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Posted 9/29/2017 9:27am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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 Farm News

With a light puff of air from the weather gods, the mercury on the thermostat slide downward to autumnal “normal” this week.  There was no great front that came through. There were no thunder clouds or turbulent air currents; just a little tweak on the atmospheric thermostat dial.  While we welcomed the crisp chill in the air, we had hoped for a little rain from the changeover.  The gentle but sudden transformation aligned the “stars” of fall with immediate effect.  On our daily walk to the prairie, the goats’ gustatory fixations turned to dried cottonwood leaves, scarfing them up like junk food junkies on a potato chip binge.  The crackling communal munching was music to my ears. 

On their way to the prairie, the girls must pass by the buck pen. This gives us a chance to see who is in heat.  The bucks, ever vigilant, patrol the perimeter, snorting and calling to whomever of the ladies that will pay them attention.  Their pacing is so persistent that they have worn a path in the pasture paddock.  The does in heat saddle up to the fence and taunt the boys with tail wags-goat flirting is a sure sign that they are in heat.  There has been a lot of flirting going on in the past couple of days.  Today, we will clean out the doe barn and set up the breeding pens.  Next Monday, the bucks will finally get to satisfy their needs and fulfill their fall duties. 

Pumpkins are another sure sign that the stars of fall are aligned.  Yesterday, I made my annual pilgrimage to The Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur, IL to fill up the back of my station wagon with the bizarre and beautiful members of the Cucurbitaceae family-one of the most diverse plant families on the planet.  I always marvel at the showy array of colors, sizes and shapes of so many squashes, pumpkins and gourds.  They are genetic selection on steroids.  Pumpkins and squashes for every purpose-roasting, baking, seeds and yes carving.  We have a small selection of these beauties for sale at our farm store this weekend and next.

Farmers’ Market Offerings: We’ll be attending the Urbana Market at the Square this Saturday, September 30th.  We still have our special dried tomato chevre, but it won’t be around for too much longer. If you love this cheese as much as I do, I would recommend stocking up.  All flavors of chevre can be frozen for enjoyment later. All three bloomy rind cheeses are back in the line-up, but feta is gone for a while.

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper, dried tomato
  • Angel Food:  our little “crottin” style bloomy rind; small enough to eat in one sitting; paste is firm (it’s young) and this cheese is perfect with a tart jam
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: our goat milk camembert; perfect served with local honey
  • Black Goat: our ash-coated bloomy with a hint of yeast on the rind; try our ACS award winning cheese
  • Magia Negra: our nod to a Manchego style cheese, sharp nutty notes with hints of tart berries. Rind is rubbed with an olive oil-black currant & aronia berry paste
  • Moonglo: our raw-milk tomme-style cheese, aged for about 4 months.  Semi-firm texture, fruity and sharp flavor notes.  Ask for a taste and you’ll be smitten.
  • Goat Milk Yogurt: Available in both pints and quarts; limited quantities this week

Crackers are on a semi-permanent hiatus as our cracker maker is busy with several other enterprises.

Gelato: take home a few pints this week (try our “three pint special: buy 3, get $3 off the total price!  With the cooler weather, we’ve got some really decadent flavors back in the line-up:

  • Watermelon-Mint Sorbetto (only two pints left)
  • Red Currant
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Turtle (decadent mixture of vanilla gelato, chocolate ganache, caramel and toasted local pecans)
  • Stracciatella (chocolate ganache chip)
  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Mexican Coffee (coffee with a hint of cinnamon and cayenne)
  • Rhubarb swirl
  • Fruitti di Bosco (fruits of the forest in Italian—black and red raspberries, aronia berry)
  • Mint Stracciatella (for those who love mint chocolate chip but without the green food coloring)

Farm Happenings

Farm Open Hours:  Please note that we shortened our open hours for the month of September.  We are now open only on the weekends (Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 PM).  We know that fall is a busy time, with kids back in school and work demands beckoning. If you need a little break from the hustle and bustle, come out to the farm.  It can be a very tranquil place in the early fall. There are still lots of things growing, and the goats love visitors any time of the year. 

The Real Stand is open for business, offering cheese, gelato, meats, eggs and other farm products.  NEW THIS WEEKEND: pumpkins and squashes from The Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur! We also have a few of their gorgeous potted mums. 

Fall Festival: With the weather finally acting like it should, we’re in a mood to celebrate the season. Come out to the farm on Sunday, October 8th (3-6 pm)—hay rides, cider pressing, cider drinking, light snacks, including a special appearance by Lucky Pierre bakers-doughnuts and muffins. SAVE THE DATE

We are planning to offer several classes and workshops later this fall (November)—cheese pairings with wine and beer and demystifying cheese for sure. We might even offer another all-day cheese-making workshop.  Stay tuned for details and dates.

Don't forget to follow directions to the farm from our website. This will ensure easy travels during the road construction on N. Lincoln Avenue. The detour is in effect until November.  

Farm Dinners:  We still have tickets available for the “Celebration of Squash” farm dinner from guest chef Nicole Pederson (Found Kitchen). The dinner is TOMORROW night, so it’s now or never. Although the meal features many members of the Cucurbitaceae plant family, it is not vegetarian.  Check out the menu.    

We also have tickets to both seatings of the October 14th “Pizza Night Out” dinners-more casual fare. Check them out too.   



Copyright 2017. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2017. 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 9/21/2017 6:33pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

If there is any theme to the rhythm of the seasons this year, it would be discord.  It would be unpredictable.  It would be set no expectations.  The cool, dry clarity of august set up expectations for fall; the fall of Midwest past: goats cycling into breeding heat, apples falling from the trees, soybean fields a blaze in rust and gold hues, market shoppers talking about soups they plan to make rather than salads. 

Early September was following the script. Then, early this week, thunder clouds rolled in, dumped nearly two inches of rain onto our cracked parched soils and cranked up the atmospheric thermostat to summer doldrums 90’s with heat index close to 100.  It was not a fleeting flare up either; this heat wave is settling in for a while.  

The abrupt change is jarring, especially on the eve of the autumnal equinox.  Autumn used to mean sweaters at sunset, not tank tops.  Goat coats should be growing not shedding.  Tomatoes should be slowing their ripening, giving the fall greens a chance to take center stage. Nature is confused, and farmers must acquiesce.  So, while we watch the combines start to roll in senescent cornfields, I will be imagining the farmers’ gratefulness for air conditioned tractor cabs.   

New arrivals at the farm A fellow farmstead goat creamery and dear friend of mine in Iowa has decided to call it quits.  She made beautiful little robiola-style cheeses and milked a handful of spoiled La Mancha goats.  When she notified me that she had made the very hard decision to stop, she asked if we would take some/most of her tiny herd (she was only milking about 12-15 goats, but, boy, are they great milkers). How could I say no? I knew her herd fairly well; I knew she treated her girls like princesses, and they gave back to her in copious quantities of lovely la mancha milk.   

So, last weekend, Erica (our herd manager) and her fiancé hitched up the trailer once again for a little road trip to Iowa-this time to get goats, not sell goats.  They arrived back at the farm with the precious cargo on Sunday afternoon. The new arrivals are slowly adjusting to their new environs.  When I enter the kid barn, and the doelings start screaming, they greenhorns look at me bewilderedly, “how did I end up here” is written all over their faces.   

Our friend had warned us that a couple of them were particularly spoiled (I’m putting a few on goat weight watchers), and they’re exhibiting full goat will power on the milk stand.  Soon enough, with Erica’s gentle (but firm) hand, they will get used to their new routine. For now, we pet them a lot, bring them low-calorie treats and reassure them that their new home is a good one.   

Farmers’ Market Offerings: We’ll be attending the Urbana Market at the Square this Saturday, September 23rd.  We still have our special dried tomato chevre and a few containers of feta available.  Angel Food is still on vacation, but will be back in the line- up next week.

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper, dried tomato  
  • Raw-milk Feta: Packed in whey brine for flavor and preservation-LIMITED AVAILABILITY
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: our goat milk camembert; perfect served with local honey
  • Black Goat: our ash-coated bloomy with a hint of yeast on the rind; try our ACS award winning cheese
  • Magia Negra: our nod to a Manchego style cheese, sharp nutty notes with hints of tart berries. Rind is rubbed with an olive oil-black currant & aronia berry paste
  • Moonglo: our raw-milk tomme-style cheese, aged for about 4 months.  Semi-firm texture, fruity and sharp flavor notes.  Ask for a taste and you’ll be smitten.
  • Goat Milk Yogurt: Available in both pints and quarts; limited quantities this week

Crackers are on a semi-permanent hiatus as our cracker maker is busy with several other enterprises.

Gelato: take home a few pints this week (try our “three pint special: buy 3, get $3 off the total price!  Check out the great variety:

  • Watermelon-Mint Sorbetto
  • Red Currant
  • Fresh Mint
  • Stracciatella (chocolate ganache chip)
  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Gianduja (chocolate-hazelnut)
  • Mexican Coffee (coffee with a hint of cinnamon and cayenne)
  • Rhubarb swirl

Farm Happenings

Farm Open Hours:  Please note that we shortened our open hours for the month of September.  We are now open only on the weekends (Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 PM).  We know that fall is a busy time, with kids back in school and work demands beckoning. If you need a little break from the hustle and bustle, come out to the farm.  It can be a very tranquil place in the early fall. There are still lots of things growing, and the goats love visitors any time of the year. The Real Stand is open for business, offering cheese, gelato, meats, eggs and other farm products. 

We are planning a “fall event” tentatively scheduled for Sunday October 8th (3-6 pm)—hay rides, cider pressing, cider drinking; stayed tuned for details, but SAVE THE DATE for now. 

Don't forget to follow directions to the farm from our website. This will ensure easy travels during the road construction on N. Lincoln Avenue. The detour is in effect until November.

Delight Flower Farm Retreat on the Farm There are still spots open for this all-day retreat at the farm, hosted by Delight Flower Farm, on Saturday October 7th. Activities include: yoga, a plant walk, a farm tour, flower arranging, an herbalism class, an introduction to Ayurveda, campfire rituals, and plenty of time to take in the healing properties of nature.  Local-farm-sourced and professionally prepared meals are included.

Here's the link: http://delightflowerfarm.com/natural-medicine-a-farmstead-retreat/ They have drastically reduced the price of this event to sweeten the pot.  You’ll be in great hands with these talented women--you'll be so relaxed and refreshed, you probably won't wont to leave the farm!

Farm Dinners:  We still have tickets available for the “Celebration of Squash” farm dinner from guest chef Nicole Pederson (Found Kitchen). She has crafted a menu that truly captures the delicious diversity of the family Cucurbitaceae.  You won’t want to miss it.  We also have tickets to both seatings of the October 14th “Pizza Night Out” dinners-more casual fare. Check them out too.   


Copyright 2017. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2017. 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 9/14/2017 7:06pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm news

At the risk of plagiarizing Garrison Keillor, “it’s been a quiet week here at Prairie Fruits Farm.”  Sometimes, quiet is good; sometimes routine is good enough.  We focused on the quotidian: the daily rituals of milking, herding the goats to the prairie, feeding all the critters, making some cheese, harvesting some vegetables and prepping for our upcoming CSA members’ farm dinner.  We watched the mid-week skies darken with rain clouds, only to be utterly disappointed with the spit-like consistency of the paltry precipitation we received.  The soil is so dry, that there are fissures in the orchard.  While we secretly hoped for some of the hurricane remnants to migrate northward and soak our parched ground, these pipe dreams don’t seem to be in the cards for our region.   

The silver lining of the drought is that the fruits taste sweeter.  We started harvesting our apples for cider this week-just a few Winesaps, just to affirm it’s fall.  While most of our apples are riddled with insect damage, they make some mighty fine cider.  As we wait for more to ripen, we’ll take a little respite and sip some fresh-pressed cider.  

Farmers’ Market Offerings:

We’ll be attending the Urbana Market at the Square this Saturday, September 16th.  Summer’s last gasp will be returning, so come early and beat the heat.  There are still loads and loads of great fresh produce to be had, and most of it goes splendidly with our cheeses.  Dried tomato chevre is scrumptious and hyper seasonal. We will have it available at the market tomorrow, but don’t wait until the last minute to get some. It might be gone by the time you there. This is our last week of selling raw milk feta at the market, so stock up (it lasts a really long time in the whey brine). 

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper, dried tomato  
  • Raw-milk Feta: Packed in whey brine for flavor and preservation, this tangy cheese is perfect for salads, grilled corn or topping a quick pasta dish. 
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: our goat milk camembert; perfect served with local honey
  • Black Goat: our ash-coated bloomy with a hint of yeast on the rind; try our ACS award winning cheese
  • Magia Negra: our nod to a Manchego style cheese, sharp nutty notes with hints of tart berries. Rind is rubbed with an olive oil-black currant & aronia berry paste
  • Moonglo: our raw-milk tomme-style cheese, aged for about 4 months.  Semi-firm texture, fruity and sharp flavor notes.  Ask for a taste and you’ll be smitten.
  • Goat Milk Yogurt: It’s BACK! Available in both pints and quarts

Crackers are on a semi-permanent hiatus as our cracker maker is busy with several other enterprises.

Gelato: take home a few pints this week (try our “three pint special: buy 3, get $3 off the total price!  We have a nice selection of “flavors of summer” mixed with comforting fall flavors:

  • Watermelon-Mint Sorbetto
  • Red Currant
  • Peaches & Cream
  • Fresh Mint
  • Stracciatella (chocolate ganache chip)
  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Gianduja (chocolate-hazelnut)
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Espresso

Farm Happenings

Farm Open Hours:  Please note that we shortened our open hours for the month of September.  We are now open only on the weekends (Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 PM). We know that fall is a busy time, with kids back in school and work demands beckoning. If you need a little break from the hustle and bustle, come out to the farm.  It can be a very tranquil place in the early fall. There are still lots of things growing, and the goats love visitors any time of the year. The Real Stand is open for business, offering cheese, gelato, meats, eggs and other farm products. 

We are planning a “fall event” tentatively scheduled for Sunday October 8th (3-6 pm)—hay rides, cider pressing, cider drinking; stayed tuned for details, but SAVE THE DATE for now. 

Don't forget to follow directions to the farm from our website. This will ensure easy travels during the road construction on N. Lincoln Avenue. The detour is in effect until November.

Delight Flower Farm Retreat on the Farm The talented women who own Delight Flower Farm are hosting an all-day retreat on the farm, Saturday October 7th.  Events will include: yoga, a plant walk, a farm tour, flower arranging, an herbalism class, an introduction to Ayurveda, campfire rituals, and plenty of time to take in the healing properties of nature.  Local-farm-sourced and professionally prepared meals are included. Here's the link: http://delightflowerfarm.com/natural-medicine-a-farmstead-retreat/ They have drastically reduced the price of this event to sweeten the pot.  You’ll be in great hands with these talented women.  

Farm Dinners:  We still have tickets available for the “Celebration of Squash” farm dinner from guest chef Nicole Pederson (Found Kitchen). She has crafted a menu that truly captures the delicious diversity of the family Cucurbitaceae.  You won’t want to miss it.   

Menu 
First Course Roasted Squash and Tomato Soup
Second Course Squash Mezze Thinly sliced squash spread with walnut/pepper paste Squash borani, pff goat yogurt, saffron water- with Squash blossom paratha Braised Goat, PFF Feta Cheese and squash  
Third Course “Cider can” Guinea Fowl with Grilled Squash and Squash bbq sauce Simple mashed squash with butter and warm spices Squash Slaw
Fourth Course Selection of Prairie Fruits Farm Cheese with Squash moraba (preserves with cardamom and rosewater- Persian) Squash membrillo Squash Seed Cracker
Dessert Squash cake, apple cider icing, crab apple butter, goat's milk gelato  

We also have tickets to both seatings of the October 14th “Pizza Night Out” dinners-more casual fare. Check them out too.   First Seating and Second Seating


Copyright 2017. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2017. 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 9/7/2017 6:18pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm news

The early morning air is crisp and dry. There’s a slight bite when you open the door, forcing you to grab a sweatshirt before you venture outside.  The sky light has a piercing quality; there must be something about the sun’s angle this time of year. Through the vibrant greenery colored globes of ripening fruits hang on the vines.  It’s fall and the time of overabundance has arrived.  The excitement of eating the first fresh ripe veggies has waned, and it’s time to preserve the harvest bounty. 

Sarah, our gelato maker, changed culinary hats this week. The gelato freezer fell silent, the canning jars were sterilized and the canning pot was filled with water to boil. We perused our respective preservation cook-books and came up with a plan to go pickle crazy.  Bush-bean picking got you down? How about some dilly beans?  Carrots pushing their shoulders above the soil line? Pickle ‘em! Tired of grilling eggplant? Make a pickled eggplant relish. Cabbage heads taking up too much space in your fridge? Make some kraut.  The acrid smell of hot vinegar wafted throughout the farm kitchen, and the lovely pop of well-sealed jars interrupted light conversation and kitchen music. 

In honor of canning season and in celebration of all those women (and men) slaving over a hot stove so they can enjoy a little bit of summer later on, I am sharing a poem I wrote a few years ago to celebrate my mother-in-law’s 90th birthday. Now approaching 93, she still cans, just not as much.

Edith’s hands, she cans
Hands deep-lined, sun-dappled hands pierce red-brown dirt,
heritage of long-dead volcanoes.
Curved fingers dig deep, pull gnarly carrots,
double joints come in handy sometimes.
Hands snip bursting grape clusters,
fingers twist and pluck peaches from their drooping branches.
Jars aligned on the counter, water boiling on the stove top warmly await the harvest bounty.
Production time is here!
Hands peeling, fingers coring…
More sugar?
No sugar?
Hands pack peeled fruit into jars
maybe one more peach half… get it in there!
Jars, fruit-laden, lowered into boiling water
Strong, confident hands lift canning ring-full of jars onto counter,
tea towels await to soften the shock.
Hands rest on hips, waiting for the sign…..
Pop! Pop! Pop!
Lids are sealing
summer is trapped.
Cold hands loosen over hot coals of the wood stove, pry open a jar of peaches.
Summer escapes into the cold and damp,
reminds those hands how good that dead ripe peach tasted, dripping down her chin.  

Farmers’ Market Offerings:

We’ll be attending the Urbana Market at the Square this Saturday, September 9th. The crisp fall weather will be perfect for shopping. Don’t let the cool weather fool you; there are still tons of great summer and early fall produce at the market, and cheese goes well with so many veggies and fruits. The lovely little Juliet tomatoes are finally ripening, and the food dryer has been busy.  This means our first batch of dried tomato chevre will make its seasonal debut this weekend (better get to the market early if you want some):

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper, dried tomato  
  • Raw-milk Feta: Packed in whey brine for flavor and preservation, this tangy cheese is perfect for a watermelon salad. Want to “fancy” it up? Try cutting into cubes and marinating in extra virgin olive oil with some fresh herbs. 
  • Angel Food: our little compact bloomy rind—firm paste, mushroomy rind-VERY LIMITED availability
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: our goat milk camembert; perfect served with local honey
  • Black Goat: our ash-coated bloomy with a hint of yeast on the rind; try our ACS award winning cheese
  • Magia Negra: our nod to a Manchego style cheese, sharp nutty notes with hints of tart berries. Rind is rubbed with an olive oil-black currant & aronia berry paste
  • Moonglo: our raw-milk tomme-style cheese, aged for about 4 months.  Semi-firm texture, fruity and sharp flavor notes.  Ask for a taste and you’ll be smitten.

NO YOGURT or CRACKERS THIS WEEK. Crackers are on a semi-permanent hiatus as our cracker maker is busy with several other enterprises.

Gelato: take home a few pints this week (try our “three pint special: buy 3, get $3 off the total price!  We have a nice selection of “flavors of summer” mixed with comforting fall flavors:

  • Watermelon-Mint Sorbetto
  • Red Currant
  • Thai Basil (limited)
  • Matcha green tea (limited)
  • Fresh Mint
  • Stracciatella
  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Gianduja (chocolate-hazelnut)
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Espresso

Farm Happenings

Farm Open Hours:  Please note that we shortened our open hours for the month of September. These are subject to change if we find that people are just not able to come out. We know that fall is a busy time, with kids back in school and work demands beckoning. If you need a little break from the hustle and bustle, come out to the farm.  It can be a very tranquil place in the early fall. There are still lots of things growing, and the goats love visitors any time of the year. The Real Stand is open for business, offering cheese, gelato, meats, eggs and other farm products. 

Fridays, 1-6 PM

Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 PM

Don't forget to follow directions to the farm from our website. This will ensure easy travels during the road construction on N. Lincoln Avenue. The detour is in effect until November.

Delight Flower Farm Retreat on the Farm The talented women who own Delight Flower Farm are hosting an all-day retreat on the farm, Saturday October 7th.  Events will include: yoga, a plant walk, a farm tour, flower arranging, an herbalism class, an introduction to Ayurveda, campfire rituals, and plenty of time to take in the healing properties of nature.  Local-farm-sourced and professionally prepared meals are included. Here's the link: http://delightflowerfarm.com/natural-medicine-a-farmstead-retreat/ They have drastically reduced the price of this event to sweeten the pot.  You’ll be in great hands.  

Farm Dinners  

We received the menu for the “Celebration of Squash” farm dinner from our guest chef Nicole Pederson (Found Kitchen). She has crafted a menu that truly captures the delicious diversity of the family Cucurbitaceae.  There are still a few tickets left for this event. With guest farmer Mac Condill of the Great Pumpkin regaling guests with squash tales, you won’t want to miss it.   

Menu Celebration of Squash Dinner  
First Course: Roasted Squash and Tomato Soup
Second Course Squash Mezze: Thinly sliced squash spread with walnut/pepper paste Squash borani, pff goat yogurt, saffron water- with Squash blossom paratha Braised Goat, PFF Feta Cheese and squash  
Third Course: “Cider can” Guinea Fowl with Grilled Squash and Squash bbq sauce Simple mashed squash with butter and warm spices Squash Slaw
Fourth Course: Selection of Prairie Fruits Farm Cheese with Squash moraba (preserves with cardamon and rosewater- persian),Squash membrillo, Squash Seed Cracker
Dessert: Squash cake, apple cider icing, crab apple butter, goat's milk gelato  


Copyright 2017. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2017. 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 8/31/2017 7:13pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

Farm News

In about one week, we’ll be sitting down to the farm dinner table with nearly 60 guests to celebrate the diverse labors of the farm. It’s our annual “100 Yard Dinner,” a ritual we have been practicing for nearly ten years!  In the thick of the farming season, it’s easy to get lost in the weeds (literally and figuratively) and lose sight of the diversity we have cultivated on our little postage stamp of a farm.  The food that is brought to the table is the culmination of a season’s work (sometimes more than one season’s worth), and embodies the minds and hands of many micro-entrepreneurs who share and work the farm with us.

The planning for the meal begins in mid-winter, when the ground is frozen and covered with a skiff of snow. By this time, amnesia has set in, blanketing the summer stress of so many tomatoes rotting on the ground.  Instead, the playboy sex appeal of seed catalogues lures you back to purchase way too many varieties of way too many vegetables.  This year will be different. Nothing will go to waste; everything will be eaten fresh or pickled or canned or frozen. 

The orchard lies dormant, awaiting its spring prune, ever hopeful for continuous cold (so as not to break dormancy and kill those insect pests burrowed beneath the tree canopies.)  Winter wipes the slate clean for the dreams of the next season—to bear fruits unblemished from pests and diseases (the organic fruit grower can dream can’t she??).  The goats are pregnant and dry, eating obliviously to stay warm and grow the next generation in their wombs, slowly allocating resources to another season of milk production. 

With light and warmth, thawed ground and fresh compost, the flurry of prepping and planting the garden begins in April. This year’s vegetable garden has been tended lovingly by one of our incubator farmers, “Deux Chevaux.” They tilled, shaped their beds, put down weed barrier and drip irrigation and then planted lots and lots of seedlings and seeds. As I look out at the many hours of their labors, and the fussing over tiny plants, I see a garden brimming with tomatoes, watermelon, peppers, tomatillos, greens, beans, eggplant and herbs; it has never looked better. 

The orchard bore a respectable peach crop, despite threats from the usual suspects: a cool, wet spring, a near-miss killing frost in April, new & old insect pests and brown rot. The apples are ugly but plentiful, pitted with plum curculio damage, but ripening slowly. Even the blackberries, usually raided by misbehaving goats, have respectable ripe berries on their canes.  The two women who tend our orchard spent countless hours pruning and judiciously spraying with biological agents to fend off the pests. In the three years that they have been managing the orchard, they have experienced the joys and sorrows of raising organic fruits. They have learned to work smarter, not harder; they have learned to let go of the quixotic quest for beautiful and perfect organic fruit (they sold lots and lots of ugly but delicious peaches to Triptych Brewery to turn into a sublime peach Belgian ale).  We convinced them to just cut out the bad parts, pick out the insect larvae and savor the sweet-tart joy of a perfectly ripe peach.  We pick up apples from the ground and eat around the bruises.  It’s the truce we’ve come to with the critters and climate over which we have little to no control. 

We always raise poultry for the 100 Yard Dinner. Of course, we usually keep a dozen hens to give us eggs, but this year, we pulled out the stops to raise both Freedom Ranger chickens and guinea fowl.  Not having raised guineas for a couple of years, a familiar kind of selective memory (mostly about how delicious they taste and forgetting about how challenging they are to raise) had set in regarding their husbandry.  The Freedom Rangers are like your perfect child; they come as sturdy little day-old chicks, they grow quickly, they rarely get ruffled by daily stresses and they eat lots and lots of bugs.  Before you know, they are ready for their “one bad day” trip to Arthur.

Guineas, by contrast, are poultry possessed by a poltergeist. The keets (baby guineas) squeeze through the tiny holes in the fencing of their pen and make you chase them around the barn.  As they get older, they like to fly to roost. If they find a crack in the bird netting above their pen, they will fly out and make you chase them through the stacks of hay and the piles of farm junk stored haphazardly in the barn.  Once they graduate to the moveable “chicken tractor,” they try to escape every time the tractor is moved on to fresh vegetation. Once they escape, they’re as good as gone forever, since they hide in the orchard vegetation and then get eaten by predators.  Wes’ solution to their kamikaze tendencies—a giant fish catching net.  Attrition is low this year (cross fingers).

The goats are the starlets of the farm.  Last year’s fall breeding produces an annual crop of captivating kids in March; their curiosity and affections winning over even the biggest curmudgeons among us.  The mothers’ milk flows easily and prolifically in spring, giving us the “problem” of what to do with all that milk.  Their daily gushes let us sock away several batches of raw milk cheeses to enjoy when the wells begin to dry.  The cheese makers toil in their daily routines, transforming liquid to solid, cleaning and tending the aging cheeses and their environs as if they were livestock.  The gelato maker takes what milk she can, working her magical sense of frozen flavors with the season’s bounty of fruits, herbs and nuts.  Day in, day out; spring turns to summer and summer turns to early fall. Seasonal milk changes and the dairy artisans go with the flow.

The dairy is the lifeblood of the farm, and the herd manager keeps the goats healthy and engaged.  She escorts them daily to their prairie and browse; she notices when someone isn’t quite right or someone just needs some extra TLC.  Like a well-seasoned parent, she has learned when to be firm and when to indulge. 

Then, there are the beautiful flowers we admire from our dining patio. The vibrancy of colors, the multiple canopies with showy heads, seducing the bees and native pollinators with their scents and nectar runways.  Each week, I have marveled at the talents of the women who run Delight Flower Farm, their ability to craft sumptuous bouquets from the tidy rows in their flower garden.  Their arrangements will welcome our guests to the dinner table. The whole of our farm is greater than the sum of its parts. 

Although seemingly disparate, the micro-enterprises are connected. They feed each other and then they feed us. Waste vegetables and discarded flower stems are fed to chickens; chicken eggs and meat are enjoyed.  Goat manure fertilizes the gardens, the orchard and the pastures. The vegetables, fruits, dairy products and animal proteins are prepared with love and care by the chefs, and we sit at the table and marvel at what we have grown this year.   

Market News This holiday weekend, we’re attending Urbana’s Market at the Square. The forecast is looking great for hordes of local foods shoppers to descend on the farmers’ market.   Here is the line-up of cheeses for this coming Saturday:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper-butterfat is slowly going up, making the chevre even creamier than usual
  • Raw-milk Feta: Packed in whey brine for flavor and preservation, this tangy cheese is perfect for a summer “Greek” salad; with watermelon in season, how about feta & watermelon salad?? Get it while it lasts!
  • Angel Food: our little compact bloomy rind—firm paste, mushroomy rind-very ripe and gooey this week
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: our goat milk camembert; young but scrumptious
  • Black Goat: our ash-coated bloomy with a hint of yeast on the rind; try our ACS award winning cheese
  • Magia Negra: our nod to a Manchego style cheese, sharp nutty notes with hints of tart berries. Rind is rubbed with an olive oil-black currant & aronia berry paste
  • Moonglo: Our spring batches have a lighter, fruitier flavor profile than our rich & decadent fall batches.  Ask for a taste and you’ll be smitten.

NO YOGURT or CRACKERS THIS WEEK

Gelato: take home a few pints this week (try our “three pint special: buy 3, get $3 off the total price!

  • Bourbon Peach Sorbetto
  • Grape Two Ways Sorbetto
  • Peaches & Cream
  • Red Currant
  • Thai Basil
  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Gianduja (chocolate-hazelnut)
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Mint Stracciatella

Farm Happenings

Farm Open Hours:  

Please note that we shortened our open hours for the month of September. These are subject to change if we find that people are just not able to come out. We know that fall is a busy time, with kids back in school and work demands beckoning. If you need a little break from the hustle and bustle, come out to the farm.  It can be a very tranquil place in the early fall. There are still lots of things growing, and the goats love visitors any time of the year. The Real Stand is open for business, offering cheese, gelato, meats, eggs and other farm products.  We are planning to offer a few fall themed events. Stay tuned for details and dates.

  • Fridays, 1-6 PM
  • Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 PM

Don't forget to follow directions to the farm from our website. This will ensure easy travels during the road construction on N. Lincoln Avenue. The detour is in effect until November.

Family Friendly Happy Hour on the Farm:  TOMORROW September 1st 5-7 PM.  This is the final happy hour of the season

Our guest brewer will be Triptych. They’ll be bringing some tasty microbrews to share.  If beer isn’t your thing, we have a fantastic selection of organic and biodynamic wines and Homer Sodas. David Bane of Bane Family Meats returns to the farm grill to cook up some his delicious pasture-raised chickens.  Finish the night with a scoop of gelato or a root beer or Triptych Prairie Peach Picnic ale float.  You can even come out and do some shopping-cheese, gelato, veggies grown at the farm by Deux Chevaux Farm (our incubator veggie growers).  The Sweedler Brothers will be back to serenade you with their gypsy-jazz tunes. 

Delight Flower Farm Retreat on the Farm The talented women who own Delight Flower Farm are hosting an all-day retreat on the farm, Saturday October 7th.  Events will include: yoga, a plant walk, a farm tour, flower arranging, an herbalism class, an introduction to Ayurveda, campfire rituals, and plenty of time to take in the healing properties of nature.  Local-farm-sourced and professionally prepared meals are included. Here's the link: http://delightflowerfarm.com/natural-medicine-a-farmstead-retreat/ If you register by September 1st, they’re offering an early-bird discount ($100 off the total registration).   

Dinners on the Farm: Get your tickets NOW before they’re all sold out. Seats still available for the September 30th Celebration of Squash and the October 14th Pizza Night Out Pop-Up.  


Copyright 2017. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2017. 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 8/25/2017 8:05am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

Eclipse mania started early last week in these parts.  With the zone of totality within an easy two hour’s drive south, it seemed like everyone we knew was getting in their cars to face the traffic jams on I-57.  The pull of the magnetic corona was tugging at their hearts and minds- the chance to witness nearly two minutes of total coverage irresistible. We knew that the farm would keep us grounded in the nearly total eclipse realm.  While we had heard that 94% was nothing like totality, we were resigned to embrace whatever show nature had in store for us here at home.

As usual, we had not planned. We had no special viewing glasses. We were short-staffed.  The forecast was calling for clouds in our area, maybe even a brief shower.  As the morning wore on, we went about our daily chores, peering up at the sky from time to time, watching the clouds shift across and block the sun.  The eclipse was going to be a bust, we thought, assuaging our feelings of regret for not having followed the crowds to southern Illinois.  At close to 10:30, a pop-up shower dumped a few drops of rain on the farm, and then a couple of miraculous things happened: the sun came out and some friends came over with some viewing glasses. 

We decided to take the goats down to the prairie during the eclipse.  There was a slight haze in the sky, but without the viewing glasses, you would be hard pressed to realize that something was starting to cover the sun.  As the eclipsed progressed, however, the light in the sky began to change and the air became totally still.  The dim brightness reminded me of eerie pre-tornado skies.  The diurnal insects fell silent. The guinea fowl began their evening ritual of whooping and cackling, their tiny prehistoric brains believing it was dusk. The goats meandered through the prairie, munching on flowers, pulling down cottonwood branches to dine on their leaves, seemingly oblivious to the subtle changes in the sky.  From time to time, we would done the special glasses to view the progress of the moon’s coverage of the sun.  Yet, the beauty and wonder of the eclipse was the translucent light and the behavior of the critters with whom we spend our days. 

Market News

We’re attending two markets this coming Saturday, August 26th: Urbana’s Market at the Square and Chicago’s Green City Market. This will be our FINAL outdoor Green City Market.  We plan to attend a couple of the indoor markets around the holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas).  We have enjoyed selling to our patrons in Chicago, and we value your support over all these years.  The logistics of getting our cheese and gelato to market in Chicago has become extremely challenging.  We continue to sell our cheeses to select retail cheese shops, and we recommend that you patronize Local Foods, Pastoral, Eataly and several of the Whole Foods stores.  Here is the line-up of cheeses for this coming Saturday:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper-it’s perfect on grilled veggies or a quick summer salad
  • Raw-milk Feta: Packed in whey brine for flavor and preservation, this tangy cheese is perfect for a summer “Greek” salad; with watermelon in season, how about feta & watermelon salad??
  • Angel Food: our little compact bloomy rind—firm paste, mushroomy rind
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: our goat milk camembert
  • Black Goat: our ash-coated bloomy with a hint of yeast on the rind; this latest batch is young but delicious
  • Magia Negra: our nod to a Manchego style cheese, sharp nutty notes with hints of tart berries. Rind is rubbed with an olive oil-black currant & aronia berry paste
  • Moonglo: Our spring batches have a lighter, fruitier flavor profile than our rich & decadent fall batches.  
  •  Goat Milk Yogurt: we’re only making small batches of yogurt once every few weeks, so if you’re fond of our simple yogurt, come early to the markets-pints and quarts available.

Gelato: take home a few pints this week (try our “three pint special: buy 3, get $3 off the total price! * indicates flavors that will be available at both Urbana and Green City Markets):

  • Bourbon Peach Sorbetto*
  • Grape Two Ways Sorbetto
  • Chevre with Sea Salted Dark Chocolate
  • Lemon Verbena
  • Peaches & Cream
  • Red Currant*
  • Thai Basil*
  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Gianduja (chocolate-hazelnut)
  • Espresso
  • Salted Caramel Swirl*
  • Pineapple Sage with Fresh Pineapple (limited)
  • Stracciatella (limited)

Farm Happenings

Farm Open Hours:  With school back in session, we are shortening our open hours, effective next week (week of August 28th) through the end of September:

Fridays, 1-6 PM Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 PM

You can still stroll the farm, visit with the goats and check out the offerings in our farm store, The Real Stand. We will still be serving gelato by the scoop. We’ll even serve you a cup of espresso with gelato (very Italian—“Affogato”).  We will always have cheese, pints of gelato, meats, eggs and other farm products for sale as well. 

Don't forget to follow directions to the farm from our website. This will ensure easy travels during the road construction on N. Lincoln Avenue. The detour is in effect until November.

Family Friendly Happy Hour on the Farm: NEXT Friday September 1st 5-7 PM.  This is the final happy hour of the season.  Our guest brewer will be Triptych. They’ll be bringing some tasty microbrews to share.  If beer isn’t your thing, we have a fantastic selection of organic and biodynamic wines and Homer Sodas David Bane of Bane Family Meats returns to the farm grill to cook up some his delicious pasture-raised chickens.  Finish the night with a scoop of gelato or a root beer or Triptych Prairie Peach Picnic ale float.  You can even come out and do some shopping-cheese, gelato, veggies grown at the farm by Deux Chevaux Farm (our incubator veggie growers). 

Delight Flower Farm Retreat on the Farm The talented women who own Delight Flower Farm are hosting an all-day retreat on the farm, Saturday October 7th.  Events will include: yoga, a plant walk, a farm tour, flower arranging, an herbalism class, an introduction to Ayurveda, campfire rituals, and plenty of time to take in the healing properties of nature.  Local-farm-sourced and professionally prepared meals are included. Here's the link: http://delightflowerfarm.com/natural-medicine-a-farmstead-retreat/ If you register by September 1st, they’re offering an early-bird discount ($100 off the total registration).   

Dinners on the Farm: Get your tickets NOW before they’re all sold out. Seats still available for the September 30th Celebration of Squash and the October 14th Pizza Night Out Pop-Up.  


Copyright 2017. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2017. 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 8/18/2017 9:44am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

I'm very sorry. The new link didn't work for some people, so I've created a photo collage. Enjoy!

pavilion construction collage


Copyright 2017. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2017. 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 8/18/2017 8:53am by Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery.

new header

Hello patrons and friends:

Apparently, only I could see the photos in the first link I sent you to the photos of the pavilion construction. I have created a new link, and I believe it is now visible to the public. Take a look. My apologies for duplicate postings this week.

https://photos.google.com/album/AF1QipO9hgQIAs6Ovwpn9HRsdF2Qg0jZSSJ9Qjy__b-a

Pavilion construction project photo collage


Copyright 2017. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2017. 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 8/17/2017 10:51pm by Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery.

new header

Farm News

This week, we built a pavilion.  I should clarify. We erected the timber frame, the bones of a pavilion.  The timbers, cut with precision by Trillium Dell Timberworks, arrived on a flatbed trailer. Like Lincoln logs on steroids, the pieces were laid out in sections, each with numbers corresponding to a detailed assembly drawing.  After the unload, measurements were made and remade.  As we poured over the drawing, the work crew captain gave us the basic game plan for assembly.  I tried to make my brain connect the dots between the giant timbers before us and the beautiful building on paper, but alas, my brain is not wired to make these connections easily.  As such, I was relegated to simple tasks: shoveling piles of dirt off the patio, staining the timbers with oil, helping to move the large pieces of wood into place and taking lots and lots of pictures. 

The more nimble and agile among us set to work erecting scaffolding and securing the main beams in place once erected.  The crew leaders marveled at the skill and strength of the mostly female work crew we had assembled.  As the high-wire work ensued, they climbed the scaffolding without fanfare, hard-hats and security straps in place and got to work aligning the cross-beams, drilling in the screws and pounding in the wooden pegs.  After two and a half very long days, and lots of sweat and sunburned skin (and lots of water and gelato breaks), the skeleton was in place.  The structure is tall and majestic in its simplicity.  Take a look at some of the pictures we took: https://photos.google.com/album/AF1QipO9hgQIAs6Ovwpn9HRsdF2Qg0jZSSJ9Qjy__b-a

Farmers’ Markets

We’re attending one market this Saturday, Urbana’s Market at the Square. The weather should be perfect again for shopping, and the market is brimming with amazing summer produce. Our cheeses go well with the savory and sweet

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper-grab some heirloom tomatoes and basil and make yourselves a goat caprese salad
  • Raw-milk Feta: Packed in whey brine for flavor and preservation, this cheese is perfect for a summer “Greek” salad. With watermelon in season, how about feta & watermelon salad??
  • Angel Food: our little compact bloomy rind—firm paste, mushroomy rind
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: our goat milk camembert, it’s pretty gooey this week-try some on a burger
  • Black Goat: our ash-coated bloomy with a hint of yeast on the rind; this latest batch perfectly ripe!
  • Magia Negra: our nod to a Manchego style cheese, sharp nutty notes with hints of tart berries. Rind is rubbed with an olive oil-black currant & aronia berry paste
  • Moonglo: Our spring batches have a lighter, fruitier flavor profile than our rich & decadent fall batches.  In addition to the picture perfect wedges, we are selling some discounted wedges that have some rind imperfections.  These are strictly cosmetic cracks that occurred when we had some temperature fluctuations in our aging room this spring.

No crackers or yogurt this week

Gelato: take home a few pints this week (try our “three pint special: buy 3, get $3 off the total price!):

  • Pineapple Sage with Fresh Pineapple
  • Chevre with Sea Salted Dark Chocolate
  • Lemon Verbena
  • Peaches & Cream
  • Red Currant
  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Salted Caramel Swirl

Farm Happenings

Farm Summer Hours:  Summer is almost over (man, did it go by fast), so if you haven’t made it out to the farm during our open hours, don’t delay. Our week-day AND weekend hours are a great way to visit the farm when there aren’t lots of people here.  Take in the tranquility of the landscape and enjoy a scoop of gelato in the shade.

Shop the Real Stand Farm store for cheese, meats, eggs, and gelato.  We still have Babb Farms, sweet corn! It’s tender and sweet, and it’s grown just up the road from our farm (this weekend is probably going to be the last opportunity to get their delicious bi-colored corn). We also have local honey by “Two Million Blooms.” It’s spring honey, so the color is a light golden. It’s really delicate and floral.  We also have Autumn Berry Jam—this tart jam will go splendidly with any of our bloomy rind cheeses.  We have a brand new batch of goat milk soaps for sale too. 

Peaches are done for the season (late varieties succumbed to insect damage and brown rot), but stay tuned for apple picking. 

Open hours are:

  • Wednesdays, 3-6 PM
  • Fridays, 11 AM to 6 PM
  • Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 PM

Don't forget to follow directions to the farm from our website. This will ensure easy travels during the road construction on N. Lincoln Avenue.

Family Friendly Happy Hour on the Farm: Friday August 18th 5-7 PM. 

This is the second to last summer happy hour of the season (last one is September 1st).  The weather should be perfect for an early evening outing at the farm. We’ve got a great new selection of small-batch regional microbrews from Pollyanna, Middle Brow and Unity Vibration.  We also scored the last few cases of Triptych’s Prairie Peach Picnic farmhouse ale (made with last year’s PFF peaches), so try some as peach beer float (with vanilla gelato).  We have an amazing portfolio of organic and biodynamic wines if beer isn’t your thing.

Chef Raquel Ritz will be standing over a hot grill to serve up some fried fish and pulled cabrito sandwiches.  This week’s cheese boat features angel food, house-made crackers and a dollop of autumn berry jam.  Of course, we’ll have pickle plates, popcorn and DIY cheese and charcuterie options as well. Guest musicians,

Chickadee Sermon, will be here to serenade you.   Finish the night with a scoop of gelato or a root beer or Prairie Peach Picnic ale float. 

You can even come out and do some shopping-cheese, gelato, veggies grown at the farm by Deux Chevaux Farm (our incubator veggie growers).  They’re featuring vine-ripened tomatoes and basil to put with a tub of chevre for an instant caprese-style salad!! The hot dry weather is giving the tomatoes the richest flavor!!

We’ll be doing a drawing for TWO FREE TICKETS to our Pizza Night Out Pop-Up dinner on October 14th.  You must be present to enter (one ticket per person please). 

Dinners on the Farm

The opportunities for reserving a seat at one of our farm to table meals are dwindling. We now have two dinners with seats open: September 30th “Celebration of Squash” with guest chef Nicole Pederson of Found Restaurant, Evanston, IL and guest farmer, Mac Condill, of The Great Pumpkin Patch.  If you attended one of our dinners with Mac in the past, you know you’re in for an entertaining AND scrumptious evening.  The Pop-up Pizza Night Out” with Sunday Dinner Club Chefs is the last of their series with us (October 14th). This casual meal will feature chef Josh Kulp’s famous ‘square pizzas,’ made with love and plenty of local-ingredient toppings.  They’ll be cooked to perfection on our wood-fired grill. 

Fall on the Farm: We’ve been scheming about a few fall special events for the farm. Apple picking and cider pressing are definitely on the docket. Stay tuned for details in the coming weeks.  


Copyright 2017. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2017. 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 8/10/2017 10:00pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

Farm News

I get so much joy watching my animals eat. Perhaps because I love good food myself, or maybe it’s my “jewish mother” tendencies, but the sight and sound of goats enjoying good forage warm my soul.  I rarely get to partake of our daily ritual of shepherding the goats to the prairie and riparian zone, but this week, I was able to steal a little time to accompany them on their daily walk.  They look forward to this routine; by mid-morning, they line up at the back of the barn, waiting for the shepherds to escort them beyond the fenced pasture. 

As soon as the gate is opened, they rush into the prairie tearing off mouthfuls of the first leaves they encounter.  Dragon flies the size of mini-pterodactyls hover overhead, while barn swallows dive bomb the other insects dislodged by the pushing and shoving goats.  They shimmy their way down the hill toward the prized cottonwood tree leaves.  Nimbly they stand on their hind legs to pull down the branches so that all can partake.  When the branches within reach are stripped of their green goodness, they move on to the other delectable woody browse at the edge of the creek—honeysuckle, black locust and multi-flora rose await them. They wrap their lips around the delicate twigs, and within minutes, leaves are dislodged and the thorns are left behind. 

The adventurous of the group scurry up the levy to check out other potential morsels.  The timid are cajoled through the tall prairie plants to the safety of the old hay field. Relieved to see the horizon, they bury their heads in the pasture, pulling up clumps of thistle and orchard grass.  As they fill their bellies with the emerald riches, my mind wanders to the milk that will come from all this eating. 

It’s National Farmers’ Market Week-celebrate by supporting the farmers

We’re attending both Urbana’s Market at the Square and Chicago’s Green City Market this Saturday, August 12th.   A note to our patrons at Green City Market: Our last outdoor market of the season will be August 25th.  We’ve had a number of logistical challenges getting our products to market this year, and so, we will be cutting our season short. We plan to attend the indoor markets prior to Thanksgiving and Christmas. We value your patronage and thank you for your support.

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Raw-milk Feta: Packed in whey brine for flavor and preservation, this cheese is perfect for a summer “Greek” salad.
  • Angel Food: our little compact bloomy rind—firm paste, mushroomy rind
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: our goat milk camembert
  • Black Goat: our ash-coated bloomy with a hint of yeast on the rind; this latest batch is not quite as gooey as last week’s, but it is SOO delicious!
  • Magia Negra: our nod to a Manchego style cheese, sharp nutty notes with hints of tart berries. Rind is rubbed with an olive oil-black currant & aronia berry paste
  • Moonglo: Our spring batches have a lighter, fruitier flavor profile than our rich & decadent fall batches.  The flavor is grassy and slightly tart. In addition to the picture perfect wedges, we are selling some discounted wedges that have some rind imperfections.  These are strictly cosmetic cracks that occurred when we had some temperature fluctuations in our aging room this spring.
  • Huckleberry Blue: The last few wedges were cut this week, and we only have enough to send to the Urbana market. VERY LIMITED.
  • Goat Milk Yogurt: our plain, whole-milk yogurt is simple and delicious.  Both markets, but limited quantities

Crackers ARE BACK!! We’ll have a nice selection at both markets this week.

Gelato: try some great flavors this week:

  • Nectarine Sorbetto -very limited
  • Lemon Crème (made with juice and zest of Meyer lemons)
  • Mint Stracciatella
  • Pineapple Sage with Fresh Pineapple
  • Chevre with Sea Salted Dark Chocolate
  • Lemon Verbena
  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Mexican Coffee (cinnamon and a hint of cayenne)

Green City Market Gelato Flavors:

  • Pineapple Sage
  • Lemon Verbena
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Nectarine Sorbetto

Farm Happenings Farm Summer Hours:  

Our week-day AND weekend hours are a great way to visit the farm when there aren’t lots of people here.  Take in the tranquility of the landscape and enjoy a scoop of gelato in the shade. Shop the Real Stand Farm store for cheese, meats, eggs, and gelato.  We have Babb Farms, sweet corn! It’s tender and sweet, and it’s grown just up the road from our farm. NEW in the store: local honey by “Two Million Blooms.” It’s spring honey, so the color is a light golden. It’s really delicate and floral.  We also have Autumn Berry Jam—this tart jam will go splendidly with any of our bloomy rind cheeses.  We have a brand new batch of goat milk soaps for sale too.  U-pick peaches are still on hold as we wait for the next varieties to ripen. Open hours are:

  • Wednesdays, 3-6 PM
  • Fridays, 11 AM to 6 PM
  • Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 PM

Don't forget to follow directions to the farm from our website. This will ensure easy travels during the road construction on N. Lincoln Avenue.

We’re building a pavilion! For years, we’ve been planning to construct a pavilion over our patio so that we can extend the outdoor dining season and have good cover when pop-up showers occur.  Well, these plans have finally come to fruition, and we’re working with Trillium Dell to construct a beautiful timber frame structure next week. WE NEED SOME HELP! We’re looking for 10 volunteers per day to help erect the structure next week—Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. We'll feed you lunch and give you all the gelato you can eat in exchange for your helping hands.  If you’re available for any or all of those days, please email us at prairiefruits@gmail.com 

Family Friendly Happy Hour on the Farm: Friday August 18th 5-7 PM.  This is the second to last summer happy hour of the season (last one is September 1st). If you’ve been away, or just haven’t had a chance to visit the farm on a Friday evening, now’s your chance.  We’ve got a great new selection of small-batch regional microbrews that we’ll be offering for this Happy Hour, along with our great selection of wines. Chef Raquel Ritz returns to the grill to serve up some fried fish and pulled cabrito sandwiches.  Of course, we’ll have other snacks and cheese plates to round out your gustatory needs.

Guest musicians, Chickadee Sermon, will be here to serenade you.   Finish the night with a scoop of gelato or a root beer float.  You can even come out and do some shopping-cheese, gelato, veggies grown at the farm by Deux Chevaux Farm (our incubator veggie growers).  They should have lots of great produce next week, as lots of stuff is starting to ripen in the garden now.

Farm Dinners

The Summer Vegetarian Dinner (August 19th) with guest Chef Dan Compton (Vie Restaurant, Western Springs IL) and guest farm & brewery Big Thorn Farm has a few seats still available.  The menu and beer pairings are divine:

reception
chevre-stuffed marinated peppers
moonglo cheese straws, smoked apple butter, summer squash escabeche
angel food and roasted cabbage empanadas, tomatillo salsa
citra sour  
first
heirloom tomatoes, wood-grilled corn, hawaiian bread, aioli, tarragon oil, hot peppers, black goat
farm pale with citra hops  
second
grilled summer vegetables cacio e pepe: beans, squashes, eggplant, tropea onions, kale, broccoli, magia negra, brown rice cake
farm red ale  
third
tart cherry clafouti, fresh blueberries, lemon verbena sour cream
scruit  

After August, we have plenty of seats still available for our “Celebration of Squash” feast with guest chef Nicole Pederson of Found Restaurant, Evanston, IL and guest farmer, Mac Condill of the Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur. We also have tickets to our “Pop-up pizza night” in October with Sunday Dinner Club chefs. All other dinners are sold out.  


Copyright 2017. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2017. 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.