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Posted 3/15/2018 9:40pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

The dark circles have re-appeared under my eyes.  The nightly routine of checking the doe barn for signs of labor and the kid barn for sleeping baby goats spread evenly under their heat lamps has returned.  The indulgence of watching a late night movie is over, and if it’s satiated, there’s hell to pay the next day.  The mornings of pulling the covers over my head to garner another hour of sleep are fleeting.  We are well in the thick of kidding season, and we don the familiar habits of early spring without much thought these days.

Spring has come reluctantly this year. Despite winter’s strong desire to grip our temperate landscape a bit longer, the signs of change are all around us. Tiny little crocuses are poking their blooms just above the soil line, lest the cold winds knock them over.  The pasture hue is transforming slowly from dull brown to pale green.  The chickens are laying eggs more reliably. 

I must make an effort to observe these subtle changes. The routine of intensity takes over. The patterns have become so deeply etched in my psyche over time. Up before dawn (especially with day light savings time-cruel), turn on the coffee pot, climb into my coveralls and waddle out to the barns to see who has kidded and who’s in labor. New kids are cleaned off and put under heat lamps; sometimes it’s hard to sort out who belongs to whom, especially if multiple does have kids on the ground and the more motherly ones have “adopted” someone else’s kids.  Once we sort out parentage, we move to milking out the mothers’ colostrum to feed to the hungry babies.  If we’re lucky, we get a little break to eat some breakfast before the next wave of labor signs ensues. 

During the height of kidding season, the steps run together in an endless loop: contractions, birthing, kid cleaning, kid feeding, repeat.    Sometimes, the kids are stuck in the birth canal and I must intervene. I put on the OB gloves, lube and iodine sanitizer, and gently enter the birth canal to untangle heads and limbs and ease them out of the womb into the world.  These movements too have become second nature to me after all these years.  There’s not much time for thinking, just moving and repeating the motions until temporary stability sets in. Then, it’s time to catch some precious sleep.

Fundraiser Campaign: It’s hard for farmers to ask for money.  We are a proud and mostly self-reliant bunch.  Sometimes, though, changes need to happen and improvements need to be made to make the farm grow and be a better place for more people to enjoy.  So, we’re hosting a “raise the roof” fundraiser campaign this spring.  If you CLICK HERE, you can read all about it—our projects, our goals, our donation levels.  This community has been very good to us over the years. We hope you’ll consider making a donation (small or large) to help us take the farm to whole new level. 

Farm Yard Sale: It’s time for spring cleaning at the farm. We’ve got all kinds of stuff we’re ready to part with: fencing, used equipment, a couple of milk bulk tanks without compressors, kitchen stuff, etc.  Come out to the farm this weekend to peruse our stuff—Saturday and Sunday, March 17/18, 11-4 each day.  Everything must go, so we’re making lots of deals.

We have a free-cycle pile too. The farm shop will be open for cheese and gelato sales and we’ll sell some of our well-aged goat manure compost if you bring your own container ($5/5 gallon bucket). 

Spring Open House: Our first spring open house (aka babies and breakfast) is March 24th.  The second one is March 31st (Easter weekend). More details forthcoming next week.  Mark your calendars now.

Babies and Brunch: Starting in April and running through May 12th, we’ll be serving brunch-Saturdays and Sundays, 9:30-1:00.  Check out the menu and the details. 

Special Graduation Dinner & Mother’s Day Brunch: We are offering a special farm to table dinner for graduates and their families on Saturday May 12th AND a local-foods brunch buffet for Mother’s Day. Check out the menu for dinner and/or brunch and book your tickets now! They’re going fast. 

Goat Yoga and Delight Flower Spring bouquet shares: Delight Flower Farm has a lot going on this year. They already have a few early season blooms in their high tunnel!  Maggie Taylor has decided to host yoga with baby goats again this year at the farm.  Right now, she has a few dates in May for goat yoga classes. You can registration on their website: http://delightflowerfarm.com/shop/  They are also offering a limited time “spring bloom bouquet CSA”  Check out all the details as well all the other great things they offer here: DelightFlowerFarm.com

Cheese and Gelato CSA: Want to be a member of a very special club? Consider joining our Cheese and Gelato CSA. CSA stands for "Community Supported Agriculture." This translates to a special relationship between patron and farmer. We provide you with bi-weekly (twice/month) shares of cheese and/or gelato for about 6 months.  Our special discounted pricing is available through the end of March, so if you want to learn more and then sign up, don't delay.  

Dinners on the Farm: Our 2018 season is now posted on our website and ticket sales are LIVE for the entire season.  Take a look at the dates and themes, and book your reservations NOW.  These tickets go fast, so don’t delay.   


Copyright 2018. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2018. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 3/11/2018 7:59pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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In between birthing goat babies, we've been busy finalizing a few more farm to table events for the season.  We've added a special "Graduation Dinner on the Farm-May 12th," a Mother's Day Brunch Buffet and several more "Dinners on the Farm" fall dates. 

Our first spring open house is only a couple of weekends away (March 24th). I'll be back in touch with more farm news and details about spring open house, but I wanted to make sure you all know about these upcoming events, so you can get your tickets now


Copyright 2018. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2018. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 2/23/2018 8:59pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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 Farm News

The winter has been long and true.  The pervasive greyness seems to blanket the entire landscape, from the soggy slumbering soil to the far-off horizon.  Since early January, amidst the backdrop of arctic blasts and northwest fogs, the farm has been on a slow simmer of incubating baby goats.  The first doe kidded this morning---twins.  Artemis (we call her Artie) nonchalantly separated herself at feeding time and dropped her kids in quick succession between pitch-fork loads of haylage being placed in the mangers.  The drip of kidding season has begun, as much as I try to will it to hold off a little longer.  In the next few weeks, the drip will quicken to a torrent. I’m bracing myself for joy and sleep deprivation alike. 

Erica with Artie twins

Erica with the "artie" twins. Blue, our dog, loves to clean the newborns!

Farmers’ Market Sales

We’ve decided to share our first batch of Huckleberry Blue (a special one we made by washing the rinds with a local barley wine) and a few other cheeses aging in our caves.  We’ll be attending Urbana’s Market in the Square tomorrow, Saturday, February 24th from 8:00-12:00.  Defy the late winter gloom and doom and come support your local farmers (Blue Moon Farm will be there too, and we’ll be right next to them). We’ll have:

  • Chevre (frozen): plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Moonglo: late summer/early fall milk makes this batch particularly flavorful
  • Huckleberry Blue with Barley Wine Wash: this raw-goat-milk blue is creamy, slightly sweet, salty and tangy—pretty darn delicious!
  • Pelota Roja: the special “manchego” style cheese we make for Rick Bayless’ restauarants-the rind is rubbed with a guajillo-chili paste. The cheese is sharp and nutty; excellent for grating over warm stews or pasta
  • Gelato: pints of vanilla, chocolate, salted caramel, pistachio and masala chai tea
  • Meats: goat stew meat, goat Merguez sausages
  • PFFC merch: select t-shirts, tea towels, aprons and totes

CSA Sign-Up

Today is National #CSA sign-up day. Since the day is almost over, I’m proclaiming the whole weekend as National CSA sign-up day. If the idea of being a member of a special cheese and gelato club sounds enticing, check out our CSA. We’re running a special discounted price through March, but sign up now to show your love of farmstead and artisan goat cheese!

We’re attending the Champaign-Urbana CSA Fair next Friday, March 2nd, so if you want more details come see us just behind Common Ground Food Coop from 5-7:30 pm.

2018 “Dinners on the Farm” select tickets on sale NOW! We’ve been busy scheming for the upcoming dinner season, and we have several late spring/summer dates and themes fleshed out. We’re pretty excited about the line-up this year! You can visit our website to see all the descriptions and then book reservations through our ShowClix page.

2018 Spring Open Houses and “Goat Babies and Brunch” Goat babies bring milk which brings cheese which brings you our patrons back to the farm. This year’s spring open houses and “babies and brunch” will be run differently than in recent years. Click here to get all the details.   


Copyright 2018. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2018. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 1/10/2018 9:57pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

Stasis, maintaining equilibrium with minimum effort; this is our modus operandi in winter.  Subzero temperatures, snow storms, floods and high winds try to push us off our low-energy program. Goats must be fed and watered, hay must be moved from the loft to the barns, water buckets must be cleaned, chicken eggs must be collected, electricity must continue to run, water must continue to flow in pipes, wholesale customers must be satisfied and aging cheeses must be tended.  Thoughts of the season to come emerge, but are pushed back into temporary recesses. 

While the farm is mostly closed to visitors this time of year, we’re breaking hibernation a bit this coming Saturday (January 13th, 8AM to 12 noon), to attend the Urbana Market in the Square.  We have a limited repertoire of cheese:

  • Plain, herbs de Provence and cracked pepper chevre (all frozen)
  • Moonglo

But we also have pints of gelato (yes, you can eat gelato in winter):

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Pistachio
  • Masala Chai Tea
  • Lemon Verbena
  • Salted Caramel
  • Local Ginger

We will also bring some goat stew meat and goat merguez sausages and a few other goodies from the farm.  Blue Moon Farm will be there too. It’s a great way to fight back the doledrums of winter. 

Sign Up for our 2018 Cheese and Gelato CSA Season

Consider signing up for a season’s worth of cheese and gelato.   Our CSA is customizable and flexible—you choose how many pieces of cheese or pints of gelato you want per pick up and then select the types of cheese or flavors of gelato during the season. We have a 3% discount off the total price through the end of February.  Become a member of an exclusive and pampered club and help the farmer too! 


Copyright 2018. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2018. 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 12/21/2017 7:53pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Happy Holidays to All. Thank you for supporting the farm. We look forward to seeing you in the New Year.

Apollo's helping himself to the beverage cart! Time to party!

The winter solstice is upon us. All of our goats are dry and almost all are pregnant.  We're almost ready to begin our own winter "chill," but we're opening the farm up ONE more time for any last minute holiday shoppers or anyone who needs a break from the holiday madness.  The goats are master de-stressers, and who wouldn't love a cup of hot mulled cider.

Farm Open House-Saturday December 23rd 11AM to 3PM

We still have some cheese (limited repertoire) and LOTS of gelato. 

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper-better stock up now for the winter—you can freeze our chevre and enjoy it throughout the winter
  • Moonglo: our raw-milk tomme-style cheese, aged for about 4 months.  Semi-firm texture, fruity and sharp flavor notes.  Make yourselves a “fancy” grilled cheese with Moonglo and our onion jam (or caramelized onions). 

Gelato Pint Flavors: Our gelato flavors are the perfect accompaniment to your holiday sweets and desserts! Buy three pints and get a discount:  HOLIDAY SPECIAL—we made a very special batch of pistachio gelato with pure Sicilian pistachio paste. This is a premium flavor ($12/pint versus $10/pin for our regular flavors), but it’s totally worth it! There are only a few pints o pistachio left, so come early.

  • Pistachio
  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Salted Caramel
  • Masala Chai Tea (limited)
  • Local Ginger
  • Peaches & Cream
  • Hazelnut
  • Lemon Verbena  

The Real Stand is stocked to the brim with sustainably-raised farm products and local artisan crafts.  In addition to our cheese and gelato, we have pickled veggies jams, meats, sausages, eggs, etc.

To sweeten the pot, we're running a special 10% discount on all PFFC "Merch" (t-shirts, onesies, sweatshirts, cheese boards, notecards, tea towels-anything with our logo).  

 NEW IN THE STORE—locally milled organic wheat flour (2 lb. bags) from “The Mill at Janie’s Farm!” We’re so excited to offer this product to our customers.  The wheat is grown and milled in central IL, right in our own farming backyard. 

Want to get a PFFC gift card for that hard to please person on your gift list? Check out our Credibles card program. 

2018 Cheese and Gelato CSA Season is Open for Sign-Ups--5% discount ends at the end of December-ACT NOW. We welcome returning and NEW members alike.

We’re already planning ahead for next year. If you’re not familiar with the concept of CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), think of it as a private farm club. Patrons (CSA members) support the farmer by buying a season’s worth of farm products ahead of time—in our case, cheese and gelato-- and members get treated like royalty with special cheeses and gelato flavors throughout the season. 

If you sign up now or before the end of December, you’ll get a 5% discount off the total price.  Become a member yourself or consider buying a CSA membership for the cheese lover in your life.

Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery is Hiring

After four glorious seasons, one of our cheese makers is leaving to pursue her own dreams of a small farm. We are looking for a cheese maker to start in early March 2018.  Check out the position description and application details if you’re qualified and interested. 


Copyright 2017. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2017. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 12/14/2017 10:19pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

Last Sunday, a lone black and grey pigeon appeared at the entrance to the farm shop, seeming to have dropped randomly out of the sky.  The sight of a pigeon on the farm is incongruous.  It’s like a visit from mid-town Manhattan socialite in heels and a slinky black evening dress.  He/she (we don’t know how to identify the gender of a pigeon but let’s assume it’s a “she” for now) acts as if she knows she is out of place. She is calm yet cautious and stays close to the barn, sifting and pecking at the ground for stray grains of wheat from fallen straw. 

She seems content but lonely. She doesn’t seem to be fearful of humans (or dogs for that matter), causing us to wonder if she is someone’s pet. She isn’t banded, so we’ve ruled out the homing pigeon hypothesis.  We suspect that maybe she was blown in on the fierce winds we’ve been having these past few days and that maybe her wings are damaged.   She seems to be able to fly short distances, but doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to get back to wherever she came from.  Her silence deepens the mysteries around her. 

I am beginning to wonder if her sudden appearance has some deeper underlying meaning.  Was she sent here to remind us to care for the stranger among us? Does this urban bird symbolize the encroachment of the city on the farm? Is her loneliness a reminder to keep tabs on the folks who are on their own during the holidays? I have no answers to these questions.  If she decides to stay, we’ll start giving her some chicken feed and welcome her into the rest of the farm family of strays and stragglers. 

Holiday Markets-The Final Push 

There’s not much time left before the holidays descend upon us.  We’re doing our part to keep you and your guests in high-class cheese and gelato. We also have some fantastic local artisan gifts and Prairie Fruits Farm “merch” that make wonderful and unique gifts for the special folks on your lists.  Please come visit us either at the market or at the farm this weekend.

Saturday, December 16th, we’re attending the Urbana “Market in the Square” from 8-12 noon (we are leaving early to head back to the farm). This is our last appearance at the market for the season. Stock up on chevre for the winter or get the perfect trio for your holiday cheese board. We’re running an end of season special on Angel Food: buy one, get a 2nd at 50% off! We’re also bringing our famous (and delicious) spiced pecans to accompany these cheeses:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper-better stock up now for the winter—you can freeze our chevre and enjoy it throughout the winter
  • Angel Food:  our little “crottin” style bloomy rind; small enough to eat in one sitting; great warmed with a drizzle of honey; perfect for holiday entertaining
  • Pelota Roja: we saved a wheel of this Rick Bayless cheese exclusive to offer to those patrons who get to the market early enough to snag a wedge. It’s made in the same style (manchego) as our Magia Negra, but the rind is rubbed with a guajillo chile-olive oil paste, giving the cheese a slight piquant flavor from the chiles.
  • Moonglo: our raw-milk tomme-style cheese, aged for about 4 months.  Semi-firm texture, fruity and sharp flavor notes.  Make yourselves a “fancy” grilled cheese with Moonglo and our onion jam (or caramelized onions). 

Gelato Pint Flavors: Our gelato flavors are the perfect accompaniment to your holiday sweets and desserts! Buy three pints and get a discount:  HOLIDAY SPECIAL—we made a very special batch of pistachio gelato with pure Sicilian pistachio paste. This is a premium flavor ($12/pint versus $10/pin for our regular flavors), but it’s totally worth it!

  • Pistachio
  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Salted Caramel
  • Masala Chai Tea (limited)
  • Fruitti di Bosco (limited)
  • Local Ginger
  • Peaches & Cream
  • Hazelnut
  • Lemon Verbena  

Farm Happenings-The Real Stand

The farm is OPEN—weekends, 1-4 pm now through Sunday December 17th.  Depending on our mood, we might also be open on Saturday, December 23rd, and we’ll let you know next week if that’s the case. The Real Stand is stocked to the brim with sustainably-raised farm products and local artisan crafts.  We have cheese, gelato, lots of pickled veggies, jams, meats, sausages, eggs, etc.

In addition to the unique and beautiful gifts you’ll find, we are also selling holiday wreaths by Delight Flower FarmNEW IN THE STORE—locally milled organic wheat flour (2 lb. bags) from “The Mill at Janie’s Farm!” We’re so excited to offer this product to our customers.  The wheat is grown and milled in central IL, right in our own farming backyard. 

Saturday, the 16th, we’ll be offering winter holiday hay rides—1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 (20 person capacity per ride).  The weather should be mild, but we have blankets to cover you up and keep you warm.  We take folks to a part of the farm that most seldom get to see-the eastern edge of our property where the goats browse on the restored prairie and riparian hedge.  It’s quite beautiful. Hay ride costs: $5/adult and $3/children (children less than 1 yr. old are free).  After your ride, come into the farm shop and warm up with a cup of mulled hot cider (thank you Curtis Orchard).  Check out all the details on our FACEBOOK events page. 

If you can’t make it out on Saturday, no worries-we’re open Sunday, December 17th 1-4 pm too! Come out to join Delight Flower Farm for one of their workshops (herbal salve making workshop OR final wreath making workshop) and then grab some warm mulled cider or a cup of espresso and gelato and RELAX at the farm for a while.  The goats will be happy to get some extra lovin’ before the season ends. 

2018 Cheese and Gelato CSA Season is Open for Sign-Ups

We’re already planning ahead for next year. If you’re not familiar with the concept of CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), think of it as a private farm club. Patrons (CSA members) support the farmer by buying a season’s worth of farm products ahead of time—in our case, cheese and gelato-- and members get treated like royalty with special cheeses and gelato flavors throughout the season.  If you sign up now or before the end of December, you’ll get a 5% discount off the total price.  Become a member yourself or consider buying a CSA membership for the cheese lover in your life.

Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery is Hiring

After four glorious seasons, one of our cheese makers is leaving to pursue her own dreams of a small farm. We are looking for a cheese maker to start in early March 2018.  Check out the position description and application details if you’re qualified and interested. 


Copyright 2017. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2017. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 12/8/2017 12:42pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

The season is, at last, behaving like “the season.”  The verdant warmth of last week has been usurped by frigid gusts.  Opening the door to let the dogs out in the morning shocks my naked toes. The mid-day sun tries to confer its warmth on any exposed flesh, but the winds whisk it away immediately.  We’re back to slow drip faucets in the barns at night (to prevent the pipes from freezing) and extra layers of fresh straw to keep the goats cozy at night.  

The evening milking requires even more coercing than normal for this time of year.  The promise of grain just doesn’t cut it.  Soon, we will go to once-a-day milking, to hasten the inevitable end of their lactation.  Many of the does have already taken matters into their own hands (well, hooves), and decided that their milking season is over. Most of them are bred based on the amount of buck lounging we’re seeing in the breeding pens.  The goats are really good at telling us when it’s time for rest. 

Holiday Market News

We’re attending Urbana’s “Market in the Square this Saturday (December 9th).  We will be there from 8 AM to 12 noon (even though the market goes until 1:00). Although our cheese repertoire has diminished, we still have enough variety to make a wonderful cheese board to serve yourselves or any holiday guests:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper-better stock up now for the winter—you can freeze our chevre and enjoy it throughout the winter
  • Angel Food:  our little “crottin” style bloomy rind; small enough to eat in one sitting; great warmed with a drizzle of honey; perfect for holiday entertaining.
  • Magia Negra: our nod to a Manchego style cheese, sharp nutty notes with hints of tart berries. Rind is rubbed with an olive oil-black currant & aronia berry paste. Try shaving it over roasted root vegetables or a hearty winter stew
  • Moonglo: our raw-milk tomme-style cheese, aged for about 4 months.  Semi-firm texture, fruity and sharp flavor notes.  Make yourselves a “fancy” grilled cheese with Moonglo and our onion jam. 

Gelato Pint Flavors: Our gelato flavors are the perfect accompaniment to your holiday sweets and desserts! Buy three pints and get a discount: 

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Salted Caramel
  • Masala Chai Tea (limited)
  • Fruitti di Bosco (limited)
  • Local Ginger
  • Peaches & Cream
  • Hazelnut
  • Lemon Verbena  

Farm Happenings-The Real Stand


This beautiful watercolor by Cynthia Winter (one of our farm patrons) has been turned into a note card, available for purchase at our farm store, The Real Stand.

The farm is OPEN—weekends, 1-4 pm now through December 17th.  The Real Stand is stocked to the brim with sustainably-raised farm products and local artisan crafts.  We have cheese, gelato, lots of pickled veggies, jams, meats, sausages, eggs, etc. In addition to the unique and beautiful gifts you’ll find, we are also selling holiday wreaths by Delight Flower Farm

Back by popular demand—SATURDAY, DECEMBER 9TH—THE GOAT PHOTO BOOTH!   Bring your friends and family to the farm and take your holiday pictures with our santa and elf goats.  They might try to nibble on your hair or hats, but we’ll keep them distracted with goat treats.  We know it will be cold tomorrow, so dress warmly. The photo booths (we have two stations) will be set up inside our kid barn, out of the wind, so you should be nice and toasty. We will also have warm “glugg” (mulled fortified wine) and hot tea, espresso drinks and fresh doughnuts from Lucky Pierre Bakers

SUNDAY, DECEMBER 10TH—BEAT THE CROWDS (farm and The Real Stand are open 1-4 pm)—come out to the farm, visit with the goats and then come inside the shop to warm up. Enjoy an espresso or affogato (gelato + espresso) or a warming cup of glugg. Sunday special: buy one Angel Food (mini-brie), get another at 50% off!!! 

Bane Family Meats is now offering Holiday Gift Baskets! Each basket is made to order. Choose from eggs, pork (bacon, sausage, chops, roasts, ground pork), beef (steaks, roasts, ground beef), and/or lamb (chops, steaks, roasts, ground lamb). Prairie Fruits Farm will even include a container of fresh chevre if you like.  Call or email for ideas and prices at DavidPBane@aol.com  or 217-722-2188. Happy Holidays!

2018 Cheese and Gelato CSA sign-up We are working out the details and logistics for next year’s CSA. We will be in touch once we’re ready for early-bird sign ups. Stay tuned.   


Copyright 2017. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2017. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 11/30/2017 5:24pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

Things are quiet this week on the farm. The unseasonal warm weather is keeping the pasture green and lush.  The goats are grazing and their milk production is holding steady; very unusual for this time of year.  We're still making cheese (mostly chèvre and Huckleberry Blue). We're gearing up for the holiday season on and off the farm.

  Market News and Farm Happenings

Saturday, December 2nd, we will be attending Urbana’s Market in the Square from 8AM to 1 PM.  In case you miss us at the market, we'll be open at the farm both Saturday and Sunday (1-4 pm each day). 

Here’s the line for Saturday:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Angel Food:  our little “crottin” style bloomy rind; small enough to eat in one sitting; great warmed with a drizzle of honey; perfect for your holiday cheese board.
  • Magia Negra: our nod to a Manchego style cheese, sharp nutty notes with hints of tart berries. Rind is rubbed with an olive oil-black currant & aronia berry paste
  • Moonglo: our raw-milk tomme-style cheese, aged for about 4 months.  Semi-firm texture, fruity and sharp flavor notes.  We’re using it in a sweet potato gratin for our thanksgiving holiday meal.

Gelato Pint Flavors: Buy three pints and get a discount: 

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Salted Caramel
  • Masala Chai Tea
  • Fruitti di Bosco (mixed berry)
  • Local Ginger
  • Peaches & Cream
  • Hazelnut
  • Lemon Verbena  

Farm Happenings-The Real Stand

Our farm store is open every weekend through December 17th.  We have cheese, gelato, lots of pickled veggies, jams, meats, sausages, eggs, etc.  

We also encourage you to peruse our holiday farm store, now flush with unique gifts from several local artisans. We have LOTS of new PFFC “merch” to show you too!! Delight Flower Farm is taking reservations for their holiday wreaths, and they’re hosting a few wreath making workshops at the farm as well-mostly in December.

If you missed our goat photo booth after Thanksgiving, no worries. We're hosting another one on Saturday, December 9th. Start a new holiday tradition; take your holiday pictures with our festively dressed goat friends.  Through the holiday season, we continue to offer fresh, hand-rolled doughnuts from Lucky Pierre Bakers In addition to our regular weekend hours, The Real Stand will be open the evenings (5-7 pm) before the Delight Flower Farm Wreath Making Workshops: December 7th and 13th.   


Copyright 2017. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2017. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 11/16/2017 8:18pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

As we approach the holiday of Thanksgiving, I have been thinking about the mythology around the pilgrims, their struggles to survive in a strange new land and their triumphant harvest feast. They arrived to the shores of the new world, buoyed by their ideology, but sorely lacking in basic survival skills.  In reality, if not for the generosity and sympathy of the native peoples, the ill-equipped, pilgrim “city slickers” would have perished, and the holiday we know as “Thanksgiving” would not have become such a defining American tradition. 

The steepness of their learning curve, albeit with much starker life-or-death consequences, reminds me somewhat of my own path from urban academic to mostly self-sufficient farmer, living and eating pretty close to the land. I came to farming flush with my own ideologies but lacking much experience (save for a few home vegetable gardens).  I was very good at preaching the gospel of sustainable agriculture to other farmers, but I had never tried to walk the path of my own advice. 

Our early days as a goat farmers were full of tension and naiveté.  Our inexperience was so grave that we didn’t even realize that two of our does were pregnant until one of them gave birth to a baby buckling the Monday after Thanksgiving.  While local grocery stores and farmers’ markets had my back as I learned from novice farmer failures, I felt a deep and humbling appreciation of eating foods I helped to grow or raise with my own hands. 

Nowadays, not only do we grow and raise a lot of our own food, we have forged relationships with like-minded farmers, making it easy to prepare a true feast from foods grown in our farming “backyard.”  We now have our own “thanksgiving” traditions: grilling a Bane-Family Meats pasture-raised turkey on our wood fired-grill, preparing delicious organic veggies from our farmer friends at Blue Moon Farm, scoring local mushrooms and heirloom cornmeal for the stuffing, toasting southern IL pecans for the pecan pie and using our very own chevre for the pumpkin cheesecake.   

We celebrate our connection to the land and to the other farmers who share our ideals for meaningful stewardship.  Eating close to the ground has become easy for us, second nature.  With so many amazing dedicated farmers growing beautiful foods for your holiday tables, it is easy for non-farmers to eat close to their own ground too.   Happy Thanksgiving!

Holiday Market News

Saturday, November 18th, we will be attending Urbana’s Market in the Square from 8AM to 1 PM. This is THE big pre-Thanksgiving Holiday market, and it’s the best time to get almost everything you need for your festive meal—veggies, a local turkey (especially if you pre-ordered), fruits, sweets and of course, our cheese and gelato.

We’ve made a special chevre flavor the holiday: a fresh chevre with pickled Barcelona pepper sauce. We grew these prolific peppers (slight heat, but really pretty mild) and Sarah (our gelato maker) fermented them with salt and the pureed them into a lovely sauce. The consistency reminds me of a chimichurri if you’re familiar with that Argentine accompaniment.  Sarah is also making our famous spiced pecans (with Voss Orchard Pecans, Carlyle IL) to accompany all of our cheeses on your holiday cheese board.

Here’s the line for Saturday:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper, chevre with pickled pepper sauce
  • Raw milk feta: the last batch of the season; our feta is tangy and crumbly; packed in a whey-brine, it lasts a really long time in your fridge (VERY LIMITED AVAILABILITY)
  • Angel Food:  our little “crottin” style bloomy rind; small enough to eat in one sitting; great warmed with a drizzle of honey; perfect for your holiday cheese board.
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: our goat milk camembert; the final batch of the season is firm and fudgy but quite tasty
  • Magia Negra: our nod to a Manchego style cheese, sharp nutty notes with hints of tart berries. Rind is rubbed with an olive oil-black currant & aronia berry paste
  • Pelota Roja: similar in style to Magia Negra, this firm, sharp grating style cheese is aged with a guajillo chile paste rub. While we make this cheese exclusively for Chef Rick Bayless’ restaurants in Chicago, we held back a couple of wheels to offer our local customers during the holiday season. LIMITED AVAILABILITY—COME EARLY
  • Moonglo: our raw-milk tomme-style cheese, aged for about 4 months.  Semi-firm texture, fruity and sharp flavor notes.  We’re using it in a sweet potato gratin for our thanksgiving holiday meal.

Gelato Pint Flavors: Our gelato flavors are the perfect accompaniment to your pies and other holiday desserts! Buy three pints and get a discount: 

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Salted Caramel
  • Masala Chai Tea
  • Fruitti di Bosco (mixed berry)
  • Local Ginger
  • Peaches & Cream
  • Hazelnut
  • Turtle
  • Lemon Verbena  

Farm Happenings-The Real Stand

Our farm store reopens on Sunday, November 19th, 1-4 pm. You can pick up pre-ordered pasture-raised turkeys from Bane Family Meats and grab any last minute needs for the Thanksgiving Holiday.  David Bane has informed me that his turkeys are now sold out.  We’ll have cheese, gelato, lots of pickled veggies, jams, eggs, etc.  

You’ll also get to peruse our holiday farm store, now flush with unique gifts from several local artisans. We have LOTS of new PFFC “merch” to show you!! Delight Flower Farm will be taking reservations for their holiday wreaths, and they’re hosting a few wreath making workshops at the farm as well-mostly in December.

Our “grand” launch of our seasonal holiday market will be Saturday, November 25th, 1-4 pm. The goat photo booth returns (yes, we dress up some of our goats in holiday attire, and yes, you can take your holiday pictures with them) as well as fresh doughnuts from Lucky Pierre Bakers.  We will also be open Sunday, November 26, 1-4 pm (but no goat photo booth) in case you can’t make it on Saturday.

Thereafter, The Real Stand will be open Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 pm through December 17th.  We will also be open the evenings (5-7 pm) before the Delight Flower Farm Wreath Making Workshops: December 7th and 13th.   


Copyright 2017. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2017. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 11/10/2017 12:16pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News (off the farm)

A bunch of farmers went to Washington (DC) this week. The National Sustainable Agriculture Coalition (NSAC) invited farmers from states around the nation to “fly in” for less than 24 hours and meet with our states’ representatives in the congress and senate to discuss issues related to the 2018 Farm Bill.  Many would consider us atypical farmers: goat dairy and micro-cow dairy farmers, organic fruit and vegetable farmers, specialty grain farmers and beekeepers.  Our voice and influence in policy matters that shape the farm bill are more like a whisper in a hurricane than a fog-horn in a sea storm.  Most of us are not direct beneficiaries of the federal programs that comprise the farm bill, yet all of us care deeply about land stewardship, rebuilding rural communities and providing safe and healthy food to our citizens. 

After landing at the airport, we were whisked away to the NSAC office to review the policy issues and practice how to converse with congress folks and their staffers.  The dance of influence and policy making is quite prescribed.  There are patterns of expectation: superficial pleasantries, telling our farm stories and, in conclusion, “the ask.”  Our “asks” are relative droplets of water in a sea of programs that keep our current agricultural system a float—funds for conservation, funds for research in sustainable agriculture, funds to promote farmers’ markets and access to fresh, local foods.  It is easy to advocate for these things because they seem so fundamental to the way all of us farm.  Nonetheless, we are told that our point of view is not frequently told.

The next day, it is off to the races, with back-to-back meetings scheduled with several House representatives and Senate staffers.  We farmers are dressed in what we consider our “important meeting” finest.  Yet, even our attire sets us apart: “fancy farm flannel” in a sea of “suits.” As we walk the halls of congress, there is a constant stream of constituents coming and going.   I am impressed with the number of people who come to Washington to ask for something.  For some members of congress, we are there to remind them that we are their constituents too (as well as the farmers represented by large trade or commodity organizations); we are there to interject our little voices into the constant chatter from the big Ag boys and their lobbyists.  For others, we are there to applaud the good work they are already doing on our behalf, and encourage them to put a little more in the kitty of sustainable agriculture.  The day passes quickly. 

The stories and the “ask” pitches become refined as the meetings progress.  I confess that the attempts to influence can be heady; especially when it seems that the folks on the other side of the table take notes and actually look you in the eye.  Our confidence builds.  It becomes easy to believe we are more like actors in “Mr. Smith Goes to Washington” (naïve and hopeful) than those in “Thank you for Smoking” (scheming and cynical).   The day comes to a close, the sun sets over the Potomac and we get on our planes to head back to the chores awaiting us back home. 

Road Open—So easy to get to Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery

After several years of construction upheaval, the Olympian Drive-Lincoln Avenue road project is now completed.  Local politicians cut the ribbon on Monday, opening the southern intersection of Olympian Drive and North Lincoln Ave.  It is NOW VERY easy to get to our farm from all directions. HOORAY!!

Market News

While the outdoor market season has come to a close (just in time with the frigid temperatures we’re experiencing), farmers’ market season is NOT finished.  Au contraire, there are still lots of great products to be had—fresh veggies, meats, eggs and our contribution—cheese AND gelato.   We will be attending Urbana’s Market in the Square tomorrow (11/11) from 8AM to 1 PM:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Raw milk feta: the last batch of the season; our feta is tangy and crumbly; packed in a whey-brine, it lasts a really long time in your fridge
  • Angel Food:  our little “crottin” style bloomy rind; small enough to eat in one sitting; great warmed with a drizzle of honey.  I’d buy two if I were you.
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: our goat milk camembert; the final batch of the season is young and firm, but should soften up with some aging
  • Magia Negra: our nod to a Manchego style cheese, sharp nutty notes with hints of tart berries. Rind is rubbed with an olive oil-black currant & aronia berry paste
  • Moonglo: our raw-milk tomme-style cheese, aged for about 4 months.  Semi-firm texture, fruity and sharp flavor notes.  Perfect with sliced apples.

Gelato Pint Flavors: At the farm or at the market, take advantage of our “three pint special”: buy 3, get $3 off the total price! 

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Salted Caramel
  • Masala Chai Tea
  • Fruitti di Bosco
  • Local Ginger
  • Hazelnut
  • Turtle
  • Lemon Verbena  

Farm Happenings

Our farm store, The Real Stand, is temporarily closed as we get ready for the holiday season. We will reopen on Sunday, November 19th, 1-4 pm. You can pick up pre-ordered pasture-raised turkeys from Bane Family Meats and pick up any last minute needs for the Thanksgiving Holiday.  The turkey size range will be from 12-25 lbs., and the price is $4.00/lb. Orders will be taken by phone (217-722-2188) or by email (davidpbane@aol.com) until they are sold out. 

Our “grand” launch of our seasonal holiday market will be Saturday, November 25th, 1-4 pm. The goat photo booth returns (yes, we dress up some of our goats in holiday attire, and yes, you can take your holiday pictures with them) as well as fresh doughnuts from Lucky Pierre Bakers.  We’re super excited about the local artisans’ fare that will be represented in the Real Stand this season.  Delight Flower Farm will be taking reservations for their holiday wreaths, and they’re hosting a few wreath making workshops at the farm as well.  Stay tuned for more details next week. 


Copyright 2017. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2017. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.