Welcome to Leslie's Blog.
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: "'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:

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.[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 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:

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.

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.
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 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 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.

Posted 12/3/2009 10:19pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.
The first crisp cold winter moon of the season rose out of the eastern sky this evening. Low on the horizon, it was nearly full (on the wane actually) and bright pale yellow against the black backdrop. We're expecting our first frigid night temperatures tonight--17 is what they are predicting.  We pulled the last salsify out of the ground in anticipation of the cold temperatures, and covered a few beets and fall-planted lettuce. 
This week, we'll be attending three farmers' markets: Urbana, Green City Market and the 61st Street Market-Experimental Station.
We will be bringing the following cheeses:
Chevre--all three flavors as usual
Angel Food--limited availability
Little Bloom on the Prairie

We will continue to go to these markets until December 19th so that we can keep you in cheese right up to the end of the year.
Chippewa-she's full of personality

For those of you looking for a really special holiday gift, stay tuned for our "Community Supported Goat" (CSG) Initiative. Similar to "Community Supported Agriculture" or "CSA",
CSG offers you an intimate connection to our farm with the benefit of seasonal cheese shipments direct to your doorstep. If you know a goat lover, and even better, one who loves goats and goat cheese, this is the gift for you.  We're offering a special connection to one of the does in the herd so you or your gift recipient can keep tabs on her daily life from kidding season through summer and into breeding and late lactation. 
So, here's the deal:
We're offering a full "share" for $200 per year.
This full share entitles you to a certificate of support featuring a full color photo of your doe. You will receive quarterly updates of her life on the farm along with four shipments of cheese. 
We're also offering a half share for $100 per year that entitles you to the same doe support certificate, periodic updates on her life and two cheese shipments per year. 
In addition to the shares, for an additional $15, you can be the proud owner of an organic cotton Community Supported Goat T-Shirt.
We will be offering these shares through our website within the next week--stay posted and stay warm. 
Posted 11/24/2009 8:37pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.
Orchard leaves a changin'
Cherry and Pear leaves turn colors and fall away
Teenage goat girls
Teenage Goat Girls lounge in the fall afternoon sun

Thanksgiving is nearly upon us.  Our neighbor grain farmers were racing against the next onslaught of rain to get another corn field harvested today. The trees have mostly lost their leaves, but with no hard frost in sight, we still have abundant and sweet rainbow chard, kale, brussel sprouts and cardoons in our garden. 
The Vet School dairy rotation came out the other day to pregancy check some of our does. Just like with people, they used ultrasound. It was pretty amazing to watch the girls get up on the stand, and while they were obliviously munching away on grain, the humans watched the fuzzy black and white images of engorged pregnant uteruses and a few fleeting glimses of goat fetuses!  As they casually go about their daily routine of eating, getting milked, eating again, chewing their cud, head butting their neighbor, etc., there are little baby goats growing inside them.  Pretty cool stuff. 
This Thanksgiving we'll be dining on a pastured turkey from Triple S Farms, lots of roasted root and fall vegetables and local fruit pies.  We might even make some goat milk gelato to go with those pies.  We have a LOT to be thankful for, among those things, our wonderful patrons.  Thank you for your support of our farm and our vision for a diverse and sustainable agriculture in america's heartland. 
This coming Saturday, we won't be attending any farmers' markets to give ourselves and our staff a little break. Hopefully, you all have stocked up on cheese to get you through to the following weekend. If not, you can get your fix at several locations in Champaign-Urbana, Bloomington-Normal, and the greater Chicago area.
Champaign Urbana: Common Ground Food Coop, World Harvest, Strawberry Fields and Schnucks.
Bloomington-Normal: The Garlic Press and Schnucks
Chicago area: Pastoral Artisan Cheese, Marion Street Cheese Market (Oak Park) and Whole Foods. 

A delicious thanksgiving to all!

Posted 11/20/2009 3:55pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone
I apologize for the late newsletter today. It's been a busy week getting cheese and cheesecakes ready for this weekend. We are attending FOUR farmers' markets tomorrow:
Urbana's Holiday Market (inside Lincoln Square Village) 8AM-1PM
Chicago's Green City Market (tent set up at Peggy Notebart Nature Museum on Cannon Drive N. of Lincoln Park Zoo) 8AM-1PM
Bloomington's Thanksgiving Market (inside the Colliseum in Downtown Bloomington) 10AM to 2PM
61st Market (Hyde Park Chicago) 10AM to 1PM

We will be bringing the following cheeses to compliment your thanksgiving feast:
Fresh Chevre--plain, herbs de Provence, black peppercorn
Mouton Frais--the sheep version of fresh chevre, but more rich--like a mascarpone cheese
Little Bloom on the Prairie-our creamy goat milk camembert style cheese--limited supply so come early to the markets
Roxanne--the raw sheep milk brebis with notes of grass and butter (summer essence trapped in the body of the cheese!)
Moonglo--there is very little left of this cheese for the season, so get it while it lasts
Kaskaskia--our raw sheep milk manchego x parmesan cheese--ideal for grating over your roasted root medley on thanksgiving.
For those who pre-ordered chevre cheesecakes, we will have your order ready for you to pick up at the specified farmers' market.
We also made a few extra small chevre cheesecakes (5") diameter that we are selling for $4/each (a real bargain). We also have a few jars of berry sauces (either blackberry-black currant-lemon balm or blueberry-pecan) that we are selling for $5/each.  Supplies are limited so come early if you want these. 

We have much to be thankful for this year, and we wish to thank you, our customers and friends, for your support and patronage.

Posted 11/12/2009 12:37pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.
There's lots to report on this week.  Here's the lineup:

Market Cheese
We'll be attending two farmers' markets this Saturday--Urbana's "Holiday Market" which is held inside Lincoln Square Village from 8AM-1PM and Chicago's Green City Market at the Peggy Notebart Nature Museum (Cannon Drive), also from 8AM to 1PM. 
We'll have the following cheeses for you to enjoy:
Fresh chevre--now is the time to start stocking up on the fresh chevre--remember, you can freeze it.
Little Bloom on the Prairie
Kaskaskia--our second batch of this raw sheep milk grating style cheese is ready, just in time for garnishing your cold weather soups, stews and pasta dishes.
NOTE: We will be attending Bloomington's Thanksgiving Market on Saturday, November 21st, along with Urbana and Green City Market, so stay tuned to our offerings for those holiday markets next week.
Chevre Cheesecakes
By popular request, we are offering a limited number of 9" chevre cheesecakes for you to pre-order for pickup on Saturday, November 21st at one of three farmers' markets: Urbana, Bloomington (Thanksgiving Market inside the Colliseum in Downtown Bloomington) and Green City Market.
The cost for a 9" chevre cheesecake is $30.  These cakes are made simply (and with love) with fresh chevre, local pastured eggs, Kilgus Farmstead cream, organic sugar and a graham cracker crust. We are also offering two fruit sauces to accompany the cakes: a Prairie Fruits Farm blackberry-black currant and lemon balm sauce and an Illinois blueberry-pecan conserve--both are $5/half pint jar.
We only have about 15 jars of the blackberry sauce, so that will go to the first 15 people who request it.
To pre-order a cheesecake with or without fruit sauce, please send me an email with your name, number of cakes, number and type of fruit sauce jars, phone number and location where you will pick up your order.  Since these cakes will be baked to order from scratch in our little farm kitchen, you must send me your order by MONDAY, November 16th, 5PM. You can pay either with cash or check when you pick up your order. Orders not picked up by 12noon will be sold to market shoppers at large.

Winter Beer and Cheese Fete set for Saturday December 12th, 7-10PM
We have decided to hold one more feast at Prairie Fruits Farm to celebrate the end of a very good season.  For this special occasion, we're partnering with Champaign's FIRST local brewery, The Blind Pig. We will serve four of their beers (some brewed just for this event) along with our cheeses and local food tapas. The cost per person (includes all the beer and food you can consume) is a bargain at $40/person. You can make reservations for the fete through our website, under "Dinners on the Farm" Then, click on "Buy Dinners." For more information about the Blind Pig, check out their website:
Posted 11/5/2009 8:26pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

This is the week that the remaining leaves blew off the trees. I was able to capture on film our maple tree ablaze in yellow and orange “flames” before she was denuded.  The backdrop of standing corn stocks in late afternoon haze also hints at the unusual fall we have had. It IS November, yet the corn is still standing.  Maple tree leaves ablaze with color
As I write, the combines are out and the crop residue dust hangs in the air, so the fields will be bare pretty soon too. It appears that our goat breeding season is winding down. The bucks are relaxed-lots of lounging and cud chewing going on, very little jealous snorting through the fences. The girls seem “settled” (the livestock term for being “knocked up.”) We are probably going to have a VERY busy March.

Market Offerings
This Saturday is our last outdoor market in Urbana. Ironically, the weather is supposed to be warm (in the mid 60’s) and sunny—a fitting end to a frigid fall market season. It also marks the return of the Green City Market to the Peggy Notebart Nature Museum on Canon Drive in Chicago, just north of Fullerton.  We’ve also decided to offer a very limited supply of our cheeses to the 61st Farmers’ Market at the Experimental Station on Chicago’s South Side. Dennis Ryan, the 61st Market Manager, will have a table set up with our cheeses. Both Chicago Markets continue until mid to late December, and we plan to have cheese available for our Chicago customers right up to the holiday season.

This week we will have the following cheeses available:
Fresh Chevre: the usual suspects of plain, herbs de Provence and cracked black peppercorn
Limited supply of Angel Food
Lots of wonderfully creamy Little Bloom on the Prairie—this cheese is part of the Pastoral-William Sonoma holiday gift selection of American Midwest Cheeses check it out:
last of the Ewe Bloom—it’s really ripe and ready to eat—on sale at 50% off the regular price—gooey, stinky cheese lovers rejoice

Krotovina—also the last of the season; not quit as ripe as the Ewe Bloom, but it is best if enjoyed this week
In addition to cheese, we will be selling some beautiful beeswax candles that Molly has hand crafted. They smell of warm honey—delicious!
Given the rave reviews of our goat cheesecakes, we are going to offer these for Thanksgiving.  Stay tuned for details about placing pre-orders.