as the milking parlor has compact, 23-gallon vat pasteurizer.  They produce beautiful small cheeses from their creamy rich Nigerian dwarf milk.  Everything in miniature; everything serene. 

white lotus milking parlor

 

The next day, after belly’s full of food from Zingerman’s Road House Restaurant and a late morning sleep in (it was 8:30 eastern time,  but really 7:30 central time, so not much of a sleep in), we ventured into Ann Arbor to get some breakfast at the famous Zingerman’s Deli.  Then, we headed back out of town to the farm to check out the does we will be buying later this fall as bred does.  It is difficult to evaluate Nigerian Dwarf does when you’re used to looking at standard breeds’ conformation. Their short and stocky stature makes it hard to evaluate the classic “dairy wedge.”  It didn’t help that they were taking a late morning lounge and really didn’t want to stand for us.  Nonetheless, we were able to pick out four does who will be joining our herd this winter. 

We had a lovely lunch of tamales and goat cheese with the farm’s cheese makers, and then headed over to the farm with the bucks to pick up our little guys.  After five minutes of hysteria, they settled into the straw in the back our Mazda pickup and remained pretty mellow for the remainder of the five-hour journey home.  Soon, their arrangement nuptials will be fulfilled.

Farmers’ Markets, Farm Food

We’re attending one market tomorrow, Saturday, October 11th: Urbana’s Market at the Square. It will be a bit chilly, but sunny—perfect fall weather for local food shopping.  Our bucks are “getting’ the job done” in the doe barn, so our milk production is starting to go down. However, we’ve still got a nice selection of cheeses for you to try and buy:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Angel Food Brie
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie
  • Black Goat (limited quantity)
  • Moonglo

Our gelato flavors are moving into fall with a few reminiscent of summer:

  • Brown-butter & Maple pecan
  • Cardamom
  • Pumpkin
  • Honey Thyme
  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Espresso
  • Peach-Raspberry Sorbetto
  • Red Currant Sorbetto

Due to a cancellation last week, we have a couple of seats open for this Saturday’s Farm Dinner “100 Yard Dinner: Gobble it Down.” This is the dinner at which we strive to craft a five course meal with ingredients raised within 100 yards of the dinner table.  Turkey is the featured protein this year. You can check out the menu on our website and find the link to our reservations page there too.  If they don’t sell by 8PM tonight, I will have them for sale at the farmers’ market tomorrow.

Also, we’ve got a theme picked out for our “Un-thanksgiving” farm dinner on November 22nd: “Our grandmothers’ kitchens.” Check out the new description on our website. Plenty of seats still available.   There are also seats available for our Holiday Party dinner on Saturday December 6th. 

Mark your calendars and stay tuned for details about our next farm Pop-Up: Sunday, November 19th; 12-3 PM. Nomad Pizza returns to 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 10/2/2014 9:30pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

Our all-male breeding chorus made its debut in the “barns” of Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery last evening.  Their serenades interspersed with buck snorts and lip curls were greeted with rave reviews from the audience.  In fact, many of the ladies in attendance rewarded their crooners with tail wags and neck rubs.  Each of the “four tenors” has his very own group of 14 to 18 adoring fans.  No, Pavarotti has not risen from his grave.  Yes, the sounds of goat love have returned to Prairie Fruits Farm. It’s breeding season once again and we’re off to a splendid start.

Many consider fall a time of agricultural endings; harvesting the crops, putting the garden beds to rest,  mulching the berry plants to protect their roots from winter’s frigid reach, goats’ lactation slowly creeping to a halt.  Yet the seeds for spring’s life—new kids, new milk—are being sown now.  

Farmers’ Markets

We’re attending two markets this Saturday: Urbana’s Market at the Square and Chicago’s Green City Market. Both of our cheese makers, Lynn and Dani, will be serving our patrons in Urbana, while Magdalena will be greeting our Chicago customers.  The weather will be a bit chilly, but don’t let that stop you from coming to the markets to shop and stock up on some great fall produce, cheese and gelato.

Cheese Offerings

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper and heirloom-dried tomato
  • Angel Food Brie
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie
  • Black Goat
  • Moonglo

Gelato Flavors to include (but not limited to):

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Espresso
  • Peanut Butter & Chocolate
  • Honey Thyme 
  • Pear Sorbetto

Farm Happenings

We’re still holding a “crop mob” tomorrow afternoon (October 3rd) from 4 to 7 pm.  We’ll be cleaning up the fallen fruit from the orchard. Come help Dani and Erica with this much-needed task and you’ll be rewarded with fresh cider and goat milk gelato. Just let Dani know that you plan to come. Her number is 815-382-2737. 

If you haven’t signed up for the Botanical Illustration workshop to held at our farm on Sunday October 12th. It’s not too late. Just go to www.carasgarden.com for details and sign up. 

Sunday, October 19th is our next Pop-Up event, 12 noon to 3PM.  Nomad Food Co of Chicago returns to bake us some wood fired pizzas in their portable brick oven.  Details coming soon


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.