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Posted 12/11/2015 11:37am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

The green grass is growing and the mud is ankle deep (and caught between our dog Blue’s toenails). If the sun wasn’t setting at 4:30 in the afternoon, I could swear we bypassed winter and moved right into March.  The warm dry days this week gave us the perfect window to clean out the doe barn. After two-plus months of breeding season, housekeeping was overdue.  While the goat girls complained loudly about staying outside all day (I really don’t know why because the air temperature was close to 60 degrees—perhaps it was a bit too windy for their liking), once they were let back into the barn, they delighted in rolling in the new clean straw.  It warms my heart to watch the older and pretty plump does rolling from side to side to get the perfect scratch pad on their backs. 

Overall, their energy level is receding with the day length, and it’s a struggle to get them onto the milk stand in the evenings. We’re pushing them a little bit longer and hoping they don’t go on a milking strike, so we can have a little more milk for our final batches of chevre for the season.  Sometime next week, we will go to once-a-day milking, and that will hasten their dry off.  In years past, we’ve been able to milk up to Christmas eve, but that is not in the cards this year (too many of them kidded in February this year!).  The scant milk they’re producing now is so rich in butterfat that our chevre tastes almost like crème fraiche.  Yum.

Farmers’ Markets and Holiday Sales

This Saturday, December 12th, we’ll be attending Urbana’s Holiday Market inside Lincoln Square Mall (8 AM to 1 PM). We know you are all doing a lot of entertaining this time of year, so why not impress your guests with an all-local cheese board from Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery. We have all the components.

Cheese:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Feta packed in whey brine—it’s tangy and crumbly!
  • Try some Goldenrod: on sale this week too; we’ll take $2 off the price of each triangle (get some for the fondue recipe)-LAST WEEK FOR THIS VERY RIPE STINKER SO IF YOU LIKE IT, COME ‘N GET IT!
  • Moonglo---tasting very nutty right now. Delicious shaved over roasted root vegetables or a hearty winter stew
  • Huckleberry Blue: slightly sharp and perfect for crumbling over a winter salad of mix greens, candied pecans and dried cherries.

To complete your all-local cheese board, try our farm-house crackers (rosemary flatbread and Scottish oat biscuits this week) and local-fruit jams to accompany those cheeses.

Gelato Flavors this week:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Holiday Spice
  • Honey-Lavender-Chevre

Looking for some great local gifts? How about a bag of salted-goat milk caramels, hand-crafted goat milk soap or our Chippy the Goat Tea Towels? If you can’t make it to the market on Saturday, the farm is open for business and visitors Monday through Friday, 10 AM to 5 PM, and our online store is open 24/7.


Copyright 2015. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2015. 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 12/3/2015 8:24am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

As the milk line on the dip stick of our bulk tank goes down, down, down, we’re awash again with milk of a very different stripe (yellow cream line is more like it).  We cleaned up our milk cans (the ones we used to use to transport sheep milk from the Plank Sheep Dairy in Arthur IL), and Wes travelled under fog of night Monday to pick up raw cow milk from Kilgus Farmstead in Fairbury. 

Early Tuesday morning (well, it felt early as the winter hibernation mindset has already set in around here), we made our first experimental batches of cow milk cheese (a couple of bloomy rind versions, of course) with their rich Jersey milk.  Pouring over my stack of French cheese books, and consulting several recipes for traditional camembert and lactic curd ripened cheeses, I settled on a game plan with educated guesses about culture and rennet quantities. 

Not having worked with cow milk before, I wasn’t sure whether the milk would behave more like goat or more like sheep.  Starting with the modified traditional camembert recipe, the curd was set and ready to cut by early afternoon.  As the curd knife plunged into the firm gel in the cheese vat, I knew I wasn’t in goatland anymore.  The cut curd cubes had a spring in their step, affirming the strength of the cow milk proteins and fats.  While we could see no obvious cream layer, the pale yellow hue of the curd was evidence that the cream was trapped inside.  Early Wednesday morning, we ladled the lactic curd experiment; the curd’s texture reminded us of a hybrid between the dense-but-fragile chevre and the gelatinous black goat curd.  We’ll be tending these bloomies over the next few weeks, and if we like the results, we’ll be bringing them to the last farmers’ markets of December.

New Cheese Recipes

This Saturday, December 5th is “Fondue Nation” Day—a day to celebrate the wintery tradition of dipping bread, veggies, meats (whatever strikes your fancy) into rich, melted cheese. I have adapted a traditional fondue recipe using two Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery cheeses: Goldenrod (our cider washed-rind cheese; already gooey and slightly melted, nice and pungent) and Moonglo.  In celebration of the Jewish Festival of Lights (Sunday, December 6th is the first night of the holiday), Hanukkah, I have adapted a “Feta-Yogurt” sauce recipe to accompany your latkes (savory pancakes that can be made from potatoes, sweet potatoes, spinach or zucchini).  Ditch the pint of sour cream and make this simple tangy sauce; your guests will be begging you for the recipe. You can view them on our website or pick up a copy at the Urbana Holiday Market on Saturday.

Farmers’ Markets and Holiday Sales

This Saturday, December 5th, we’ll be attending Urbana’s Holiday Market inside Lincoln Square Mall (8 AM to 1 PM). We will have plenty of cheese:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Feta packed in whey brine—get some for the Feta-Yogurt sauce
  • Angel Food: very last of the goat milk bloomies—very limited supply so come early
  • Goldenrod: on sale this week; we’ll take $2 off the price of each triangle (get some for the fondue recipe)
  • Moonglo---the other cheese for the fondue recipe
  • Huckleberry Blue: perfect for crumbling over a winter salad of mix greens, candied pecans and dried craisins.

While you’re at it, pick up some of our farm-house crackers and local-fruit jams to accompany those cheeses.

Gelato is back in full force:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Holiday Spice
  • Honey-Lavender-Chevre

Looking for some great local gifts? How about a bag of salted-goat milk caramels, hand-crafted goat milk soap or our Chippy the Goat Tea Towels? If you can’t make it to the market on Saturday, the farm is open for business and visitors Monday through Friday, 10 AM to 5 PM, and our online store is open 24/7. 



Copyright 2015. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2015. 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 11/30/2015 6:45pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

Many of you have had the pleasure of dining at the farm, be it breakfast, dinner or private events.  Back in 2007, in the warm, humid air of the cheeserie make room, our now Executive Chef, Alisa DeMarco and I “cooked” up the idea of a farm kitchen to prepare hyper-local, farm-to –table meals. We felt that the great local food in our midst was too well-kept of a secret.  

In the late summer of 2008, we launched our “Dinners on the Farm,” and the culinary magic has wafted out of our kitchen ever since.  So, it is with a bittersweet heart that I announce the departure of our chef Alisa and our sous-chef (and events coordinator) Sarah Hess at the end of this year.  They are both moving on to pursue new chapters in their lives, and we at the farm are working on the next iteration of the “Kitchen at Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery.”  Our last farm dinner of the season, “Holiday” is this coming Saturday, December 5th.  Believe it or not, we still have a few seats open.  If you want to join us in celebrating our farm chefs, I encourage you to check it out. It will be a gustatory night to remember.

Farm Holiday Gifts

If you’re looking for unique ways to share your goat love, we have several options.  We’ve created an online “store” on our website for you to purchase our “Chippy the Goat” tea towels, t-shirts and goat milk soaps. We also have gift cards to offer through Credibles.  You can use your credibles "as cash" at the farmers' market or at the farm.  If you’re looking for a special experience, why not send someone to our DIY Cheese Board building class on Thursday, the 17th of December. We’ll be adding other gifts to this list as the holiday season progresses, so stay posted.  


Copyright 2015. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2015. 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 11/24/2015 9:37am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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 Farm News

The weekend’s snow is sublimating; the water vapors rise into the sunny morning air, creating a slight fog.  As folks get ready to get on the road for holiday travels and fret over how to cook their turkeys, the farm exudes a sense of calm.  We’ll be working on “projects” for sure (there are always projects to be done—we will be trenching a vole “moat” around our garden, so that the burgeoning rodent population can’t wreak too much havoc on plantings over winter), but the holiday week forces us to stick to the basic daily chores of milking, feeding critters and making some cheese. 

The road construction project that has disrupted our lives for almost one year is finally finished.  Yes, folks: Lincoln Avenue is NOW OPEN to through traffic (they haven’t removed all the detour signs, but the road barricades are gone). 

open road

We’re “celebrating” by opening the farm during this holiday week. We are open every day except Thursday, Thanksgiving Day, from 10 AM to 5 PM.  We’ll even be open this coming Saturday, November 28th from 9-12.  We know that the wintery weather last Saturday may have deterred some of you from holiday farmers’ market shopping, so come out to the farm this week to get your cheese, crackers, jams (everything you need for a holiday cheese board), gelato, sausages (to feed those who will be sick of turkey after the big day) and more.  We’re even running a special on our farm-house crackers (many of our customers have confessed their addiction to these crackers)—buy one bag, get another one free!!  If you can’t make it to the farm, I will be attending the Urbana Holiday Market on Saturday the 28th from 8 AM to 1PM.  Hope to see you here or see you there. 

Happy Thanksgiving


Copyright 2015. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2015. 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 11/20/2015 9:39am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

There’s an inherent trade-off between gestation and lactation.  In cold biological terms, it all comes down to limited resource allocation.  A pregnant goat at the end of her lactation puts her “resources” (nourishment, life sustaining building blocks) into making new babies, rather than maintaining milk for some kids that were born months and months ago. 

So, when the vets came out this week to ultrasound our does’ bellies to check for babies, we had few surprises.  I was struck with the speed with which most pregnancies were confirmed this year.  Within a few seconds of lubricating the sweet spot where the udder connects to the body, we could see the telltale signs of budding life—placentomes (where the fetus anchors to the placenta) and a few actual baby heads poking in and out of the amniotic fluid.  All but a few goats were confirmed pregnant.   As usual, the humans expressed much greater excitement over the news than the expectant mothers.

The news is bittersweet.  Milk production has been plummeting over the past several weeks, and our cheese makes have become smaller and less frequent. But, our chevre is so rich right now; it’s almost the consistency of crème fraiche.  We and the goats are taking on the “MO” of late lactation—lingering longer in bed in the morning (for the goats, it’s all we can do to coax them onto the milk stand; even the enticement of grain isn’t that strong), scurrying to get inside and build a fire as the sun goes down. 

Holiday Markets and Holiday Farm Hours

We are attending THREE (yes, we’re crazy) farmers’ markets this Saturday: Urbana’s Holiday Market, Bloomington’s Thanksgiving Market and Chicago’s Green City Market (inside the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum).  Yes, the forecast is calling for SNOW!!! Please don’t let the weather deter your holiday food shopping.  We farmers have a GREAT selection of locally raised, delicious products to offer you. For our part, we’re bringing lots of CHEESE:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Feta aged in whey brine: this cheese is PERFECT for crumbling on your roasted beets or root-veggie casseroles
  • Angel Food: perfectly ripe bloomy rind ready to greet your holiday guests
  • Goldenrod: our gooey full-flavored washed rind—new batch is gooey on the edges and will make a great appetizer warmed with tart jam or vegetable crudité.
  • Moonglo:  try shaving this raw milk beauty on your mashed potatoes—your guests will be overwhelmed
  • Huckleberry Blue: blue cheese, walnuts, dried cranberries, salad greens-what more can I say?

We have farm-house crackers and jams to accompany these cheeses too—one stop shopping for an all-local cheese platter. 

Gelato: You will need this to top your pies (only Urbana and Bloomington markets will be offering limited flavors of gelato, sorry Chicago):

  • Chocolate
  • Holiday Spice—perfect for pumpkin or apple pie
  • Cardamom
  • Strawberry Cheesecake
  • Sugar Plum Sorbetto

Don’t forget to grab a few bags of salted goats’ milk caramels, special bourbon goats’ milk caramels, goat milk soaps or a “chippy the goat” tea towel as house-warming gifts for your holiday feast hosts. 

Farm Hours during the Holiday Season and Internet Sales

The farm will be open on Friday (10AM to 5 PM) after Thanksgiving, the 27th.  I will also be attending the Urbana Holiday Market on Saturday the 28th (Farm will probably be open that day too—10AM to 4PM).  In the spirit of celebrating the true meaning of Thanksgiving (giving thanks for the bountiful harvests of the season), I won’t be bombarding you will “black Friday” emails. If you’d like to come out to the farm with your families or visiting friends, we will be around. 

HAPPY THANKSGIVING AND THANK YOU FOR YOUR PATRONAGE

 

If you’re not local and you want to get your hands on some PFF&C products, you can now purchase our T-shirts, tea towels and goat milk soaps on our website.


Copyright 2015. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2015. 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 11/16/2015 6:03pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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We're entering the season of celebrating the harvest, and we at Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery have a lot of "fruits of our labors" to offer you.  We kick off the season with our Pre-Thanksgiving Holiday Open House this WEDNESDAY, November 18th from 4-6 PM (road detour is still in effect, so please follow detour directions to get to the farm). 

We'll have cheese, gelato, crackers, caramels, jams, pickles and Chef Alisa's famous chevre-cheese cake by the slice.

Stewart's Artisan Breads will be here, along with Caveny Farm (pre-ordered Heritage Turkeys only) and Laurence the Knife Dude to sharpen your carving knives.  We'll also have sausages by Piemonte Sausage Co.

Oregon v. France Happy Hour at Prairie Fruits Farm. Friday, November 20th (4-7 PM), come out to the farm for a truly "Happy Hour."  Todd Fusco of Art Mart will be teaming up with Chef Alisa to taste wines and enjoy some finger foods. The theme is Oregon v. Burgundy. Todd will be pouring a selection of fantastic Pinots from Elk Cove and two excellent Burgundy producers, Taupenot-Merme and Jaeger-Defaix.  He will also be pouring the extremely rare 2011 Elk Cove La Boehme Brut Rosé. Plus, in a shameless plug (Todd's quote) , he will be celebrating his 29th birthday….again. So look forward to some surprises.

Tickets are $25 a person and can be purchased at Art Mart; or by phone at 217 344 7979Wine and food menu below.

Appetizer Menu

Spiced pecans

Gingered pork meatballs with lemongrass

Chicken liver mousse crostini with chili jam

Leek and Feta flatbread with fennel and herbs

 Mushroom Arancini

Roasted Red Kuri squash soup shooters

 Wines

2011 Elk Cove La Boheme Brut Rosé Sparkling Wine $59.99

2014 Elk Cove Pinot Gris $19.99

2012 Elk Cove Clay Court Pinot Noir $49.99

2012 Elk Cove La Boheme Pinot Noir $49.99

2012 Domaine Jaeger-Defaix Rully Clos du Chapitre 1er $34.99

2009 Taupenot-Merme Gevrey Chambertin Bel-Air 1er $89.99

Saturday, November 21st: Three Holiday Farmers' Markets: Urbana, Bloomington and Chicago's Green City Market. I'll be sending out details for these markets later this week.

 


Copyright 2015. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2015. 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 11/12/2015 6:36pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News (really off the farm)

This week we travelled west to celebrate my father-in-law’s 90th birthday.  The Jarrell clan moved west from the Arkansas hills to the Oregon hills during the Great Depression.  They're made of tough stock; hard scrabble survivors and resourceful people.  My father-in-law, Burl, walks their little farm on the hill daily, outpacing folks a fraction of his age, conversing while traversing the slopes without a noticeable change in breath. 

With the birthday celebrations behind us, we decided to visit a goat dairy that had moved just up the road from the Jarrell farm, Fraga Farm.  It's always great to meet fellow farmstead goat dairy folks.  I’ve always found them gracious and open to sharing “war” stories and tastes of cheese.  We sat around their dining room table, talking goat health, cheese aging and market customers, in between bites of bread, jam and cheese. 

guinea hog and goats 

We knew we weren’t in “Kansas” anymore (aka Midwest) when they talked about their customers’ zealous conversations about goat auras. They milk mostly Alpines, we milk Nubians and La Manchas. They milk year-round (seems to be easier to do in Oregon than the cold climes of the Midwest) while we milk seasonally. We make similar repertoires of cheeses-chevre, bloomies, raw milk tommes, and we struggle with the same challenges of cheese aging conditions and ensuring our cheeses are clean and safe. We both have friendly farm critters who greet visitors—theirs are banty hens and guinea hogs, ours are canine (Blue) and caprine (Athena—the little white Nigerian Dwarf “escape goat.”). With the Oregonian fall fog bearing down on us, we departed Fraga Farm, cheeses gifts in hand, hazelnut orchard on the other side of the dirt road.   

pasture tree in mist

Farmers’ Markets and Holiday Markets

This Saturday, November 14th, we move inside Lincoln Square Mall for Urbana’s Holiday Market at the Square. The market hours are 8AM to 1PM and our booth is located on the south end of the market (next to Art Mart).

Next week, we are hosting a pre-Thanksgiving Holiday “Open House” on Wednesday, November 18th from 4-6 PM. We’ll have cheese, bread (Stewart’s Artisan Breads), gelato, knife sharpening and Caveny Farm turkey pick up. Details forthcoming early next week.  Saturday, the 21st, we’ll be attending THREE THANKSGIVING HOLIDAY MARKETS: Urbana, Bloomington and Chicago’s Green City Market.

For this weekend, we have the following cheeses:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Angel Food—crottin style
  • “Peaches ‘N Dreams”—a special 10th anniversary cheese ---lactic curd bloomy rind discs with a peach jam filling (this cheese is a creation of my cheese makers, Lynn and Dani, make as a complete surprise)
  • Feta in whey brine
  • Moonglo
  • Huckleberry Blue  

For gelato, we’ll have:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Holiday Spice 
  • Strawberry Cheesecake
  • Cardamom
  • Sugar Plum Sorbetto
  • Pumpkin  

We will also have salted goat-milk caramels and farm-house crackers.  Stay tuned for details about all the holiday food offerings. In addition to markets, we will be taking orders for holiday cheese platters. 

 


Copyright 2015. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2015. 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 11/5/2015 10:21pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

After a cold rainy farmers’ market last Saturday, the clouds parted and the strength of the sun reached my aching bones.  The warmth and green growth that displaced the cold feels more like spring than fall. If it weren’t for the crimson, harvest gold and burnt orange ‘70’s-kitchen colors of the leaves that are falling on this newly green grass, I’d swear we were back in April.  The clematis and quince even have flowers, and I spied several bees on some dill blossoms in the herb garden.  While I relish the warmth of these early November days, the receding daylight tells me that something’s not quite right with this weather.  Tonight’s gentle rain will usher in the cold anew, and the fall will take its rightful place again. 

November is the month that our doelings walk over the threshold to adulthood.  We have been busy these past few days finalizing breeding plans and setting up pens for the new nuptials.  I know they are ready biologically, because several of them have been cycling into heat over the past couple of weeks.  The intellectual side of my brain accepts this reality of nature; the emotional side of my brain struggles with letting go of my “babies.” You’d think I would get used to this transition after so many years.  It’s still pulls me in two directions.

Farmers’ Market News

This Saturday, November 7th is the last outdoor market of the season for the Urbana Market at the Square.  We will be there with layered clothing and lots of great cheese, gelato and other goodies.  We WON’T be at the first Indoor Green City Market until November 21st.  So, come on down to Urbana this weekend.  For cheese, we have:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Goat milk Feta in whey brine
  • Angel Food—this late lactation batch is nice and creamy
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie—the last of the season
  • Black Goat—also the last of the season
  • Goldenrod—it’s so gooey and delicious, you should eat it with a spoon.  In fact, it makes a great fondue. We’ll have recipe cards for a simple fondue
  • Moonglo—the nuttiness is very prominent in this batch
  • Huckleberry Blue—perfect with fall pears

For gelato:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Chocolate-Hazelnut
  • Pumpkin
  • Strawberry Cheese Cake
  • Holiday Spice
  • Sugar Plum Sorbetto

Don’t forget about farm- house crackers (oat-chevre and chive flatbread) and goat milk caramels.  Our chef, Alisa, has been very busy in the kitchen this week making jams for the holiday markets.  We’ll be hosting a pre-Thanksgiving “Open House” on Wednesday, November 18th and we’ll be attending three farmers’ markets on Saturday the 21st of November (Urbana, Bloomington and Green City Market).  Stay tuned for details about these markets.   


Copyright 2015. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2015. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 10/30/2015 8:37am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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 Farm News

The imminent shift from daylight savings to standard time has me pondering the plunge into darker days.  Our ancient ancestors crafted myths and mythological figures to cope with the dark, and, amazingly, goats feature prominently in many of these myths.  Amalthea, a lovely doe, was the wet nurse for Zeus.  In fact, many of the Greek gods were nourished by goat milk.  Pan, half human-half goat, personified the god of all things wild and natural (and decadent); even the Romans evoked goat iconography in their mythologies.  The Vikings were not to be left out.  Thor’s chariot was pulled by two goats in Norse mythology: Tanngrisnir (Old Norse "teeth-barer, snarler") and Tanngnjóstr (Old Norse "teeth grinder"). 

How fitting that this year’s theme for our yearling does is “goddesses.”  We gave equal opportunity to goddesses from all ancient cultures: Greek, Roman, Egyptian, Nordic, Celtic and Hindu.  We named the lovely little Chicory doe “Aphrodite,” the Greek goddess of love and fertility. She was made irresistible to the opposite sex by her beautiful “girdle” (in our doeling’s case, it’s her gorgeous spots).  Then there’s “Athena.” We gave this name to the little white Nigerian Dwarf doeling out of Zaya—the one who is always escaping from the pens to greet our visitors.  Athena means ‘sharp’ and ‘mind of god.” Athena had “great intellectual ability to see the true nature of the situation”—how fitting is that?? We have Freya (Nordic goddess of love, beauty, war, wealth and magic), Lakshmi (Hindu goddess of abundance) and Nike (goddess of speed—we gave this name to one of the does who is impossible to catch).  These newly named, strong and powerful doelings will soon join the ranks of the milking herd.  Maybe their strong ties to the ancient goddesses will ease the darkness and cold of winter. 

Athena

"Athena"--mind of god; taking a moment to groom herself

Farmers’ Markets-Some Outdoor Markets ending this weekend

Stock up on some not-so-scary cheese at Urbana’s Market at the Square and Chicago’s Green City Market. This Saturday is the last outdoor market for Green City, and we won’t be returning to the indoor market (at the Peggy Notebaert Nature Museum) until November 21st.   We have one more outdoor market in Urbana (November 7th) and then we move inside Lincoln Square Mall for the “Holiday Market” season (starts November 14th). 

The cheese offerings:

  • Fresh chevre-- plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper—oh so creamy and rich this time of year
  • Feta aged in whey brine--tangy and crumbly—perfect for topping a pizza or hearty stew Angel Food—these little crottin-style bloomies are nice and ripe—get a few to enjoy at your adult Halloween parties
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie—the last of our camembert style goat rounds for the season-get ‘em while they last—they’re simply delicious right now
  • Black Goat—its rind is appropriately “scary” for the holiday, but once you cut it open and pop a slice in your mouth, you’ll be comforted
  • Goldenrod—hard cider-washed rind cheese; if any of our cheeses embodies Hallow’s eve, it’s this orange-rinded gooey cheese.  It’s quite ripe and gooey and would be perfect as the base for a cheese fondue (again, thinking about those adult Halloween holiday parties)
  • Moonglo—semi-hard, raw milk tomme—it’s the perfect balance of fruity and nutty
  • Huckleberry Blue—our raw milk blue; try crumbling it on some roasted winter squash—you’ll be blown away

Gelato-Yes it’s cold outside, but who doesn’t love to curl up by the fire with a bowl of ice cream?

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Salted Caramel
  • Holiday Spice (nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, allspice)
  • Cardamom
  • Pistachio
  • Sugar Plum (spiced Plum sorbetto)

Farm Happenings

Farm to Table: Don’t forget to check out the menu for our upcoming Beer Dinner with Guest Chef Nathan Sears (Das Radler, Chicago) and Blind Pig Brewery, Saturday November 7th.

We still have a few seats left. Farm Classes: We still have openings for our Cheese Styles, Tasting and PairingsClass this coming Thursday, November 5th, 6-8:30 PM. 

If you want to become erudite in all things cheese, this class is for you!  We’re partnering with The Land Connection and Traderspoint Creamery (IN) to offer a “Dairy Start-up” Workshop on Sunday, November 15th, 1:00-5:00 PM.  The workshop will be held at our farm and you’ll learn all the basics about animal husbandry, milking, parlor design, regulations and value added products. If you’re thinking about getting into dairy (even on a very small scale), you should come.  Need some enticement? Check out this little video: https://thelandconnection.org/tlc-store/smalldairy

 


Copyright 2015. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2015. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 10/22/2015 10:28pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

Our goat herd is certified “Animal Welfare Approved” and has been for over seven years.  Most of our customers have no idea what this means.  In short, it’s a third-party certification program that holds our farm to strict standards of pasture-based production and humane treatment of our animals. Many in the business of sustainable agriculture consider it the “gold standard” of livestock production.  In my conversations with our customers, I find a lot of confusion about farms that are certified.  Most folks seem to know something about “certified organic,” but few have barely heard of programs such as “Certified Humane” or “Naturally Grown” or “Animal Welfare Approved.”  Moreover, there are lots and lots of labels out there that lack clear definition and at times are meant to deceive the consumer.

As farmers and former educators, we can’t resist the opportunity to set the record straight about labels and claims that farms make to earn your business.   The Animal Welfare Institute has a great guide to food labels, certification programs and what the claims mean: https://awionline.org/content/consumers-guide-food-labels-and-animal-welfare

We chose Animal Welfare Approved or AWA certification because of its rigor and its adherence to pasture-based livestock production practices. AWA’s standards are designed to let each livestock species exhibit the true essence of their nature. For example, we must have climbing structures for all goats of all ages, because goats love to climb. 

Our AWA auditor arrived this morning to conduct his annual inspection of our farm and to review our management plans.  It’s an intense half-day process. AWA sends a new auditor each year, likely to maintain completely impartiality between the auditor and the audited. Over the years, we have questioned the humaneness behind some of the standards, and we have conducted our own research to make sure we can defend our arguments.  This is the first year that we have been audited during breeding season, making continuous access to pasture (one of their “no negotiation” requirements) a challenge for some of our breeding groups.  After much discussion, we will be modifying our pens so that all groups can have their time for pasture “recess.” 

Farmers’ Markets We’ll be attending both Urbana’s Market at the Square and Chicago’s Green City Market. There’s a chance of rain (which we really need), but just put on your galoshes and grab your umbrella and head to the last outdoor markets of the season.  We are still pretty flush with cheese:

  • Fresh Chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Feta aged in whey brine
  • Angel Food-our little crottin style bloomy rind cheese
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie-these camembert-style cheeses won’t be around too much longer, so get them while they last
  • Black Goat-ash-ripened, slightly funky, but delicious
  • Goldenrod-our newest cheese, a washed rind pungent beauty, try it with sliced apples
  • Moonglo-raw milk tomme; creamy, fruity, perfect with pears
  • Huckleberry Blue-raw milk blue, great with sautéed fall greens and toasted nuts

We have gelato too:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Pumpkin (made with local “Triple Treat” pumpkins from The Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur IL)
  • Strawberry Cheesecake (made with dried local strawberries and our fresh chevre)
  • Cardamom
  • Salted Caramel
  • Lemon Verbena
  • Plum Sorbetto

We will also be bringing our salted goat milk caramels and farm house crackers as well as our goat milk soaps—we have a few new types including “lemon crazy,” “Thyme for roses” and “prairie lavender.”

Farm Happenings We have two remaining farm dinners with seats still available.  Guest Chef Nathan Sears of The Radler, Chicago will be teaming up with brew meister, Bill Morgan, of local Blind Pig Brewery fame, to craft a modern German meal to remember (November 7th). The menu is now posted on our website as well as the link to ticket sales.

While our Cheese Making class is sold out, we still have places open for our two evening workshops—Sensory evaluation of cheese (October 29th) and Cheese Accompaniments (November 5th).  You’ll learn a bit about cheese styles, how to describe what you’re tasting and how to pair cheese to enhance the flavors. Bring a friend or two; it will be lots of fun.

We’re also teaming up with Traderspoint Creamery and The Land Connection to offer a half-day workshop on starting your own farmstead dairy (November 15th).  Stay tuned for more details or visit The Land Connection’s website.    

 


Copyright 2015. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2015. 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.