Welcome to Leslie's Blog.
Posted 5/26/2014 11:40am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Hello CSA members:
This is your email reminder that our CSA begins this week.  We have pick ups tomorrow, Tuesday, May 27th for both Bloomington locations:
4:30 to 5:30 pm at the St. Luke Union Church  2101 E Washington St, Bloomington, IL 61701 (with PrairieErth Farm CSA)
6:00 to 7:00 pm at the Unitarian Church on Emerson St. Bloomington (with Henry Brockman's CSA).

Our farm CSA pickup this week only will be held on Thursday May 29th from 4:00 to 6:30 pm during our Farm Open House time.  You all should have received my email last week explaining why we had to move the day from its usual Wednesday afternoon to Thursday afternoon. All subsequent farm pickups will be held on alternate Wednesdays.

As I mentioned last week, if you are unable to come in person to pick up your shares, please have someone else pick up for you. Please email me to let me know who your substitute is and provide me with their phone number so I can reach them if they forget to pick up.  If no one comes by to pick by the end of the allotted time, I will attempt to call you or your friend and stay if you are on your way to the pick up location.

Our policy for no-shows that haven't given me advance notice is that you forfeit that week's shares.

Also, I will always bring extras of cheese and gelato if you would like to get products in addition to your bi-weekly shares. 

Please let me know if you have any questions. I look forward to seeing you all this week.



Copyright 2014 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2014. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 5/22/2014 11:21pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

This year, we decided to try our hand at raising turkeys for our 100 Yard Dinner. I’ve always been intrigued by turkeys, especially the striking heritage breeds such as Narragansett and Bourbon Reds.  I’ve admired them from a distance on other farms; their grandeur, their poise.  So, when we decided to raise turkeys, I was both fearful and curious.  They are poultry, but they are different from chickens.  Meat chickens, unlike laying hens, are not bred for longevity.  They eat, they grow, they get eaten; all within a span of no longer than two to three months.  Although we have raised a breed of chicken called the “Freedom Ranger,” a bird designed for foraging and thriving on pasture, they still live a brief (albeit pastoral and happy—or so I’d like to believe) life.

Turkeys, in contrast, live longer and seem to have a slightly greater awareness of the humans who care for them.  I admit that this impression is borne solely from observing other farmers’ turkeys, the beautiful ones who roam freely and greet visitors who arrive at the farm.  I haven’t really known any industrial turkeys—the large white ones with large breasts whose reputation for intelligence does not put them at the top of their class. After researching our options for breeds (white ones were ruled out immediately), we decided on the Bronze.

We consulted with several of our farmer friends who have raised several breeds of turkey, and all agreed that heritage breeds can be challenging and high maintenance, especially for the uninitiated.  The Bronze is a hybrid turkey. It retains some of the genetics of the heritage breeds, but it is more domesticated, is less subject to flight and has stronger instinct for self-preservation.  They also tend to grow a little faster (not quite as fast as the white ones) than the heritage breeds. 

Our day-old turkey chicks arrived yesterday in the mail—all 15 of them. I love getting the early morning phone call from the guy on the night shift at the post office letting you know you have a box of peeping chicks that need to be picked up. Sometimes you can hear the chirping chicks in the background of the phone call.  Wes picked them up, brought them back to the farm and we put them under heat lamps in our “kid newborn pen.”  Wes dipped each one’s beak in water so they would know how to drink.  Once they realized their newfound freedom, they began to explore their environment. Unlike chicken chicks, they exude an air of confidence. They don’t seem to be afraid to venture away from each other to explore.  Within minutes of being released from their box, one of the chicks found an ant, and proceeded to eat it!!  Only two days old, and already foraging for bugs—that’s my kind of poultry.  I’ve been smitten.  Move over Freedom Rangers.

turkey chicks

Farmers’ Markets

This Saturday, May 24th, we’ll be attending the Urbana Farmers’ Market only. We’ll be there from 7AM to 12 noon. Come see us. The weather should be FINE!! We’ve got some GREAT cheese for you to try and take home:

  • Fresh Chevre 
  • Fresh Goat Milk Ricotta—this delicate fresh cheese is begging to paired with some fresh peas, mint and olive oil
  • An assortment of Bloomy Rind cheeses including Little Bloom on the Prairie AND Black Goat (it’s back in all its tangy-yeasty glory)
  • Sheep Milk Feta—very little left, still tasting amazing
  • Moonglo-raw goat milk tomme that is perfect shaved over some roasted asparagus
  • Huckleberry Blue—our sweet and savory goat milk blue is ideal for crumbling on a salad or a spring pizza

If you haven’t tried our goat milk gelato this season, the weather is finally heating up for pints of:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Honey Chevre
  • Rhubarb Crème
  • Pistachio (very limited quantities)

Other Farm News & Events

Our mid-week Summer Open House season started this past Wednesday (yesterday), but the thunderstorms kept many folks away. Next week, we will host our Open House on Thursday, May 29th from 4:00-6:30pm. We are hosting a movie crew out here on Wednesday, so the farm won’t be open to the public.  We’ll be doing a very special gelato tasting on Thursday, so stay tuned for the details. 

There are still dinner tickets available for sale through our ShowClix page.  You can read the descriptions on our website or just go directly to the ShowClix page. We will posting sales for our first “Fork in the Road” Tasting Trail with K&D Ranch and Sleepy Creek Vineyards soon. The first tasting trail tour will be held in June. I’ll be sending out an announcement in the next week with details about how to sign up. 

Copyright 2014 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2014. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 5/19/2014 9:59pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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WEDNESDAY, MAY 21ST, FROM 4:00 TO 6:30 PM, we will open our doors to the public for the start of our summer farm open house season.  Each Wednesday, from now until the first week of September, you can come out to the farm, visit with the goats, stroll the grounds, eat some gelato and buy some great local foods.  There's no admission charge, and no reservations are required.  Just come and enjoy the rural beauty that surrounds us.

This Wednesday, we're featuring our cheeses:

  • Fresh chevre
  • Fresh ricotta
  • Sheep milk feta
  • An assortment of bloomy rind cheeses
  • Moonglo and Huckleberry Blue

Gelato Featured Flavors include (both scoops and pints):

  • Chocolate
  • Vanilla
  • Honey Chevre
  • Rhubarb Creme

Tomahnous Farm will be here with salad mix, spinach, asparagus, herb plants, pansies, and more.  

Laurence Mate, aka the "Knife Dude" will be here to sharpen your knives while you shop and visit with the goats. 

We look forward to seeing you here.


Copyright 2014 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2014. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 5/16/2014 7:39am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

As our kidding season appears to have come to an end (it seems that four does that should have been bred are not pregnant), I reflect on the birthing episodes that will likely stick in my mind for some time to come. On a Sunday morning nearly three weeks ago, I was not around. Wes was doing his usual Sunday morning milking and found one of our yearling first fresheners, Magda, in labor with a kid stuck in the birth canal.  One leg was out and no head was visible. I am usually the one to extract these difficult kids, but Wes was on his own this time. He managed to get the other leg out, but not the head. After struggling to insert his large hands in the birth canal to adjust the neck and head, he worried that too much time had elapsed and that the kid might be dead. In the interest of saving the mother, he pulled. The kid emerged, limp and seemingly lifeless; barely four pounds in weight.  He put the tiny doeling aside to deliver the healthy, normal-presentation buckling waiting in the wings.  While checking in the brother, he noticed that the doeling was breathing.  He and the kidding volunteer (Magdalena) got a warm bottle of colostrum into her mouth, and although she couldn’t lift her head, she clutched onto the nipple and drank.  This was the first sign of her tenacious personality. 

After the first 24 hours, it was obvious that she couldn’t stand because her shoulder was dislocated.  We brought her to the vet and they wrapped her little leg in a bandage to immobilize the shoulder. Not having walked yet, attempting to stand with only three legs proved impossible. Back to the vet for a cast so she could put weight on her injured leg.  She struggled to right her little body in this cast and could not lift herself up for a few days. This didn’t stop her from eating and screaming for attention. Within days, she was downing a full bottle of milk.  We worked her body and legs to build strength, and after nearly one week in the cast, she could stand by herself.

The cast came off and while wobbly, she was able to stand on her own and walk. She would fall down often, but pick herself up and try to follow us around the barn.  As the week progressed, her legs and confidence grew stronger, and she started to run and prance around the barn.  During feeding times, she’d scream for attention, down her full bottle of milk and gallop around the barn as we fed the other kids, cleaned water buckets and went about our normal kid feeding chores.  When the week post-cast was up, I put her back in the pen with her mates.  She fell in with the group immediately and rushed to the bucket feeder with the rest of them, all four feet planted firmly on the ground.  Magda 123, almost left for dead, joined the ranks of our boisterous kids-our miracle baby. 

Farmers’ Markets

This Saturday, May 17th, we’ll be attending two farmers’ markets: Urbana’s Market at the Square and Chicago’s Green City Market.  We’ve got some beautiful spring cheeses for you to enjoy:

  • Fresh chevre—bright, lemony, fluffy—what more can I say? The chevre screams SPRING!!: pain, herbs de Provence and cracked peppercorn
  • Experimental Angel Food: Our small, delicate bloomy rounds are fully of ooey gooey flavor
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: camembert in style, this bloomy rind disc has a firm paste in the center slight gooey-ness around the edges
  • Sheep milk feta: this is the last batch of feta, so get it while it lasts
  • Moonglo: raw milk cheese made last fall—sharp, full of flavor
  • Huckleberry Blue: raw goat milk blue, perfect for a spring salad of beets

Wes was busy spinning gelato this week. We’ve got some new flavors as well as the regulars (* indicates flavors that will be at Green City Market as well as Urbana):

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Margot’s Fresh Mint *
  • Honey Chevre *
  • Rhubarb Crème *
  • Ginger

Come out to the market to try these and take home a pint. 

Food on the Farm Just a quick reminder that dinner tickets go on sale today at 12 noon and our first Pop-Up event is this evening from 5:30-7:30.  Details for both can be found on our website under “Food on the Farm.” 

Copyright 2014 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2014. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 5/13/2014 10:28pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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As farm "reminder in chief," I'd like to bring back to your attention a few upcoming events and deadlines:

First, our "New Orleans" themed pop-up event is scheduled for this coming Friday, May 16th from 5:30 to 7:30pm. NO RESERVATIONS required.  We'll be serving local chicken and sausage gumbo, muffaletta sandwiches, andouille po boys, savory corn beignets for the vegetarians, bread pudding for dessert and sweet tea and Homer sodas.  New Orleans Jazz Band will be here to serenade you. BYOB.

Second, sales for our mid-summer, early fall farm dinners go on sale Friday May 16th at 12 noon.  To review the dates and the themes, please visit our website "2014 Dinner Season." To access the dates and the reservations,(July 26th-September 20th), please visit our Showclix Page.  

Third, our first summer farm open house will be Wednesday, May 21st from 4:00-6:30 pm.  Stay tuned for details about this event and the summer open houses in general.


Copyright 2014 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2014. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 5/9/2014 7:46am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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What’s in a name?

We’re drawn to naming things; naming creatures, naming each other, giving nicknames, real names, pseudonyms.  We give names to our goat kids as they’re born—they get their mother’s name and a birth number. This is a very latin approach to naming (taking both the mother’s and father’s names).  We don’t decide their true names until we decide who we’re keeping. This doesn’t refrain us from giving them nicknames—fuzz ball for the really furry Katie baby, zebra for the Zora baby—you get the picture. 

Of course, we name our cheeses too. As American artisan cheese makers, we’re not burdened by European rules of protected denominations based on milk types and regions.  We can take basic recipes for cheeses (tomme, bloomy rind, etc.), spin them to suit our milk or farmstead environment and call our cheese creation whatever we like. I often chuckle when someone comes to our stand at the farmers’ market and looks at our chalk board list of cheeses and remarks, “Oh, what’s ‘Moonglo?’ I’ve never heard of that cheese.”  So it goes with our cheese “Angel Food,” a goats’ milk brie style cheese. We’ve decided to experiment with new shapes and techniques for making this cheese this season, and we’ve received some interesting feedback.  We’ve discovered that some of our customers have very strong feelings for the original version of Angel Food (a 3 inch disc, ½ inch thick with gooey interior and white mold rind). “Don’t change it!” they insisted. Other folks embraced our new version after tasting it.  Still, others didn’t even notice the change and just recognized the name and bought it. 

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We’ve also changed our farm name (legally that is) from Prairie Fruits Farm, LLC to Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC to acknowledge in a legal sense the important and critical  business role of our dairy and farmstead creamery. We’ve changed our logo too, our packaging---lots of changes this year. Like our goats, many people are averse to change or confused by change. Several people who stopped by our stand didn’t realize that we were Prairie Fruits Farm initially (until they tasted our chevre and then it all came flooding back to them).  Lots of folks commented on our new packaging—most folks liked the new look; a few pined for the original design.  Names are important; names have meaning attached to them.    Names are loaded with emotion. I have to remember this.

Farmers’ Markets and Food on the Farm

We’re attending one farmers’ market this Saturday, May 10th: Urbana’s Market on the Square.  We’ll be there from 7-12 with lots of cheese and some gelato:

Fresh chevre—plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper

Fresh goat milk ricotta: It’s BAACK!! what better way to celebrate spring and mother’s day with a pizza topped with our fresh ricotta!

Experimental bloomy—another version of our NEW Angel Food—check it out and let us know what you think

Little Bloom on the Prairie—these camembert-style  rounds are young,  but quite tasty. You can enjoy them young, or let them age for a  week in your refrigerator.

Sheep milk feta: We’re dipping into our last two buckets of well-aged feta, so if you’re loving this complex feta, come and get it. We won’t be making more feta this year.  It is keeping remarkably well.

Moonglo: The last of our late fall batches, this cheese is tart, somewhat dry and great for shaving or grating over some of those fresh spring asparagus you’re finding at the markets.

Huckleberry Blue: our raw goat milk blue cheese whose rind was cloaked in a pear-brandy-soaked sycamore leaf—very approachable for a blue cheese.

We will have a limited offering of gelato this Saturday:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Honey Chevre
  • Margot’s Mint

More Food on the Farm

We’re launching a new food venture at the farm this year. We’re calling it “Third Fridays Pop Up.” The third Friday of every month, we’re opening our doors for a simple (and delicious, but that goes without saying) special-themed meal on the farm. You can enjoy live music too. No reservations are required!   NEXT Friday May 16th; 5:30 to 7:30 PM Enjoy local jazz musicians New Orleans Jazz Machine play on the farm from 5:30 to 7:30 pm. Our chefs will be pedaling dishes from the Big Easy, including:  

  • Local chicken and sausage gumbo
  • Muffaletta sandwiches
  • Andouille Po Boys
  • Savory corn beignets for the vegetarians
  • Bread pudding for dessert
  • Sweet tea and Homer sodas

All items are priced a la carte and first-come- first-serve. Children are welcome. BYOB. Bring chairs or blankets if you'd like to sit outside.  

In addition to this new food event, we still have a few seats open for our Sunday Dinner Club Memorial Day weekend Dinner and our June 14th Wild Game Dinner through our  "Dinners on the Farm Series.”  Also, We’ll be opening reservations to the next five dinner dates on Friday, May 16th at 12 noon, so mark your calendars.  Stay tuned for postings about future events. We’re planning a  lot of exciting opportunities to dine on the farm this coming season!

Copyright 2014 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2014. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 5/1/2014 9:37pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

May Day, May 1st; the day we celebrate the labors of workers around the world.  We celebrate the folks who toil tirelessly in unglamorous jobs. We salute the farmers and farm workers whose sweat puts food on our tables.  Here at Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, we raise a glass to our own cadre of workers—our wonderful staff who milk the goats, till & plant the fields, shovel the goat manure, make the cheese, wash all those dishes and prepare the beautiful foods that come out of our farm kitchen. 

I would be remiss if I don't recognize our caprine workers; our dairy goats. Day in, day out, twice daily for ten months out of the year, they line themselves up to come into the milking parlor to give up their milk to a set of inflations.  I won’t say they do this without some complaining—some complain quite a bit, especially the first fresheners.  Once habituated to their routine, they fall in line.  Without their willingness to produce baby goats every year and then, produce milk for us to transform into cheese, gelato and other dairy products, our farm would be a ship with no sail. Thank you goat workers!  More grain for you in the parlor tomorrow morning!

First Farmers’ Markets of the Season

This Saturday, May 3rd, is the first outdoor market in Urbana and Chicago’s Green City Market. We’ll be attending both markets with plenty of cheese and gelato. Come visit us from 7-12 in Urbana and 7-1pm in Lincoln Park (Chicago).

For cheese, we’ll have:

Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked black peppercorn

Sheep milk feta: try our feta on roasted asparagus or sauteed spring greens

An experimental bloomy rind cheese (it might become the new Angel Food, so let us know what you think)

Moonglo: it’s sharp, it’s tangy, it’s a perfect accompaniment to your favorite jam or shave it on some roasted spring veggies

Eldon (sheep milk blue): crumble it on a spring salad and rejoice!

Huckleberry Blue (our raw, goat milk blue): the first of our fall goat milk blue cheeses wrapped in pear brandy-soaked sycamore leaves—dense and rich, it’s plain yummy

Gelato Flavors 

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Ginger
  • Honey Chevre (this is only flavor that will travel north to Chicago as it’s the only local ingredients flavor we have right now)

We look forward to greeting our market patrons. The weather should be perfect-we’ll see you there. 

Copyright 2014 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2014. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 4/30/2014 3:11pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Spring Brunch on the Farm

We've got seats still available for our spring brunches: May 3rd and May 10th.  We have amazing menus planned for each event including elaborate egg dishes, sumptuous pastries and  platters of cheeses.  The deadline for sign up for this weekend's brunch is 9:30 AM tomorrow. With a start time of 10:30 AM you'll have plenty of time to shop the farmers' market, drop off your groceries at home and head on over to the farm to enjoy some fresh from the farm spring cooking.  The deadline for sign-up for the May 10th brunch is Monday, May 5th.  

For more details and links to our show clix reservations pages, go to our website's Food on the Farm section.

Cheese Bread and Gelato CSA

The deadline for sign up for our CSA (biweekly pickups from late May through mid-November) is Friday, May 9th. You can sign up for several cheese options as well as breads from Stewart's Artisan Breads. We also offer one or two pints of gelato per pickup.  As a special bonus, members can sign up for a CSA members only dinner on the farm.  Check out the details.

Copyright 2014 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2014. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 4/24/2014 8:59pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

We celebrated “Earth Day” this week. Earth Day, a political holiday, established more than 40 years ago, captured the mood of a country fed up with dirty air, dirty water and a polluted planet.  The externalities of prosperity in the 19th and 20th centuries had finally caught up with us, and we could no longer ignore the dark side of economic successes.  I think about how earth day shaped my awareness of the environment as a teenager.  Back then, my environmental consciousness was just forming: my outrage as backyard woodlands were bull-dozed for houses, my single-minded determination to “save the whales.”

Today, as a farmer and a soil scientist, a care taker of livestock, a maker of cheese, I reflect on what Earth Day means to me now.  As a farmer, I am in tune with the seasons, the changes in weather patterns, the effects of climate change on how things grow.  Our fruit orchard, our bees; these have been affected profoundly by climate change.   The increased unpredictability of weather has taken its toll on our fruit: warm winters forcing flower buds to burst only to be smitten down by freezing temperatures in late April.  Polar vortices dipped down into regions that haven’t seen minus 20 degrees Fahrenheit in decades, if ever. Here we are at the end of April with barely a flower in bloom.  The frigid arctic fingers that clutched firmly onto peach branches have left their mark; we’re hard pressed to find any flower buds on those branches. 

As a caretaker of livestock and a cheese maker, I think about the impact of our farm on the landscape and environment at large.  I worry about our farm’s carbon footprint. Does our decision to transform cash grain agriculture into perennial pastures, hayfields and orchards make our footprint smaller? Does our goat manure compost restore our prairie soils to their former carbon sink glory?   What about the whey that we spread on our fields? Is it helping our pastures grow during the more frequent summer droughts?  I think about the relationships between goat-cheese-whey-soil-pasture-goat—the cyclical nature of it all. 

Earth Day has acute and serious meaning for me now. My awareness of the connectedness of all things in nature is on edge at all times.  I don’t need a national holiday for the environment to remind me anymore, but it’s good to have one to remind others not tied so intimately to the land.

Spring Breakfast and Farm Open House: The last one of the season—come and get ‘em

This Saturday, April 26th from 9AM to 12 noon, we’ll open our doors for the last spring breakfast of the season.  Although the Illinois Marathon will be taking place Saturday morning, you should be able to get out to the farm without too much trouble. Check their website for the routes, road closures and times of the race. We’re going out in style with:

  • Breakfast Torta: fried egg, chorizo, black beans, salsa, chevre, pickled onions all balanced on a baguette bun
  • Blueberry Pancakes with butter, whipped cream and maple syrup
  • Kids short stack of pancakes
  • Three Sisters Garden Oatmeal with vanilla goat milk yogurt, apricot preserves, honey and almonds
  • Snickerdoodle Muffins
  • Medley of local cheeses “Gougere
  • Chef Alisa had some ramps left over from our “Ramp Fest” celebration with The Land Connection, so she’s making a few ramp and feta quiches—limited offering, so get here early for a slice of quiche.
  • Beverages: Herriott’s Coffee and Tea, Goat Milk Hot Chocolate, Old Heritage Creamery Drinkable Yogurt

We’ll also have farm products for sale including cheese:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Sheep milk feta—it is still complex and delicious
  • Moonglo
  • Eldon—sheep milk blue 

Tomahnous Farm will be here with spring greens, potted plants and hopefully more of those delicious shitake mushrooms

Stewart’s Artisan Breads will be here with breads, bagels, pastries, cookies and granola

Cow Creek Farm (Rita Glazik) MIGHT be here with ramps (not confirmed as of today)

Breakfast season may be over, but we’ve got two brunches slated for the first two Saturdays in May. We’re doing a single seating from 10:30 to 12 and seating is LIMITED, so don’t delay—book a reservation NOW. Deadline for the May 3rd Brunch is MONDAY, April 28th.  Want to bring your kids? Children under 12 can have brunch at half the price!! For more details, visit our ShowClix page. 

Copyright 2014 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2014. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 4/17/2014 9:39pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

This past Tuesday, we hosted 90 first graders from the town of Westville, Illinois for a tour of the farm and a tasting of our dairy products.  Westville is a small rural town just south of Danville, and the kids bounded off their school buses with an air of confidence belying their rural roots.  There were no noses held close as we entered the doe barn (that is often a reaction we get when city kids visit the farm). They had no fear of the free roaming hens. In fact, their classes had been incubating fertilized eggs and watched as baby chicks hatched from them.  When we discovered an egg that one of the hens had laid in the hay feeder in the doe barn, they became very excited about the prospect of a chick inside. I had to explain a bit about the “birds and the bees” and how you need a rooster to get a fertilized egg, that, in turn, would produce a chick. Based on the quizzical and slightly disappointed look on the child’s face, I’m not really sure if that concept registered fully.

When we entered the milking parlor, there were a few upturned noses and reactions to the smells; I find that many small children seem to react strongly to the odors of the milking parlor much more so than the smells of the barn.  I’m not sure if they have heightened olfactory senses relative to adults, or if the mixture of milk, iodine and sanitizer create a potent odor combination that strikes a specific nasal nerve in young people. 

The sensitivity subsided quickly as I explained how we milk the goats. At this point, one of the boys asked me, “What’s a teat?”  His teacher looked at me with smile, wondering how I was going to answer that question.  I explained how the teats are located at the base of the udder where the milk comes out and reminded them of the udders they saw on the does in the doe barn.  He seemed to be satisfied with my response and the teacher nodded approvingly (intimating that I had dodged that bullet quite well).  As I explained how the milk traveled from the goats’ udders through the pipeline into the bulk tank and then on to the cheese vat (they had already seen the cheese room and the cheese vats), another child asked how the milk became cheese. What a profound question!! : Such a simple question that requires such a complex answer.  I decided to invoke the nursery rhyme of little Miss Muppet sitting on her tuffet eating her curds and whey.  I’m not sure if this imagery was reassuring or not, but we moved on to tasting the cheese and gelato, and that satisfied them.  Interestingly, all of the children were brave enough to sample the cheese while several of the chaperone parents declined.  I am in awe of the minds of six-year olds: non-judgmental and still eager to be taken in by the wonders of nature.

Saturday Breakfast AND Farm Open House

This Saturday, April 21st from 9AM to 12 noon, we’ve got quite a special menu for you:

  • A breakfast sandwich of “Smoking Goose” city ham, fried egg, 2-yr. aged, raw milk cheddar, béchamel mustard and pickles (if you can eat this in one bite, you’ve got a really big mouth!!)
  • Three Sisters Garden oatmeal with Madagascar vanilla goat milk yogurt, apricot preserves, toasted almonds and prairie fruits farm honey
  • Blueberry pancakes with maple syrup, butter and whipped Kilgus cream
  • Kids stack of pancakes with syrup, butter and whipped cream
  • Oat scones with maple glaze
  • Palmiers
  • “Easter cakes”: your choice of either chocolate or vanilla cupcakes decorated ‘whimsically’ for the spring holiday
  • The usual drinks: Old Heritage Creamery drinkable yogurt, Herriott’s fair trade coffee and tea AND our goats’ milk hot chocolate

The fresh farm products are starting to proliferate too:, just in time for preparing your special holiday meals:

We’ll have plenty of cheese including fresh chevre,  Moonglo, feta and sheep milk blue (Eldon).

Stewart’s Artisan Breads will have breads, bagels, pastries, cookies and granola

Tomahnous Farm will have spring greens, carrots, potted plants and the first flush of SHITAKE MUSHROOMS!!!

Blue Moon Farm will be here with salad mix, spinach, arugula, claytonia, carrots, parsley and baby bok choy

THERE WILL BE RAMPS TOO courtesy of the Glasiks!!

Please make sure you stop by the table inside our barn to discuss the status of the Olympian Drive Project. While we have lost the battle over funds for the bridge over the railroad tracks, our fight to stop this road project continues. Please consider making a donation to our cause and enter the raffle to win dinner tickets. 

We still have seats available for our spring brunches in May and our Wild Game Dinner in June.  Visit our ShowClix page to get more details and to make reservations.

Copyright 2014 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2014. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.