News

Welcome to Leslie's Blog.
Posted 4/8/2010 8:42pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.
Farm News
Apricot trees in bloom
The apricots bloomed this week--maybe this will be the year we actually get some fruit!
This week
, we started weaning our oldest crop of kids. It's hard to believe they are already six weeks old, eating lots of grain and hay and weighing over 20 pounds!! They still behave like kids, though, and the little ones are still there to remind me of how small they are when they're born.  You can come visit them this Saturday and every Saturday morning through the end of April during our Open House--9AM to 12 Noon.
For those of you who have signed up for our Community Supported Goat (CSG) Program, I wanted to let you know that those folks who haven't received their certificate of support (with a picture of your goat) and an organic cotton CSG T-shirt, don't despair. I will be sending those out next week. Things have been a bit hectic here on the farm over the past month or so, and I promise you will "get your goat" very soon.  All CSG members will receive their first shipment or delivery of cheese along with an update about your goat in early May. 
Farmers Market Items
This week, we'll have our on-farm sales AND we'll be attending the indoor Green City Market at the Peggy Notebart Nature Museum (Cannon Drive just north of Fullerton). The hours for the indoor Green City Market are 8AM to 1PM. April is "Celebrate Cheese" month at the Green City Market, so be sure to stop by and patronize all the cheese vendors on Saturday April 10th and April 24th. There will be chef demos crafting recipes with cheeses from several of the cheese vendors at the market.
What do we have for you this Saturday?
  • Chevre (of course)--it's still as light, creamy and lemony as a spring morning
  • Ewe Bloom-we debuted our first batch of Ewe Bloom during our on-farm sales last Saturday, and it was a big hit.  It is tart, a bit yeasty, gooey on the edges and creamy on the inside.  Enjoy with some crusty bread and fruit preserves
  • Moonglo--we made a couple of very late lactation batches of Moonglo in late December, and they are now ripe and ready to enjoy.
  • Huckleberry Blue-very limited quantities of our nutty, raw goat milk blue. 
If you're coming to the farm, Blue Moon Farm will be here with their array of spring greens such as kales, spinach, chard, etc.  Tomahnous Farm will be here too with her eggs (better get here early if you want some, because we're using a lot of them in our breakfasts), gorgeous Swiss Chard, spring onions and Shitake mushrooms.
What's For Breakfast this Saturday
bread from the oven
  • Tomahnous Farm egg and chard strada made with Alisa's homemade wholewheat bread
  • House made buttermilk buscuits and gravy with Triple S Farm sausage
  • Jarrell family walnut strusel coffee cake
  • Meyer lemon-poppy seed coffee cake
  • Mexican style goat milk hot chocolate
  • Fair Trade Coffee
Breakfast, as always, is  first-come-first-served-NO RESERVATIONS REQUIRED-from 9AM to 12 noon.
The weather should be gorgeous on Saturday. We look forward to seeing you.
Posted 3/31/2010 2:11pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.
Spring is literally in the wind today, warm winds are whipping across our wet prairie soils, drying them out so we can plant our strawberries and reseed our pastures.  It feels good. 
The goats are looking longingly at the pasture, and soon it will be dry and tall enough for them to go out for their first fresh forage.  To date, 52 does have kidded and we have another 20-25 left to go. They are producing a lot of milk, and we are in full cheese making production now. Our sheep dairy is also in full production, so this is the time of year that we're flush with milk.
For this coming Saturday, April 3rd, we will again host our open house breakfasts and cheese sales: 9AM to 12 Noon. We will have our fresh chevre and our yogurt for sale this week. If you have friends or family in town this weekend for the holidays, what better way to show off the beautiful countryside of Champaign County--come on out for a delicious local food breakfast, see the goats and buy some cheese.
We had a record crowd last week, and we thank everyone for coming out and tolerating the lines to order breakfast. In anticipation of bigger crowds, we will have more staff on hand this week to take breakfast orders and prepare the food. So, you shouldn't have to wait very long for your breakfast. It may even be warm enough for you to eat outside. 
The menu for this week includes delicious local treats:
  • Triple S Farms corned-beef and Blue Moon Farm potato hash with Tomahnous Farm poached egg
  • Prairie Fruits Farm goat-sheep milk yogurt parfait with house-made granola and Spence Farm maple syrup
  • Moore Family farm corn bread with bacon and chevre
  • Michigan dried cherry scones
  • Mollisol pecorino and red pepper jelly scones
  • Fair trade coffee and herbal teas
Tomahnous Farm will be here too with greens, eggs, shallots and other early season veggies. Blue Moon Farm will not be at the farm this Saturday, but they will be selling produce PRE-ORDERED in the hallway behind the Common Ground Food Coop, also from 9AM to 12 noon. If you want to order veggies or our cheese from them, you'll need to fill  out their on-line order form. Below is an email message from Blue Moon Farm that explains how their ordering process works, including a link to their order form. .  The deadline for sending in your order with them is TODAY at 11PM, so act now if you want to get Blue Moon Farm Vegetables.

HERE'S THE MESSAGE FROM BLUE MOON FARM

Hello everyone,

We've got new greenery on our list for you. Besides the old favorites of cilantro and spinach, we're putting White Russian kale, Red Russian kale and Perpetual Spinach on the list. We will be bringing Red kale, chard, collards and parsley to sell as extras. We've also got more carrots and potatoes.

This week we're including cheese from Prairie Fruits Farm on the order form.


Our pickup location will be at Lincoln Square Mall, in the indoor eating area of the Common Ground Food Co-op. If this is your first time ordering with us, please read the detailed instructions below the link.

Click Here to Order


Here's how it works:
  • You click on the survey and answer the questions. You have to answer the first two, which are your first and last name. After you answer the questions, you click "Done". That automatically saves your order.  You have to fill it out by Wednesday night.
  • Then you show up between 9-12 on Saturday at the delivery location, which is in the indoor eating area outside the Common Ground Food Co-op in Lincoln Square Mall. You get there by going out the back door of the Co-op, or entering the mall in the Health Alliance area, east side of the mall. There is no pre-pay, folks just pay when they pick up their veggies.
  • Also, we don't bag the order beforehand. When you get there, you find your name on one of the order clipboards, review your order and cross your name off. Then, using one of the scales, you can bag your veggies, trying to get the weight around what you ordered (it doesn't have to be exact), and then bring your order to our scale, and we'll figure out the price from there.
  • That's it!
See you all on Saturday and thanks for your participation!
Posted 3/25/2010 8:55pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.
If the pleasure of seing baby goats and enjoying some of our fresh chevre isn't enough for you, the menu for this Saturday's breakfast is in:
  • Bread Pudding French Toast
  • Frittata made with our eggs, chevre, Blue Moon Farm potatoes, Triple S Farms bacon and our sundried tomatoes (from last season)
  • Three Sisters Garden rolled oats meal served with Jarrell family walnuts and Spence Farm maple syrup
  • Pontius Farm blueberry scones
  • Prairie Fruits Farm Mollisol Pecorino scones with red pepper jelly and chives
  • Oatmeal bread toast, house-made bagels and flavored chevre spreads
  • Masala chai tea
  • Fair trade coffee
The weather should be better than it was today, so we look forward to seeing you here.
Happy Spring!
Posted 3/23/2010 12:08pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.
Hello Local Food Lovers:
Lots of news to report for this weekend.  We are hosting our on-farm open house this Saturday, March 27th again, from 9AM to 12 noon.  We'll be featuring some great local foods breakfast items (menu is still a work in progress), our creamy lemony chevre, our "Huckleberry Blue" cheese (a creamy, nutty goat milk blue), and our "Mollisol" Pecorino (a sharp, grating style cheese made with raw sheep milk and aged for about one year).  We also have our goat milk cajeta (mexican style caramel sauce with cinnamon) and our "Community Supported Goat" t-shirts made with organic cotton.  The back of the t-shirts is sure to be a conversation piece among your friends.
Both Blue Moon Farm and Tomahnous Farm will be here to sell their spring vegetables (see Blue Moon Farm announcement below).
FOR OUR CHICAGO CUSTOMERS: We will also be attending the winter Green City Market in Chicago at the Peggy Notebart Nature Museum (8AM to 1PM; location is at corner of Fullerton and Canon Drive).  We'll have the same wonderful cheeses for sale there as we do for our farm sales.  We know our absence in Chicago has been long, and we're happy to bring you our spring cheese offerings again. 
FARM NEWS: We're up to just over 70 baby goats so far with a little more than half the herd (46 does) kidded. Sunday was an especially busy day--7 does kidded, some with twins, others with just one and a couple with triplets. I was covered with birth fluid pretty much all day! All kids are happy and healthy. Come visit them during our SAT. open houses.  You will be mezmerized.
P.S. Dinners are going fast, so if you're a procrastinator, better act sooner rather than later.

---------- Forwarded message ----------
From: Blue Moon Farm <bluemoonfarmurbana@gmail.com>
Date: Mon, Mar 22, 2010 at 11:16 AM
Subject: Blue Moon Market at Prairie Fruits Farm 3/27
To:

Hi everyone,
We've got lots of fresh, green veggies this week. In addition to the usual suspects of spinach and cilantro, we've got Red Russian, White Russian, Green, and Red kale, Swiss chard, collards, perpetual spinach, parsley, carrots and many potato varieties for this Saturday
The pickup/market location will be at Prairie Fruits farm, from 9-12: directions to Prairie Fruits. Crops are limited, we're not sending an order form this week, so show up early to get the good stuff.
Prairie Fruits Farm is also offering great breakfasts from 9-12 on Saturdays (delicious, according to several customers who raved about it last Saturday) as well as baby goat viewings. Produce from Tomahnous farm will also be there.
Based on all the feedback we've gotten regarding pickup location, and based on our crop quantities, we've decided to do alternating weeks at our regular  Lincoln Square Mall (outside the food co-op), and Prairie Fruits. We'll be back at Lincoln Square the first Saturday in April, and you'll get an order form for that beforehand.
As usual, we welcome all feedback.

Thanks to all!
Blue Moon Farm
Posted 3/19/2010 12:26pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.
The moment a lot of you have been waiting for is here. We're opening our doors tomorrow and every Saturday through the end of April for our annual "on farm cheese sales and local foods breakfasts."
Hours are 9AM to 12 Noon. Come eat an all-local food breakfast, see the newest baby goats and buy some of the freshest chevre you'll ever find. 
We'll also have other farmers selling their early season produce. This week, Tomahnous Farm will be here with their free-range eggs, potatoes, herbs, shallots and greens. Next week Blue Moon Farm will be here with spinach, other greens and potatoes. 
Some breakfast items this week include:

  • House made bagels with eggs, Triple S Farms Bacon and Chevre
  • House made doughnuts
  • Three Sisters Garden (Kankakee) rolled oats oatmeal with Jarrell Family candied walnuts and Spence Farm Maple Syrup
  • Buttermilk cinnamon buns
  • Mexican style hot chocolate made with goats' milk
  • Fair trade coffee
For more information about the breakfasts, visit "The Experience" part of our website and click on "Farm Breakfasts"
You can find directions to our farm on our website under "Interact"
We look forward to seeing you here.  The weather calls for cooler temperatures than we have had these past few days, so dress accordingly. We will have limited seating inside the barn for you to sit and enjoy your breakfasts.

NEWS FLASH
The dinner dates and themes are finally live on our website under "Products" "Dinner Descriptions and Make Reservations." For a general description about our farm dinners (times, what to wear, etc), visit the section "Dinners on the Farm"
Posted 3/9/2010 9:59am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.
Dear Friends and Patrons:
As the old Beatles' tune "Here comes the Sun" goes: "..it's been a long cold lonely winter.."
BUT, at last, spring is showing signs of reappearing.  To coax it along, we've decided to have a baby shower.. a goat baby shower that is. 
This Sunday, March 14th from 12 noon to 5PM, we'll be opening our doors to the public so you can meet the new arrivals, sample the first chevre of the season and munch on some local food treats prepared by our chefs Alisa and Molly and our special guest--Paul Virant.  It is FREE and open to the public.
Click on this link for the invitation:

http://sfc.smallfarmcentral.com/dynamic_content/uploadfiles/167/Were%20KIDDING%20shower%20invitation%20FINAL.pdf

We will be starting our on-farm local food breakfasts and on-farm farmers' market on March 20th (9AM to 12 noon), so stay tuned for more details.
Also, to follow soon are the details about the 2010 Season of our "Dinners on the Farm."
We've got a very exciting line up of dinner themes and guest chefs.
Posted 3/3/2010 5:19pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.
Dear Friends of Prairie Fruits Farm:

I know many of you have been following the situation with the proposed road extension next to our farm.  We are now in a critical period during which the local governments of Urbana, Champaign and Champaign County will be making decisions about whether they plan to contribute their portion of the $30 million budget to fund this road project.  As I write, a delegation of public officials and business interests is in Washington, DC visiting our Congressman Tim Johnson, Senator Dick Durbin and Ray LaHood, Secretary of Transportation to convince them that federal dollars are needed for this project. 
Please click on the link below to read more about what YOU can do to help us stop Olympian Drive. If local and federal elected officials hear that their constituents (not just a small group of disgruntled landowners, as they are casting us in the media) DON'T want this road, perhaps we can sway their votes toward a NO.   Thank you for your support.
http://sfc.smallfarmcentral.com/dynamic_content/uploadfiles/167/Say%20No%20to%20Olympian%20Drive%20FINAL[1].pdf
Posted 1/19/2010 1:22pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.
Hello Friends of Prairie Fruits Farm:
Greetings from monochromatically grey central illinois. It is precisely this kind of weather that makes you pine for some GREEN (and really any colored) foods from local farms. Well, for those of you who live in or around Champaign-Urbana, the world will be a little brighter starting this coming Saturday, January 23rd.  Please read the email letter from Blue Moon Farm below.  We have a limited supply of chevre, Mouton Frais (sheep milk "chevre), Roxanne and Moonglo that we will be selling with them, so orders will be filled on first come-first served basis. 
Stay tuned for future winter updates from us.
P.S. On another note, we have a job opening for an assistant cheesemaker. We're looking for someone with culinary training/experience. Check out the job description on our website under "Interact" "Job Openings"

Hello all, please read carefully because you will be tested this Saturday.

It's finally here, the Blue Moon winter market, starting this Saturday, January 23.  Next Market will be in two weeks.   We've decided to try something a little more organized than the regular farmer's market,  we are using a service called SurveyMonkey, which allows you to place an individual order by filling out our survey. Not only are we offering Blue Moon veggies, but Prairie Fruits Farm is also offering a variety of cheeses. Here's how it works:  You get the survey as an email, which tells you what is available for the upcoming Saturday delivery. You fill it out and send it back to us before Thursday noon. This means you just click "Done" at the end of the survey. Then you show up between 9-12 on Saturday at the delivery location, which is in the indoor eating area outside the Common Ground Food Co-op in Lincoln Square Mall. You get there by going out the back door of the Co-op, or entering the mall in the Health Alliance area, east side of the mall. You will pay for your orders at that time.

Important reminders:

1.  Winter harvest is trickier than summer harvest in that it takes longer to harvest, and we have less of it. Also, it's darn cold out here. Therefore, if you place an order, PLEASE PICK UP YOUR ORDER. We don't want to harvest too much, and lose that produce, and we don't want to harvest too little, and incur your disappointment.you must return the survey before noon on Thursday, or we can't get you your order. We will be using the survey numbers to know how much to harvest.

2.  The survey itself should be self-explanatory and simple to use, but let us know if the questions are confusing in any way. The only question you must answer is the first one, in which you provide your name. Then you can order whatever you want. 

3.  Please bear in mind that we are trying something new, so feedback is welcome, and we might have to tweak the system in the future.

4.  If all goes well we will do this again in two weeks....

5.  We had an tough time reading some of your handwriting and a few emails bounced back.  Please let your friends know if they did not get an email and have them email us to get on the list.

 

Here is a link to the survey:
http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/7JHZSVF

This link is uniquely tied to this survey and your email address. Please do not forward this message.

Thanks for your patience and participation and please Dance for sun.

Blue Moon Farm

Please note: If you do not wish to receive further emails from us, please click the link below, and you will be automatically removed from our mailing list.
http://www.surveymonkey.com/optout.aspx?sm=NeGaHZS5yvXZgiyOvMK7pg_3d_3d

 

http://www.surveymonkey.com/s/7JHZSVF

Posted 12/18/2009 10:48am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.
It's hard to believe we have arrived at the last farmers' markets of the year. This is a bittersweet time of year for us. On the one hand, we're ready for some rest (as are the goats). On the other hand, many of the girls don't seem to want to quit producing milk, and the temptation to keep making cheese is strong. We have decided to keep milking until the end of December so that we can make a few more batches of fresh chevre for our stores and restaurant customers (so they can keep you, our loyal customers, in Prairie Fruits Farm cheese a bit past the new year). 
Market Offerings
For the last markets of the season (SATURDAY, December 19th), we have lots of cheese and a few extra holiday treats. We will be attending Urbana's Holiday Market (inside Lincoln Square Mall), Chicago's Green City Market and the 61st Street Market at the Experimental Station in Chicago's Hyde Park neighborhood.
Cheeses:
Fresh Chevre--plain, herbs de Provence and cracked peppercorn (remember, you can freeze the chevre, so stock up)
Dent de Leon--I know it's been a long time since you have tasted these wonderful little puff balls of modestly ripened chevre dusted with ash and natural mold rind. They are back-a perfect stocking stuffer or adornment for the holiday cheese plate.
Angel Food (last of the year)
Little Bloom on the Prairie-impress your friends and relatives with the only Illinois cheese in the William Sonoma Midwest cheese collection
Roxanne-still as buttery as ever (taste the summer sheep pasture in this cheese!)
Moonglo-very limited quantity; next batches won't be ready until the end of January.
Kaskaskia--if you're preparing any pasta or roasted veggie dishes for the holidays, this raw sheep milk cheese is the perfect substitute for parmesan.

To round out the cheeses on your holiday tables, we have been busy in the Prairie Fruits Farm kitchen preparing a few more treats:
Pumpkin butter spiced with fresh ginger
Cajeta de leche de cabra (this is a wonderful caramel type sauce prepared in the traditional mexican style with goats' milk and cinnamon)--use as a sauce for pancakes, crepes or drizzle over fresh fruit or ice cream YUM!!
Mouton chocolate truffles--a unique twist on the chevre truffle, we blended our sheep milk "chevre" with the finest belgian chocolate and dusted them with cocoa powder to concoct these delicious holiday treats. You won't find these anywhere else but at the Urbana Farmers' Market, so come early to make sure you get some.

Dizzied by the diversity of farm food treats?? But wait, there's more.....
We will be selling our literally hot off the presses Prairie Fruits Farm "Community Supported Goat"Organic Cotton T-Shirt Once you see, these, you will just have to have one. $15/each (S, M, L, XL sizes). We will have these for sale at the Urbana and Green City Farmers' Markets only.

Finally, at the end of the day and the shopping frenzy, we take pause to reflect on this year and thank you, our patrons, for your support. We know that we live in trying financial times, yet we are humbled by and appreciate your continued commitment to support local and sustainable food producers.  We wish you and yours the most delicious and happy holiday season.
Leslie Cooperband & Wes Jarrell, Co-Owners of Prairie Fruits Farm
The PFF staff
and of course the goat girls of PFF
Shelly
Shelly speaks for all the girls at Prairie Fruits Farm in wishing you happy holidays!
Posted 12/10/2009 9:13pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.
CSG goes live
It's official: Our Community Supported Goat (CSG) Share Program is now live on our website. Go to www.prairiefruits.com to the "Interact" tab. Click on the tab "Community Supported Goat Share Program" to read a general description of the program. When you're ready to sign up, go to the tab "CSG Member Sign Up" and follow the instructions from there. If you are giving this as a gift to someone other than yourself, you will need to sign up the gift recipient's name and contact information.  They will receive their goat certificate of support and T-shirt before Christmas (that is my goal, anyway). 

Farm Dinner Gift Certificates
Just when you thought that CSG was a great gift for the locavore-cheese lover in your world, we have decided to spice things up for the holidays by offering yet another gift option. We have set aside 50 "Dinners for two" for the 2010 "Dinners on the Farm" Series.  If you go to the "Dinners on the Farm" heading in our website and then click on "Buy Dinners" you will see the description for these gift certificates. 

Speaking of farm dinners, those of you coming to the Blind Pig Brewery Beer-Cheese-Hors de Oeuvres Fete at our farm this Saturday (December 12th, 7-10PM) should plan to dress warmly with warm socks and shoes.  We have heating for the barn, but it IS a barn with a concrete floor.  The current forecast calls for a balmy mid 30's during the day. The beers sound dynamite from the brew meister's descriptions, and should pair beautifully with the tapas and cheeses we are preparing. For those of you with reservations, I will have your names on a guest list and check you off when you arrive.

Farmers' Market Offerings
Now is the time to really stock up on fresh chevre for the winter. Remember, you can freeze the chevre with no adverse effects on taste or texture. We have two more markets to go before the end of the year--December 12th and 19th. We will be attending Urbana's Holiday Market inside Lincoln Square Village, Chicago's Green City Market at the Peggy Notebart Nature Museum and the 61st Street Market at Experimental Station in Chicago's Hyde Park Neighborhood.
We have lots of chevre--plain, herbs de Provence and cracked black peppercorn as well as a few chevre rounds (3 oz.) decorated with either smoked paprika or dried herbs and flowers from our garden (now in a frozen state). These rounds are sure to impress your holiday party guests when you present them with your local cheese platter.
We have a limited supply of Little Bloom on the Prairie (which you can also purchase as a gift through the William Sonoma website or catalogue under Pastoral Midwest Cheese Collection).
We also have Roxanne and Kaskaskia to round out your holiday cheese platters. 
In addition to our cheeses, we will be selling the last of our farmstead honey and fruit preserves.  Come early to get the best selections.

EAT CHEESE-STAY WARM