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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.

Posted 9/26/2014 8:28am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

The passing of a matriarch

We sustained another major loss this week with Chippewa (Chippy)’s passing. Intellectually, I know that death is part of life.  Rational thought leads me to understand that we all age over time and that the aging process can be more or less harsh to living beings.  Despite these fundamental truths, I would often whisper into Chippy’s long Nubian ears that she had to live forever.  Her skeleton frame had been telling me otherwise for the past year, but I kept up the pep talks nonetheless. Her upbeat attitude contradicted the wasting image before me.

Just like some people get “under your skin,” Chippewa got under mine.  She was a doe who made you believe she was a person reincarnate.  Most goat herds have a dominant female and for most of her eleven years, Chippy was the obvious matriarch.  She strutted the pastures with an air of confidence reminiscent of a politician (a benevolent leader, I’d like to believe, although she was subject to head butting).  She was one of most humanly social goats; always the first to rush to the fence to greet newcomers, always the first to seek me out when I walked out into the pasture.  She practically commanded you to rub her face, frequently closing her eyes with pleasure.  She exuded empathy, seemingly sympathetic to herd mates in trouble or humans feeling down.  Earlier this summer, I watched her intervene in a tiff between two younger does.  Their “argument” was clearly escalating, and Chippy inserted herself between the rival parties to break up the fight.  Her body finally gave out earlier this week, and we buried her alongside Hershey in our prairie. She lives on in our hearts and in our logo. 

Chippy

Rumbling of the earth movers

The hulking earth movers arrived this week in the field south of our farm. The assault on the beautiful farmland that surrounds us will begin on Monday, September 29th.  While they are excavating dirt and moving it across the road, North Lincoln Avenue will be closed just south of our driveway for an indefinite period of time.  We will have detour signs put up along the detour route so you will still be able to come out to the farm.  I have also spelled out alternate directions from both Urbana and Champaign on our website

Farmers’ Markets and Other Farm Happenings

We’re attending one market this Saturday, September 27th: Urbana’s Market at the Square.  The butterfat is starting to go up in our milk, so our chevre is taking on that extra creamy texture.  We’ll have plenty of chevre, along with a full lineup of our other cheeses:

  • Plain, herbs de Provence and cracked pepper
  • Angel Food Brie
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie
  • Black Goat
  • Moonglo
  • Huckleberry Blue (last of the spring batches)

The gelato flavors just keep coming:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Thai Basil
  • Lemon Balm
  • Peach Pie (chunks of peach pie folded into vanilla gelato-YUM!!)
  • Ginger
  • Espresso
  • Peach-Raspberry Sorbetto
  • Nectarine Sorbetto

The weather should be perfect for market going, so come on out and stock up on fall's bounty.

Don’t forget to sign up for a very special event on the farm: Botanical Illustration with local artist, Cara Cummings. Come spend a day on the farm to learn about botanical illustration, start a painting, tour the farm, eat  lunch prepared on the farm with local ingredients, and end the day with a fun discussion of everyone’s work while tasting artisan cheeses and, if you choose, sip some wine (byob).  

When: Sunday, October 12 2014 — 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

Where: Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery

What: A botanical illustration workshop

Price: $55.00

Register: www.carasgarden.com   You will receive an e-mail within 24 hours of registering that will include a supplies list, agenda, and other supporting materials for the class.
botanical illustration workshop

 


 

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 9/18/2014 10:21pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

The slow creep of fall is flowing over the farm.  It’s a subtle slow moving set of changes: slightly shorter days, slightly drier air, green vegetation slowing its growth, tree leaves stiffening, buck scents wafting up from the north pasture.  The intensity of the sunny afternoons is muted and is welcomed by the does lounging in the pasture, chewing their cud. Instead of fleeing the summer sun’s heat, we now welcome its restrained warmth.  It’s a time of year that we relish, knowing that cold weather extremes are not too far behind. 

We harvested a few boxes of very ugly apples and pressed them all into cider. Ben harvested our potatoes yesterday; we’re marveling at their size and their yields.  Tomato production is slowing down, but they still taste like summer.  Alisa brought back a carload of pumpkins, squashes and gourds from The Great Pumpkin Patch in preparation for our weekend “Cucurbit Love Affair” set of Farm Dinners-one at Prairie Fruits Farm on Saturday, another at The Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur on Sunday. 

Our neighbor harvested the swath of corn that will become Olympian Drive East yesterday.  This was a sad harvest for us.  In another couple of weeks, North Lincoln Avenue will be closed to through traffic just south of our farm.  We will be putting up maps showing detour routes and we’ll be signing the roads so folks can still find their way to our farm.  We will do our best to minimize the impact of this construction project on our farm. 

Farmers’ Markets

We’re attending two markets this Saturday, September 20th: Urbana’s Market in the Square and Chicago’s Green City Market.  We have a couple of new chevre flavors for you to try this week—both include a little bit of Kilgus Farmstead cow cream, so we’re calling them “creamy chevre.”

  • Creamy Tomato Chevre
  • Creamy Honey-Lavender Chevre
  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Angel Food Brie
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie
  • Black Goat
  • Moonglo
  • Huckleberry Blue—these are the last few wheels of blue cheese for the season, so get them while they last.

We’ve started making some fall flavors of gelato this week as well as our regulars:

  • Pumpkin
  • Honey Ginger
  • Ginger
  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Peach-Raspberry Sorbetto
  • Nectarine
  • Chocolate-Caramel-Gingersnap

Upcoming Farm Events We have a number of private events at the farm this month, so we won’t be holding a “Third Friday Pop-Up” event in September. However, in October, we’ll be bringing back Jared Batson of Nomad Food Co. to make us some more of those delicious wood-fired pizzas.  To accommodate his busy market schedule, he’ll be here on a Sunday afternoon—October 19th from 12 noon to 3PM.  He plans to make several other dishes in the wood fired oven, so stay tuned for more details as we get closer to the date of the Pop-Up. 

Also in October, we’ll be hosting local artist, Cara Cummings who will be offering a very special workshop on Botanical Illustration.  Here are the details. 

A Botanical Illustration Workshop at Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery

botanical illustration ad

Cara Cummings is excited to partner with Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery to offer a day on the farm where you will have the opportunity to learn about botanical illustration, start a painting, tour the farm, eat  lunch prepared on the farm with local ingredients, and end the day with a fun discussion of everyone’s work while tasting artisan cheeses and, if you choose, sip some wine (byob).

When: Sunday, August 12 2014 — 9:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. 

Where: Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery

What: A botanical illustration workshop

Price: $55.00

Register: www.carasgarden.com   You will receive an e-mail within 24 hours of registering that will include a supplies list, agenda, and other supporting materials for the class.  

Lastly, we still have plenty of seats for the final two farm dinners of the season—November 22nd “Un-thanksgiving Meal” and December 6th-“Holiday Party. “  You can find details about the dinners and make reservations through our website. 


 

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 9/11/2014 10:04pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

Over two inches of rain fell on our prairie soils yesterday.  Most of it soaked right into those lush green pastures and our garden loaded down with ripening tomatoes.  The rain didn't slow down the ripening of corn and soybeans around us. The corn stocks seem to have turned burnt yellow overnight.  The combines will be rolling soon. The tropical winds that brought us the rain subsided and were overtaken by cold gusts from the north.  Why does fall come so suddenly? From sweat and shorts last week to hooded sweatshirts today; it’s hard for our bodies to adjust.  This sudden shift in the weather is sure to bring the does into heat.  Breeding season is just around the corner.  The smell of goat love is in the air.

Farmers’ Markets, Farm Dinners

We’re attending one market this Saturday, September 13th: Urbana’s Market at the Square.  Fall will be the air; perfect weather for enjoying some cheese.  We’ll have:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • An assortment of bloomy rind cheeses including Angel Food Brie, Little Bloom on the Prairie, and Black Goat
  • Moonglo
  • Huckleberry Blue

There might be a slight chill in the air, but that just means your gelato won’t melt before you get home from the market.  We have some great new flavors as well as the tried and true standards:

  • Honey Thyme
  • Chocolate-Caramel-Gingersnap
  • Sweet Corn (probably the last of the season)
  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Cantaloupe-Thai Basil Sorbetto
  • Nectarine Sorbetto

We have a few open seats to our upcoming farm dinner “Cucurbit Love Affair” with Guest Farmer Mac Condill of the Great Pumpkin Patch, Saturday, September 20th from 4:00 to 8:00 pm.  Chef Alisa is still putting the final touches on the menu, but every course will feature a different type of pumpkin or squash.  We have 4-5 tickets available. Please email me if you’re interested (prairiefruits@gmail.com) first-come-first-served.  We’re also doing a companion meal AT the Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur on Sunday, September 21st.  The event starts at 5:00 and the price includes wine pairings with each course.  Sleepy Creek Vineyards will be pouring a selection of their wines.  For more information and to make reservations, follow this link: http://the200acres.com/store/farm-to-fork-dinners/farm-to-fork-ticket-sunday-september-21-2014/ 


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 9/5/2014 7:32am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

We lost our first-born kid yesterday; our wether, Hershey.  Hershey was our “learning curve” kid.  He was born the Monday after Thanksgiving almost ten years ago. His mother, Chocolate, a first freshener at the time, got pregnant within two weeks of arriving on our farm in July of 2004. As utter novices to world of goats and goat births, we had NO idea she was pregnant until a little buckling appeared “in the manger” (no kidding—he was hiding under a hay feeder when I found him that auspicious Monday night).  He grew like a weed, and we decided to keep him as a wether (a castrated male goat for the un-initiated).  He had a jolly carefree personality. 

Wes with Hershey as a baby

 He was always in need of a head scratch or a body nuzzle.  Having no real job on the farm, he had an enviable life.  His hearty appetite and lust for grain lead to episodic “Atkins style” goat dieting—grass hay, but he always managed to avail himself of whatever goodies the other goats were offered. He hung out with our other boys during their off season (always being so tolerant of their buck antics), and then he would join the does during breeding season. 

It was only a few weeks ago that we noticed a sudden drop in his weight.  His appetite was still strong, so we chalked up the weight loss to old age. Yesterday, Wes found him lying on his side, unable to get up.  We called the vet and they discovered tumors in his abdomen.  We made the tough decision to euthanize.  He died peacefully with his head cradled in my lap. 

Hershey was Wes’ buddy. He reflected on the loss: “Last night at Open House, I was looking at the young of the year with the guests.  Someone asked me what the hardest part of having our farm was – haying, milking, feeding, planting, managing money, employees, guests.  It came to me immediately – ‘watching one of your goats die.’ He was a great goat; hearty and healthy his whole life on the farm.  We console ourselves with the thought that he had a great life, a week of not feeling his normal self, and a few minutes to die with the people who loved him, carrying a good appetite up to the end.  I couldn’t ask for more myself.”

Farmers’ Markets, Farm Dinners and Special Events We’re attending two Farmers’ Markets this Saturday: Urbana’s Market at the Square and Chicago’s Green City Market. If it’s delicious cheese you need, it’s cheese we’ve got:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper AND HEIRLOOM TOMATO CHEVRE!!—yes, we’ve been busy drying those succulent Juliet tomatoes to make our seasonal tomato chevre.
  • Angel Food Brie
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie
  • Black Goat
  • Moonglo
  • Huckleberry Blue

We have lots of great local flavors of gelato for you this week (* indicates flavors available at both markets):

  • Honey Lavender*
  • Sweet Corn*
  • Fresh Mint*
  • Cantaloupe Melon Sorbetto
  • As well as Vanilla and Chocolate

Although our summer open house season has come to an end, stay tuned for announcements about special events at the farm. For example, NEXT FRIDAY, September 12th  (5 PM start time), we’re hosting a fundraiser dinner for the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra.  They still have a few tickets available for sale. Here’s the menu to temp you:

  • Chocolate Mint Iced Tea
  • Grilled watermelon and heirloom tomato salad with house made goat-milk yogurt dressing and thai basil  
  • Herb roasted Lake Superior Whitefish with German potato salad, creamed corn and green bean relish
  • Prairie Fruits Farm cheese plate with preserves and house made crackers
  • Local plum and cornmeal cake with honey thyme gelato

For more information and to make reservations, please call the CU Symphony Orchestra Office from 10AM to 5PM at 217-351-9139 


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.