News

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Posted 5/2/2019 11:16pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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 Farm News

The farm has become a water world. The dry lot behind the barns is a pond, a liquid barrier across which the goats won’t cross to get to the pasture. The grass between our house and the barns barely peaks above the ephemeral pools. The borrow pit pond, whose steep barren banks once exposed the destruction of construction, now hide under the shimmering serenity of water overflowing toward the creek and even flowing westward toward the road. Just when the sky appears to brighten and offer some reprieve, another round of thunder clouds rolls in to unload a continuous round of raindrops.

As the frustration and exasperation give way to resignation, I am thinking that it’s good time to be an amphibian. The trilling toads have started to trill during the daylight hours, emboldened by the expanding water world that surrounds them.  Surely it must be easier to find a mate in the continuous pools; surely they must feel that time is on their side.  

In between the raindrops, our last doe kidded on April 30th; she dropped twin bucklings with little fanfare.  Despite a few challenging and tragic deliveries, this year’s kidding season was swift and smooth. The oldest group of kids has been weaned, and the younger ones are growing like weeds. It’s a relief to know we can sleep soundly without worrying about late-night or early morning deliveries.  

Farm Market Offerings This Weekend: First Urbana “Market at the Square” starts May 4th, 7 AM to 12 Noon.

This is our 14th season at the Urbana Farmers’ Market. Our location is the same as last year-in the southwest corner of the market (first row, next to Moore Family Farm). We’re excited to be back outside with our fellow farmers. We are flush with cheese and gelato for the first farmers’ market. Our cheeses are the perfect foil for early spring veggies like asparagus, greens and wild-harvested ramps.  Try a simple sauté or lightly roast some veggies with olive oil and top with any of our spring cheeses: easy to make and a flavor party in your mouth.

Here’s the cheese lineup:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie—There’s a nice gooey layer between the rind and the paste now. It tastes like buttery mushrooms! Try warming it with spiced pecans (Voss Pecan orchard will be at the market this weekend!) and a drizzle of local honey
  • Angel Food-our little crottin style bloomy, it’s compact, firm with a tangy paste. As it ages, the mushroom notes from the rind take hold. Slice over a salad of fresh local greens.
  • Black Goat-our ash-coated mold-ripened cheese. The rind looks like brain corral; the paste is still firm and fudgy with a slightly yeasty bread dough flavor on the palate.  Enjoy with local honey or a dollop of local jam.
  • Moonglo-Enjoy a wedge of this complex, raw-milk beauty. Each wheel is washed in a cultured brine made with pear-leaf tea. It’s great with local charcuterie or melt it for a fancy grilled cheese sandwich.

Grab a pint gelato (3 pint special is still a thing—buy 3, get $1/pint off) :

  • Vanilla
  • Buttered Pecan (with Voss Orchard pecans)
  • Maple walnut (with Funk’s Grove maple syrup)
  • Salted caramel swirl
  • Lemon Crème
  • Chocolate
  • Stracciatella (chocolate ganache ribbons in vanilla gelato)-very limited
  • Black Currant-Cassis—made with locally grown black currants from Midwest Agroforestry Solutions and Kentucky distilled cassis (black currant liqueur)

Can’t make it to the market on Saturday morning? No worries: the farm is open this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, 1-4 pm.

During the month of May, the farm is open weekends, 1-4 pm each day. You can still visit with the goats (the babies are growing so fast), stroll through the orchard and just check for new signs of spring life on the farm.  You can also enjoy a scoop of gelato OR cheese board with a glass of wine/beer or a black currant spritzer.  Need a little caffeine? We can make you a special espresso drink. We can even put a scoop of gelato for an “affogato. 

SUNDAY CINCO de MAYO SPECIAL: Lucky Pierre fresh hot bagels and chevre AND DOUGHNUTS!!! Limited availability so first come first served.

Check out the new items in our farm store and stock up on local products:

-eggs, meats and poultry from Bane Family Meats (Sidney)

-soaps from Red Barn Farm (including loofa soaps and liquid soap)

-Pancake mixes from Funks Grove Heritage Fruits & Grains-think pancakes with jam and chevre!

-Animal Welfare Approved Bandanas

-Charcuterie from Piemonte Sausage Co.  (pancetta, pork loin filleto)

-locally milled flours from Janie’s Mill AND MORE!

Other Farm Happenings 

There are a few open seats for the first seating (10 am to 12 noon) of the Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet. Check out the amazing menu that Chef Raquel has crafted and book your reservations NOW.  The second seating is sold out!

I’ve posted a bunch more of the farm dinner themes and dates on our website and our ticket sales page (ShowClix), so check them out and make some reservations. We have some great additions this year:

  • Jake Chappell, Chef of Vincent in Chicago will be doing a lamb dinner
  • Eric Damidot, Chef of NoMi Kitchen (Park Hyatt, Chicago) will be doing a France meets Midwest themed meal
  • Chef Raquel Ritz is tackling a five course meal focused around all things milk
  • The Great Pumpkin Patch is back this year for our very popular Pumpkin & Squashes themed dinner
  • Vicia Restaurant, St. Louis (Chef Michael Gallina) will venture north for a Sunday afternoon local food feast
  • and we’ll end the season with a Whole Hog-Triptych brewery holiday feast.

These tickets go fast, so grab ‘em while you can.

CSA sign up through Blue Moon Farm! Blue Moon Farm is offering a new customizable CSA (Community Supported Agriculture for those unfamiliar). They are partnering with a number of other local farms (including ours) to offer “add-ons” in addition to their weekly vegetable shares.

The customizable CSA puts you in charge of deciding what products you want and when you want them.  They have multiple pick up locations too! Their season starts some time in May, so don’t delay in signing up for a one-stop shop of some of the best local food in Central IL.

Behind the Scenes Tour & Tasting

Michael Darin, our special events coordinator extraordinaire, will be offering weekend tours of the farm with a tasting of several cheeses. The first tours will be offered on Saturday/Sunday, May 18th/19th at 2 pm and again at 3 pm. These tours will be offered twice monthly through the summer. Guests will gather under the Prairie Pavilion to start the tour. Michael will give a brief history about the farm and some background about the owners Wes Jarrell and Leslie Cooperband. 

He will then guide guests around the farm and creamery where they will learn about raising goats, how the farm functions day-to-day, as well as how the creamery transforms our goat milk into delicious cheese and gelato. The tour will end with an interactive cheese tasting in the Real Stand Farm Store.   

Tours are conducted rain or shine, and last approximately 45-minutes. Please be prepared to walk around the farm; comfortable closed-toed shoes are advised. No reservations are required, Cost is $10 for adults, $6 for kids 12 and under. Glasses of wine or beer can be added to the tasting for a tour price of $6.   

Goat Walk Happy Hour

How about accompanying the goats out to pasture after their evening milking and then enjoying a glass of wine or beer or a special cocktail with some cheese? We will be hosting a very special happy hour like no other on Thursday, June 27th, 6-8. We will be taking reservations for this event (limited to 50 guests only), so save the date and stay tuned for more details.  


Copyright 2019. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2019. 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 4/25/2019 8:50pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

Farm News

We have an emotional attachment to our peaches. Our farm was founded partly on the promise of a dead-ripe peach in the heat of summer. So, we try to do right by them during the critical stages of their life cycle. The 2019 winter to try men’s (and women’s) souls, with its apocryphal polar vortex, seemed to buy us time in March to prune our peach trees before bud break.

In between goat births, we were able to take out dead wood and re-establish the open candelabra habit so typical of a well-groomed peach tree. Little did we know at the time of pruning that the dye had already been cast with the flower buds. The minus 20 degrees F and below temperatures that encased the farm in early February had killed them.  As the orchard awoke this past week, we saw the casualties in plain sight. There are some apples and a few pears in white bloom, but the lovely sea of pink in the south end of the orchard is absent.

The peaches have leafed out without a single flower.  No flowers, no fruit. There will be a void of chin-dripping sweetness this summer; we can only hope that our fruit farmer friends in the southern part of the state fared better than we have. 

“April showers bring May flowers,” typically trite and evocative of lovely images, feels especially cruel this spring.  I feel more like the refrain from the ‘60’s pop song “Please stop the rain…” Like so many of our fellow farmers, chomping at the bit to get out and till the ground and plant, we cringe at the sight of the darkening sky and the sound of rain drops ricocheting on the metal roof.  There is nowhere else for any more rain to go. Despite the exponential growth of greenery, the poor roots can’t soak up this wetness fast enough. 

We stew in our frustrations, unable to clean out our barns, unable to spread our compost to make room for more manure once we can clean out our barns, unable to till up our pasture so we can reseed with some wonderful new forages for the goats.  There’s hollow consolation in commiserating with our fellow farmers. Farmers obsess about the main driver of their livelihood, the one thing over which they have no control. 

Fourth and Final Week of Full Menu “Babies & Brunch” with Chef Raquel Ritz

On a happier note, all delicious things have their season, and “Babies & Brunch” is all about early spring. Come join us for our final full-menu brunch of the season, this Saturday, April 27th. The farm is open 10 am to 2 pm. The Illinois Marathon is happening in and around C-U in the morning, so take care to find open routes out of town.

In keeping with her efforts to craft delicious food from as many local farms as possible, Chef Raquel’s brunch menu looks amazing. Be sure to get here early so you can sample as many of the menu items as possible. You can visit with the goats, sample cheeses, enjoy a scoop of gelato, see the babies and enjoy brunch. 

Parking is limited due to continued wet and soggy ground. We encourage our guests to carpool. New this year-if you have 4 or more people in your car you can park for free! Fewer than four? We are requesting a $5/car donation (this is not mandatory, but with the extremely wet weather we’re experiencing this spring, our parking spaces are quite limited).

Delight Flower Farm will be here doing another Pop-Up Flower Shop in front of our barn.

Cow Creek Farm will be here again selling ramps (wild-harvested from their farm’s woodlands near Paxton IL)-ramps are wild leeks that emerge from forest soils before the trees have a chance to leaf out. They have a very short season, and their flavor is beautifully complex—onion x leek x garlic. 

Farm Market Offerings This Weekend

This weekend, we’ll debut a full-house of bloomy rind cheeses. Also, this is your last chance to get our special spring flavor of chevre: Chevre with Fresh Chives and Lemon Zest. Here’s the lineup:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie—still young, but developing some nice flavors. There’s a slight gooey layer between the rind and the paste now. If you like it with more goo, just let it age in your fridge for another week or so.
  • Angel Food-our little crottin style bloomy, it’s compact, firm with a tangy paste. As it ages, the mushroom notes from the rind take hold.
  • Black Goat-our ash-coated mold-ripened cheese. The rind looks like brain corral; the paste is still firm and fudgy with a slightly yeasty bread dough flavor on the palate.  Enjoy with local honey or a dollop of local jam.
  • Moonglo-Enjoy a wedge of this complex, raw-milk beauty. Each wheel is washed in a cultured brine made with pear-leaf tea. It’s great with charcuterie or melt it for a fancy grilled cheese sandwich

OR get a scoop or pint gelato:

  • Vanilla
  • Lemon Crème
  • Chocolate
  • Stracciatella (chocolate ganache ribbons in vanilla gelato)
  • Black Currant-Cassis—made with locally grown black currants from Midwest Agroforestry Systems (Vulcan Farm, Sidney, IL) and Kentucky distilled cassis (black currant liqueur)

Check out the new items in our farm store and stock up on local products:

-eggs, meats and poultry from Bane Family Meats (Sidney)

-soaps from Red Barn Farm (including loofa soaps and liquid soap)

-Pancake mixes from Funks Grove Heritage Fruits & Grains-think pancakes with jam and chevre!

-Animal Welfare Approved Bandanas

-Charcuterie from Piemonte Sausage Co.  (pancetta, pork loin filleto)

-locally milled flours from Janie’s Mill AND MORE!

In addition to “Babies & Brunch,” the farm will be open on Sunday from 1-4 pm. Although we won’t be offering brunch service, you can “Build your own Cheese Board” with wine/beer, peruse the farm store and visit with the goats-young and old.  You might even get lucky and catch a goat giving birth!

Other Farm Happenings

We’re now taking reservations for our Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet. We have two seatings—10 am to 12 noon and 12:30-2:30. Check out the amazing menu that Chef Raquel has crafted and book your reservations NOW.  Seats are going fast. The first seating is almost sold out!

I’ve posted a bunch more of the farm dinner themes and dates on our website and our ticket sales page (ShowClix), so check them out and make some reservations. We have some great additions this year:

  • Jake Chappell, Chef of Vincent in Chicago will be doing a lamb dinner with Catalpa Grove Farm
  • Eric Damidot, Chef of NoMi Kitchen (Park Hyatt, Chicago) will be doing a France meets Midwest themed meal
  • Chef Raquel Ritz is tackling a five course meal focused around all things milk
  • The Great Pumpkin Patch is back this year for our very popular Pumpkin & Squashes themed dinner
  • Vicia Restaurant, St. Louis (Chef Michael Gallina) will venture north for a Sunday afternoon local food feast
  • We’ll end the season with a Whole Hog-Triptych brewery holiday feast. 

Yoga with Goats Maggie Taylor, owner of Delight Flower Farm, will once again be offering goat yoga this spring. She has posted a number of dates with ticket sales in progress. Several dates are already sold out! This playful take on yoga practice will surely delight—check out the dates and book your reservations now.

CSA sign up through Blue Moon Farm! Blue Moon Farm is offering a new customizable CSA (Community Supported Agriculture for those unfamiliar). They are partnering with a number of other local farms (including ours) to offer “add-ons” in addition to their weekly vegetable shares.

The customizable CSA puts you in charge of deciding what products you want and when you want them.  They have multiple pick up locations too! Their season starts some time in May, so don’t delay in signing up for a one-stop shop of some of the best local food in Central IL. 


Copyright 2019. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2019. 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 4/19/2019 6:28pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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 Farm News

In my self-proclaimed tradition of reflecting on Earth Day from a farmer’s point of view, I’ve decided to write about the current language around food and farming this year.  There’s an ever-growing chasm between those who raise food and those who consume it, leaving those who consume at the mercy of the food labelers and marketers to provide context for food purchasing decisions.  The folks in the middle of the food chain have become the translators. They often use words and images to evoke a 19th century picture of farming: farmers toiling the land with small machinery, growing and harvesting the crops themselves, raising their livestock on pastures, letting their chickens run around the yard.  The intent is to assure consumers that these products are wholesome and healthful, raised with care and kindness. Yet the words and images don’t usually mesh with the reality of our large-scale industrialized food system. If consumers try to verify these claims, they hit a wall of privacy or are led to opaque websites with scant information about the actual farms. 

Contrast this scenario with the language of direct market farmers. Their signs are often hand-written, their products sometimes imperfect, their words often scant, letting the products speak for them.  They grow varieties that don’t ship well, they pick fruits closer to their peak ripeness, they raise their livestock on a small scale, allowing the animals to express their true natures.  They don’t spend much money on slick labels; they want to engage their customers in direct conversations. They want to tell folks what’s tasting really good right now, they want to show patrons pictures of their prized pig or their champion chicken.  The length of their food chain is typically two to three people deep.  Theirs is the language of flavor, of color, of health, of sensory excitement.  On the eve of Earth Day, as we contemplate our relationship to our planet, consider your own food dialect and try learning the language of your local farmers. 

Third Week of Full Menu “Babies & Brunch” with Chef Raquel Ritz

Chef Raquel keeps upping her culinary game. This Saturday’s brunch menu looks amazing and features so many great local farms and food artisans. Be sure to get here early so you can sample as many of the menu items as possible. Remember: Saturday, the farm is open 10 AM to 2 PM. You can visit with the goats, see the babies and enjoy brunch. 

Parking is limited due to continued wet and soggy ground.

We encourage our guests to carpool. New this year-if you have 4 or more people in your car you can park for free! Fewer than four? We are requesting a $5/car donation (this is not mandatory, but with the extremely wet weather we’re experiencing this spring, our parking spaces are quite limited).

Delight Flower Farm will be here doing another Pop-Up Flower Shop in front of our barn.

Cow Creek Farm will be here selling ramps (wild-harvested from their farm’s woodlands near Paxton IL)-ramps are wild leeks that emerge from forest soils before the trees have a chance to leaf out. They have a very short season, and their flavor is beautifully complex—onion x leek x garlic. 

Farm Market Offerings This Weekend

We can’t stop making this special spring flavor of chevre because we can’t stop eating it ourselves: Chevre with Fresh Chives and Lemon Zest.

In addition, we have:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie—first of the season, goat-milk camembert-style—this batch is still young, but we couldn’t resist offering it to you for your holiday tables this weekend
  • Moonglo-celebrate National #rawcheeseday and grab a wedge of our rich and complex raw-goat milk tomme. Each wheel is washed in a cultured brine made with pear-leaf tea. It’s great with charcuterie or melt it for a fancy grilled cheese sandwich

OR get a scoop or pint gelato:

  • Vanilla
  • Lemon Crème
  • Chocolate
  • Stracciatella (chocolate ganache ribbons in vanilla gelato)
  • Black Currant-Cassis—made with locally grown black currants from Midwest Agroforestry Systems (Ogden, IL) and Kentucky distilled cassis (black currant liqueur)

Check out the new items in our farm store and stock up on local products for your spring holiday needs:

-eggs, meats and poultry from Bane Family Meats (Sidney)

-soaps from Red Barn Farm (including loofa soaps and liquid soap)

-pancake mixes from Funks Grove Heritage Fruits & Grains-think pancakes for Easter brunch

-Animal Welfare Approved Bandanas

-Charcuterie from Piemonte Sausage Co.  (pancetta, pork loin filleto)

-locally milled flours from Janie’s Mill AND MORE!

In addition to “Babies & Brunch,” the farm will be open on Sunday from 1-4 pm. If you’re looking for a fun activity to take your holiday guests to between meals, take them to the farm on Sunday afternoon. Although we won’t be offering brunch service, you can “Build your own Cheese Board” with wine/beer, peruse the farm store and visit with the goats-young and old. 

Other Farm Happenings

We’re now taking reservations for our Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet. We have two seatings—10 am to 12 noon and 12:30-2:30. Check out the amazing menu that Chef Raquel has crafted and book your reservations NOW.  Seats are going fast.

I’ve posted a bunch more of the farm dinner themes and dates on our website and our ticket sales page (ShowClix), so check them out and make some reservations. These tickets go fast. 

Yoga with Goats Maggie Taylor, owner of Delight Flower Farm, will once again be offering goat yoga this spring. She has posted a number of dates with ticket sales in progress. Several dates are already sold out! This playful take on yoga practice will surely delight—check out the dates and book your reservations now.

CSA sign up through Blue Moon Farm! Blue Moon Farm is offering a new customizable CSA (Community Supported Agriculture for those unfamiliar). They are partnering with a number of other local farms (including ours) to offer “add-ons” in addition to their weekly vegetable shares. The customizable CSA puts you in charge of deciding what products you want and when you want them.  They have multiple pick up locations too! Their season starts some time in May, so don’t delay in signing up for a one-stop shop of some of the best local food in Central IL. 


Copyright 2019. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2019. 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 4/11/2019 9:45pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

Farm News

There’s a vibrant color that now carpets the land around the farm. It’s a color we haven’t seen around here for too long a time; the color green.  Perhaps I’ve been so consumed by cheese making this spring that I didn’t notice the transformation. The monochromatic schema of browns and greys suddenly has given way to Technicolor splendor. There are other signs as well: the rhubarb leaves have popped out of the ground, hiding their ruby stocks below. A small flock of egrets circled overhead the barn this afternoon, appearing to engage in a courtship ritual.  The hum of the trilling toads crescendos in the evening air over the pond, evidence of amphibian love songs and tadpoles to come.

We are beginning the second wave of kidding, this time mostly the first-time mothers.  As they move from yearlings to new mothers, they seem perplexed by their transformation.  Their instincts and their hormones command them to undergo the pains of labor, only to deliver new life that they resist claiming as their own. It takes some coaxing to get them to clean off their newborn kids.  They act so surprised that this wet and slimy being has emerged from their own being. Reluctantly, they begin to take ownership and move toward the next phase of their lives as mothers, as milkers. 

Second Week of Full Menu “Babies & Brunch” with Chef Raquel Ritz Chef Raquel is planning to hit it out of the culinary ballpark again this Saturday. Check out her menu and plan to get here early to make sure we don’t run out of your favorite items

Remember: Saturday, the farm is open 10 AM to 2 PM. You can visit with the goats, see the babies and enjoy brunch. 

Parking is limited due to continued wet and soggy ground. We encourage our guests to carpool. New this year-if you have 4 or more people in your car you can park for free! Fewer than four? We are taking a $5/car donation.

Delight Flower Farm will be here doing another Pop-Up Flower Shop in front of our barn.

Farm Market Offerings This Weekend

Back by popular demand: Chevre with Fresh Chives and Lemon Zest. In addition, we have:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper SPECIAL THIS WEEKEND ONLY: BUY 1 HERBS DE PROVENCE CHEVRE, GET A 2ND ONE FOR ONLY $5! (this offer applies only to herbs de Provence)
  • Moonglo
  • Pelota Roja

OR get a scoop or pint gelato:

  • Vanilla
  • Lemon Crème
  • Chocolate
  • Stracciatella (chocolate ganache ribbons in vanilla gelato)
  • Black Currant-Cassis—made with locally grown black currants from Midwest Agroforestry Systems (Ogden, IL) and Kentucky distilled cassis (black currant liqueur)

Check out the new items in our farm store

-soaps from Red Barn Farm (including loofa soaps and liquid soap)

-pancake mixes from Funks Grove Heritage Fruits & Grains

-Animal Welfare Approved Bandanas

-Charcuterie from Piemonte Sausage Co.  (pancetta, pork loin filleto)

-locally milled flours from Janie’s Mill AND MORE!

In addition to “Babies & Brunch,” the farm will be open on Sunday from 1-4 pm. Although we won’t be offering brunch service, we’ll be featuring Lucky Pierre bagels and chevre.  You can also “Build your own Cheese Board” with wine/beer, peruse the farm store and visit with the goats-young and old. 

Other Farm Happenings

We’re now taking reservations for our Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet. We have two seatings—10 am to 12 noon and 12:30-2:30. Check out the amazing menu that Chef Raquel has crafted and book your reservations NOW. 

Don’t forget to sign up for a farm dinner. I will be adding more dates and themes in the next week or so, but the tickets already for those already on sale are going fast.

Yoga with Goats Maggie Taylor, owner of Delight Flower Farm, will once again be offering goat yoga this spring. She has posted a number of dates with ticket sales in progress. Several dates are already sold out! This playful take on yoga practice will surely delight—check out the dates and book your reservations now


Copyright 2019. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2019. 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 4/5/2019 9:10pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

 Farm News

When we planned last fall’s breeding season to freshen over 50 does in less than three weeks, we thought mostly about minimizing the sleepless nights delivering babies and fretting over laboring mothers.  We thought less about the consequences of exponential milk growth in the bulk tanks. The upshot has been a brisk transition from one or two batches of cheese per week to cheese makes every day. I confess that the Maserati speed has been a bit jarring to my aging body. My existence is now tuned to the whims of the precious white fluid: pump milk, pasteurize milk, culture milk, ladle curd, wash dishes, scrub floors and repeat.  The intensity of the routine leaves little time for reflection; the curd waits for no one. 

As the progression begins to congeal into familiar patterns, I take comfort in the certainty of repetition.  There is beauty in the movement of the ladle and the sound of curd plopping gently into cheese cloth.  There is satisfaction in the gleam of a well-cleaned cheese vat.  There is pride in reconnecting with the deliciousness of fresh spring chevre. 

First Full Menu “Babies & Brunch” with Chef Raquel Ritz, Market Offerings This Weekend

Chef Raquel is back in her culinary saddle this week as we launch the April Full Menu “Babies and Brunch.” She has pulled out all the stops for the first menu. You can get all the details, including this week's menu HERE

Remember: Saturday, the farm is open 10 AM to 2 PM. You can visit with the goats, see the babies and enjoy brunch.  Parking is limited due to continued wet and soggy ground. We encourage our guests to carpool.

New this year-if you have 4 or more people in your car you can park for free! Fewer than four? We are taking a $5/car donation.

Delight Flower Farm will be here doing a Pop-Up Flower Shop in front of our barn.

We’ve been making lots and lots of fresh chevre (because there’s nothing better than spring chevre) and we have made a special flavor in honor of spring: Chevre with Fresh Chives and Lemon Zest. In addition, we have:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Moonglo
  • Pelota Roja

OR get a scoop gelato:

  • Vanilla (we have a few pints of  vanilla only this week)
  • Lemon Crème
  • Chocolate
  • Espresso
  • Black Currant-Cassis—made with locally grown black currants from Midwest Agroforestry Systems (Ogden, IL) and Kentucky distilled cassis (black currant liqueur)

Check out the new items in our farm store

-soaps from Red Barn Farm (including loofa soaps and liquid soap)

-pancake mixes from Funks Grove Heritage Fruits & Grains

-Animal Welfare Approved Bandanas

-Charcuterie from Piemonte Sausage Co.  (pancetta, pork loin filleto)

-locally milled flours from Janie’s Mill

-fresh eggs and pastured meats and poultry from Bane Family Meats

AND MORE!

In addition to “Babies & Brunch,” the farm will be open on Sunday from 1-4 pm. Although we won’t be offering brunch service, you can still “Build your own Cheese Board” with wine/beer, peruse the farm store and visit with some of the goats (the barns will be closed, but we’ll have a pen with babies set up outside so you can get your fill of those jubilant beings). 

Other Farm Happenings

We’re now taking reservations for our Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet. We have two seatings—10 am to 12 noon and 12:30-2:30. Check out the amazing menu that Chef Raquel has crafted and book your reservations NOW. 

Don’t forget to sign up for a farm dinner. I will be adding more dates and themes in the next week or so, but the tickets already for those already on sale are going fast.

Yoga with Goats

Maggie Taylor, owner of Delight Flower Farm, will once again be offering goat yoga this spring. She has posted a number of dates with ticket sales in progress. This playful take on yoga practice will surely delight—check out the dates and book your reservations now. 


Copyright 2019. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2019. 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 3/30/2019 8:58am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

Hi Farm Fans:
I'm very sorry to announce that the farm is flooded from all the rain we've had over the past 12 hours. We will NOT be open at the farm today.

The good news is that we're bringing "the circus" to town: we will have a small version of "Babies & Brunch" at the entrance to Common Ground Food Coop in Urbana from 10 AM to 2 PM TODAY! For sale:

  • goat cheese
  • gelato pints
  • Lucky Pierre Bakers bagels and doughnuts

AND--a little pen of baby goats! Stay dry and come see us at the Coop today. 

The farm will be open tomorrow (Sunday) for regular store hours (1-4 pm), and limited walking around the farm.  The ground is so saturated with water, we are NOT able to park many cars. 



Copyright 2019. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2019. 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 3/28/2019 10:39pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

Over 100 kids on the ground in less than three weeks’ time: a continuous stream of birth and renewal of milk and cheese on the farm.  The transformation from stillness and quiet to the moans of labor and the cries of newborns as they take their first breaths never ceases to astound me.  Adrenaline is a dairy farmer’s aid during kidding season.  Our reactions to the signs of labor have become instinctual.  We done our gear grab our labor and delivery box (equipped with OB gloves, betadine, lube and fresh clean towels) and head to the doe barn as the stages of active labor ensue.   

The does usually separate themselves from the rest of the herd as they sense the onset of labor.  They paw at the ground, moving the straw just so to create the perfect nest in which to lie for delivery.  They arch their backs, yawn, and get up and down repeatedly, all in an effort to position their kids for delivery in the birth canal.  As they enter the final stages of labor, they start to push. We look for the birth sack and the first signs of hooves. If the head doesn’t follow right away, we wait a little longer.

We like to encourage our does to do most of the work in delivering their kids, but sometimes they need some assistance.  We’ve had a lot of very big kids born this year; the bigger the kids, the more likely they are to get stuck in the birth canal or come out backwards. I spring into action as goat midwife: OB gloves, lots of lube and a few drops of betadine and in I go in search of the right body parts.  If I find legs, I reach back to find the head attached to those legs. Sometimes, two kids are trying to exit the birth canal at the same time, making it tricky to make sure the legs I am pulling are attached to the right body.  Eventually, the body parts are sorted out, the head is straightened and the front legs move forward to dive into the new world.  

The new mother relaxes as the pressure and pain subside. The other newly freshened mothers gather around the baby to help clean off the birth fluid. Despite her maternal instincts, the new mother allows her herd mates to share in the ritual of welcoming the newborn kid into their communal world. 

new goat mommas

New season of cheese and gelato; First “Babies & Brunch” of the season

Once there was sufficient milk free of colostrum to collect for cheese making and gelato production, we sprang into action in the creamery.  Like bees cleaning their hives after a long and messy winter, we got to work scrubbing and washing, soaking and sanitizing, putting the shine back on the cheese vats.  In one week, we’ve already made three batches of chevre and a batch of gelato base. 

We’re excited to share the fruits of our early season’s labors with you on our first “Babies & Brunch” this Saturday, March 30th, 10 AM-2 PM. Lucky Pierre Bakers will provide us with their scrumptious sweet and savory baked goods:

  • Doughnuts
  • Bagels (try theme with our fresh chevre)
  • Scones
  • Cinnamon Rolls
  • White Peach & Chevre Turnovers

We’ll have fresh coffee from Columbia Street Roastery and our famous goat milk hot chocolate.

Take home some cheese while you’re here:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Moonglo
  • Pelota Roja

OR get a scoop or pint of gelato:

  • Vanilla
  • Lemon Crème
  • Chocolate
  • Espresso
  • Try our newest flavor—Black Currant-Cassis—made with locally grown black currants and Kentucky distilled cassis (black currant liqueur)

black currant gelato

Check out the new items in our farm store:

-soaps from Red Barn Farm

-pancake mixes from Funks Grove Heritage Fruits & Grains

-Animal Welfare Approved Bandanas

-Charcuterie from Piemonte Sausage Co.  (pancetta, pork loin filleto)

-locally milled flours from Janie’s Mill AND MORE!

In addition to “Babies & Brunch,” the farm will be open on Sunday from 1-4 pm. Although we won’t be offering brunch service, you can still “Build your own Cheese Board” with wine/beer, peruse the farm store and visit with some of the goats (the barns will be closed, but we’ll have a pen with babies set up outside so you can get your fill of those jubilant beings). 

Other Farm Happenings

Don’t forget to sign up for a farm dinner. I will be adding more dates and themes in the next week or so, but the tickets already for those already on sale are going fast.

Yoga with Goats

Maggie Taylor, owner of Delight Flower Farm, will once again be offering goat yoga this spring. She has posted a number of dates with ticket sales in progress. This playful take on yoga practice will surely delight—check out the dates and book your reservations now.  

goat yoga


Copyright 2019. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2019. 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 3/8/2019 7:43pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

The baby births are on slow burn as February fades into March. While we’re anxious to get the season underway, we’re secretly happy for the glacial pace. The longer they delay, the more likely winter will make its seasonal retreat from our landscape.  The goats can almost taste the hint of warmer temperatures in the humid air.  Our second doe to kid this season dropped two beautiful bucklings this morning. Several of her barn mates are putting themselves in delivery states of mind. The nights of sleep deprivation loom happily on the horizon.

Farm Store Hours This Weekend

The farm is open for visitors Saturday and Sunday, March 9th and 10th, 11-3 each day. Come see the very pregnant goats and maybe even catch a glimpse of the newest babies.  Come inside the farm store, The Real Stand, to buy some cheese!

NEW in the store: Piemonte Sausage Co. of Urbana is now making charcuterie! We have their pancetta and pork lomito available. Claude and Susan, the owners of Piemonte, went to Italy last fall to learn the craft of salumi making. These products are authentic and delicious! Give them a try. We also have frozen sausages from Piemonte Sausage Co. and meats/poultry and eggs from Bane Family Meats. 

The Prairie Fruits Farm “Milk Bar” will be open, serving espresso drinks and cow milk hot chocolate.  We’ll have a few baked goods from Central IL Bakehouse OR, stay awhile and enjoy a cheese board with baguette and a glass of wine or beer. 

PLEASE NOTE: The farm will be closed the weekends of March 16/17 and 23/24 as we get things ready for Babies & Brunch starting March 30th!

Babies and Brunch Season will be here soon!

The arrival of baby goats at Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery means one thing to many of our patrons: the return of “Babies and Brunch.” This year, our season kicks off on Saturday March 30th with pastries and baked goods from Lucky Pierre Bakers.  Chef Raquel Ritz will take over the culinary helm in April with her pop-up café style menu.

Details and menus are forthcoming, but mark your calendars NOW.  The farm store will be open every weekend starting March 30th, both Saturdays and Sundays, but hours and offerings will differ for each day. Saturday hours March 30th through April 27th: 10 AM to 2 PM, Sunday hours, March 31st through April 28th: 1-4 PM.

No Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery CSA this year, but try our Cheese CSA add on through Blue Moon Farm’s CSA

We have decided to forgo our cheese and gelato CSA this year, so that we can focus our attentions on bringing you delicious cheese and gelato to the Urbana Farmers’ Market and to offer it to you in our farm store, The Real Stand. That said, we will be participating in Blue Moon Farm’s new multi-farmer, customizable CSA program.  The link is now open and ready for folks to add on our cheese share (two options) as part of the Blue Moon Farm veggie CSA.

Dinners on the Farm: The 2019 Season

Hard to believe that winter will depart and spring and summer will push their way onto the farm. Start planning your special evenings at the farm by booking a dinner.

If you’re not familiar with how our dinners work, check out our “Dinner Basics” page. If you’re a regular and you want to dive right in, go to the “2019 Season” page. We have a fantastic line up of chefs and themes so far, with more in the planning. One dinner (July 6th with Stephanie Izard) is already sold out, but we still have plenty of seats open for most of the posted dinners. We will be adding more dates and themes within the coming week too. We are excited to host you all again and to ignite the magic around good food and great company.

Taking reservations for spring goat kids

If you’re looking for exceptionally healthy, American-Dairy-Goat-Association-registerable breeding stock (doelings and bucklings) or just a great pet/companion, consider reserving a kid or more through our website.  Our kidding season will start in mid- March, and prices vary by age.  


Copyright 2019. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2019. 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 2/21/2019 10:03pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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 Farm News

The dull light, the pervasiveness of gray, the clingingly cold humid air, the lifeless frozen ground; all bespeak the persistence of winter.  The star rodent who dwells in Pennsylvania predicted an early spring, but he must have received a bum tip from his handlers.  Having come to trust in the ground hog’s prognostications, I feel somewhat betrayed. The standing pools of partially frozen water and the mud that clings to our dog Blue’s undercarriage suggest that spring, like me, has decided to sleep in a little while longer.

The goats show no interest in venturing outside, content to burrow a little deeper in their straw bedding to stay warm.  There swelling bellies and voracious appetites underline the urgency of moving forward despite winter’s lingering grip.  We have started to clean out the kid barn, to wash the baby bottles and set up the new born totes. The births are insensitive to the weather; they will come when it’s time, snow squalls or not.  The inevitability of the change of seasons gives me hope. Sleep deprivation awaits me in the near future.

Final Dote on the Does-This Weekend February 23-24, 11 AM to 3 PM each day

Come out for “Dote on the Does” and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate or a specialty coffee drink as you meet the moms of the babies that will be born this spring. Our staff will be grooming and feeding the goats, as well as answering any questions you may have. Watch as we measure and track the girth of the does scheduled first to go (kidding season should start the first full week in March): Helena, Medusa, Periwinkle, Violet, and Zora.  

This is your last chance to take your guess at which doe will give birth first! Pick a doe, a date and the number of kids for a chance to win a free Prairie Fruits Farm t-shirt. While you’re visiting, venture into the Farm Store for a cheese board and glass of wine or beer or just curl up in a comfy chair and read a book or magazine. The farm store will have a limited repertoire of cheese for sale, as well as other products (meats, eggs, sausages, locally milled flour, honey, jam, PFF& C “merch”) and more!  

Babies and Brunch Season will be here soon!

The arrival of baby goats at Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery means one thing to many of our patrons: the return of “Babies and Brunch.” This year, our season kicks off on Saturday March 30th with pastries and baked goods from Lucky Pierre Bakers.  Chef Raquel Ritz will take over the culinary helm in April with her pop-up café style menu. Details are forthcoming, but mark your calendars NOW.  The farm store will be open every weekend starting March 30th, both Saturdays and Sundays, but hours and offerings will differ for each day.

No Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery CSA this year, but try our Cheese CSA add on through Blue Moon Farm’s CSA

We have decided to forgo our cheese and gelato CSA this year, so that we can focus our attentions on bringing you delicious cheese and gelato to the Urbana Farmers’ Market and to offer it to you in our farm store, The Real Stand. That said, we will be participating in Blue Moon Farm’s new multi-farmer, customizable CSA program. Details and sign up opportunities are in the works.

Dinners on the Farm: The 2019 Season

What better way to encourage winter to be on its way than to plan for our summer-fall farm dinner series. We’ve been communicating with a number of chefs this winter, some familiar favorites and some new, and we are excited to launch the sale of tickets for many of the dates this season.  Ticket sales begin on Friday, February 22nd at 10 AM

If you’re not familiar with how our dinners work, check out our “Dinner Basics” page. If you’re a regular and you want to dive right in, go to the “2019 Season” page. We have a fantastic line up of chefs and themes so far, with more in the planning. We are excited to host you all again and to ignite the magic around good food and great company.

Taking reservations for spring goat kids

If you’re looking for exceptionally healthy, American-Dairy-Goat-Association-registerable breeding stock (doelings and bucklings) or just a great pet/companion, consider reserving a kid or more through our website.  Our kidding season will start in mid- March, and prices vary by age. 

Volunteer Opportunities at the Farm

If you’re interested in volunteering during kidding season (we need lots of help feeding baby goats, cleaning their pens and making sure they’re happy and healthy), send us an email and we’ll add you to our list of volunteers. The email address is: prairiefruitsinfo@gmail.com

Feeding shifts are 7-8 AM, 12-1 PM and 4:30-5:30 PM, 7 days a week from mid-March through mid-May.   We are hosting a mandatory volunteer orientation this Sunday, February 23rd from 3-4 pm. If you want to help feed baby goats, you must attend this meeting. 


Copyright 2019. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2019. 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 2/3/2019 6:27pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

Farm News

We humble folks of the upper Midwest pride ourselves on our toughness, our ability to take weather extremes in stride.  Got snow? Just plow it or shovel and get on with the day. Ice storm got you encased? Throw down some salt or sand and hope the warming thaw is not too far behind. It has been a few years since we’d experienced a “polar vortex, ”and last week’s was exceptional in its temperature lows. 

In preparation for the deep freeze, we put down extra layers of fresh straw bedding in the goat barns and sealed the cracks in the chicken coop with plywood.  As the mercury plummeted, the goats enlisted their multi-pronged approach to staying warm. They puff up their winter coats to keep the cold air further away from their skin. As ruminants, they eat grassy hay continuously, keeping their rumens active and generating heat as a by-product of digestion.  As dusk falls, they nestle down into the straw and huddle together to share in each other’s body heat.

During such times of extreme weather we worry most about our senior goats—Liberty (14) and Gidget (13) are the two oldest does in our herd. Both retired, they have trouble keeping on weight, even though neither is bred.  On the morning of the coldest day (minus 20 actual temperature), Wes found Liberty and Gidget snuggling together, their bodies buried so deep in the straw, their heads were barely visible.  Worried that they might be unable to stand up, he helped them to their feet. Taking it all in stride, they puffed up their coats and waddled over to the hay manger to get some chow. Tough farmers, tough goats; everyone happy that the groundhog predicts an early arrival of spring.

Dote on the Does

During the winter months, the farm seems fairly quiet, but actually there’s a lot going on. The hardest working animals on the farm are our female goats, or does, which are over half way through their 150-day gestation period. Each doe is starting to show signs of pregnancy as their bodies go into overdrive to develop the babies inside.   It’s this time of the year they deserve a little pampering!

Come out for “Dote on the Does” and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate or a specialty coffee drink as you meet the moms of the babies that will be born this spring. Our staff will be grooming and feeding the goats, as well as answering any questions you may have. Watch as we measure and track the girth of the does scheduled first to go (kidding season should start the first full week in March): Helena, Medusa, Periwinkle, Violet, and Zora.  

While you’re out at the farm, be sure to take your guess at which doe will give birth first! Pick a doe, a date and the number of kids for a chance to win a free Prairie Fruits Farm t-shirt. Then come back into the Farm Store for a cheese board and glass of wine or beer, or just to warm up in a comfy chair, as you plan your next visit to dote on your favorite doe.

The farm store will have a limited repertoire of cheese for sale, as well as other products (meats, eggs, sausages, locally milled flour, honey, jam, PFF& C “merch” and more!  

Taking reservations for spring goat kids

If you’re looking for exceptionally healthy, American-Dairy-Goat-Association-registerable breeding stock (doelings and bucklings) or just a great pet/companion, consider reserving a kid or more through our website.  Our kidding season will start in mid- March, and prices vary by age. 

Volunteer Opportunities at the Farm

If you’re interested in volunteering during kidding season (we need lots of help feeding baby goats, cleaning their pens and making sure they’re happy and healthy), send us an email and we’ll add you to our list of volunteers. The email address is: prairiefruitsinfo@gmail.com Feeding shifts are 7-8 AM, 12-1 PM and 4:30-5:30 PM, 7 days a week from mid-March through mid-May.    


Copyright 2019. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2019. 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.