News

Welcome to Leslie's Blog.
Posted 12/20/2016 11:46am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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The ice is melting, melting, melting and the goats are dry (as of this morning's final milking of the season), so LET'S CELEBRATE! 

The farm will be open from 12-7 PM tomorrow, December 21st.  It's the winter solstice, so come on out to celebrate light's triumph over the darkness.  This is our last open house for the season. 

We will be sampling cheeses, jams, pickles and crackers AND serving some great warm beverages and delicious treats:

  • Last of the hot chocolate 
  • Fresh doughnuts from Lucky Pierre Bakers
  • Glugg, a Scandanavian mulled wine
  • Hot, spiced pumpkin soup

If you want to take your picture with our holiday goats, this is your last chance (picture taking from 12-4 pm, because it's too dark after 4:00 pm).

We have so many great food and non-food gifts to purchase as well:

  • Cheese and goat milk yogurt
  • Gelato
  • Jams
  • Pickles
  • Crackers
  • Salted Goats' Milk Caramels
  • Chocolates and Chevre Truffles by Ruben's Chocolates
  • Doughnuts and Dog Treats by Lucky Pierre Bakers (they have Alpaca yarn too!!)
  • Leicester Wool Yarn by Seven Sisters Farm
  • Sausages by Piemonte Sausage
  • Pastured eggs and meats by Bane Family Meats
  • Pastured lamb (ground and shoulder steaks) by Caveny Farm
  • Goat stew meat by Prairie Fruits Farm
  • Pillows and textiles by Lara Orr
  • Goat Milk Soaps by Red Barn Farm (made with our goat milk and our herbs)
  • Tea and wellness products by Delight Flower Farm (and Liz Faermark)
  • Hand-carved wooden utensils and cheese boards by Cara's Garden (and watercolor note cards)
  • Prairie Fruits Farm t-shirts, sweatshirts, onesies-many sizes, colors and styles to choose
  • Prairie Fruits Farm tea towels and gift cards

If you've waited until the last minute to find that unique special gift for the special people in your lives, now's your chance. If you need some great local foods to feed your guests, we've got that too.  If you just need a reprieve from the holiday hustle an bustle, let our goats help you de-stress.  

Happy Happy Holidays!


Copyright 2016. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2016. 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 12/17/2016 8:56pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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IMPORTANT NOTICE: We have decided to postpone our final Holiday Open House until Wednesday, December 21st. The icey and extreme cold conditions make travel treacherous to the farm. SO, tomorrow's event is CANCELLED. Stay posted for details about Wednesday's event.

Copyright 2016. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2016. 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 12/15/2016 10:15pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News  

Tonight, a dozen first-year vet students crammed themselves into the milking parlor to ultrasound our does. They arrived at the end of the evening milking shift, armed with slick, new portable machines, eager to put their new knowledge into practice.  The does, udders deflated and heads buried in their after-milking hay, were reluctant to venture back into the frigid night air.  We coaxed them in with a little more grain, and got right to work prepping their udders with alcohol and lube.  Within minutes, the tell-tale exclamatory sounds from excited vet students confirmed what our breeding notes had captured: placentomes, fetal heads, feet, umbilical cords, fluid-filled uteri-down the line pregnant does.  Some had settled as soon as the bucks were brought into the barn in early October; others showed the very beginning stages of gestation. 

As we sunset the 2016 lactation season, it’s hard to think about the renewal of life and another season of milk.  The solstice moon, the early artic chill and the skiff of snow on the fields; these are nature’s cues for closure.  The goat girls have a few more days of milking, and then they will get their winter’s rest (as will we).  They’ve put their spring buns in a slow burning oven. We’ll keep the embers glowing with plenty of winter hay, clean warm water and a little grain from time to time. 

Farmers’ Market News This Saturday, December 17th we’re attending the final markets of the season:  both the Urbana Market and Chicago’s Green City Market.  Yes, the weather will be wintery, but it is winter after all.  Here is our line- up of cheeses:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Raw –Milk Feta: don’t neglect this cheese just because it’s cold outside-crumble feta on a bowl of chili or a hearty stew and you’ll elevate your meal to a whole new stratosphere
  • Snow Fog: our cow milk “chaource” style cheese is at peak ripeness now-perfect for holiday entertaining-LIMITED AVAILABILITY, SO COME EARLY TO THE MARKETS
  • Prairie Jersey Apple: a spin on a washed rind cheese.  These firm little rounds have been washed with hard cider and aged for a little over a month. They’re loaded with flavor, but very approachable. LIMITED AVAILABILITY.
  • Moonglo: our raw milk tomme-style cheese made in the heat of the summer captures the essence of the pasture forage in mid-lactation milk
  • Magia Negra: our homage to Manchego (goat style) is crumbly, sharp and nutty—perfect for shaving on a winter salad or some sautéed greens.
  • Goat Milk Yogurt: this is the last batch of the season and it’s really thick and luscious; just milk and live cultures—plain and simple

We have all the accompaniments for your holiday cheese boards as well. We have an assortment of house-made crackers made with flours and grains from Severson Farm in Fairbury, IL.  We will also have our spiced pecans, made with Voss Orchard (Carlyle IL) pecans, house-made jams & pickles and our salted goat’s milk caramels too.

We’ll bring a limited selection of gelatos including:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Raspberry-Chocolate Swirl
  • Toasted Coconut
  • Local Ginger
  • Turtle (made with local pecans, chocolate ganache and salted caramel)
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Sugar Plum Sorbetto

Don’t forget to sign up for our 2017 Season Cheese and Gelato CSA-Better Yet! Give it as a gift to the cheese lover in your life

If you love our cheeses, and want to get in on our special “members only” benefits, please consider signing up for our 2017 Cheese and Gelato CSA season.  We offer members lots of options and flexibility. You can choose the quantities and types of cheese you want. We also offer special “members only” cheeses throughout the season (this year, we made special chevre flavors including ramp pesto, a coffee flavored bloomy rind called “mocha” and a pickled pepper infused Moonglo).  The gelato share offers you one or two pints of gelato every two weeks. 

Members also have the option to sign up for a meat, poultry and egg share from Bane Family Meats and a special CSA members’ farm harvest dinner in the fall.  For 2017, we have pick up locations in Champaign-Urbana and Bloomington-Normal.

Sign up tonight, and get a 10% discount off the season.  If you sign up between December 16th and February 27th, you get a 5% discount off the season.  We also have a link to the Delight Flower CSA sign up. They will offer a pick up at our farm next year as well.

Make your stand at the Real Stand this Sunday, December 18th

What a wonderful year it has been! Join us this Sunday, 12/18, for our final day of the year and celebrate Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery’s 2016 season. Get away from the hustle and bustle of the holiday season – commune with the goats and enjoy a warm beverage and some cheese with us. 

Don't miss this Sunday:

- Hot doughnuts, hot chocolate and Glugg (mulled wine) for sale

- A typewriter poet, James Escher, on site from 11-3 

- Pick up cheeses, jams, pickles, pecans and crackers to build your holiday platters - Final weekend for the goat photo booth

- Find the best local and sustainable gifts in our store

- Many flavors of gelato to choose

- Buy eggs, meats and sausages to feed your house guests

- Chocolate stand will be open with chevre truffles and assorted chocolates for sale

POETRY James Escher, a typewriter poet, will be on site from 11-3 crafting poems. Give him a prompt, and he'll create a one-of-a-kind gift. Tips appreciated. 

CHEESE Cheeses we expect to have in stock: Chevre (all three flavors), Moonglo, Magia Negra and Feta.

JAMS / PICKLES/CRACKERS / NUTS/SALTED GOATS’ MILK CARAMELS Several flavors of jams are still in stock as well as crackers and pickles. We also have spiced pecans from Voss Orchard in Carlyle, IL. If you’ve never tried our goat milk caramels, grab a bag. You’ll never wanted eat any other kind of caramel.

GELATO Flavors in stock: vanilla, chocolate, toasted coconut, ginger, turtle, salted caramel swirl, chocolate-raspberry swirl, sugar plum sorbetto

RUBEN’S CHOCOLATE COUNTER Chevre truffles, caramel filled chocolates, chocolate dipped petit prunes

MEATS KD Ranch Elk Summer Sausage, lamb from Caveny Farm, meats & eggs from Bane Family Meats, Goat Stew Meat from Prairie Fruits Farm, Sausages from Piemonte Sausage Co. 

DOUGHNUTS Lucky Pierre Bakery will be on site selling fresh doughnuts. Come early. They tend to sell out by 12 noon. They will also be selling their all-natural dog treats (Billy Goats Ruff) and alpaca yarn.

WREATHS Delight Flower Farm still has a few holiday wreaths available.  If you’ve waited until the last minute to adorn your door for the holidays, we can set you up. 

GOAT PHOTO BOOTH Our "goat elf" and "goat santa" will be ready to model in your family photo or selfie. Booth is free of charge. Goat 'tips" appreciated. 

GIFT GIVING If you have any last minute holiday shopping to do, we still have in stock:

- T-shirts, sweatshirts and onesies
- Tea towels
- Handmade wooden cheese boards and utensils-Cara’s Garden
- Notecards
- Hand-dyed sheep's wool yarn-Seven Sisters’ Farm
- Placemats, napkins and pillows-Lara Orr
- Goats milk soaps made by The Red Barn Farm
- Natural body care products by Liz Faermark of Delight Flower Farm
- CSA: Cheese and Gelato CSA shares make a great gift. Contact us if you're interested in giving a cheese or gelato CSA membership. 
- Looking for a gift certificate?  Consider a gift card with our “Credibles” Account-it’s a great way to support our farm and let your gift recipients use it whenever and however they like.
-If you’re looking for a customized gift certificate for the 2017 Farm-to-Table Meal Season, please email me at prairiefruits@gmail.com  

Join us for our final day of the season. It will be cold outside, but we’ll warm you up with all the holiday treats and all the goat lovin’.  It's your last chance to pick up items for your holiday dinners or gift giving. Hope to see you there.

Lastly, we thank you for your patronage this year. It has been a great season, and we know that our success is strongly linked to your support.  We wish you and yours joyous and restful holidays. 


Copyright 2016. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2016. 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 12/8/2016 10:31pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

One of the joys of being a farmstead and artisan cheese maker in the U.S. is that we get to make up names for our cheeses. We are not tied to the ancient traditions of protected name (AOC in French) cheeses such as “Camembert de Normandie,” “Comte” or “Roquefort.” In true American entrepreneurial spirit, we build on the traditions of the old world and spin new twists suited to our milk, our seasons and our natural resources. 

Last winter, when we embarked on our new venture of making jersey cow milk cheeses when our goats are dry, I turned to the place that has inspired me from day one of my cheese making adventures-France.  I wanted to make a bloomy rind cheese with this high-fat golden milk, partly because I love to make little cheeses with white fuzz, and partly because I was curious how the jersey milk would compare with our goat milk bloomies. However, I didn’t want to just follow our recipe for Little Bloom on the Prairie, nor did I want to parrot a camembert recipe (too pedestrian).  So, I came upon a lactic curd version of bloomy rind cow milk cheese called a “chaource.”  If your eyes are starting to glaze over from the cheese making jargon, please indulge me.

This cheese originated in the Champagne and Bourgogne regions of France. It starts its life in a similar fashion to chevre; a long and slow fermentation of the milk (this is the lactic part-the starter cultures eat the milk sugar, lactose, and produce lactic acid as a by-product; the lactic acid curdles the milk and separates the curd from the whey). The curd is gently cut before ladling directly into molds and then left alone for several hours before undergoing a series of flips to help the whey drain and the cheese to firm up. The rounds are dry-salted, not brined, and, once firm, they go through a lengthy drying period to ensure a delicate thin bloomy rind develops in a high humidity aging room.  I chose the name “snow fog” for this cheese because the rind reminded me of the frozen fog that descends on our farm from time to time.  The paste starts firm and delicate and graduates to some degree of gooeyness with age.

As I gauge a customers’ interest and cheese knowledge at the farmers’ markets or at the farm, I try to find words to describe the cheeses we make. I choose words carefully, watching facial expressions and reactions as I begin the cheese’s story.  I search for words familiar to each person before me; as they feed me clues, I feed them more or less information or I simply offer them a taste. 

Last week, at the end of a not-very busy farmers’ market, a lovely young couple approached my stand asking for “black goat.” As I delivered the sad news that “black goat was finished for the season,” and probed them for other options, I detected their accent as French.  I offered them a taste of “snow fog,” initially describing it as ‘camembert-like,’ not really knowing the depth of their cheese knowledge.  When the gentleman replied, “this is not a camembert, this is a chaource,” I nearly fell backwards with joy.  “Yes, it is a chaource,” I smiled. “No one here knows what a chaource is, and frequently, they don’t know what a camembert is either.”  We, the customer and I, were both happy; he was happy because he loves chaource and cannot find it anywhere in the US, and I was happy because he knew exactly what cheese I was trying to make.  When I returned home, energized by the encounter, I went back to the book that is my “bible” for French cheeses-Dorling Kindersley’s “French Cheeses,” and I re-read the description for “chaource.” When I read “it melts in the mouth like light snow,” my cheese maker’s rapture was complete. 

Farmers’ Market News

This Saturday, December 10th, we are attending Urbana’s Market in the Square.  Next Saturday, the 17th are our final markets of the season, and we’ll be attending both the Urbana Market and Chicago’s Green City Market.  Here is our line- up of cheeses:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper (stock up for winter)
  • Raw –Milk Feta: don’t neglect this cheese just because it’s cold outside-crumble feta on a bowl of chili or a hearty stew and you’ll elevate your meal to a whole new stratosphere
  • Snow Fog: our cow milk “chaource” style cheese is fudgy and delicate-quite tasty
  • Moonglo: our raw milk tomme-style cheese made in the heat of the summer captures the essence of the pasture forage in mid-lactation milk
  • Magia Negra: our homage to Manchego (goat style) is crumbly, sharp and nutty—perfect for shaving on a winter salad
  • Goat Milk Yogurt: get it while it lasts; just milk and live cultures—don’t need anything else

We will also have an assortment of house-made crackers made with flours and grains from Severson Farm in Fairbury, IL.  We will also have our spiced pecans, made with Voss Orchard (Carlyle IL) pecans and maybe a few bags of our salted goat’s milk caramels too. We’ll bring a limited selection of gelatos including:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Raspberry-Chocolate Swirl
  • Toasted Coconut
  • Local Ginger
  • Turtle (made with local pecans, chocolate ganache and salted caramel)
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Sugar Plum Sorbetto

Don’t forget to sign up for our 2017 Season Cheese and Gelato CSA

If you love our cheeses, and want to get in on our special “members only” benefits, please consider signing up for our 2017 Cheese and Gelato CSA season.  We offer members lots of options and flexibility. You can choose the quantities and types of cheese you want. We also offer special “members only” cheeses throughout the season (this year, we made special chevre flavors including ramp pesto, a coffee flavored bloomy rind called “mocha” and a pickled pepper infused Moonglo).  The gelato share offers you one or two pints of gelato every two weeks.  Members also have the option to sign up for a meat, poultry and egg share from Bane Family Meats and a special CSA members’ farm harvest dinner in the fall. 

For 2017, we have pick up locations in Champaign-Urbana and Bloomington-Normal. Sign up now through December 15th, and get a 10% discount off the season.  If you sign up between December 16th and February 27th, you get a 5% discount off the season.  We also have a link to the Delight Flower CSA sign up. They will offer a pick up at our farm next year as well.

What’s New in the Real Stand at Prairie Fruits Farm? This Sunday’s theme is ”Glugg, gifts and goats”  https://www.facebook.com/events/350799188615624/ We know the forecast is calling for snow, and we say “LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW, LET IT SNOW!” We’re open 10 AM to 5 PM

Delight Flower Farm will be here selling holiday wreaths. They also have a wreath building workshop from 2-4 PM inside the kid barn. Check out the details.

Visit with the goats inside our cozy barn (yes, they will be dressed in holiday attire, and yes, you can take your pictures with them until 4pm as it gets dark by then). We’ll warm you up with some toasty and tasty beverages inside our barn dining room: goat milk hot chocolate, affogatos (coffee with gelato) and “Glugg” a scandanavian mulled wine.  Lucky Pierre Bakers will be here with hot fresh doughnuts, and we’ll put out a sample spread of cheeses, jams and pickles for you to try.  Feel free to linger with a drink, and grab a cheese and a bag of crackers to nosh on while you’re here.   Rueben’s Belgian Chocolates will offer goat cheese truffles, petit prunes (from the Jarrell Family Farm in Oregon) dipped in dark chocolate and boxes of assorted dark and milk chocolate confections. 

Looking for some unique and truly local gifts? Check out herbal teas and bath care products from Delight Flower Farm, goat-milk soaps from Red Barn Farm and gorgeous yarns from Seven Sisters Farm. Don’t forget the artisanal, hand-crafted art work from Lara Orr and Cara Cummings. Lastly, check out the PFF&C “Merch:” t-shirts, tea towels, onesies and hoodies, oh my! There’s something for everyone here. Looking for local food with integrity to feed your hungry holiday guests? We have grass-fed lamb from Caveny Farm (ground and shoulder steaks available). We also have eggs, meat and poultry from Bane Family Meats, Elk Summer Sausage from KD Ranch and Artisan Sausages from Piemonte Sausage Co.

Looking for a unique gift certificate?  Consider a gift card with our “Credibles” Account-it’s a great way to support our farm and let your gift recipients use it whenever and however they like. If you’re looking for a customized gift certificate for the 2017 Farm to Table Meal Season, please email me at prairiefruits@gmail.com

Concert at the Prairie Glass House—our friends at Lumen Events are hosting “Acoustic Christmas” on Saturday, December 10th Featuring Rebecca Rego and the Trainmen. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery will be crafting the holiday cheese platters for this event. Last chance to get your tickets! https://www.facebook.com/events/1824221074488987/ 


Copyright 2016. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2016. 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 12/1/2016 9:27pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

December brings less light. December brings cold winds. December wears a shade of grey that makes you pull your hood up. The goats’ coats stand on end every morning as they wait in the cold damp dark air of the morning milking shift.  They are increasingly reluctant to give up the paltry ounces of white liquid “gold” that their udders contain.  We are increasingly resentful to awaken in the dark to extract their liquid gold.  Yet, the richness of their milk and the denseness of the curd in the vat keep us going, keep us coaxing the pregnant goat girls a little bit longer. 

December is the month of milker attrition. Each week, another few does decide they have had enough and dry themselves off.  Last week, we had a group of 11 does who handed us their “pink slips.”  The good news is we know this is a clear sign that they are bred and shifting their resources to the next generation.  The onset of winter celebrates the culmination of a season of cheese making; it’s a time of people gathering together to enjoy the fruits of labors endured in the heat of summer.  December begins the transition from work to rest.  Goats and farmers alike are not putting up a fight. 

2017 CSA Season is ready for sign up

If you love our cheeses, and want to get in on our special “members only” benefits, please consider signing up for our 2017 Cheese and Gelato CSA season.  We offer members lots of options and flexibility. You can choose the quantities and types of cheese you want. We also offer special “members only” cheeses throughout the season (this year, we made special chevre flavors including ramp pesto, a coffee flavored bloomy rind called “mocha” and a pepper infused Moonglo).  The gelato share offers you one or two pints of gelato every two weeks. 

Members also have the option to sign up for a meat, poultry and egg share from Bane Family Meats and a special CSA members’ farm harvest dinner in the fall.  For 2017, we have pick up locations in Champaign-Urbana and Bloomington-Normal. Sign up now through December 15th, and get a 10% discount off the season.  If you sign up between December 16th and February 27th, you get a 5% discount off the season.  We also have a link to the Delight Flower CSA sign up. They will offer a pick up at our farm next year as well.

What’s New in the Real Stand at Prairie Fruits Farm?

We had a fantastic turnout last Saturday for the Holiday Goat Parade. This weekend, we’re encouraging folks to visit the farm on Sunday, December 4th (10 AM to 5 PM) to unwind a bit.  We’re calling the event “Treat Yourself at the Farm:” https://www.facebook.com/events/1732839123709718/ Back by popular demand, we will be dressing up several yearlings in holiday attire for guests to pose with for pictures. We’ll also show you how to give goat facials; they go into a trance and you relax just watching them! We will have several Delight Flower Farm wreaths made with all-local greenery for sale.

We will also offer warm beverages (with and without alcohol) to warm your insides, and Rueben’s Chocolates will make their debut at The Real Stand with fine chocolates—goat cheese truffles, petit prunes (from the Jarrell Family Farm in Oregon) dipped in dark chocolate and even our famous salted goat milk caramels will be available for tasting and for purchase. 

Also new in the shop: herbal teas and bath care products from Delight Flower Farm, new soaps made with our goat milk from Red Barn Farm and grass-fed lamb from Caveny Farm (ground and shoulder steaks available). We also have eggs, meat and poultry from Bane Family Meats, Elk Summer Sausage from KD Ranch and Artisan Sausages from Piemonte Sausage Co.  Cheese, jams, pickles, candied pecans and other farm treats will be available for tasting and purchase as well.  Of course we have gorgeous hand-crafted art work from Lara Orr and Cara Cummings. Lastly, don’t forget the PFF&C “Merch:” t-shirts, tea towels, onesies and hoodies, oh my! Although the forecast is calling for possibility of our first SNOW, we will keep you warm and relaxed out at the farm.

Farmers’ Market Happenings

Don’t forget that the Urbana “Market in the Square” is VERY MUCH ALIVE and happening every Saturday through December 17th. We will be there this Saturday from 8 AM to 1 PM with cheese, jams, crackers, nuts and some gelato.  Here’s the lineup of cheeses:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Raw –Milk Feta: don’t neglect this cheese just because it’s cold outside-crumble feta on a bowl of chili or a hearty stew and you’ll elevate your meal to a whole new stratosphere
  • Snow Fog: our next batch of cow milk “camembert” style cheese is young but beautifully dense and fudgy-quite tasty
  • Moonglo: our raw milk tomme-style cheese made in the heat of the summer captures the essence of the pasture forage in mid-lactation milk
  • Magia Negra: our homage to Manchego (goat style) is crumbly, sharp and nutty—perfect for shaving on a winter salad
  • Goat Milk Yogurt: get it while it lasts; just milk and live cultures—don’t need anything else

Looking for a gift certificate?  Consider a gift card with our “Credibles” Account-it’s a great way to support our farm and let your gift recipients use it whenever and however they like. If you’re looking for a customized gift certificate for the 2017 Farm-to-Table Meal Season, please email me at prairiefruits@gmail.com

Concert at the Prairie Glass House—our friends at Lumen Events are hosting “Acoustic Christmas” on December 10th, featuring Rebecca Rego and the Trainmen. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery will be crafting the holiday cheese platters for this event. Get your tickets NOW! https://www.facebook.com/events/1824221074488987oat 

 


Copyright 2016. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2016. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 11/25/2016 2:08pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News
I love Thanksgiving on the farm. I love cooking the food we source from the local farms around us or from the garden beds we tended earlier this year. We spent most of the day prepping the meal, including roasting our bird over a wood fire. Our feast included a turkey raised by Bane Family Meats in Sidney, IL, salad greens and fennel from Blue Moon Farm in Urbana, braising greens and fresh herbs from our own garden, eggs from our own hens, corn meal from Spence Farm in Fairbury and fruits for the pie from our own orchard.  Something about taking the turkey off the grill in the cool damp air of late November pushes me back in time, but the flavors of the feast were ever so present on my palate.  

Holiday Goat Parade-November 26th 10 AM-5 PM

We're opening up the farm tomorrow (Saturday) for a special event we're calling "Holiday Goat Parade." It will be an open house format, so come whenever you like (between the hours of 10 AM and 5 PM). We are dressing up several of our favorite goats in holiday attire and they will be "parading" around the farm all day.  We will have hot beverages (even some goat milk hot chocolate) for you to drink while you shop or walk around the farm and visit with the goats. We will have a photo taking spot just outside the farm shop, so you can pose with family members and take holiday pictures with or without our "holiday" goats.  

We have lots of GREAT gifts inside our shop-THE REAL STAND-made by local artisans (food and non-food) and our PFF&C "merch," as well as samples of cheese and gelato for you to try.  Delight Flower Farm will be here making and selling holiday wreaths.  The weather forecast sounds delightful for this time of year (sunny and in the 50's), so we hope you'll stop by and get a jumpstart on some holiday cheer, farm style. 


Copyright 2016. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2016. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 11/17/2016 10:30pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

Last night, I had the pleasure of teaching an eager group of folks about cheese.  As a person perpetually immersed of the world of cheese, from making it to selling it, I realize how valuable it is to spend a few hours talking about cheese with those who love to eat it, but consider it a mystery food.  Cheese is a magical thing; born of a milky suspension teeming with microbes and molecules, it is transformed to a myriad of textures, aromas and flavors. The hands of the cheesemaker guide the chosen microbes and enzymes, with a little heat and a curd knife, to rearrange the molecules of milk into solids (curd) and liquid (whey). The different species of lactating animals, the feed that they eat, the seasonality of the milk and the air that permeates the creamery aging spaces all impact the finished product we call “cheese.” No wonder it is so mysterious and intimidating to the general public. 

When we Americans abandoned our European ancestors’ cheese traditions for the glamour of industrial foods, we lost our comfort and our vocabulary for understanding and appreciating cheese.  Kraft singles and powdered parmesan in a can ruined the palates of several generations.  With the renaissance of American artisan cheeses, we are re-awakening our taste buds and craving an understanding of the strange and stinky rounds and wedges appearing at our grocery stores and our farmers’ markets. 

Under the glow of the lights in our barn dining room, wine glasses and baguette rounds at our side, we dove into the cheese spectrum laid before us. Starting with the fresh chevre and mozzarella, we glided into the bloomy rinds, progressed to the mild semi-hard, moved on the aged, semi-hard and hard raw milks and ended with a blue cheese and a brine-aged feta. I gave my eager pupils a brief lesson on how to use all of their senses to evaluate the cheeses and armed them with a few vocabulary words to help them describe what they were tasting. By the end of the evening, I could feel their confidence rise.  Several tried cheeses they swore they would never touch, while others invoked analogies to food tastes I never would have considered.  I’d like to think I pulled back the black curtain and let their black and white cheese world segue into Technicolor. 

Holiday Markets

With the waning super moon, we welcome in the Thanksgiving Holiday. It’s one of my favorite holidays, because it celebrates the achievements of our agricultural escapades. The holiday farmers’ markets reflect the culmination of all our farmers’ hard work in growing beautiful and diverse crops and raising tasty meats humanely.  We are attending three markets this Saturday, November 19th: Urbana’s Market in the Square (inside Lincoln Square Mall-8-1), Bloomington’s Holiday Market (in the Coliseum, 10-12) and Chicago’s Green City Market (inside the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum, 8-1).  Not only are we bringing lots of wonderful cheeses to adorn your holiday tables, but we’ll have all the accompaniments (jams, spiced toasted pecans, crackers, pickles) that you need to make the perfect local cheese boards for you and your guests

Here’s the line- up of cheeses:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Raw milk feta: crumbly and tangy, you can dress it up for the holidays with a drizzle of good olive oil and some fresh cut herbs
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: our goat milk camembert-style is rich and creamy this time of year
  • Snow Fog: our jersey cow-milk bloomy rind-dense, fudgy with hints of mushroom from the rind
  • Prairie Jersey Apple: our “experimental” batch of a jersey cow milk washed-rind cheese; we washed the rind with a hard cider. Although this batch is more toothsome than we intended, we’re happy with the flavor and we wanted our market patrons to give it a try
  • Moonglo: semi-hard, raw-milk, this cheese is combination of sharpness and fruitiness
  • Magia Negra: modeled after a manchego-style cheese, this one will grab you with its nuttiness
  • Goat milk yogurt: we made a special batch of yogurt for the holiday markets-plain and simple in pints and quarts-come and get it!

We will be bringing an assortment of gelato to the markets as well. Flavors include (not all markets will have all of these flavors):

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Lemon Verbena
  • Bourbon Caramel Apple
  • Salted Caramel Swirl (very limited)
  • Blackberry Cream
  • Local Ginger
  • Bourbon Peach Sorbetto
  • Local Grape Sorbetto

Farm Happenings

We had a great turnout for the opening of our holiday farm market “The Real Stand.” The farm will be open tomorrow (Friday, Nov. 18th) and again on Sunday, (Nov. 20th) from 10-5 each day. We have cheese, jams, pickles, crackers, gelato, yogurt, eggs, meats, local yarn, goat milk soaps, beautiful hand-made gifts from local artists, lots and lots of “merch”—t-shirts, sweatshirts, onesies, tea towels, aprons, OH MY!  The shop is all dressed up for the holidays and very festive, so we hope you’ll come check it out.

We are closed during the week of Thanksgiving, but we re-open on Saturday November 26th for a special event: “Goat Holiday Parade.” Come out to the farm (10 AM to 5 PM), peruse our farm shop and take pictures with goats dressed in “holiday attire.” It’s a great venue for holiday pictures (who could resist seeing your family alongside our little caprine Santa and elf goats)! Wine, beer and warm beverages will be available as well as samples of our cheeses. 

The Real Stand regular hours will be Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Sundays 10-5, unless noted otherwise. 

Our friends from Delight Flower Farm are making special holiday wreaths (that we are selling at our farm stand) are making gorgeous wreaths. Here are the details on how to get your hands on one:

"We're reminding you to place this year's wreath order by Nov 25th. We will be harvesting greens and "elving" over the Thanksgiving holiday week, so we need to know how many wreaths we're making. Holiday Wreaths: Small (12"/$25) and large (18"/$35). To place your order email delightCSA@gmail.com by Nov 25th. Include the number of how many of each size wreath you'd like (these make nice gifts!) Pickup for locals starts Dec 2nd at the Mistletoe Market, but we can ship to you and your loved ones too! ***Our wreath greens and berries are locally-sourced, and each one is handmade with its' own unique style- from traditional to weird and wild. :)

Also, reminding you of these upcoming farm-related dates/events:

Cut Flower CSA membership for summer 2017: We are already accepting shareholders for this coming flower season. In fact, your early enrollment will save you money and help us with our early-season expenses (bulbs, potting soil, seeds, tools, etc.) We have several pricing brackets for CSA membership depending upon when you enroll. Sign up early! ('til Dec 31st) CSA shares make good gifts because they keep on giving throughout the year. Consider giving a CSA share to one of your loved ones this year! We even have fancy little gift cards you can give them to "unwrap"!

Imbibe Urbana:: Mistletoe Market: Dec 2nd, 4-8pm, Urbana Civic Center. We'll be here with lots of other "kissable" Urbana folks (+ cocktails + kids crafts). We're really excited to have winter farm products to sell this year including our farm-grown tea blends, Liz's herbal body products and medicines, beeswax fire starters, wreaths, paper white blooming (!) winter bulbs, and more. What fun! "

 


Copyright 2016. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2016. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 11/11/2016 8:46am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

"I prefer winter and fall, when you feel the bone structure of the landscape - the loneliness of it,  the dead feeling of winter.  Something waits beneath it, the whole story doesn't show."  -   Andrew Wyeth

This week, events outside the sphere of the farm have consumed us. Sometimes these external jolts spark us into a new state of consciousness.  The strength of our flat prairie region is our sense of community.  The wide open landscape, laid bare after crop harvest, has nowhere to hide.  Andrew Wyeth’s words above are particularly poignant for us flatlanders in the autumn of the year. We come together to seek warmth, solace, joy. We know what lies beneath our feet is what sustains us. Just as I embrace the terroir of our prairie in the flavor of our milk and the taste of our cheese, I celebrate the terroir of our community in its tenacity to the ground and to each other.

Farming, especially farming with animals, has taught me the humble lessons of not having control over most things.  Yet, the optimism of the seasons, that leaves fall, crops get harvested, winter wipes the slate clean and baby goats come in the spring, forces me to reaffirm the value of terroir.

"November always seemed to me the Norway of the year." -   Emily Dickinson

I love this quote from Emily Dickinson.  Does the analogy to November as “Norway” allude to barrenness? Does it salute the power of the glaciers that wiped the landscape clean and built it back up with just enough soil to grow things? (The soil scientist in me would like to believe the latter.) November for me is a time of nesting. It seems counterintuitive to nest in the fall when most creatures nest in the spring.  But my nesting is more in line with the seasonality of goats. As their milk production wanes, I have more time to clean house, to make delicious food.  They are busy making babies.

The long overdue colder temperatures have arrived, and the goats grazing in the windswept pasture scarf up senescent maple leaves like potato chips. The firewood is stacked and covered neatly against the house (the tidy part of this scene doesn’t happen too often), and there’s a fire in our woodstove every morning.  The arrival of early darkness each afternoon makes the goats reluctant to enter the milking parlor and makes me eager to curl up on a chair and read.  I have a long list of books that await me.

Farm Happenings and Market News Fall Classes and Workshops:  

Our November 13th cheese making workshop is sold out, but we have a couple of spaces open for the workshop on December 11th.  We have plenty of spaces still available for our Wednesday evening classes on understanding cheese (November 16th) and cheese pairings (November 30th).  Check out the details and book your spots NOW. All classes involve eating lots of cheese and drinking some really great wines and/or beers too. 

Our holiday farm shop is taking shape. We’ve been working hard on renovations and plan to have a “soft” opening on Wednesday, November 16th from 3-6PM. Stay tuned for details and regular hours as well as special events we plan to host at the farm for the holiday season.

Farmers' Markets

This Saturday, we move inside Lincoln Square Mall, Urbana, for the “Market in the Square.” The market runs from 8AM to 1:00 PM and we will be located just inside the south entrance to the mall (near Tang Dynasty and the former ArtMart).  NEXT SATURDAY, NOVEMBER 19TH, WE ARE ATTENDING THREE PRE-THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY MARKETS-URBANA, BLOOMINGTON, GREEN CITY MARKET.

Of course, this we have cheese:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herb de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Raw-milk feta aged in whey brine; tangy and crumbly, it compliments any roasted fall vegetables you care to try it with. 
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie:  Camembert style-slightly firm this week, but loaded with flavor; last batch of the season, so better get some now.
  • Black Goat: our ash-ripened bloomy rind-deliciously gooey this week. This is the last batch of the season, so get it while it lasts.
  • Moonglo: our version of a raw milk tomme, this cheese is firm, sharp and has a lovely fruity finish.
  • Magia Negra: made in a style similar to Manchego, this raw milk cheese is loaded with complex nutty flavors.

We have lots of creamy gelato flavors too-perfect for sharing with friends:

  • Pumpkin
  • Chocolate
  • Spiced Butter Pecan
  • Vanilla
  • Lemon Verbena
  • Blackberry Cream
  • Masala Chai Tea
  • Bourbon Caramel Apple
  • Espresso
  • Honey Peanut Brittle
  • Gingersnap Crumble
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Local Ginger
  • Hazelnut
  • Bourbon Peach Sorbetto
  • Local Grape-Cava Sorbetto

Copyright 2016. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2016. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 11/3/2016 9:19pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

I continue to be amazed by the degree to which human lives are intertwined with goats. Yes, our agrarian ties go back millennia. Yes, most cultures across all continents derive a multitude of benefits from their husbandry: milk, fiber, meat, companionship.  These human-caprine relationships are marvelous but expected.  Even the quotidian yet intimate bonds with our milkers are ordinary in the scheme of dairy farming.

So, I’ve been intrigued by the “curse of the billy goat” that has hung over the Chicago Cubs for over 100 years.  It amazes me that folks kept goats routinely in the city of Chicago back then. Yet, how could a stinky male goat be let into a ball park in the first place?  How could a man-goat relationship hold such weight to provoke a curse on a baseball team? How could this curse exert such power for so long? How could generations of fans hold on to this superstition, some even taking it to their graves?  

I understand superstitions and baseball curses.  I grew up with them, from my old-country grandparents to the bambino curse of my beloved Boston Red Sox.  As the Cubs clinched the National League Playoffs and the World Series were in their sights, the fans began to taunt the goat, to stand up to the curse. We got emails from fraternity boys wanting to bring goats to their frat house.  We got special requests from fans daring to eat goat cheese during the games.  Then, last night happened: nothing short of a miracle (and plenty of grit and moxie from their inspiring team) come-back from losing three games, and pull-out in the 10th inning after a rainstorm to win the game by one run!  We are all Cubs fans today, as we rejoice in the lifting of the billy goat curse.  Chicago, raise your crackers full of chevre with pride! The goat-human bond is restored to its rightful place.

Farm Happenings

The Farm Store at Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery “The Real Stand is now closed as we get to work on renovations and decorating for the holidays. We plan to re-open with a special “soft” opening on Wednesday afternoon, November 16th.  Stay tuned for details as they unfold.

Fall Classes and Workshops:  Spaces are filling up for our cheese making and cheese appreciation classes.  We are offering a couple of all-day cheese making classes and a couple of Wednesday evening workshops on understanding cheese and cheese pairings.  Check out the details and book your spots NOW. The all-day, cheese-making classes (November 13th and December 11th) are limited to 7 participants, and the other classes will involve eating lots of cheese and drinking some really great wines and/or beers too. 

Small Dairy Intensive: We’re partnering with The Land Connection to offer an all-day workshop on starting a small-scale dairy in Illinois (Sunday December 4th). For those of you thinking you’d like to milk cows or goats or even sheep and sell farmstead dairy products (including raw milk) legally and safely in Illinois, this workshop is for you. Most of the presenters are dairy farmers who are already doing it successfully.  Check out the details and register now! Space is limited. 

Market News Saturday, November 5th is the last outdoor market in Urbana. Thereafter, we move inside Lincoln Square Mall for the “Market in the Square.” The weather is shaping up to be a glorious fall day, so come support the farmers who work so hard to bring you the finest produce and local foods in central Illinois.   Here’s the selection of cheeses we have to offer you this weekend:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herb de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Raw-milk feta aged in whey brine; tangy and crumbly, it compliments any roasted fall vegetables you care to try it with. 
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie:  Camembert style- young, but starting to get a nice gooey layer on the edges—just how I like it.
  • Black Goat: our ash-ripened bloomy rind is back—fudgy and dense, it’s simply delicious. This is the last batch of the season.
  • Snow Fog: our slow-fermented jersey-milk bloomy rind, made in the style of a chaource (similar to the traditional camembert from Normandy France).  This is our late fall-winter alternative to the goat milk bloomies. It is made differently than our Little Bloom on the Prairie, and the rich yellow Jersey cow milk from Kilgus Farmstead makes a decadently dense bloomy.  We have a few this week, and more to come in subsequent weeks.
  • Moonglo: our version of a raw milk tomme, this cheese is firm, sharp and has a lovely fruity finish.
  • Magia Negra: made in a style similar to Manchego, this raw milk cheese is loaded with complex nutty flavors.

Gelato: The flavors just keep on coming:

  • Vanilla
  • Lemon verbena
  • Chocolate
  • Bourbon peach sorbetto
  • Blackberry cream
  • Ginger (made with local ginger from Big Thorn Farm in Georgetown IL)
  • Espresso
  • Bourbon Carmel apple (apples from Wolfe Orchard)
  • Salted caramel
  • Hazelnut
  • Local grape sorbetto (made with MI seedless grapes)
  • Pumpkin (from the Great Pumpkin Patch)
  • Toasted coconut - limited
  • Honey peanut brittle - limited
  • Gingersnap - limited 

Copyright 2016. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2016. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 10/27/2016 9:19pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

Mind over matter; I haven’t really had much time to ponder the significance of this phrase since February.  When the body is in constant motion for months on end, the mind plays tricks on the matter of flesh and bones.  The mind convinces the body that it must keep moving with six hours of sleep. The mind refutes the eyelids’ protestations to stay open when they really want to close. The mind trains the body to ignore those twinges in the lower back when hoisting 50-70 pound coolers full of cheese or gelato into the pick-up for market.  I liken the state of a farmer in season to a shark in the deep blue ocean; we both must keep moving to stay alive. 

When the season starts to loosen its grip (usually happens right about this time of year, as outdoor markets end and the flow of late lactation milk slows to a trickle), the body and mind have time to argue.  It’s time for the bones to talk, to express their fatigue. It’s time for the muscles to grip the flesh, and for the mind to acknowledge the tugging sensation. It’s time to indulge the desire to cook cool-weather soups.  It’s time to resist the urge to jump out of bed when the alarm goes off; eyelids stay closed while the daily news drones on from the bedside radio.   

Farm Happenings

The Farm Store at Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery “The Real Stand”: This is the last weekend for fall open hours.  We are open Friday-Sunday, 1-4 pm October, 28-30. Thereafter, we’ll be closed until the week before Thanksgiving, as we get the shop ready for holiday sales.  We still have lots of great things for you to buy—cheese, gelato, meats, sausages, eggs, cider, goat milk soap.  Come out and enjoy the remnants of fall at the farm. The weather should be nice enough to sit outside and enjoy a scoop of gelato. 

Farm Dinners:  The last dinner of the season, “Fall Feast” on October 29th with Chef Ed Sura (formerly with Perennial Virant, now with NoMi Restaurant-Park-Hyatt, Chicago) still has seats open. THAT'S THIS SATURDAY! Check out the scrumptious menu and book your reservations NOW

Fall Classes and Workshops: We’re always learning here at the farm, and we love to share what we’ve learned with our community. We are offering a couple of all-day cheese making classes and a couple of Wednesday evening workshops on understanding cheese and cheese pairings.  Check out the details and book your spots NOW. The cheese making classes are limited to 7 participants only, and the other classes will involve eating lots of cheese and drinking some really great wines and/or beers too.  We’re almost sold out of the first cheese making class (three spots left), but there are plenty of spaces open for the December class.

Small Dairy Intensive: We’re partnering with The Land Connection to offer an all-day workshop on starting a small-scale dairy in Illinois (Sunday December 4th). For those of you thinking you’d like to milk cows or goats or even sheep and sell farmstead dairy products (including raw milk) legally and safely in Illinois, this workshop is for you. Most of the presenters are dairy farmers who are already doing it successfully.  Check out the details and register now! Space is limited. 

Market News

Saturday, October 29th is the last outdoor market for Green City Market in Chicago. We will be there as well as the Market at the Square in Urbana (which has one more outdoor market before it moves inside Lincoln Square Mall).  We will not return to Green City Market until November 19th, so if you want our cheese, especially the bloomies, act now!   Here’s the selection of cheeses this weekend:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herb de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Raw-milk feta aged in whey brine; tangy and crumbly, it compliments any roasted fall vegetables you care to try it with. 
  • Angel Food— our little bloomy, crottin-style cheese; the last batch of the season.
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie:  Camembert style-starting to get a nice gooey layer on the edges—just how I like it.
  • Black Goat: our ash-ripened bloomy rind is back—fudgy and dense, it’s simply delicious. This is the last batch of the season.
  • Moonglo: our version of a raw milk tomme, this cheese is firm, sharp and has a lovely fruity finish.
  • Magia Negra: made in a style similar to Manchego, this raw milk cheese is loaded with complex nutty flavors.
  • Yogurt: Limited quantities, so come early.

We still have our house-made artisan crackers featuring local grains (milled) from Severson Farm (aka Quality Organics:  herbed flatbread, whole wheat-sesame, blue corn-chevre and oat-chevre. Try a bag with a couple of our cheeses.

Gelato: We still have way too many flavors, and I honestly love them all. We won’t be sending gelato to Green City Market, but Urbana gets the motherlode:

Urbana’s Market at the Square

  • Grape two ways or Grape Cava Sorbetto
  • Peach-Bourbon Sorbetto
  • Pumpkin
  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Espresso
  • Gingersnap
  • Masala chai
  • Toasted coconut
  • Salted caramel swirl
  • Spiced butter pecan
  • Honey peanut brittle
  • Biscotti Crumble (limited

Copyright 2016. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2016. 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.