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Posted 4/13/2017 11:03pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

This week, more signs of life emerged from nearby waters or took flight to the air.  The trilling toads hatched from the tadpoles in the pond (aka borrow pit) and began their nocturnal serenade. Their amorous desires are so strong; you can even hear a faint trill during the day.  The family of bald eagles that we came to know last year has returned.  We watched an adult and two juvenile eagles fly overhead yesterday afternoon, graceful but clearly on a mission for something.  Following their flight toward the bare trees along the creek, it was easy to spot the nests of the heron rookery.

The mason bees have been hovering around the barns too. Their arrival gives me relief that we have some pollinators around to pollinate the fruit trees now mostly in bloom.  I marvel that our landscape, so manipulated, can offer sanctuary to such diversity of ancient life.   

Our yearling does (born last spring) have started having their own babies these past couple of weeks.  I like to call them my ‘teenage moms’ because they are 14-15 months old when they freshen.  Most of them have singletons or twins, and their babies are often on the small end of the spectrum.  It is with these kids, especially, that I witness the super powers of colostrum, true “liquid gold.”  Just as superman attained his ability to “leap tall buildings in a single bound” from the earth’s yellow sun, yellow colostrum confers life-affirming immunity to newborns.  I have seen kids that were a little slow to stand, get right up after a few ounces of colostrum in their bellies.  Colostrum-the anti-kryptonite.   

Week Five of “Babies and Breakfast”

The weather forecast is calling for warm temperatures with a bit of wind.  It should be a beautiful day to come out to the farm and enjoy a breakfast made with hyper-local ingredients.    Here is this week's menu for Breakfast with the Babies

  • Doughnuts [Cardamom Vanilla Glaze; Cinnamon Sugar]
  • Cinnamon Rolls with PFF Chevre Ginger Frosting  
  • Biscuits and Gravy (Pork from Bane Family Meats & Goat from PFF)  
  • Biscuits with Homemade Jam & Homemade Butter  
  • Breakfast Burritos (Meat): Greek-style Chicken (Bane Family Meats) and Spinach (Blue Moon Farm), Rice, Egg (Bane Family Meats), and PFF Chevre  
  • Breakfast Burritos (Vegetarian): Roasted Potatoes w/ Green Garlic (Blue Moon Farms), Egg (Bane Family Meats), PFF Chevre, and Greek-style tomato sauce  
  • Parfaits: PFF Goat's Milk Yogurt with Local Grains Granola
  •  Hard-boiled Chicken and Duck Eggs  
  • Beverages include coffee, tea, goat milk hot chocolate and cold goat milk.  

Also, from 9:30-10:30, we’re hosting an Easter egg hunt in our front yard.  Here are some of the details: Children under 12 No admission fee Kids hunt for plastic eggs filled with candy  

Shop for all your holiday needs

We have so many great local foods for you to pick up from our farm stand, “The Real Stand” this week.  Our cheese repertoire is growing as we add the first bloomy rind cheese of the season, our “little bloom on the prairie.”  Here’s the list of what we expect to have available:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie—our goat milk camembert-style cheese
  • Moonglo
  • Huckleberry Blue
  • Little Red-our special, raw-milk (cow milk) cheese with a smoked paprika, olive oil rind
  • Goat Milk Yogurt in pints and quarts

We have fresh gelato too:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Espresso
  • Salted Caramel Swirl

We are hosting two guest farmers this Saturday. They’ll be set up just outside our barn dining room. Cow Creek Farm will be here with spring ramps (wild leeks harvested from their woods-$10/lb.) and Sticky Pete’s will be here from southeastern Ohio selling maple syrup and other maple products.  Don’t forget our great selection of meats, eggs and sausages from Bane Family Meats, Caveny Farm, KD Ranch and Piemonte Sausage

If you’re looking for unique gifts, check out our goat milk soaps, “Chippy the Goat” tea towels and our wide selection of PFFC t-shirts and hoodies.   

Reminders:

The deadline for signing up for our 2017 Cheese and Gelato CSA season is fast approaching. Please consider signing up this year.  We’d love to have you become a member of a very special “club.”  

CU Farmers-a multi-farmer, online “farmers’ market has two more spring pickups before the outdoor market season starts.  Starting Monday, April 17th at 9:00 AM, you can go online and order veggies (Blue Moon Farm), cheese, yogurt and gelato (Prairie Fruits Farm) and meat and eggs (Bane Family Meats).  Pick up will take place on Saturday, April 22nd at the Market in the Square (inside Lincoln Square Mall). 

Tickets to our Dinners on the Farm are going fast. Our first dinner with guest chef Paul Virant is already SOLD OUT!! We have such a great line of themes and guest chefs this year. Check them out and book your reservations NOW.   

 

Don't forget there's a detour on N. Lincoln Ave. Please follow the directions on our website. 

 


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 4/7/2017 1:44pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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 Farm News

I’ve had the lyrics to the Bruce Springsteen song “Lost in the Flood” (from his first album-“Greetings from Asbury Park”-his best, in my humble opinion) stuck in my head all this week. His flood was allegorical and tragic.  Our flood was more literal-standing water following days of torrential rains- a mix of good and bad. We watched, helplessly, as the heavens opened up and dumped inches of the wet stuff on our farm over several days.  Normally, our growing green pasture is able to absorb this kind of moisture; but, as Wes led the does down to the prairie and old hay field, he and they encountered standing puddles of water between the bunch grasses.  The girls protested over getting their feet wet and muddy, but they were raptured by the lush green forage.  Despite his attempts to keep them eating, the post-storm winds were so fierce yesterday, that they got spooked by the phantom roar and made a bee-line back to the doe barn. 

Our plans to clean out the kid barn have been dashed for another week, and the straw bedding is creeping ever closer to the self-feeder nipples along the wall.  The older kids are getting so big that they now have to kneel to drink their milk.  

The orchard flower petals are still clinging to their branches, but I wonder how any pollinators could make their way through the sideways rain sheets to tap nectar and move pollen around. Sadly, our bee hives did not survive the winter (AGAIN!! Our beekeeper has told us he’s throwing in the towel), and we are hoping that all the native pollinators our farm harbors have been filling in the void left by the absent honey bees.   

I see so many ephemeral pools of water in our neighbors’ fields.  Transient migratory waterfowl take advantage of these pools to clean and preen. You can barely make them out against the brown, black and grey backdrop. The purple haze of henbit (an invasive annual cool-season weed in the mint family) provides a shock of color to the otherwise drab landscape of barren grain fields.  Our neighbor farmers now must wait for the soil to dry out before tillage and seed bed preparation can begin.   Meanwhile our little oasis of green just gets brighter and brighter, especially with the sun now reflecting off the wet blades of grass.   

Babies and Breakfast, Take Three

This Saturday, April 8th, from 9 AM to 12 Noon will be our Fourth “Babies & Breakfast.” The weather should glorious-sunny and warm.  Come visit with the goats (we have some newborns to show off and our older kids turned one month old this week!!), watch the babies run and jump and see the vibrant colors of spring on the farm. It’s a bit muddy in spots (from all the rain this past week), so wear your wellies.  Here’s the menu for this week:  

  • Doughnuts - Cardamom Glaze; Cinnamon Sugar
  • Cinnamon Rolls with a Ginger and PFF Chèvre Icing
  • Breakfast Burrito (Meat) - Bane Family Steak and Egg with PFF Chèvre
  • Breakfast Burrito (Vegetarian) - Mexican Potatoes (Blue Moon), Egg (Bane), Fajita Veggies, and PFF Chèvre
  • Southern-style Cornbread with Homemade Sausage Patty (PFF Goat and Bane Pork) and Homemade Green Tomato Relish
  • Southern-style Cornbread with Homemade Jam and Homemade Butter
  • PFF Goat Milk Yogurt Parfait and Local Grains Granola w/ Ginger and Cranberry
  • Pastured, Hard-boiled Chicken and Duck Eggs

Beverages:

  • Hot Tea
  • Hot Coffee (Columbia Street Roastery)
  • Iced Coffee (Columbia Street Roastery)
  • PFF Goat's Milk Hot Chocolate
  • Affogato—coffee with a scoop of gelato (vanilla only this week).   

We will also be selling cheese, yogurt, and gelato by the scoop as well as pints. Here are a few highlights:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence and cracked pepper
  • Moonglo-it makes the most perfect grilled cheese
  • Huckleberry Blue-if you’re a blue cheese lover (or not), you must try our raw goat milk blue
  • Little Red—a one-of-a-kind raw cow-milk cheese made by one of our cheese making classes last December. They did a fantastic job—this hard cheese is mild with a slight tartness and a hint of smokiness from the smoked paprika-olive oil rub on the rind. 
  • Plain, Whole Milk Yogurt-in pints and quarts

Pick up some house-made jams to go with those cheeses too: red currant-lavender and green tomato jam are the perfect accompaniments to our cheeses.

Fresh Gelato Flavors: vanilla, chocolate, hazelnut and salted caramel swirl—can’t really go wrong with these. We’ll be offering scoops of vanilla gelato too.

We also have lots of other great local foods: eggs (chicken and duck) from Bane Family Meats, beef, pork and chicken from Bane Family Meats, ground lamb and lamb shoulder steaks (ON SALE!!) from Caveny Farm, artisanal sausages from Piemonte Sausage Co, Elk Summer Sausages and beef sticks & jerky from KD Ranch

Want something to remember your experience at Prairie Fruits Farm? Check out our “merch:” t-shirts, hooded sweatshirts, onesies, tea towels, goat milk soaps.  We’ll have a NEW adult t-shirt style that we’re debuting this Saturday. Come check it out.

SPECIAL Guest farmers this week and coming next week (April 15th):

Cow Creek Farm, Paxton, IL, will be bringing bunches of ramps (wild leeks). They are wild-harvested from their woodlands. 

Delight Flower Farm will be selling spring flower bouquets.  

Sticky Pete’s Pure Maple Syrup - from the Appalachian foothills of southeastern Ohio-will be here NEXT Saturday, April 15th, selling their amazing maple syrup and other products made from maple syrup:  

  • Maple Syrup - various sizes to fit every need  
  • Maple Crusted Almonds  
  • Maple Crusted Pecan Nougats   
  • Maple Granulated Sugar  
  • Maple Leaf Candies (great Easter treats)  

DIRECTIONS TO THE FARM--DETOUR ON NORTH LINCOLN: The detour is now open on North Lincoln Ave. Follow the signs that take you to Oaks and Willow Roads to the east and then connect back up with Ford Harris Road (making a LEFT to go WEST) and then SOUTH on N. Lincoln Ave to our farm. If you’re coming from Urbana, just take Cunningham (HWY 45) north to Ford Harris Road (approximately 5 miles from the intersection with I-74) and go WEST (LEFT). If you’re coming from Champaign, take the NEWLY OPENED OLYMPIAN DRIVE, and head EAST to our farm.  Watch for the signs of where to park as it might be full at the farm driveway. We have an overflow lot in our north pasture that will be signed.

Cheese and Gelato CSA-time is running out to sign up for the 2017 season We still have a few openings for our 2017 Cheese and Gelato CSA and a discount on pricing if you sign up by the end of April.  Our CSA is designed to give members the maximum flexibility to choose which cheeses and gelato flavors they want for each pick up. We have four convenient pick up locations in central Illinois: two in Champaign-Urbana and two in Bloomington-Normal.  Check it out.

Farm to table Meals-Tickets going fast Don’t forget to peruse the line- up of farm to table meals we’re offering this year.  From a spring lamb dinner in May to a fall Mexican feast in October, we have something to please many palates at several price points.  Take a look and make your reservations NOW.  

 


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 3/30/2017 10:18pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

A dairy can be noisy.  The compressor that runs the milking pulsators rattles like a bad one-man band. The milking pulsators click and hiss rhythmically like a ventilator on life support. When the milk receiver jar is full, the whoosh of the pump pushes milk up the pipe and trickles and sloshes the milk as it cascades into the bulk tank. 

More pumps, so many pumps, each with a slightly different timbre-the purring impeller pump that sucks milk from the bulk tank into the cheese vat; the humming boiler pump that circulates hot water around the jacket of the cheese vat to warm the milk; the low-rumbling recirculating pump that moves chemicals through the pipelines to keep the stainless steel shiny clean.   

The cheese vats have their own sound too. The motor that turns the stir paddles has a dull pitch that drowns out radio talking heads. When the paddles accidentally move too close to the vat lids, the screech-on-a-chalkboard sound is so discordant; you know you need to move the paddle back to the center instantly.  Then, there’s swishing sound of the spray nozzle, so constant in the creamery make room—so much cleaning; on and off it turns throughout the day.   

In the kitchen, the gelato batch freezer has its own orchestra of noise: the whizzing spin, ever accelerating into high pitch crescendo, as the liquid base slowly freezes. The beep, beep, beep percussion as the machine signals it’s ready to dispense.  Then, sudden quiet as the soft but frozen confection slithers out of the dispensing chamber, guided deftly by the hand of the gelato maker maestro.  

The sounds become so familiar you forget they are there. You only notice when the machines pause throughout the day, done with a cycle, finished with a batch of something, some delicious dairy product.  Even as we shut the lights in the milking parlor at the end of the evening milking, you listen for the sound of the sink filling with wash water to make sure it will all be clean for the next day.   

Babies and Breakfast, Take Three

This Saturday, April 1st, from 9 AM to 12 Noon will be our Third “Babies & Breakfast.” The weather should be slightly sunny and seasonably warm.  Come visit with the goats, watch the babies run and jump and see our peach trees in bloom. NO RESERVATIONS REQUIRED AND NO ADMISSION FEE. MENU ITEMS ARE A LA CARTE AND PRICED BETWEEN $3-7/ITEM.

The Elbertas and our “mystery” white peach are just starting to flower now.  We might even have some little “april fools” pranks in store for our visitors (like no line for breakfast—ha ha!)

blooming peaches

 

Here’s the menu for this week:  

  • Doughnuts: Cinnamon Sugar; Cardamom Glaze
  • Beignets: Chocolate; PFF Herb Chevre w/ Honey
  • Cornbread with homemade jam and butter
  • Cornbread with homemade sausage patty (PFF goat and Bane Family pork)
  • Breakfast Burrito - Meat (Bane Family pork, rice, slaw (Blue Moon), and PFF chèvre)
  • Breakfast Burrito - Vegetarian (Curried potatoes (Blue Moon), peas, rice, and PFF chèvre)
  • PFF goat yogurt parfaits with homemade local grains granola (ginger, cranberry, pepita granola)
  • Hard-boiled Bane Family eggs  

Beverages:

  • Hot Tea
  • Coffee (Columbia Street Roastery)
  • Iced Coffee (Columbia Street Roastery)
  • PFF Goat's Milk Hot Chocolate
  • Affogato—coffee with a scoop of gelato (vanilla or hazelnut)

We will also be selling cheese, yogurt, gelato by the scoop as well as pints. Here are a few highlights:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence and cracked pepper
  • Moonglo-it makes the most perfect grilled cheese
  • Huckleberry Blue-if you’re a blue cheese lover (or not), you must try our raw goat milk blue
  • Little Red—a one-of-a-kind raw cow-milk cheese made by one of our cheese making classes last December. They did a fantastic job—this hard cheese is mild with a slight tartness and a hint of smokiness from the smoked paprika-olive oil rub on the rind. 
  • Plain, Whole Milk Yogurt-in pints and quarts

Pick up some house-made jams to go with those cheeses too: red currant-lavender, green tomato jam are the perfect accompaniments to our cheeses.

Fresh gelato Flavors: vanilla, chocolate, hazelnut and salted caramel swirl—can’t really go wrong with these.

We also have lots of other great local foods: eggs from Bane Family Meats, beef, pork and chicken from Bane Family Meats, ground lamb and lamb shoulder steaks (ON SALE!!) from Caveny Farm, artisanal sausages from Piemonte Sausage Co, Elk Summer Sausages and beef sticks  & jerky from KD Ranch

Want something to remember your experience at Prairie Fruits Farm? Check out our “merch:” t-shirts, hooded sweatshirts, onesies, tea towels, goat milk soaps.

DIRECTIONS TO THE FARM--DETOUR ON NORTH LINCOLN: This past week, North Lincoln Avenue has been completely closed to through traffic. If you encounter a road closed sign, just before you need to turn RIGHT to stay on Lincoln, turn around and go to I-74 going EAST. Take the next EXIT—Cunningham Rd. (HWY 45) and go North (left at the light) for several miles. Take a LEFT onto Ford Harris Rd. and proceed 1.5 miles until the intersection of North Lincoln and Ford Harris. Turn LEFT and the farm will be ½ mile down on your left. Watch for the signs of where to park as it might be full at the farm driveway. We have an overflow lot in our north pasture that will be signed. If you’re coming from Champaign, simply take Olympian Drive EAST until it ends just 100 yards south of our driveway—easy. 

CU Farmers: an online farmers’ market for Champaign Urbana. If you can’t make it to the farm this weekend or next; no worries. You can check out our offerings through CUFarmers (as well as those from Blue Moon Farm and Bane Family Meats).  We have added some new items, including yogurt, new gelato flavors, chevre and some aged cheeses. Ordering opens this Monday, April 3rd at 9:00 AM and closes Tuesday evening, April 4th at 10:00 PM.  Pick up at the Urbana “Market in the Square” on Saturday, April 8th with Blue Moon Farm (9-12).

Cheese and Gelato CSA-still time to sign up for the season

We still have a few openings for our 2017 Cheese and Gelato CSA and a discount on pricing if you sign up by the end of April.  Our CSA is designed to give members the maximum flexibility to choose which cheeses and gelato flavors they want for each pick up. We have four convenient pick up locations in central Illinois: two in Champaign-Urbana and two in Bloomington-Normal.  Check it out.

Farm to table Meals-An Update

As I mentioned last week, we have added a few more dinner themes and dates to our 2017 season. I’m very excited about this year’s offerings. From the “farm fancy” multi-course meals to the casual pop-ups, there’s something for everyone.  We added a pop-up “Fish & Chips” dinner with guest chef Ryan Lewis of Driftwood Eatery, Springfield. He’ll be cooking up some Asian carp (an invasive species in the IL River that is NOT carp and is actually a very delicate and delicious white fish). We’re super excited to tell some really tall fish tales with this one.

Also in the line-up—a Summer Vegetarian Cook Out with guest chef Dan Compton of Vie Restaurant, Western Springs. On the multi-course menu side, we’ve added a fall squash feast dinner with guest chef Nicole Pederson (Found Restaurant, Evanston, IL) and guest farmer Mac Condill of the Great Pumpkin Patch and the last dinner of the season will be tasting tour of Mexico featuring guest chef Andres Padilla of Frontera Grill-Topolabamba fame, Chicago, IL.  Don’t forget about the great meals from our friends at Sunday Dinner Club 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 3/23/2017 10:02pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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 Farm News

March 20st, the vernal or spring equinox, came and went this week. The March equinox marks the moment the sun crosses the celestial equator – the imaginary line in the sky above the earth’s equator – from south to north. It also signals roughly equal time for day and night. Aside from a date on the calendar, I don’t feel a particular connection between myself, the earth and the equinox.  I don’t sense that the natural world reacts to its passing.  The bird songs don’t seem to become more boisterous. The frogs setting up shop in our man-made pond haven’t started their cacophonous mating calls with its arrival.  The chickens aren’t laying any more eggs (in fact, they seem to have gone on an egg-laying strike over the past few weeks), and the still-pregnant goats aren’t going into labor. In reality, it’s been a relatively quiet week of kid births, with only six does delivering. 

Maybe I feel this disconnect between the equinox and harbingers of spring because the patterns are so erratic. The roller coaster swings in temperature hold the flower buds on our fruit trees at bay and the greened grass in suspended animation.  The tranquil days send the goats out to pasture in search green morsels. The remnant artic blasts send the kids into piles beneath the heat lamps.  Maybe the celestial milestones are just too far removed from the day to day progression of the season on the farm. 

Spring on the Farm Our second spring open house: “Babies & Breakfast” is this coming Saturday, March 25th.  We will be open from 9:00 AM to 12 Noon.  The weather should be warm and may or may not have a few spring showers.  This week’s menu is very similar to last weeks’:

  • Biscuits with local sausage gravy
  • Biscuits with house-made butter (Kilgus Farmstead heavy cream) and jam
  • Mini breakfast burritos (meat and vegetarian)
  • Hand-rolled doughnuts
  • Black Raspberry Scones
  • PFF Goat yogurt parfaits with homemade local grains granola
  • Hard-boiled Bane Family eggs  

Beverages

  • Tea
  • Columbia Street Roastery Coffee
  • Goat's Milk Hot Chocolate
  • Affogato-Coffee with a scoop of gelato!

We’ll also be sampling and selling our cheeses, goat milk yogurt and goat milk gelato. Try our first of the season spring chevre. It’s SOO fresh!  Of course, we’ll be selling other locally made foods including eggs (both chicken and duck), meats, jams, pickles and sausages. New this week: beef sticks and jerky from KD Ranch in Oakwood, IL. Check out the great selection of Prairie Fruits Farm “merch” (t-shirts, hoodies, onesies, tea-towels, goat milk soap) while you’re at the farm. 

REMEMBER: North Lincoln Ave. under construction again this spring The part of North Lincoln Avenue just north of the intersection with Oaks Road IS CLOSED.  Urbana Public Works have posted detour signs along Oaks-Willow Roads and Ford Harris Road to help guide you here to the farm. The good news is that Olympian Drive IS NOW OPEN HEADING EAST, RIGHT TO OUR DRIVEWAY. So, if you’re coming from Champaign or I-57, you can take Olympian Drive east right to our farm! For detailed and accurate directions, visit our website

CU Farmers: an online farmers’ market for Champaign Urbana. For those of you who placed orders through CU Farmers this week, you can pick up your orders from Blue Moon Farm at the Urbana “Market in the Square” on Saturday, March 25th (9-12).  We won’t be attending the Market in the Square, because we’ll be busy with hosting our “Babies and Breakfast.”

Cheese and Gelato CSA Consider a membership in our CSA.  If you’re in Bloomington-Normal, come to a free presentation about CSA’s on Monday, March 27th at the Normal Public Library. We’ll be joining our friends from PrairiErth Farm and Chad Saunders (Bread CSA) to talk about how the CSA model is great for members as well as the farming community. For those of you in Bloomington Normal, please know that we won’t be attending the downtown Bloomington Farmers’ Market this year, so the CSA is the only way to buy our cheese directly from the farmer.

Also, what goes better with cheese than bread? If you haven’t tried the artisan breads from Chad Saunders (bakes at the Garlic Press in Normal), you don’t know what you’re missing. He uses local flours to make his breads. Check out the details for his Artisan Bread CSA:

It's that time of year again.   Time to sign up for delicious and nutritious Community Supported Agriculture. Much like last year we at the Garlic Press are teaming up with PrairiErth, Prairie Fruits Cheese, and Kira's Flowers to bring you some of the best CSA's Blo-No has to offer.    

For our part we will be supplying Bread made with local grains, herbs, and cheeses.  By being a part of our CSA you will be helping bring about a change in the American agriculture system, much in the way that the documentary Sustainable professes (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VbWqIIl8EL0). Sustainable is now available on Netflix.  

Not only that, Starting May 23rd you will receive 24 loaves of bread, full of flavor and nutrition, spread out over 24 weeks.  You will also be given the opportunity to pre-order from a menu of extra loaves at a discounted price. That menu includes: Bagels, flatbreads, baguettes, artisan loaves such as pumpernickel, seeded whole wheat, and cinnamon raisin.  

The cost for 24 weeks of bread is $120  To join the CSA, email me your intent to join then stop by the GP Cafe to pay in person or mail your check, made out to Garlic Press with CSA written in the note, to Garlic Press 106 North St, Normal IL, 61761.   We will need payment by May 19th to ensure your bread delivery on May 23rd.   If you have any questions feel free to email me. Breadbaker56@outlook.com  "

Farm to table Meals

We have added a few more dates and themes to the 2017 “Dinners on the Farm” Season including a local fish fry, vegetarian cookout and an elaborate meal featuring squash. Check out the offerings and book your reservations now.  


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 3/16/2017 10:08pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

In the world of espionage, intelligence agencies use sleep deprivation to extract information from their captives.  In the world of synchronized goat breeding (well, they naturally synchronized themselves last October), self-induced sleep deprivation is a badge of courage worn by many a seasonal dairy farmer.  Last week, we set a few records for our little dairy on the prairie: almost 90 goat kids born in six days and our first set of quintuplets. The waves were constant, like crashing storm breakers on a barrier beach:  does going into labor, pulling breach or stuck kids to make way for their siblings, cleaning kids off with warm towels, weighing them, recording their stats, milking out their mothers to bottle feed babies that liquid gold colostrum, washing all those bloody, birth-fluid soaked towels to get ready for the next round of goats going into labor. 

Days starting at 5:00 am and ending at 11:00 pm; coaxing those late evening born kids to drink at least a couple ounces of colostrum so you can go to bed, hoping no one would decide to kid in the middle of the night (they say that feeding ruminants in the evening minimizes the likelihood that they will go into labor in the middle of the night because that’s when they’re ruminating—I think there’s some truth to this).  The adrenaline rush sustains you for the first few days, but as the week advances, your old bones have an exponentially hard time rebounding from the repetition. Coffee’s role as rouser takes on a more urgent role.  It becomes harder to form complicated thoughts or really any thoughts beyond “what’s next?”  As the sleep depraved, I wonder how anyone could get anything useful from someone clearly teetering on the line between lucidity and incoherence. 

Tonight, the birth storm surge is showing signs of subsiding. The remaining pregnant does (not that many left really) are snoring soundly, the new mothers’ post-partum hormones are no longer raging and the kids are prancing in their pens.  I can allow myself to sleep.  

Lots Happening at the Farm

Our first spring open house: “Babies & Breakfast” season starts Saturday March 18th.  We will be open from 9:00 AM to 12 Noon.  The season continues every Saturday (9-12) through April 29th. Come visit with the goats and enjoy a local foods breakfast. This week’s menu is:

  • Homemade biscuits with sausage gravy
  • House-made biscuits with house-made butter (Kilgus Farmstead heavy cream) and jam
  • Mini breakfast burritos (meat and vegetarian)
  • Hand-rolled doughnuts
  • Scones 
  • PFFC Goat yogurt parfaits with homemade local grains granola
  • Hard-boiled Bane Family eggs  
  • Beverages:  Columbia Street Roastery Coffee,  Goat's Milk Hot Chocolate, Tea and cold pasteurized goat milk

We’ll also be sampling and selling our cheeses and goat milk gelato.  We will have the first of the season FRESH Chevre, Snow Fog, Huckleberry Blue, Moonglo and our GOAT MILK YOGURT!

Want to fancy up your coffee or hot chocolate? Ask us for a scoop of gelato in your hot beverage—PFFC’s version of an “affogato!” Of course, we’ll be selling other locally made foods including eggs, meats, jams, pickles and sausages. Check out the great selection of Prairie Fruits Farm “merch” (t-shirts, hoodies, onesies, tea-towels, goat milk soap) while you’re at the farm. 

REMEMBER: North Lincoln Ave. is under construction again this spring The part of North Lincoln Avenue just north of the intersection with Oaks Road IS CLOSED.  Urbana Public Works have posted detour signs along Oaks-Willow Roads and Ford Harris Road to help guide you here to the farm. The good news is that Olympian Drive IS NOW OPEN HEADING EAST, RIGHT TO OUR DRIVEWAY. So, if you’re coming from Champaign or I-57, you can take Olympian Drive east right to our farm! For detailed and accurate directions, visit our website

CU Farmers: an online farmers’ market for Champaign Urbana. If you can’t make it to the farm this weekend; no worries. You can check out our offerings through CUFarmers (as well as those from Blue Moon Farm and Bane Family Meats).  Ordering opens this Sunday, March 19th and closes Tuesday evening, March 21st.  Pick up at the Urbana “Market in the Square” on Saturday, March 25th with Blue Moon Farm (9-12).

Cheese and Gelato CSA We still have openings for our 2017 Cheese and Gelato CSA.  If you’re the type of person who likes to plan ahead, the CSA model is a great way to access some of the best local foods around.  Our CSA is designed to give members the maximum flexibility to choose which cheeses and gelato flavors they want for each pick up. We have four convenient pick up locations in central Illinois: two in Champaign-Urbana and two in Bloomington-Normal.  Curious?

Farm to table Meals Ticket sales have been brisk this past week for our farm dinners and pop-up meals. We will be adding a few more dates with new and returning guest chefs, but in the meantime, check out the offerings and book your reservations now.   


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 3/6/2017 4:08pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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It's truly raining goat babies today; seven does kidded today and two yesterday; our kid count is at 20 already, and we know we're not done for the day.  As we catch out breath in between catching kids, I want to remind you about a few things this week.

CU Farmers: CUfarmers.com-we're taking orders today and tomorrow through our website. We have a respectable selection of cheese as well as a few gelato flavors (pints) available. Order online and pick up your order at the Urbana Market in the Square on Saturday, March 11th (8AM to 12:30 PM).  

"Dinners on the Farm" Tickets to the 2017 season are now available for purchase through our ShowClix Page.  Read the descriptions and then make your reservations now.  We have a great variety of options this year, including our elaborate feasts and more streamlined pop-up meals--There's something for everyone here.  

Urbana's Market in the Square: This is the winter indoor market hosted by the Urbana Business Association. We have been participating since January, and this coming Saturday, March 11th (8:00 AM to 1:00 PM), will be our last attendance of the winter season (since our "Babies and Breakfast" Saturday Open Houses run from March 18-April 29 and then May 6th is the first outdoor market of the season).  We will have cheese:

  • Plain and Cracked Pepper Chevre
  • Snow Fog (our winter cow-milk bloomy rind)
  • Moonglo
  • Huckleberry Blue

We will also have assorted gelato flavors (pints), house-made jams and a few other goodies.  Please come check out this great winter market. Blue Moon Farm will be there, along with a few other local farmers and crafts people.  


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 3/3/2017 2:20pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

Imagine you are a pregnant mother in your final weeks of gestation.  Now imagine you are carrying triplets, maybe even quadruplets.  OK, now picture yourself as big as a double-wide trailer, standing belly to belly at the feed bunk, pushing and shoving to get your mouthful of choice alfalfa hay.  I realize that you’re beginning to question the validity of this imagery as a mono-gastric, omnivorous primate. This is the image of 60 plus very pregnant does waiting for the birthing hormones to kick in, and labor to commence.  Despite their girth, swollen udders and waddling movements, I confess that the anxiety of waiting is all on us humans.  In fact, with the sun shining, and the wind light, the “girls” are all out in the pasture today, nibbling at the emergent greenery. 

We have been on “goat baby watch” for a couple of weeks now, convinced that we will awake to kids on the ground each morning.  The start of their official due dates is today, but no one is showing any signs of imminent labor.  I guess I’ll have to imagine myself as the doting expecting grandparent and just have a glass of wine. 

Winter markets continue but the farm is gearing up for spring

We’re getting the farm ready for spring and “Babies & Breakfast” season starts in a few weeks--March 18th to be exact.  We’re attending the Champaign Urbana CSA Fair this evening (4-7 PM at the Urbana Civic Center), so come see us and check out our offerings as well as those of other local farms.  We have extended the deadline for our 5% discount on the 2017 through this evening, and we’ll even make it easy for you to sign up AT THE CSA FAIR. 

While we’re waiting for the 2017 cheese making season to begin, we still have cheese and gelato for SALE—check out our offerings through CUFarmers (as well as those from Blue Moon Farm and Bane Family Meats).  Ordering opens this Sunday, March 5th and closes Tuesday evening, March 7th. Pick up at the Urbana “Market in the Square” on Saturday, March 11th.

We will also be attending the Market in the Square  on March 11th for the last time before the outdoor market starts in May.  So, if you haven’t checked out that winter market yet, please come see us. It’s inside Lincoln Square Mall (south entrance by Tang Dynasty); HOURS: 8 AM to 1 PM. I will be sending out an email early next week with details about our market offerings. 

Farm to table Meals

We’ve been busy working with our guest chefs over the winter to develop our line-up of farm to table meals for 2017.  This year, we’ll be offering more casual “pop-up” style meals as well as our farm fancy, extreme farm-to-table extravaganza events. I hope to release ticket sales for the season by early next week. Stay tuned.

North Lincoln Ave. under construction again this spring The part of North Lincoln Avenue just north of the intersection with Oaks Road will be closed starting Monday, March 6th.  Urbana Public Works have posted detour signs along Oaks-Willow Roads and Ford Harris Road to help guide you here to the farm. The good news is that Olympian Drive will be opening on the same day that N. Lincoln Ave. closes. So, if you’re coming from Champaign or I-57, you can take Olympian Drive east right to our farm! For detailed and accurate directions, including a detour map, visit our website.  

 


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 2/19/2017 6:36pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

The freakishly warm February days have us scurrying about the farm to get ready for new life. Dani and Erica have been pruning the fruit trees, whispering messages to pay no attention to the temperatures beckoning them to break dormancy.  Erica, our herd manager, has been high-tailing the skid steer through the barns and out to the compost piles, cleaning out the winter bedding and laying a clean fresh layer of straw for the arrival of the little ones.  The kid barn ground lies bare to air out before we set up pens and feeders.  The middle of February that feels like April is eerily quiet-the calm before the storm of baby goats. 

Local Food is all around us, even in winter CU Farmers-Champaign Urbana’s multi-farmer local food buying club is open for business this winter. Blue Moon Farm, Bane Family Meats and Prairie Fruits Farm have offerings of mouth-watering produce, meats, eggs, cheese and gelato. Online ordering starts Monday and runs through Wednesday. Orders can be picked up at the Saturday Market in the Square. 

Market in the Square-We are attending the market on Saturday, February 25th (8AM to 1PM). We’ll have plenty of cheese (chevre, snow fog, Moonglo and Huckleberry Blue) as well as a few flavors of goat milk gelato.  We’ll bring some of our jams and goat milk soap as well.  Come support the farmers that want you to have great local food, even in the middle of winter.

National CSA Sign-Up Day-This Friday, February 24th has been anointed “National CSA Sign-Up Day.” For those of you unfamiliar with the term, CSA stands for “Community Supported Agriculture.” This intimate relationship between farmer and consumer is the embodiment of a food symbiosis: consumers support local farms that produce high-quality foods (vegetables, fruits, meats, eggs, dairy products—often produced organically, or pastured or with high animal welfare) and farmers provide their members with a season’s worth of delicious foods.  By signing up for a season’s worth of food NOW, you help the farmers’ cash flow at a time when it’s low. 

Not only can you sign up for our Cheese & Gelato CSA, but we also partner with several CSA farmers right here in Central IL (Champaign Urbana and Bloomington-Normal). It will blow your mind how great all these local foods are within your reach:


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 2/9/2017 10:36pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farming at 30,000 feet

We’ve been doing a lot of traveling lately. Winter is the only time of year when both Wes and I can leave the farm together and not worry too much about what’s happening at the farm.  The goats just eat and grow their girth with child (many), the cheeses that are aging need just a little loving care.  Orders are placed and filled; faucets go to slow drip when the temperature drops below 20 degrees.  So, we take to the skies to travel in this narrow band of time.  Gaining distance and elevation has a cleansing effect. If I’m lucky, I can peer out of the plane window to watch the landscape change from jagged snow caped peaks to arid irrigation circles, back to the familiar darkened flat earth with a skiff of snow-- the abstract patterns so removed from the minutiae of the quotidian.

Winter Farmers’ Market

This Saturday, February 11th, we’re attending the Urbana “Market in the Square.”  For those of you unfamiliar, the market is held in the south hall of Lincoln Square Mall (enter by Tang Dynasty), but our booth is located at the north end of this hall, close to Blue Moon Farm’s booth.  For this Saturday, we have a great selection of cheeses, gelato and some other farm products (sausage, stew meat, jams, goat milk soaps): If you’re planning something special for your sweetheart for Valentine’s Day, pick up some cheese, jam and gelato (limited flavors including vanilla, coconut, ginger, salted caramel). I’ve recommended some specific cheeses that would go well with chocolate below:

Chevre (has been frozen, so you can either thaw it to use right away or keep it frozen): plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper. For Valentine’s Day, why not dress up the plain chevre with a drizzle of chocolate sauce.

Raw milk feta: you may not think of feta as a ‘winter’ cheese, but it is perfect to liven up a hearty stew, a bowl of chili or even a winter salad—this is the last of the fall milk feta, and we have very little left (come early if you want some).

Snow Fog: our cow’s milk bloomy rind (“Chaource”) is slightly lemony and fudgy in texture.  It would be great served with chunks of dark chocolate.

Moonglo: our raw milk “tomme” makes a delicious and fancy grilled cheese sandwich. It’s also great with pickles or jam. 

Huckleberry Blue: This raw milk blue is dense and creamy and very approachable.  Talk about a perfect accompaniment to chocolate—try it with a melty milk chocolate or a chocolate hazelnut bar.

Upcoming Special Event at the Farm: Storytelling about resilient agriculture – a case study Laura Lengnick, author of Resilient Agriculture, will be at Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery on Saturday, Feb. 18, from 2 -- 4 pm to discuss her book and look at PFF&C as a case study of resilience in the face of climate change.

Laura will meld two areas of her experience and expertise, climate change in agriculture and storytelling, to help others understand what lies ahead and how we can respond to it.  Copies of her book, “Resilient Agriculture: Cultivating Food Systems for a Changing Climate,” will be available for purchase, and we’ll have some local food snacks available as well. At 4 pm we’ll wind it up, and go forward with our ideas to make our responses to climate change accessible and meaningful to our customers and the greater public.  

Laura’s visit is hosted by U of I’s Agroecology and Sustainable Agriculture Program and Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery.  PFFC is located at 4410 N Lincoln Ave, Champaign, IL 61822    

Tree Pruning Workshops at the Farm

Although March means mostly baby goats here at the farm, it’s also the time of year to prune our fruit trees so they have the greatest opportunities to bear fruit.  This March, Dani and Erica, the “fruit gals” are hosting two free workshops on tree fruit pruning: one for apples and one for peaches.  No experience necessary. We will go over general pruning techniques for each type of tree and then let you prune your own tree or two (with some guidance, of course).  A digital copy of our guide to pruning fruit trees will also be available to attendees.   

There is limited space (8 people per workshop) and pre-registration through our website is required.   Bring your own pruning shears if you have them (we have plenty of extras if you don't) and dress warm! Gloves and warm, sturdy shoes are especially important.  

March 4th: Apple Tree Pruning Workshop, 10am-1pm

March 11th: Peach Tree Pruning Workshop, 10am-1pm  

**If you would like to register, but the workshop is full, please email us at pffcfruit@gmail.com and let us know. If there is enough interest we will create a waiting list or hold another workshop in mid-March.  If you sign up and can’t attend, please let us know at least 24 hours in advance so we can contact others who might wish to attend.  

Celebrate CSA Day on February 24th  

February 24th is National CSA Day. We will be sending out little reminders leading up to the day, but our hope is that those of you in central Illinois feel moved to sign up for our Cheese and Gelato CSA.  We treat our CSA members REALLY well! We offer them discounted prices on our cheeses, first dibs on special “CSA members only” cheeses and other “first of the season” cheese offerings.  Members get to choose which cheeses they want for each pick up (twice monthly from May through October).  The “cherry on the sundae” is that we host a special “CSA Members Farm Feast” in the fall.  So, if you want to wait to sign up on February 24th, that’s fine, but WHY WAIT?? SIGN UP NOW.  

 


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 1/23/2017 8:18pm by Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery.

DUE TO INSUFFICIENT SIGN UPS, WE HAVE DECIDED TO POSTPONE OUR FARM DINNER "FROM RUSSIA WITH LOVE." ORIGINALLY SCHEDULED FOR SUNDAY, JANUARY 29TH, WE WILL LET FOLKS KNOW WHEN WE WILL RESCHEDULE THIS HEARTY WINTER MEAL. STAY TUNED.