News

Welcome to Leslie's Blog.
Posted 11/9/2018 7:42am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News  

There is a strange quiet that has descended on the farm this week. Early November is typically a time of elimination, paring down—goats, surely bred, start to dry themselves off, the line measuring the volume of milk in the bulk tank after each milking creeps downward, the workload becomes lighter.  When the seasonal adrenaline starts to dissipate, there’s a gradual realization that you have time to think again.  There’s also a period of adjusting to the slower pace, to appreciate that you are not in a constant state of hurry. 

The wet white blanket of snow covering the fallen leaves this morning punctuates the deceleration.  The geese in the pond take flight, perhaps in search of uncovered ground. The sparrows nestle inside the tangled branches of our now naked quince bush, hoping the warmth of the still living limbs will shed the snow from their feathers. The dogs go outside, only to want back into the warmth of wood stove within minutes.  It all seems so early, yet somehow appropriate to the mood of the farm.   

Text Message Customer Loyalty Program:  If you want to get in on weekly market specials,it's not too late to sign up for our text message loyalty program. To get the message with the special info, you’ll need to sign up: text either “GOAT” or “URBANA” or “FARMSTORE” to 30500 to sign up. 

Farmers’ Market Offerings

Thankfully, we will be indoors at the  farmers' market this Saturday. For those of you who aren't familiar, our booth is located in the south hall of Lincoln Square Mall, between Blue Moon Farm and Illinois Willows. The market hours are 8 am to 1 pm (we will be there until 12:30 so we can get back to the farm to open the store at 1 pm.) 

Here’s the cheese line up for Saturday:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper-late summer/early fall milk is making some rich chevre-start stocking up and throw some in your freezer for winter
  • Goat Milk Feta: Our flavorful and tangy feta is aged and packed in a whey brine. It's perfect to crumble on a fall salad or a top a hearty stew or bowl of chile.  Check out our new recipe for whole roasted cauliflower with a creamy chevre-feta sauce!
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: This batch is approaching that perfectly gooey ripe stage. Try warming some with toasted nuts and dried fruits. 
  • Black Goat: an ash-coated bloomy rind cheese with a delicate and crinkly yeasty rind. This final batch of the season is young, but headed in a great direction. It has wonderful yeasty aroma and a tart lemony taste.  This cheese pairs well with sliced pears or try with a reduced balsamic vinegar. 
  • Moonglo:  Spring milk batches of this raw milk tomme (sort of like a Gouda, but not really) produce a lighter, tangy paste with hints of pineapple. The texture of the cheese is a bit more firm than fall milk batches. Melts well, or just slice and enjoy with your favorite salami.
  • Green Peppercorn-Barley Wine Moonglo: another spring-milk experiment. Just before the curds had set in the vat, we add cracked green peppercorns.  The rinds were washed with a local barley wine. The green peppercorns give a hint of floral pepperiness, the barley wine provides a bit of sweetness; the combination is sure to delight. Try melting over roasted cauliflower.
  • Lunar Eclipse: Earlier this spring, when milk was plentiful, we experimented with a cheese make that attempted to hybridize our “Magia Negra” (a Manchego-style cheese with a black currant rub on the rind) with our Moonglo.  Lunar Eclipse is the same size as our Moonglo wheels, but has a very different paste texture and flavor profile. The paste is slightly dry and crumbly, making it suited to both slicing and grating. The flavor has hints of tannins from the black currant rub. LIMITED AVAILABILITY--come early if you want some.

Gelato: We have a very modest selection of both gelato and sorbetto flavors this week. These are the last pints of the season, as we are not making more gelato until next year. Pints only at the market ($10 each or 3 for $27); scoops at the farm during open hours. Market pint flavors include:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate (very limited)
  • Red Currant Sorbetto (made with red currants from the Univ. IL Student Sustainable Farm)

Farm Store Fall Hours

We have new hours for the first two weekends in November: Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 pm.  

During Farm Open Hours you can visit with the goats and shop in our farm store “The Real Stand.” In addition to our cheese and gelato, we’ve got pasture-raised meats and poultry from Bane Family Meats, frozen artisan sausages from Piemonte Sausage Co. (Bernie’s Classic Sweet, Cantalupo and Chicken Apple are back in stock as well as bulk chorizo sausage), jams and pickled veggies by Sarah (our former gelato maker), locally-grown and milled flours by The Mill at Janie’s Farm and much more.

Stay awhile and "build your own” cheese boards—pick out your cheeses, add a stick of salami (Underground Meats) or a jar of jam from Autumn Berry Inspired, our own house-made jams or pickled veggies, grab some Central IL Bake-house or Bread Co. baguette bread and we’ll provide the board. Enjoy with a glass of wine or local micro-brew.

Starting this weekend, The Real Stand will be featuring a soft opening of the cafe portion of our Holiday Shop & Cafe in conjunction with the return of our favorite goat-milk cajeta (Mexican caramel)! We will be offering goat milk specialty drinks and farm snacks! 

Here are this week’s featured drinks: 
Goat Cajeta Latte
Goat Cajeta Affogato
Goat Cajeta Steamer
Goat Milk Mocha
Goat Milk Hot Chocolate

Hope to see you this Saturday and Sunday from 1p-4p for goat pets, farm feels, and soothing hot beverages picture perfect for a chilly late fall afternoon.

ALSO FEATURED IN THE STORE: 

Delight Flower Farm Tulsi Tea-Tulsi is a variety of basil known for its sweet aroma and medicinal properties. With a spoonful of honey, this tea will warm you up and keep you healthy during the cold months ahead.

PFFC goat meat—we have one pound packages of stew meat (1 lb. packages, $13/lb.). Pasture raised, very lean and mild, try the meat that most of the rest of the world enjoys regularly. 

Eggs from Pastured Hens (Bane Family Meats)

Pumpkins and Squash: We still have some delicious winter squash from Nengengard Farm in Sidney, IL.

Apple Cider pressed from Red Crib Acres and Meyer Produce apples—we hand pressed apples into delicious, refreshing cider.

Fresh apples from Red Crib Acres: Winesap (one of my favorite late fall varieties) and Galarina (a French Gala variety). 

Two Million Blooms Honey: we have 1 lb. squeeze bottles and 4 oz. and 1 lb. fancy bottles for sale.  Their honey is beautiful and sweet.

Farm Dinners

I encourage you to book your tickets now for the remaining date (December 8th). It will be an early winter holiday celebration themed meal.  The chef’s inspiration for the menu is the classic foreign (danish) film “Babette’s Feast.”

Babettes Feast

Wednesday, November 14th, 4:00-6:00 pm: Pre-Thanksgiving Holiday Market at the Farm. David Bane, Bane Family Meats, will have frozen heritage breed turkeys for sale at our farm. These birds were raised on pasture, fed a non-GMO grain ration and are hormone & antibiotic free. Price is $4/lb. and weights range from 12-25 lbs. David requests that you pre-order your turkey: email at davidpbane@aol.com, or call/text 217-722-2188.

We will also have cheese, gelato and other farm products for sale, in case you’re not able to make it to the farmers’ market on November 17th. 

Fall Weeknight Classes

We’ll be offering a series of evening classes in November and December: wine & cheese, beer & cheese, cheese basics and cheese board building to name a few. Registration is now open and seating is limited to 30 people per class (all Wednesday evenings, 6-8 pm): November 14th, November 28th and December 12th. Sign up NOW!

Holiday Time on the Farm

Once again, we will be transforming our farm store for the holidays.  Starting November 24th (Saturday after Thanksgiving) and through December 22nd, the farm will have extended weekend hours. Goats dressed up in holiday attire for picture taking, hay rides, warm spiced drinks and even a seasonal Pop-Up Café are in the works. Stay Tuned for 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 11/1/2018 10:17pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

Farm News  

The vibrant ochre-orange leaves that enveloped the Norway maple at the end of our driveway barely had time to show themselves off this week.  Sunny and ‘70’s gave way to cold and gusty rains.  The sheer force of the droplets hit the desiccating leaves, the force just enough to pry the leaves from their anchoring branches.  The tree is now partially disrobed; the curled and fading leaves littered on the ground like carelessly discarded dirty laundry. 

The wet cold is the kind that penetrates the flesh, encouraging you to walk briskly from house to barn and back again.  In fact, you start to find reasons to not leave the house—make some soup, organize those files, sweep the dog hairs accumulating around the baseboards. The goats have no intentions to leave the comforts of their freshly bedded barn either; they are content to fatten up on alfalfa haylage. They are starting to protest their twice daily obligation to give up what little milk they have left. 

As I lingered in the house today looking for excuses not to go outside, I listened to our local public radio broadcast “Here and Now” interview of a rural poet from Illinois, Austin Smith. I was so taken with his poem about daily contrasts on his farm, I felt compelled to share it in my newsletter:

Country Things (poem from Flyover Country)
by Austin Smith
 
Some days even nature seems sinister.
Walking around the farm with a beer,
Seeking some solace after the evening news,
You meet the cat you love coming back
From the windbreak, a rare songbird In his mouth.
In the mulberry branches
The silkworms writhe in nests that, backlit
By twilight, look like X-rays of lungs.
In the pasture the cow kicks at her calf
And won’t let her nurse, while in a seam
Of gleaming honey in the oak that lightning
Cleaved the queen daintily eats her offspring.
In the rafters of the barn the starlings are
Pushing the owls’ eggs out of the nest,
While the owl herself is out hunting.
Going in, you nearly step on a swarm
Of ants ravishing a butterfly like pirates
Tearing a capsized ship down, its wings
Like torn sails, and the first thing you hear
When you enter the kitchen is the snap
Of the mousetrap you set this morning,
Tired of being kept awake all night
By their scratching in the walls. And so
You are met with your own small act
Of cruelty, your contribution to the whole.
With a pair of pliers that are themselves
Always biting something, you take
The broke-necked mouse by the tail
And throw it into the darkening yard,
Never knowing that in favor of it the cat
Let go of the bird, who was only stunned,
And whose song you woke to this morning. 

Text Message Customer Loyalty Program:  If you want to get in on weekly market specials, sign up for our text message loyalty program.To get the message with the special info, you’ll need to sign up: text either “GOAT” or “URBANA” or “FARMSTORE” to 30500 to sign up. 

Farmers’ Market Offerings

November 3rd marks the start of the indoor farmers' market.  Most of the farmers (including us) will be set up in the south hall of Lincoln Square Mall.The hours are 8 am to 1 pm (we will be there until 12:30 so we can get back to the farm to open the store at 1 pm.  

Please come and patronize the market. There are still so many great products available.  We continue to have a great line-up of cheeses, especially chevre and fall bloomy rind cheeses, so come out and support your local farmers this fall and holiday season.

If you can’t make it to the market, our farm store is open Saturday and Sunday, 1-4 pm.

Here’s the cheese line up for Saturday:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper-late summer/early fall milk is making some rich chevre-start stocking up and throw some in your freezer for winter
  • Poblano chevre: we have a limited number of these spicy beauties. Come early if want some!
  • Goat Milk Feta: Our flavorful and tangy feta is aged and packed in a whey brine. It's perfect to crumble on a fall salad or a top a hearty stew or bowl of chile.  
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: This batch continues to age nicely--gooey on the edges, buttery, milky and slightly mushroomy. Enjoy a wedge with local honey or jam.
  • Black Goat: an ash-coated bloomy rind cheese with a delicate and crinkly yeasty rind. This final batch of the season is young, but headed in a great direction. It has wonderful yeasty aroma and a tart lemony taste.  This cheese pairs well with sliced pears or try with a reduced balsamic vinegar. 
  • Moonglo:  Spring milk batches of this raw milk tomme (sort of like a Gouda, but not really) produce a lighter, tangy paste with hints of pineapple. The texture of the cheese is a bit more firm than fall milk batches. Melts well, or just slice and enjoy with your favorite salami.
  • Green Peppercorn-Barley Wine Moonglo: another spring-milk experiment. Just before the curds had set in the vat, we add cracked green peppercorns.  The rinds were washed with a local barley wine. The green peppercorns give a hint of floral pepperiness, the barley wine provides a bit of sweetness; the combination is sure to delight. Try melting over roasted cauliflower.
  • Lunar Eclipse: Earlier this spring, when milk was plentiful, we experimented with a cheese make that attempted to hybridize our “Magia Negra” (a Manchego-style cheese with a black currant rub on the rind) with our Moonglo.  Lunar Eclipse is the same size as our Moonglo wheels, but has a very different paste texture and flavor profile. The paste is slightly dry and crumbly, making it suited to both slicing and grating. The flavor has hints of tannins from the black currant rub. LIMITED AVAILABILITY--come early if you want some.

Gelato: We have a modest selection of both gelato and sorbetto flavors this week. These are the last pints of the season, as we are not making more gelato until next year. Pints only at the market ($10 each or 3 for $27); scoops at the farm during open hours. Market pint flavors include:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Caramel Apple (apples from Red Crib Acres, Monticello)
  • Buttered Pecan (pecans from Voss Orchard, Carlyle, IL)
  • Red Currant Sorbetto (made with red currants from the Univ. IL Student Sustainable Farm)

Farm Store Fall Hours

We have new hours for the first two weekends in November: Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 pm.  

During Farm Open Hours you can visit with the goats and shop in our farm store “The Real Stand.” In addition to our cheese and gelato, we’ve got pasture-raised meats and poultry from Bane Family Meats, frozen artisan sausages from Piemonte Sausage Co. (Bernie’s Classic Sweet, Cantalupo and Chicken Apple are back in stock as well as bulk chorizo sausage), jams and pickled veggies by Sarah (our former gelato maker), locally-grown and milled flours by The Mill at Janie’s Farm and much more.

Stay awhile and "build your own” cheese boards—pick out your cheeses, add a stick of salami (Underground Meats) or a jar of jam from Autumn Berry Inspired, our own house-made jams or pickled veggies, grab some Central IL Bake-house or Bread Co. baguette bread and we’ll provide the board. Enjoy with a glass of wine or local micro-brew.

FEATURED IN THE STORE: 

Delight Flower Farm Tulsi Tea-Tulsi is a variety of basil known for its sweet aroma and medicinal properties. With a spoonful of honey, this tea will warm you up and keep you healthy during the cold months ahead.

Tusli Tea

PFFC goat meat—we have one pound packages of stew meat (1 lb. packages, $13/lb.) and leg shanks (2 to a package, $16/lb.). We also have shoulder roasts (approx. 4-5 lb. packages, $16/lb.). Pasture raised, very lean and mild, try the meat that most of the rest of the world enjoys regularly. 

Eggs from Pastured Hens (Bane Family Meats)

Pumpkins and Squash: We still have some delicious winter squash from Nengengard Farm in Sidney, IL.

Apple Cider pressed from Red Crib Acres and Meyer Produce apples—we hand pressed apples into delicious, refreshing cider.

Fresh apples from Red Crib Acres: Winesap (one of my favorite late fall varieties) and Galarina (a French Gala variety). 

Two Million Blooms Honey: we have 1 lb. squeeze bottles and 4 oz. and 1 lb. fancy bottles for sale.  Their honey is beautiful and sweet.

Farm Dinners

I encourage you to book your tickets now for the remaining date (December 8th). It will be an early winter holiday celebration themed meal.  The chef’s inspiration for the menu is the classic foreign (danish) film “Babette’s Feast.”

Babettes Feast

Saturday, November 3rd Meet the Cheese Maker at Eataly Chicago, 12:30-1:30 pm. We’ll be headed up to Chicago to do a special cheese tasting and wine pairing.  Chicagoans, if you’re missing PFFC cheeses, come to this event. LAST CHANCE! Sign up here: https://www.eataly.com/us_en/classes-and-events/chicago/cheese-tasting-with-local-producer-prairie-fruits-farm-creamery-2018-11-03-5033

Wednesday, November 14th, 4:00-6:00 pm: Pre-Thanksgiving Holiday Market at the Farm. David Bane, Bane Family Meats, will have frozen heritage breed turkeys for sale at our farm. These birds were raised on pasture, fed a non-GMO grain ration and are hormone & antibiotic free. Price is $4/lb. and weights range from 12-25 lbs. David requests that you pre-order your turkey: email at davidpbane@aol.com, or call/text 217-722-2188.

We will also have cheese, gelato and other farm products for sale, in case you’re not able to make it to the farmers’ market on November 17th. 

Fall Weeknight Classes

We’ll be offering a series of evening classes in November and December: wine & cheese, beer & cheese, cheese basics and cheese board building to name a few. Registration is now open and seating is limited to 30 people per class (all Wednesday evenings, 6-8 pm): November 14th, November 28th and December 12th.

Holiday Time on the Farm

Once again, we will be transforming our farm store for the holidays.  Starting November 24th (Saturday after Thanksgiving) and through December 22nd, the farm will have extended weekend hours. Goats dressed up in holiday attire for picture taking, hay rides, warm spiced drinks and even a seasonal Pop-Up Café are in the works. Stay Tuned for 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 10/25/2018 8:59pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

Farm News  

The small and the wondrous signal the slow transformation from vibrant life to seasonal senescence on the farm.  The rise of the giant full moon filled the dusky eastern sky of our pasture earlier this week; its radiance akin to the glow of an expectant mother. They call this the “hunters’ moon.” I imagine the light of its reflection so bright that the hunters need no artificial torches to spot their prey.  Indeed, there are no hunters here, but the resident deer take advantage of the light for an evening snack in the soybean fields.

I have noticed the flittering of tiny drab birds in the trees outside our house. They must be warblers or wrens on their way to warmer climes.  There’s been a changing of the guard of our resident avian friends as well.  The robins and gold finches have been replaced by blue jays, nuthatches and red-bellied wood peckers.  The majestic maple at the end of our driveway has started its slow transformation from green to red to flaming yellow-orange. It always starts at the top of the tree and spreads downward like a painter redoing the color of a wall. 

The goat breeding continues. As we enter into a second heat cycle (yes, it’s been three weeks already), the bucks have a new color of crayon attached to their chests. The backsides of the milking does are gradually turning colors-reds, greens, blues and yellows, just like the dying leaves of the maple tree.

Text Message Customer Loyalty Program:  This week’s text club special relates to chevre again. To get the message with the special info, you’ll need to sign up: text either “GOAT” or “URBANA” or “FARMSTORE” to 30500 to sign up. 

A bit of humble bragging: It was brought to our attention that our beloved burb of Champaign made the Top 10 College Towns to Live In list; among the things that they mentioned about our little hamlet in the cornfields is that being a farmer at Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery is their “dream job.” Who knew! Check it out (we're number 7): https://livability.com/top-10/college/10-best-college-towns/2018

Farmers’ Market Offerings

The last outdoor market of the season is this Saturday, October 27th.  Starting November 3rd the market moves inside the Lincoln Square Mall (8 am to 1 pm), and we will be set up in the south hall.  

Please come and patronize the market; even as it transitions from outdoors to inside; there are still so many great products to be had.  We continue to have a great line-up of cheeses, especially chevre, as well as gelato flavors for you, so come out and support your local farmers this Saturday.

If you can’t make it to the market, our farm store is open Friday evening, 4-7 pm, Saturday and Sunday, 1-4 pm.

Here’s the cheese line up for Saturday:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper-late summer/early fall milk is making some rich chevre-start stocking up and throw some in your freezer for winter (if you missed the poblano chevre, we will have one more batch of it for the first indoor market on November 3rd)
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: This batch aging nicely; slightly gooey on the edges, buttery, milky and slightly mushroomy. Enjoy a wedge with local honey or jam.
  • Black Goat: an ash-coated bloomy rind cheese with a delicate and crinkly yeasty rind. This batch is starting to get gooey and ripe but not overly ripe.  It still has a wonderful yeasty aroma and a tart lemony taste.  This cheese pairs well with sliced pears or try with a reduced balsamic vinegar. 
  • Moonglo:  Our first spring milk batches of this raw milk tomme (sort of like a Gouda, but not really) are making their debut at the market and in the farm store. The spring milk produces a lighter, tangy paste with hints of pineapple. The texture of the cheese is a bit more firm than fall milk batches. Melts well, or just slice and enjoy with your favorite salami.
  • Green Peppercorn-Barley Wine Moonglo: another spring-milk experiment. Just before the curds had set in the vat, we add cracked green peppercorns and a touch of a local barley wine.  The cheese wheels have been aging for nearly five months, and the verdict is complex deliciousness.  The green peppercorns give a hint of floral pepperiness, the barley wine provides a bit of sweetness; the combination is sure to delight. 
  • Lunar Eclipse: Earlier this spring, when milk was plentiful, we experimented with a cheese make that attempted to hybridize our “Magia Negra” (a Manchego-style cheese with a black currant rub on the rind) with our Moonglo.  Lunar Eclipse is the same size as our Moonglo wheels, but has a very different paste texture and flavor profile. The paste is slightly dry and crumbly, making it suited to both slicing and grating. The flavor has hints of tannins from the black currant rub. We only have a couple of wheels left, so get it while it lasts.

Gelato: We still have a good selection of both gelato and sorbetto flavors this week. Pints only at the market ($10 each or 3 for $27); scoops at the farm during open hours. Market pint flavors include:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Stracciatella (chocolate ganache ribbon “chips”)
  • Caramel Apple (apples from Red Crib Acres, Monticello)
  • Buttered Pecan (pecans from Voss Orchard, Carlyle, IL)
  • Pumpkin (pumpkins from Sola Gratia, Urbana)
  • Nectarine Sorbetto (a little taste of summer-LIMITED)
  • Red Currant Sorbetto (made with red currants from the Univ. IL Student Sustainable Farm)

Farm Store Fall Hours

We have new hours through the end of October (that's this weekend folks):  Fridays, 4-7 pm and Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 pm.  Early November Hours (Nov.3rd and 4th and Nov. 10th and 11th) will be Saturday/Sunday, 1-4 pm and then they will expand for the holidays.

Now that the weather is cooler, the farm is a great place to visit and to shop.  On Fridays, come out after work to unwind. During our open hours, you can savor a scoop of gelato or “build your own” cheese boards—pick out your cheeses, add a stick of salami (Underground Meats) or a jar of jam from Autumn Berry Inspired, our own house-made jams or pickled veggies, grab some Central IL Bake-house or Bread Co. baguette bread and we’ll provide the board.

Friday Fall Happy Hours at the Farm

Tomorrow, Friday, October 26th, 4-7 pm is the last fall farm happy hour of the season. Michael Darin, our “wine guy” and I have decide to make a special cocktail for the occasion: a bubbly cider “sangria” with cava, apple cider and fresh apple slices. Michael will also offer tastings of other wines in our portfolio and suggestions for cheese and wine pairings.  We’ll have baguettes from Central IL Bakehouse and all the fixin’s for a build-your-own cheese board. 

During Farm Open Hours you can visit with the goats and shop in our farm store “The Real Stand.” In addition to our cheese and gelato, we’ve got pasture-raised meats and poultry from Bane Family Meats, frozen artisan sausages from Piemonte Sausage Co. (Bernie’s Classic Sweet, Cantalupo and Chicken Apple are back in stock as well as bulk chorizo sausage), jams and pickled veggies by Sarah (our former gelato maker), locally-grown and milled flours by The Mill at Janie’s Farm and much more.

FEATURED IN THE STORE: 

PFFC goat meat—we have one pound packages of stew meat (1 lb. packages, $13/lb.) and leg shanks (2 to a package, $16/lb.). We also have shoulder roasts (approx. 4-5 lb. packages, $16/lb.). Pasture raised, very lean and mild, try the meat that most of the rest of the world enjoys regularly. 

Eggs from Pastured Hens (Bane Family Meats)

Pumpkins and Squash: If you’re looking for a last minute carving pumpkin or just want to roast some delicious winter squash, we’ve got some orange beauties from Nengengard Farm in Sidney, IL.

Apple Cider pressed from Red Crib Acres and Meyer Produce apples—we hand pressed apples into delicious, refreshing cider.

Fresh apples from Red Crib Acres: Winesap (one of my favorite late fall varieties) and Galarina (a French Gala variety). 

Two Million Blooms Honey: we have 1 lb. squeeze bottles and 4 oz. and 1 lb. fancy bottles for sale.  Their honey is beautiful and sweet.

Farm Dinners

We only have a few dinners left this season, and all but one are sold out. I encourage you to book your tickets now for the remaining date (December 8th). It will be an early winter holiday celebration themed meal.  The chef’s inspiration for the menu is the classic foreign film “Babette’s Feast.”

Saturday, November 3rd Meet the Cheese Maker at Eataly Chicago, 12:30-1:30 pm. We’ll be headed up to Chicago to do a special cheese tasting and wine pairing.  Chicagoans, if you’re missing PFFC cheeses, come to this event. DON’T DELAY! Sign up here: https://www.eataly.com/us_en/classes-and-events/chicago/cheese-tasting-with-local-producer-prairie-fruits-farm-creamery-2018-11-03-5033

Wednesday, November 14th, 4:00-6:00 pm: Pre-Thanksgiving Holiday Market at the Farm. David Bane, Bane Family Meats, will have frozen heritage breed turkeys for sale at our farm. These birds were raised on pasture, fed a non-GMO grain ration and are hormone & antibiotic free. Price is $4/lb. and weights range from 12-25 lbs. David requests that you pre-order your turkey: email at davidpbane@aol.com, or call/text 217-722-2188.

We will also have cheese, gelato and other farm products for sale, in case you’re not able to make it to the farmers’ market on November 17th. 

Fall Weeknight Classes

We’ll be offering a series of evening classes in November and December: wine & cheese, beer & cheese, cheese basics and cheese board building to name a few. Stay tuned for dates and registration information. Save the dates for now (all Wednesday evenings, 6-8 pm): November 14th, November 28th and December 12th.

Holiday Time on the Farm

Once again, we will be transforming our farm store for the holidays.  Starting November 24th (Saturday after Thanksgiving) and through December 22nd, the farm will have extended weekend hours. Goats dressed up in holiday attire for picture taking, hay rides, warm spiced drinks and even a seasonal Pop-Up Café are in the works. Stay Tuned for 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 10/18/2018 2:02pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

Farm News

The underlying physiological response to shorter days is slumber.  The farmer’s cognitive need to keep going fights against the brain’s automatic emission of chemical rivulets to slow down, to let go.  Despite the slow-down in milk production that normally accompanies breeding, there are still so many things to do before the season truly ends.  The early morning temperatures left a light frost this week, just enough to blacken the tips of the summer crops, but not enough to do them in all together. The still green tomato vines need to be cut down and hauled to the compost pile. The now rotting green and red tomatoes that have fallen to the ground need to be raked and carted away, so they don’t release their seeds into the soil to create a volunteer tomato weed patch next spring. 

The kid barn needs to be cleaned in anticipation of November breeding. The compost windrows need to be turned and, eventually, the finished compost needs to be spread on the pastures to begin the slow re-nourishment of the soil (and make room for more compost).  The desiccated tree fruit mummies (fruits that were diseased or insect damaged that rotted on the limbs or fell to the ground) need to collected and burned. Time spent on fall hygiene supposedly helps lessen the insect and disease pressure for next year. The orchard ground cover needs to be mowed to create an inhospitable environment for the voles who might think about winter “camping” and tree root “pruning” under snow and frozen ground. 

When the wind is just right, and the tinder not too wet or dry, we’ll need to light our giant burn piles on fire.  We’ll need to get rid of this year’s organic debris to make room for next year’s.  The ebb and flow of abundance and scarcity of products and by-products are normal. Mustering the energy and enthusiasm to bring order to the natural entropy can be challenging.

Text Message Customer Loyalty Program: This week’s text club special relates to green peppercorn moonglo. To get the message with the special info, you’ll need to sign up: text either “GOAT” or “URBANA” or “FARMSTORE” to 30500 to sign up. 

Farmers’ Market Offerings

The forecast is calling for seasonal temperatures—this means cool—and a bit breezy. This is the time of year that folks forget how much great local food is still available at the farmers’ markets. Take an hour out of your Saturday morning to patronize the farmers who provide you with beautiful, locally-grown produce. Our cheeses compliment so many of the fresh produce available now—fennel, carrots, radishes, apples and pears.   

We continue to have a great line-up of cheeses, especially chevre, as well as gelato flavors for you, so come out and support your local farmers this Saturday. If you can’t make it to the market, our farm store is open Friday evening, 4-7 pm, Saturday and Sunday, 1-4 pm.

Here’s the cheese line up for Saturday:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper-late summer/early fall milk is making some rich chevre-start stocking up and throw some in your freezer for winter.
  • Roasted poblano chevre: poblano peppers grown on our farm, gently roasted to remove the skins, chopped and blended into our fresh chevre. Slight heat from the peppers, cooled by the creamy chevre; need I say more? Try it on a crostini with pan-roasted mushrooms. This may be the last weekend it is available.
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: This batch aging nicely; slightly gooey on the edges, buttery, milky and slightly mushroomy. Enjoy a wedge with local honey or jam.
  • Black Goat: an ash-coated bloomy rind cheese with a delicate and crinkly yeasty rind. This batch is starting to get gooey and ripe but not overly ripe.  It still has a wonderful yeasty aroma and a tart lemony taste.  This cheese pairs well with sliced pears or try with a reduced balsamic vinegar. 
  • Moonglo:  Our first spring milk batches of this raw milk tomme (sort of like a Gouda, but not really) are making their debut at the market and in the farm store. The spring milk produces a lighter, tangy paste with hints of pineapple. The texture of the cheese is a bit more firm than fall milk batches. Melts well, or just slice and enjoy with your favorite salami.
  • Green Peppercorn-Barley Wine Moonglo: another spring-milk experiment. Just before the curds had set in the vat, we add cracked green peppercorns and a touch of a local barley wine.  The cheese wheels have been aging for nearly five months, and the verdict is complex deliciousness.  The green peppercorns give a hint of floral pepperiness, the barley wine provides a bit of sweetness; the combination is sure to delight.  THIS IS MY ‘PERFECT PAIRING CHEESE’ THIS WEEK, PAIRED WITH FRESH APPLE SLICES.
  • Lunar Eclipse: Earlier this spring, when milk was plentiful, we experimented with a cheese make that attempted to hybridize our “Magia Negra” (a Manchego-style cheese with a black currant rub on the rind) with our Moonglo.  Lunar Eclipse is the same size as our Moonglo wheels, but has a very different paste texture and flavor profile. The paste is slightly dry and crumbly, making it suited to both slicing and grating. The flavor has hints of tannins from the black currant rub.  It looks like the dark side of the moon, but the flavor will put you over the moon.

Gelato: We still have a good selection of both gelato and sorbetto flavors this week. Pints only at the market ($10 each or 3 for $27); scoops at the farm during open hours. Market pint flavors include:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Stracciatella (chocolate ganache ribbon “chips”)
  • Caramel Apple (apples from Red Crib Acres, Monticello)
  • Buttered Pecan (pecans from Voss Orchard, Carlyle, IL)
  • Pumpkin (pumpkins from Sola Gratia, Urbana)
  • Nectarine Sorbetto (a little taste of summer)
  • Red Currant Sorbetto (made with red currants from the Univ. IL Student Sustainable Farm)

If haven’t figured out yet where we are at the market this year: Urbana Market at the Square. We are in spot #20 on the south-west (along Illinois Street) end of the market. We are right next to Moore Family Farm.

The outdoor market goes until the end of October this year, then, we will be moving inside Lincoln Square Mall starting November 3rd. The market DOES NOT end once it moves inside; it’s just a change of venue.

Farm Store Fall Hours

We have new hours through the end of October:  Fridays, 4-7 pm and Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 pm. Now that the weather is cooler (hopefully), the farm is a great place to visit and to shop.  On Fridays, come out after work to unwind.

During our open hours, you can savor a scoop of gelato or “build your own” cheese boards—pick out your cheeses, add a stick of salami (Underground Meats) or a jar of jam from Autumn Berry Inspired, our own house-made jams or pickled veggies, grab some Central IL Bake-house or Bread Co. baguette bread and we’ll provide the board.

Friday Fall Happy Hours at the Farm

Now, through the end of October, Michael Darin, our “wine guy” returns to farm for Friday low-key happy hours, 4-7 pm. He’ll offer tastings and suggestions for special cheese and wine pairings each Friday evening. It’s a fun way to try some new wines and/or local micro-brews alongside our cheeses. Check out the details.

Shop in our farm store “The Real Stand.” In addition to our cheese and gelato, we’ve got pasture-raised meats and poultry from Bane Family Meats, frozen artisan sausages from Piemonte Sausage Co. (Bernie’s Classic Sweet, Cantalupo and Chicken Apple are back in stock as well as bulk chorizo sausage), jams and pickled veggies by Sarah (our former gelato maker), locally-grown and milled flours by The Mill at Janie’s Farm and much more.

FEATURED IN THE STORE

PFFC goat meat—we have one pound packages of stew meat (1 lb. packages, $13/lb.) and leg shanks (2 to a package, $16/lb.). We also have shoulder roasts (approx. 4-5 lb. packages, $16/lb.). Pasture raised, very lean and mild, try the meat that most of the rest of the world enjoys regularly. 

Apple Cider pressed from Red Crib Acres apples—we hand pressed apples into delicious, refreshing cider.

Fresh apples from Red Crib Acres: Winesap (one of my favorite late fall varieties) and Galarina (a French Gala variety). 

Two Million Blooms Honey: we’ll have 1 lb. squeeze bottles and 4 oz. and 1 lb. fancy bottles for sale this weekend.  Their honey is beautiful and sweet.

Farm Dinners

We only have a few dinners left this season, and all but one are sold out. I encourage you to book your tickets now for the remaining date (December 8th). It will be an early winter holiday celebration themed meal.  The chef’s inspiration for the menu is the classic foreign film “Babette’s Feast.”

Sunday, October 21st Cider Dayz at the Farm--mark your calendars for our second annual fall apple cider festival. From 1-4 pm, you’ll be able to press your own cider, enjoy a cider-gelato float, grab some fresh apples and savor some cider-inspired pastries by Lucky Pierre Bakers.  We’ll be offering hay rides around the farm too: $5/adult, $2.50/child under 8 yrs. old. RSVP on our Facebook page.

Delight Flower Farm will be offering a fall wreath making workshop in our pavilion from 3:00-4:30 that same afternoon.  Reservations required for the workshop.

Saturday, November 3rd Meet the Cheese Maker at Eataly Chicago, 12:30-1:30 pm. We’ll be headed up to Chicago to do a special cheese tasting and wine pairing.  Chicagoans, if you’re missing PFFC cheeses, come to this event. Sign up here: https://www.eataly.com/us_en/classes-and-events/chicago/cheese-tasting-with-local-producer-prairie-fruits-farm-creamery-2018-11-03-5033

Fall Weeknight Classes: We’ll be offering a series of evening classes in November and December: wine & cheese, beer & cheese, cheese basics and cheese board building to name a few. Stay tuned for dates and registration information.

Holiday Time on the Farm: Once again, we will be transforming our farm store for the holidays.  Starting November 24th (Saturday after Thanksgiving) and through December 22nd, the farm will have extended weekend hours. Goats dressed up in holiday attire for picture taking, hay rides, warm spiced drinks and even a seasonal Pop-Up Café are in the works. Stay Tuned for 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 10/12/2018 9:06am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

In the cyclical life of a farmer, sometimes waiting permeates the week’s activities, while other times, you are thrust into radical change. This week, the clouds and winds left a 40-degree temperature drop in their wake, setting into motion a flurry of activity more appropriate to the season. After weeks of distant pinning and unmet amorous frustrations, the breeding bucks finally were brought up to the doe barn to begin breeding. When we went over to the north pasture to retrieve them, we brought a bucket of grain, thinking we would need to coax them out of their summer pasture. This gesture proved totally unnecessary. Like missiles programmed to strike their targets with laser-like precision, they jaunted up through the orchard (Nate was actually galloping) toward the doe barn.  Erica and Zev both had to restrain them to put the marking harnesses on each one before letting them into their breeding pens. 

breeding harness onto bucks

Within minutes of releasing them into their pens, the courtship rituals of flagging (does waving their tails), urine analysis (bucks testing the does’ urine for estrous hormones) and even mounting the few in standing heat ensued.  After a couple of days, the males and their harems are settling into their new routine with occasional bouts of jealousy if someone else’s does come into heat.  So, we begin the simultaneous creep toward the end of this year’s lactation cycle with the first steps toward next year’s production.

As new beginnings stir in the doe barn, the bonus garden crops from delayed summer must now be harvested before the coming frosts.  Yesterday, I spent a couple of hours pulling off ripe and green tomatoes, peppers and any other cold sensitive crops from their vines. My feelings were conflicted—wanting to hoard every single ripe tomato, even those that had fallen to the ground versus accepting that it is ok to leave a few to rot or be eaten. 

fall tomatoes

Despite my better judgement, I was overcome by a sense of last chances, the strong need to glean all of the year’s harvest. It is hard for me to let anything go to waste (perhaps of so many years of childhood indoctrination into the “clean plate club”), even though I know our freezers are full of frozen fruit and veggies.  Just a few more pickles to make, a few more jars to fill and line the shelves.

Text Message Customer Loyalty Program:  This week’s text club special is still about chevre. To get the message with the special info, you’ll need to sign up: text either “GOAT” or “URBANA” or “FARMSTORE” to 30500 to sign up. 

Farmers’ Market Offerings

The forecast is calling for seasonal temperatures—this means cool—but sunny. Perfect shopping weather-lots of farmers will have the end-of-summer produce as well as fall beauties.  We have a great line-up of cheeses, especially chevre, as well as gelato flavors for you, so come out and support your local farmers this Saturday.

If you can’t make it to the market, our farm store is open Friday evening, 4-7 pm, Saturday and Sunday, 1-4 pm. Here’s the cheese line up for Saturday:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper-late summer/early fall milk is making some rich chevre-start stocking up and throw some in your freezer for winter.
  • Roasted poblano chevre: poblano peppers grown on our farm, gently roasted to remove the skins, chopped and blended into our fresh chevre. Slight heat from the peppers, cooled by the creamy chevre; need I say more? Try it on a crostini with pan-roasted mushrooms.
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: This batch aging nicely; buttery, milky and slightly mushroomy. Enjoy a wedge with local honey or jam.
  • Black Goat: an ash-coated bloomy rind cheese with a delicate and crinkly yeasty rind. This batch is aging well with a fudgy texture to the paste.  It has a wonderful yeasty aroma and a tart lemony taste.  This cheese pairs well with sliced pears or try with a reduced balsamic vinegar. 
  • Moonglo:  Our first spring milk batches of this raw milk tomme (sort of like a Gouda, but not really) are making their debut at the market and in the farm store. The spring milk produces a lighter, tangy paste with hints of pineapple. The texture of the cheese is a bit more firm than fall milk batches. Melts well, or just slice and enjoy with your favorite salami.
  • Lunar Eclipse: Earlier this spring, when milk was plentiful, we experimented with a cheese make that attempted to hybridize our “Magia Negra” (a Manchego-style cheese with a black currant rub on the rind) with our Moonglo.  Lunar Eclipse is the same size as our Moonglo wheels, but has a very different paste texture and flavor profile. The paste is slightly dry and crumbly, making it suited to both slicing and grating. The flavor has hints of tannins from the black currant rub.  It looks like the dark side of the moon, but the flavor will put you over the moon (we hope). 
  • Green Peppercorn-Barley Wine Moonglo: another spring-milk experiment. Just before the curds had set in the vat, we add cracked green peppercorns and a touch of a local barley wine.  The cheese wheels have been aging for nearly five months, and the verdict is complex deliciousness.  The green peppercorns give a hint of pepperiness, the barley wine provides a bit of sweetness; the combination is sure to delight.

Gelato: We still have a good selection of both gelato and sorbetto flavors this week, although a couple of flavors are quite limited. Pints only at the market ($10 each or 3 for $27); scoops at the farm during open hours. Market pint flavors include:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Caramel Apple (apples from Red Crib Acres, Monticello)
  • Buttered Pecan (pecans from Voss Orchard, Carlyle, IL)
  • Pumpkin (pumpkins from Sola Gratia, Urbana)
  • Thai Basil-Limited
  • Pear Amaretto Sorbetto (made with our Seckel pears)-Limited

If haven’t figured out yet where we are at the market this year: Urbana Market at the Square. We are in spot #20 on the south-west (along Illinois Street) end of the market. We are right next to Moore Family Farm. The outdoor market goes until the end of October this year, then, we will be moving inside Lincoln Square Mall starting November 3rd.

The market DOES NOT end once it moves inside; it’s just a change of venue.

Farm Store Fall Hours

We have new hours for the fall:  Fridays, 4-7 pm and Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 pm. Now that the weather is cooler (hopefully), the farm is a great place to visit and to shop.  On Fridays, come out after work to unwind. During our open hours, you can savor a scoop of gelato or “build your own” cheese boards—pick out your cheeses, add a stick of salami (Underground Meats) or a jar of jam from Autumn Berry Inspired, our own house-made jams or pickled veggies, grab some Central IL Bake-house or Bread Co. baguette bread and we’ll provide the board.

Friday Fall Happy Hours at the Farm

Starting October 12th and through the end of October, Michael Darin, our “wine guy” returns to farm for Friday low-key happy hours, 4-7 pm. He’ll offer tastings and suggestions for special cheese and wine pairings each Friday evening. It’s a fun way to try some new wines and/or local micro-brews alongside our cheeses. Check out the details.

Shop in our farm store “The Real Stand.” In addition to our cheese and gelato, we’ve got pasture-raised meats and poultry from Bane Family Meats, frozen artisan sausages from Piemonte Sausage Co. (Bernie’s Classic Sweet, Cantalupo and Chicken Apple are back in stock as well as bulk chorizo sausage), jams and pickled veggies by Sarah (our former gelato maker), locally-grown and milled flours by The Mill at Janie’s Farm and much more.

NEW: Delight Flower Farm has a self-service bouquet stand at the entrance to our farm! Get a gorgeous bouquet of fresh flowers for only $10!! Leave your $$ in their box via the honor system.

FEATURED IN THE STORE

PFFC goat meat—we have one pound packages of stew meat, goat loin or rib chops (4 to a package) and leg shanks (2 to a package). We also have shoulder roasts (approx. 4-5 lb. packages). Pasture raised, very lean and mild, try the meat that most of the rest of the world enjoys regularly. 

Apple Cider pressed from Red Crib Acres apples—we hand pressed apples into delicious, refreshing cider.

Two Million Blooms Honey: we’ll have 1 lb. squeeze bottles and 4 oz. and 1 lb. fancy bottles for sale this weekend.  Their honey is beautiful and sweet.

Farm Dinners  We only have a few dinners left this season, and all but one are sold out. I encourage you to book your tickets now for the remaining date (December 8th). It will be an early winter holiday celebration themed meal.  We probably won’t post the menu for another few weeks, but I promise that we will end the dinner season in style.

Sunday, October 21st Cider Dayz at the Farm--mark your calendars for our second annual fall apple cider festival. From 1-4 pm, you’ll be able to press your own cider, enjoy a cider-gelato float, grab some fresh apples and savor some cider-inspired pastries by Lucky Pierre Bakers.  RSVP on our Facebook page.  

Delight Flower Farm will be offering a fall wreath making workshop in our pavilion from 3:00-4:30 that same afternoon.  Reservations required for the workshop.

Saturday, November 3rd Meet the Cheese Maker at Eataly Chicago, 12:30-1:30 pm. We’ll be headed up to Chicago to do a special cheese tasting and wine pairing.  Sign up here: https://www.eataly.com/us_en/classes-and-events/chicago/cheese-tasting-with-local-producer-prairie-fruits-farm-creamery-2018-11-03-5033 


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 10/4/2018 4:16pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

Despite the roller coaster temperatures that make it difficult to get on with fall, we pressed some apples this week for cider.  Our cider press is old fashioned; it requires human strength to load the apples into the hopper (not so taxing), hand crank the chopper and then dial down on the chopped pieces of apples to expel their juice (most muscle required, especially upper body strength).  Although this has become an annual ritual on the farm over the years, I always marvel at the golden caramel colored juice flowing from the white and yellow fleshed apples.  One hundred pounds of apples yielded almost five gallons of cider: nectar of the pomme fruits.

The brisk winds of late are carrying the buck mating odors eastward toward the pasture.  The does are coming into heat in waves now. This morning, another early morning phone call from our buck keeper, Abad, alarmed that there had been another doe breakout into the buck pen.  We rushed down through the orchard to find a line of does wailing along the fence line in the direction of their suitors. Wes watched Pattie, clearly in heat, test the hot wire with her nose; a gentle jolt gave her sufficient respect to not challenge the fence.  

Inside the buck pen, the bucks’ lips were curled up to test the winds for doe pheromones.  Like the humpback whales who sing to their mates in the deep blue ocean, the wave of does in heat call to the bucks and the bucks respond with their own chants and snorts.  The breeding males go after the remaining bucklings in their pasture paddock, practicing moves for eventual mating yet frustrated that they can’t have the real thing just yet. To get a first hand account of the serenading, go to our Facebook page.

Text Message Customer Loyalty Program: This week’s text club special is all about chevre. To get the message with the special info, you’ll need to sign up: text either “GOAT” or “URBANA” or “FARMSTORE” to 30500 to sign up. 

Farmers’ Market Offerings

The forecast is for pleasant temperatures (70’s to low 80’s) and a chance of rain. Don’t let the a few drops of the wet stuff slow you down-bring an umbrella. The market is brimming with so much goodness right now—the fleeting crops of summer and the sweetness of fall crops like apples, pears and carrots.  We have a great line-up of cheeses, especially chevre, as well as gelato flavors for you, so come out and support your local farmers this Saturday.

If you can’t make it to the market, our farm store is open Friday evening, 4-7 pm, Saturday and Sunday, 1-4 pm.

Here’s the cheese line up for Saturday:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper-late summer/early fall milk is making some rich chevre-start stocking up and throw some in your freezer for winter.
  • Fresh chevre with dried tomatoes: Last chance folks! We have a limited number of tubs of this intensely tomato flavored chevre. We grow the mini-Roma tomatoes called Juliette, dry them chop them up and then blend them into our fresh chevre.  This is my favorite flavor of chevre.
  • Roasted poblano chevre: poblano peppers grown on our farm, gently roasted to remove the skins, chopped and blended into our fresh chevre. Slight heat from the peppers, cooled by the creamy chevre; need I say more?
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: This batch is young but loaded with flavor; buttery, milky and slightly mushroomy. Enjoy simply on a slice of crusty bread with local honey or jam.
  • Black Goat: an ash-coated bloomy rind cheese with a delicate and crinkly yeasty rind. This batch is young with a fudgy texture to the paste.  It has a wonderful yeasty aroma and a tart lemony taste.
  • Moonglo: Our first spring milk batches of this raw milk tomme (sort of like a Gouda, but not really) are making their debut at the market and in the farm store. The spring milk produces a lighter, tangy paste with hints of pineapple. The texture of the cheese is a bit more firm than fall milk batches. Melts well, or just slice and enjoy with your favorite salami.
  • Lunar Eclipse: Earlier this spring, when milk was plentiful, we experimented with a cheese make that attempted to hybridize our “Magia Negra” (a Manchego-style cheese with a black currant rub on the rind) with our Moonglo.  Lunar Eclipse is the same size as our Moonglo wheels, but has a very different paste texture and flavor profile. The paste is slightly dry and crumbly, making it suited to both slicing and grating. The flavor has hints of tannins from the black currant rub.  It looks like the dark side of the moon, but the flavor will put you over the moon (we hope). 
  • Green Peppercorn-Barley Wine Moonglo: another spring-milk experiment. Just before the curds had set in the vat, we add cracked green peppercorns and a touch of a local barley wine.  The cheese wheels have been aging for nearly five months, and the verdict is complex deliciousness.  The green peppercorns give a hint of pepperiness, the barley wine provides a bit of sweetness; the combination is sure to delight.

Gelato: We still have a good selection of both gelato and sorbetto flavors this week, although some flavors are quite limited. Pints only at the market ($10 each or 3 for $27); scoops at the farm during open hours. Market pint flavors include:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Honey-Lavender (limited availability) with lavender from Sharp’s Crossing Lavender Farm, Urbana
  • Tart Cherry Amaretto-Stracciatella-LIMITED (it’s a mouthful –local cherries marinated in amaretto liquor with a chocolate ganache ribbon throughout)—premium flavor costs $12/pint
  • Sicilian Pistachio (premium flavor—pure Italian pistachio paste) $12/pint
  • Pear Amaretto Sorbetto (made with our Seckel pears)
  • Ginger White Peach Sorbetto (made from our peaches)

If haven’t figured out yet where we are at the market this year: Urbana Market at the Square. We are in spot #20 on the south-west (along Illinois Street) end of the market. We are right next to Moore Family Farm. The outdoor market goes until the end of October this year, then, we will be moving inside Lincoln Square Mall starting November 3rd. The market DOES NOT end once it moves inside; it’s just a change of venue.

Farm Store Fall Hours

We have new hours for the fall:  Fridays, 4-7 pm and Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 pm. Now that the weather is cooler (hopefully), the farm is a great place to visit and to shop. 

On Fridays, come out after work to unwind. During our open hours, you can savor a scoop of gelato or “build your own” cheese boards—pick out your cheeses, add a stick of salami (Underground Meats) or a jar of jam from Autumn Berry Inspired, our own house-made jams or pickled veggies, grab some Central IL Bake-house or Bread Co. baguette bread and we’ll provide the board. You can sit outside under our new pavilion roof and enjoy a glass of wine or beer with cheese! 

Starting October 12th and through the end of October, Michael Darin, our “wine guy” returns to farm for Friday low-key happy hours, 5-7 pm. He’ll offer tastings and suggestions for special cheese and wine pairings. 

Visit with the goats-they will be in breeding pens starting October 10th.  Walk through the orchard, or even take stroll down to our restored prairie. The farm has amazing natural beauty and the fall light, especially at the end of the day is surreal.

Shop in our farm store “The Real Stand.” In addition to our cheese and gelato, we’ve got pasture-raised meats and poultry from Bane Family Meats, frozen artisan sausages from Piemonte Sausage Co. (Bernie’s Classic Sweet, Cantalupo and Chicken Apple are back in stock as well as bulk chorizo sausage), jams and pickled veggies by Sarah (our former gelato maker), locally-grown and milled flours by The Mill at Janie’s Farm and much more.

NEW: Delight Flower Farm has a self-service bouquet stand at the entrance to our farm! Get a gorgeous bouquet of fresh flowers for only $10!! Leave your $$ in their box via the honor system.

FEATURED IN THE STORE

  • PFFC goat meat—we have one pound packages of stew meat, goat loin or rib chops (4 to a package) and leg shanks (2 to a package). We also have shoulder roasts (approx. 4-5 lb. packages). Pasture raised, very lean and mild, try the meat that most of the rest of the world enjoys regularly. 
  • Apples from Red Crib Acres (formerly Wolfe Orchard) in Monticello-we have three new varieties this weekend: Mutsu (large, crisp and tart), Jonagold (perfectly sweet-tart) and Smokehouse (a crisp, yellow fleshed apple that tastes like cider). $2.75/pound. 
  • Two Million Blooms Honey: we’ll have 1 lb. squeeze bottles and 4 oz. and 1 lb. fancy bottles for sale this weekend. Their honey is beautiful and sweet.

Farm Dinners

Fall season is upon us, and most of the remaining farm dinners have sold out already.  I encourage you to book your tickets now for the two remaining dates (Oct. 6th and December 8th). The beer dinner on Saturday, October 6th features Bane Family Meats pastured pork and beers from Triptych Brewery.  Guest Chef, Mark Hartstein (currently cooking at bacaro, and was one of the co-founders of Watson’s Shack & Rail) and his partner, Leslie Bettridge (GM at Farrens) have crafted a gorgeous and creative menu to go with the wonderful and varied beers of Triptych Brewery. We still have a few tickets left for this event, so don’t delay. 

Sunday, October 21st Cider Dayz at the Farm-mark your calendars for our second annual fall apple cider festival. From 1-4 pm, you’ll be able to press your own cider, enjoy a cider-gelato float, grab some fresh apples (and maybe even meet the farm who grew them) and savor some cider-inspired pastries by Lucky Pierre Bakers.   Delight Flower Farm will be offering a fall wreath making workshop in our pavilion from 3:00-4:30 that same afternoon. More details to come, but put this one on your calendars.

Saturday, November 3rd Meet the Cheese Maker at Eataly Chicago, 12:30-1:30 pm. We’ll be headed up to Chicago to do a special cheese tasting and wine pairing.  Sign up here: https://www.eataly.com/us_en/classes-and-events/chicago/cheese-tasting-with-local-producer-prairie-fruits-farm-creamery-2018-11-03-5033 


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 9/27/2018 10:36pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

Sometimes you have to bring the farm to the people if the people can’t get to the farm.  The farm’s most frequent traveler-ambassador is our cheese.  This week, I traveled north twice with my cultured (get it??) ambassador, first to Naperville and later to downtown Chicago. On Monday evening, I partnered with the talented cheese and wine staff of Standard Market-Naperville to co-host a wine and cheese pairing.

The cheese monger crafted a show stopping board with chevre, little bloom, black goat and Moonglo and a range of accompaniments. The wine guy selected two whites and two reds from all over the globe (from Alsace to Washington State) to pair with each of the four cheeses. The group of 20 was lively and engaged. The pairings were spot on.  I love opening people’s minds to new flavors and textures and blowing out their expectations about what goat cheeses should taste like. 

cheese board

Wednesday, I was back in the truck headed north on I-57, this time loaded with coolers for Chicago cheese deliveries and a fall “Illinois Makers” festival in downtown Chicago—where Michigan Avenue meets the Chicago River. When we arrived, the folks from the Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur had already erected their tower of cucurbits (that’s the scientific name of the family of pumpkins, squashes and gourds) in the middle of the city plaza.  As we set up our booth, we watched the city people and tourists cluster around the squash tower, positioning themselves for photos, drawn to the beauty of nature like moths to a flame. 

The plaza ebbed and flowed with office workers in their city finest, strolling by the market tents, intrigued by the juxtaposition of farm fare with the towering eclectic sky scrapers.  Tourists of many nationalities wandered up the stairs from the river, no doubt fresh from their boat tour. Again, the festival provided the means to employ cheese as a vehicle to engage people in conversations about central Illinois, farming, goats, seasonal milk and back to cheese.  Who knew that cheese could change people’s expectations, force them to think outside their routine. 

While we were closing up shop at the festival, I got a frantic call from the gentleman (his name is Abad) taking care of our bucks this year. In Spanish (he is from Puebla Mexico), he excitedly reported that he had found one of the does in the buck pen. He had no idea how she got there, and it was clear she was in heat and had been mounted by one of our bucks. Trying to remain calm, toting coolers and other market paraphernalia toward the truck, I told him to bring her back to the parlor so she could get milked. 

This evening, after chores, Abad recounted the full story of this tale of caprine desire.  When he got to the buck pen to feed them yesterday evening, he found the doe, Sabrina, on the outside of the buck pen, standing next to water trough. When she saw Abad, she knew she had been “busted,” and starting heading back through the orchard toward the barn. All of a sudden, she turned around, put the proverbial “petal to the metal” and launched into a full gallop back toward the buck pen. Abad stood in amazement as Sabrina vaulted herself gracefully over the top of the fencing and landed squarely in front of the object of her desire—Nate, our stately Nubian buck.  Within seconds, Nate mounted her. Within minutes the other bucks in the pen were fighting for her attentions.  The saying that a fence that can hold water is the only fence that can hold in a goat is apt, unless she’s a doe in heat, driven to seek out the scratch to sooth her itch. 

Text Message Customer Loyalty Program:  This week’s text club special encourages you to stock up on cheese while the selection is good. To get the message with the special info, you’ll need to sign up: text either “GOAT” or “URBANA” or “FARMSTORE” to 30500 to sign up. 

Farmers’ Market Offerings The forecast is cool and sunny weather-perfect for market shopping. We have a great new line up of cheeses as well as gelato flavors for you, so come out and support your local farmers this Saturday. This is the time of year when summer produce is still abundant and fall crops are starting to make their appearances. The cooler weather is conducive to cooking, so come to the market and get inspired.  

If you can’t make it to the market, our farm store is open Friday evening, 4-7 pm, Saturday and Sunday, 1-4 pm. Here’s the cheese line up for Saturday:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper-late summer/early fall milk is making some rich chevre-stock up and throw some in your freezer for winter.
  • Fresh chevre with dried tomatoes! It’s back and it’s delicious as ever. We grow the mini-Roma tomatoes called Juliette, dry them chop them up and then blend them into our fresh chevre.  This is my favorite flavor of chevre.
  • Goat Milk Feta: Tomatoes are still plentiful and delicious. With the cooler weather, why not roast some tomatoes with crumbled feta and fresh chopped herbs?  VERY LIMITED THIS WEEK, AND THEN ON A BRIEF HIATUS FROM THE MARKET FOR A COUPLE OF WEEKS.
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: This batch is young but loaded with flavor; buttery, milky and slightly mushroomy. Enjoy simply on a slice of crusty bread with local honey or jam. This week’s “perfect pairing” is little bloom with our house-made pear butter.
  • Black Goat: an ash-coated bloomy rind cheese with a delicate and crinkly yeasty rind. This batch is young and firm.  It has a wonderful yeasty aroma and a tart lemony paste.
  • Moonglo:  Our first spring milk batches of this raw milk tomme (sort of like a Gouda, but not really) are making their debut at the market and in the farm store. The spring milk produces a lighter, tangy paste with hints of pineapple. The texture of the cheese is a bit more firm than fall milk batches. Melts well, or just slice and enjoy with your favorite salami.
  • Lunar Eclipse: Earlier this spring, when milk was plentiful, we experimented with a cheese make that attempted to hybridize our “Magia Negra” (a Manchego-style cheese with a black currant rub on the rind) with our Moonglo.  Lunar Eclipse is the same size as our Moonglo wheels, but has a very different paste texture and flavor profile. The paste is slightly dry and crumbly, making it suited to both slicing and grating. The flavor has hints of tannins from the black currant rub.  It looks like the dark side of the moon, but the flavor will put you over the moon (we hope). 

lunar eclipse

  • Green Peppercorn-Barley Wine Moonglo: another spring-milk experiment. Just before the curds had set in the vat, we add cracked green peppercorns and a touch of a local barley wine.  The cheese wheels have been aging for nearly five months, and the verdict is complex deliciousness.  The green peppercorns give a hint of pepperiness, the barley wine provides a bit of sweetness; the combination is sure to delight.

Gelato: We still have a great selection of both gelato and sorbetto flavors this week, although some flavors are quite limited. Pints only at the market ($10 each or 3 for $27); scoops at the farm during open hours. Market pint flavors include:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Buttered Pecan (made with Voss Orchard Pecans, Carlyle IL)-limited availability
  • Nectarine Sorbetto (with nectarines from Mileur Orchard)-limited availability
  • Honey-Vanilla-Chevre (made with local  honey)—limited availability
  • Tart Cherry Amaretto-Stracciatella (it’s a mouthful –local cherries marinated in amaretto liquor with a chocolate ganache ribbon throughout)—premium flavor costs $12/pint
  • Sicilian Pistachio (premium flavor—pure Italian pistachio paste) $12/pint
  • Pear Amaretto Sorbetto (made with our Seckel pears)
  • Pear Frangelico Sorbetto
  • Ginger White Peach Sorbetto

If haven’t figured out yet where we are at the market this year: Urbana Market at the Square. We are in spot #20 on the south-west (along Illinois Street) end of the market. We are right next to Moore Family Farm. The outdoor market goes until the end of October this year, then, we will be moving inside Lincoln Square Mall starting November 3rd. The market DOES NOT end once it moves inside; it’s just a change of venue.

Farm Store Fall Hours

We have new hours for the fall:  Fridays, 4-7 pm and Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 pm. Now that the weather is cooler, the farm is a great place to visit and to shop.  On Fridays, come out after work to unwind. During our open hours, you can savor a scoop of gelato or “build your own” cheese boards—pick out your cheeses, add a stick of salami (Underground Meats) or a jar of jam from Autumn Berry Inspired, our own house-made jams or pickled veggies, grab some Central IL Bake-house or Bread Co. baguette bread and we’ll provide the board. You can sit outside under our new pavilion roof and enjoy a glass of wine or beer with cheese! Want to go the total sweet route? How about a root-beer float with a scoop of our gelato?

Enjoy the changes of the season. Visit with the goats-they will be in breeding pens in a few weeks. They always love to be petted, and they might try to trick you into feeding them some hay.  Walk through the orchard, or even take stroll down to our restored prairie. The farm has amazing natural beauty.

Shop in our farm store “The Real Stand.” In addition to our cheese and gelato, we’ve got pasture-raised meats and poultry from Bane Family Meats, frozen artisan sausages from Piemonte Sausage Co. (Bernie’s Classic Sweet, Cantalupo and Chicken Apple are back in stock as well as bulk chorizo sausage), jams and pickled veggies by Sarah (our former gelato maker), locally-grown and milled flours by The Mill at Janie’s Farm and much more.

NEW IN THE STORE

PFFC goat meat—we have one pound packages of stew meat, goat loin or rib chops (4 to a package) and leg shanks (2 to a package). We also have shoulder roasts (approx. 4-5 lb. packages). Pasture raised, very lean and mild, try the meat that most of the rest of the world enjoys regularly. 

Apples from Red Crib Acres (formerly Wolfe Orchard) in Monticello-we have three new varieties this weekend: Mutsu (large, crisp and tart), Jonagold (perfectly sweet-tart) and Smokehouse (a crisp, yellow fleshed apple that tastes like cider). $2.75/pound. 

Two Million Blooms Honey: we’ll have 1 lb. squeeze bottles and 1 lb. fancy bottles for sale this weekend.  Can’t wait to have their honey back in the store.

Farm Dinners: Fall season is upon us, and most of the remaining farm dinners have sold out already.  I encourage you to book your tickets now for the two remaining dates (Oct. 6th and December 8th). The beer dinner on Saturday, October 6th will now feature Bane Family Meats pastured pork and beers from Triptych Brewery.  Guest Chef, Mark Hartstein (currently cooking at bacaro, and was one of the co-founders of Watson’s Shack & Rail) and his partner, Leslie Bettridge (GM at Farrens) have crafted a gorgeous and creative menu to go with the wonderful and varied beers of Triptych Brewery, so check it out and grab your tickets before they’re sold out!

Sunday, October 21st Cider Dayz at the Farm-mark your calendars for our second annual fall apple cider festival. From 1-4 pm, you’ll be able to press your own cider, enjoy a cider-gelato float, grab some fresh apples (and maybe even meet the farm who grew them) and savor some cider-inspired pastries.  Details to come but put this one on your calendars.

Saturday, November 3rd Meet the Cheese Maker at Eataly Chicago, 12:30-1:30 pm. We’ll be headed up to Chicago to do a special cheese tasting and wine pairing.  Sign up here: https://www.eataly.com/us_en/classes-and-events/chicago/cheese-tasting-with-local-producer-prairie-fruits-farm-creamery-2018-11-03-5033 


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 9/20/2018 9:02pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

There is a recurring theme to the change of seasons this year.  Unlike years past where one season gradually fades into the next, each respecting the others’ boundaries, this year’s seasons bleed into each other. Winter bled into spring, leaving snow and dormancy in its wake.  Summer reverse bled into spring, giving nature very little time to adjust to the brusque cold-hot pivot.  On reflection, spring never really made much of an appearance, save for the fruit tree blossoms and the songs of the trilling toads. 

Summer settle in early and decided to stay for a good long while.  She bellowed out so much hot wet air in June that the stagnant seedling crops shot themselves out of the ground and clamored toward the sky.  Within weeks, the weeds were a carpet and the tomato vines were so thick the trellises could no longer support them. Summer seeded clouds every so often, which discharged their moisture when they got too full to hold anymore.  The lush vegetation perspired like a nervous teenager, and the heat and humidity conspired to regenerate themselves for weeks on end. 

Fall tried to make an appearance in early September, pushing the gulf stream southward toward the gulf, but summer rebelled and pushed the gulf stream northward just for spite.   As we approach the autumnal equinox, the fall may win the latest match.  The shortening days and senescent grains belie nature’s plans; there’s even talk of frost in the coming week.  The neighbor farmers have begun the annual grain harvest. Soon, they can turn off the air conditioning in their tractor cabs and finally set it to heat.  It’s time. 

Text Message Customer Loyalty Program:  This week’s text club special encourages you to stock up on cheese. To get the message with the special info, you’ll need to sign up: text either “GOAT” or “URBANA” or “FARMSTORE” to 30500 to sign up. 

Farmers’ Market Offerings

The forecast is calling for cool and sunny weather-perfect for market shopping. We have some special seasonal cheeses as well as gelato flavors for you, so come out and support your local farmers this Saturday. This is the time of year when summer produce is still abundant and fall crops are starting to make their appearances--even seasonal vegetables and fruits bleed into each other!

If you can’t make it to the market, our farm store is open Friday evening, 4-7 pm, Saturday and Sunday, 1-4 pm.

Here’s the cheese line up for Saturday:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Fresh chevre with dried tomatoes! It’s back and it’s delicious as ever. We grow the mini-roma tomatoes called Juliette, dry them chop them up and then blend them into our fresh chevre.  This is my favorite flavor of chevre.
  • Goat Milk Feta: Tomatoes are still plentiful and delicious. With the cooler weather, why not roast some tomatoes with crumbled feta and fresh chopped herbs?   
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: This batch is at ripeness perfection.  Flavor is buttery, milky and slightly mushroomy. Enjoy simply on a slice of crusty bread with local honey or jam.
  • Black Goat: an ash-coated bloomy rind cheese with a delicate and crinkly yeasty rind. This batch is young and firm; the opposite of last week’s ooey-gooey version.  It has a wonderful yeasty aroma and a tart lemony paste.
  • Blushing Goat: our take on a washed rind cheese—these little rounds are washed with a kombucha beer for one month.  These blushing pink-orange beauties have a dense gooey-fudgy paste with a rich umami flavor. If you haven’t tried it, ask for a taste. Try it with caramelized onions or some prosciutto on a crostini.
  • Moonglo:  Our first spring milk batches of this raw milk tomme (sort of like a Gouda, but not really) are making their debut at the market and in the farm store. The spring milk produces a lighter, tangy paste with hints of pineapple. The texture of the cheese is a bit more firm than fall milk batches. I’ve got a Sweet-Corn-Moonglo “Queso” recipe posted on our website, so take a look.
  • Huckleberry Blue: our limited late fall goats’ milk blue cheese-we only have a few wedges left of this cheese, and then it’s gone until next year.  This cheese is great crumbled on a salad, sliced and warmed on a steak or burger OR served on baguette with a fig jam or walnut balsamic vinegar reduction (this is an amazing combination). VERY LIMITED-come early if you want some.

Gelato: A cornucopia of flavors for you this week. Pints only at the market ($10 each or 3 for $27); scoops at the farm during open hours. Market pint flavors include:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Buttered Pecan (made with Voss Orchard Pecans, Carlyle IL)
  • Fresh Mint
  • Peaches & Cream (made with our very own peaches from the PFFC orchard)
  • Nectarine Sorbetto (with nectarines from Mileur Orchard)
  • Honey-Vanilla-Chevre (made with local  honey)
  • Thai Basil
  • Tart Cherry Amaretto-Stracciatella (it’s a mouthful and it’s delicious)—premium flavor costs $12/pint
  • Sicilian Pistachio (premium flavor—pure Italian pistachio paste) $12/pint
  • Honey Lavender (local honey and lavender from Sharp’s Crossing Lavender Farm)
  • Pear Frangelico Sorbetto (made with our Seckel pears)

If haven’t figured out yet where we are at the market this year: we have a new spot at the farmers’ market--Urbana Market at the Square. We are in spot #20 on the south-west (along Illinois Street) end of the market. We are right next to Moore Family Farm. The outdoor market goes until the end of October this year, then we will be moving inside Lincoln Square Mall.

Farm Store Fall Hours

We have new hours for the fall:  Fridays, 4-7 pm and Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 pm. Come see the farm as summer fades into fall.  On Fridays, come out after work to unwind. During our open hours, you can savor a scoop of gelato or “build your own” cheese boards—pick out your cheeses, add a stick of salami (Underground Meats) or a jar of jam from Autumn Berry Inspired or pickled veggies, grab some Central IL Bake-house baguette bread and we’ll provide the board.

You can sit outside under our new pavilion roof and enjoy a glass of wine or beer with cheese! Want to go the total sweet route? How about a root-beer float with a scoop of our gelato?

Enjoy the changes of the season. Come visit with the goats. They love to be petted, and they might try to trick you into feeding them some hay.  Shop in our farm store: “The Real Stand.” We’ve got pasture-raised meats and poultry from Bane Family Meats, frozen artisan sausages from Piemonte Sausage Co., pickled veggies and pesto by Sarah (our former gelato maker), locally-grown and milled flours by The Mill at Janie’s Farm and much more.

NEW IN THE STORE

PFFC goat meat—we have one pound packages of stew meat, goat loin or rib chops (4 to a package) and leg shanks (2 to a package). We also have shoulder roasts (approx. 4-5 lb. packages). Pasture raised, very lean and mild, try the meat that most of the rest of the world enjoys regularly. 

Apples from Red Crib Acres (formerly Wolfe Orchard) in Monticello-we have three varieties of their earl fall apples. Come try them and take home a bag.

U-PICK: U-picking is suspended until further notice.  We might have apples for u-pick in mid-September. We are also planning another “Cider Days” event, probably in October, so stay tuned for details. 

Farm Dinners: Fall season is upon us, and most of the farm dinners sold out already.  I encourage you to book your tickets now for the two remaining dates (Oct. 6th and December 8th). The beer dinner on Saturday, October 6th will now feature Bane Family Meats pastured pork and beers from Triptych Brewery.  Guest Chef, Mark Hartstein (currently cooking at bacaro, champaign and was one of the co-founders of Watson’s Shack & Rail) has crafted a gorgeous and creative menu, so check it out and grab your tickets before they’re sold out!

Upcoming Farm or Farm-Related Events—There are a lot of great things going on this fall. Check them out:

CU Symphony Orchestra to perform special “environmental” pieces on our farm on Sunday September 23rd, 2-4 pm. Visit Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery for a free gelato social and concert from 2:00 to 4:00 pm on Sunday, September 23 to celebrate Mother Earth's summer harvest! This tribute to our planet will feature musicians from the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra performing several earth-themed chamber works by CUSO Composer-in-Residence Stacy Garrop.

PFFC owners Wes Jarrell and Leslie Cooperband will bring us the latest news about their sustainability efforts on the farm. Take a tour of the farm, visit the goats, and participate in our "Messages to Gaia" community art project--where you can draw pictures, write poetry or simply share your thoughts about our planet. Come enjoy! This free gelato social is sponsored by CUSO, New Music USA, and Prairie Fruit Farms & Creamery.  Feel free to RSVP on the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/431622700696468/

September 24th, Standard Market Naperville will host Leslie Cooperband of Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery for cheese tasting and wine pairing event (6-8 pm). Check out the details here: https://standardmarket.com/events/prairie-fruits-farm/

September 26th Illinois Makers Fall Festival, Pioneer Court adjacent to the Tribune Building and the Apple Store, Chicago, 2-6 pm. Leslie Cooperband will be there sampling cheese and selling cheeses too. Chicago fans, we miss you. Come see me that afternoon and pick up some cheese: https://www.enjoyillinois.com/explore/listing/illinois-made-fall-market-day

Saturday, November 3rd Meet the Cheese Maker at Eataly Chicago, 12:30-1:30 pm. We’ll be headed up to Chicago to do a special cheese tasting and wine pairing.  Sign up here: https://www.eataly.com/us_en/classes-and-events/chicago/cheese-tasting-with-local-producer-prairie-fruits-farm-creamery-2018-11-03-5033


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 9/13/2018 11:06pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

We have laid down the ultimate challenge for this year’s 100 Yard Dinner, our annual harvest meal featuring over 95% of all ingredients grown within 100 yards of the dinner table.  We have decided to create a moveable feast; each course will be served in different venues around the farm.  There’s a pickled vegetable course featuring beets and okra from our little vegetable garden, the cheese course will be served next to the goat pasture, the main course will take place in the midst of our prairie and dessert will complete the meal in our orchard. 

The 100 Yard Dinner has often been viewed as the culmination of a season’s worth of work.  It is also a celebration of the diversity that our farm embodies; from pastures and prairie to goats to milk, from fruits to vegetables and from herbs to flowers. This year’s added challenge of serving five courses in different locations around the farm has forced us to be especially creative with the crafted dishes, and to think hard about how to move both food and guests.  I admit that the complicated logistics had me tied in knots on several occasions, but our calm and patient chef has worked out the kinks, and most of the details are falling into place.

Wes has been busy mowing clearings in the prairie and making sure the path through the orchard is clear for dining under the crowns of the fruit trees.  He has been shaping the wooden planks so that we can serve food on them. We have been harvesting pears and apples and tomatoes as they ripen. We have been making pickled vegetables to beat the band. Wes dug potatoes today; we were impressed with the yield from fewer than 10 original tubers. We have been weeding the herb garden to make sure our guests can see the herbs that they will enjoy in several courses, including a special beverage. 

We have been walking the paths and taking careful consideration about how 50 guests will sit or stand to enjoy each course.  Tomorrow the serious cooking begins.  Saturday afternoon, the guests will arrive and our vision for the moveable feast will play itself out.

Farm News Part Two: A time for change

Fifteen years ago, Wes and I took a leap of faith and bought a small farm in Champaign County.  Still immersed in the world of academia as professors of soil science (at Univ. of Wisconsin Madison and then Univ. of IL), we had dreams of turning our ideas about sustainable farming into practice.  Wes also wanted to relive the joys from his childhood of eating a dead-ripe peach. The small parcel, barely seven acres, had been farmed in cash grain agriculture for decades, and we saw this “blank slate” as the perfect canvass upon which to put our ideas into practice. 

In the first two years, we converted the land into perennial agriculture (cover crops, tree fruits, berries and pasture). While Wes’ farming passion lay in fruit trees, mine took shape while living in America’s dairy land: Wisconsin.  I fell in love with beautiful French-style goat cheeses produced by one of America’s first farmstead goat creameries located just west of Madison, Wisconsin. The founder of Fantome Farm became my mentor, and we bought our “starter kit” of three Nubian does and a breeding buckling in the summer of 2004.  One year later, we opened Illinois’ first farmstead creamery, milking 25 goats and selling fresh chevre at the Urbana Farmers’ Market.

Over the next decade and beyond, the goat herd grew and the cheese repertoire and markets expanded. Goat milk gelato was added to the product line up in 2011.  We currently produce over 14,000 pounds of cheese annually and over 3000 pints of gelato. The farm acquired additional land and the business expanded into the realm of agritourism, focusing on slow-food inspired farm-to-table meals.  It was hard to take the educators out of us, and we began to welcome more and more visitors to the farm.  We have always tried to be transparent about our farming practices, and we have nurtured an environment where the community can experience a working farm, appreciate how local food is produced and enjoy delicious food in a tranquil rural setting. 

After much soul searching and careful deliberation, we have decided to transition the farm to the next generation of passionate farming entrepreneurs.  The farm is in a great place to turn over the reins to new owners. We believe there is tremendous potential for growth in both the realms of goat dairying-artisan cheese making and agritourism, and we would like to see others actualize this potential. We are engaged in serious discussions with several prospects, but we welcome serious inquiries as well. We plan to be around to ensure a smooth transition next year.  In the meantime, please know that the farm is very much open for business, and we value the support that our community has given us over the years.

Text Message Customer Loyalty Program: This week’s text club special relates to big-hugs black goat and blushing goat. To get the message with the special info, you’ll need to sign up: text either “GOAT” or “URBANA” or “FARMSTORE” to 30500 to sign up. 

Farmers’ Market Offerings

The forecast is warm and sunny weather-quite a contrast from last Saturday. We have some special seasonal cheeses as well as gelato flavors for you, so come out and support your local farmers this Saturday.  We hope to bring some of Seckel pears to sell at the market. They make a lovely accompaniment to most of our cheeses, just sliced or pan sautéed with butter

If you can’t make it to the market, our farm store is open Friday evening, 4-7 pm, Saturday and Sunday, 1-4 pm.

Here’s the cheese line up for Saturday:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Fresh chevre with dried tomatoes! It’s back and it’s delicious as ever. We grow the mini-roma tomatoes called Juliette, dry them chop them up and then blend them into our fresh chevre.  This is my favorite flavor of chevre.
  • Goat Milk Feta: Tomatoes are still plentiful and delicious. With the cooler weather, why not roast some tomatoes with crumbled feta and fresh chopped herbs?  We also have a tomato-watermelon-feta recipe on our website.  Watermelons are still available at the farmers’ markets.
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: This batch is at ripeness perfection.  Flavor is buttery, milky and slightly mushroomy. Enjoy simply on a slice of crusty bread with local honey or jam.
  • Black Goat: an ash-coated bloomy rind cheese with a delicate and crinkly yeasty rind. This batch is young and firm; the opposite of last week’s ooey-gooey version.  It has a wonderful yeasty aroma and a tart lemony paste.
  • Big Hugs Black Goat: our collaboration with Half Acre Brewery, Chicago. This black goat has “big hugs” coffee stout beer infused in the curd. It’s especially gooey this week, but the beer flavor is quite balanced in the paste. Try serving with pan toasted apple or pear slices.
  • Blushing Goat: our take on a washed rind cheese—these little rounds are washed with a kombucha beer for one month.  These blushing pink-orange beauties have a dense gooey-fudgy paste with a rich umami flavor. This cheese just keeps getting better and better with age. If you haven’t tried it, ask for a taste. Try it with caramelized onions or some prosciutto on a crostini.
  • Moonglo:  Our first spring milk batches of this raw milk tomme (sort of like a Gouda, but not really) are making their debut at the market and in the farm store. The spring milk produces a lighter, tangy paste with hints of pineapple. The texture of the cheese is a bit more firm than fall milk batches. I’ve got a Sweet-Corn-Moonglo “Queso” recipe posted on our website, so take a look.
  • Applewood Smoked Moonglo: our friends at Urbana’s Black Dog Smoke and Ale House cold-smoked our Moonglo cheese over Applewood chips; the result is a lovely smoky version of our Moonglo. Like our regular Moonglo, it makes a killer grilled cheese (that’s what Black Dog is doing with it at their Urbana location). You could also use it in the “Hot Queso” recipe. 
  • Huckleberry Blue: our limited late fall goats’ milk blue cheese-we only have a few wedges left of this cheese, and then it’s gone until next year.  This cheese is great crumbled on a salad, sliced and warmed on a steak or burger OR served on baguette with a fig jam or walnut balsamic vinegar reduction (this is an amazing combination). VERY LIMITED-come early if you want some.

Gelato: Even more great flavors for you this week. Pints only at the market ($10 each or 3 for $27); scoops at the farm during open hours. Market pint flavors include:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Buttered Pecan (made with Voss Orchard Pecans, Carlyle IL)
  • Fresh Mint
  • Peaches & Cream (made with our very own peaches from the PFFC orchard)
  • Nectarine Sorbetto (with nectarines from Mileur Orchard)
  • Honey-Vanilla-Chevre (made with local  honey)
  • Thai Basil
  • Tart Cherry Amaretto-Stracciatella (it’s a mouthful and it’s delicious-local cherries soaked in amaretto with ribbons of chocolate ganache throughout)—premium flavor costs $12/pint
  • Sicilian Pistachio (premium flavor—pure Italian pistachio paste) $12/pint
  • Honey Lavender (local honey and lavender from Sharp’s Crossing Lavender Farm)
  • Pear Frangelico Sorbetto (made with our Seckel pears)

If haven’t figured out yet where we are at the market this year: we have a new spot at the farmers’ market--Urbana Market at the Square. We are in spot #20 on the south-west (along Illinois Street) end of the market. We are right next to Moore Family Farm.

Farm Store Fall Hours

We have new hours for the fall:  Fridays, 4-7 pm and Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 pm. Come see the farm as summer fades into fall.  On Fridays, come out after work to unwind.

During our open hours, you can savor a scoop of gelato or “build your own” cheese boards—pick out your cheeses, add a stick of salami (Underground Meats) or a jar of jam from Autumn Berry Inspired or pickled veggies, grab some Central IL Bake-house baguette bread and we’ll provide the board. You can sit outside under our new pavilion roof and enjoy a glass of wine or beer with cheese! Want to go the total sweet route? How about a root-beer float with a scoop of our gelato?

Need to de-stress? Come visit with the goats. They love to be petted, and they might try to trick you into feeding them some hay.  Shop in our farm store: “The Real Stand.” We’ve got pasture-raised meats and poultry from Bane Family Meats, frozen artisan sausages from Piemonte Sausage Co., pickled veggies and pesto by Sarah (our former gelato maker), locally-grown and milled flours by The Mill at Janie’s Farm and much more.

NEW IN THE STORE

PFFC goat meat—we have one pound packages of stew meat, goat loin or rib chops (4 to a package) and leg shanks (2 to a package). We also have shoulder roasts (approx. 4-5 lb. packages). Pasture raised, very lean and mild, try the meat that most of the rest of the world enjoys regularly. 

Apples from Red Crib Acres (formerly Wolfe Orchard) in Monticello-we have three varieties of their earl fall apples. Come try them and take home a bag

Seckel Pears from our orchard—these small delicate pears are loaded with flavor.

U-PICK: U-picking is suspended until further notice.  We might have apples for u-pick in mid-September. We are also planning another “Cider Days” event, probably in October, so stay tuned for details. 

Farm Dinners: Fall season is upon us, and the September and October farm dinners have filled up fast.  I encourage you to book your tickets now for the two remaining dates. The beer dinner on Saturday, October 6th will now feature beers from Triptych Brewery. We’ll likely be serving some beer-cheese collaborations, so you won’t want to miss this one if you love micro-brews.

Upcoming Farm or Farm-Related Events—There are a lot of great things going on this fall. Check them out:

Friday, Sept. 14th Iberian Pop-Up Dinner with Chef Mark Hartstein at Hopscotch Bakery and Café:  Hopscotch “Supper Club” is hosting their second pop up dinner with Chef Mark Hartstein (co-founder of Watson’s, currently cooking at Bacaro). The menu is posted on their website and features a number of local farmers’ products, including our Moonglo cheese. There are still a few seats left to this limited seating event. If you’ve never tried one of “Shades’” pop up meals, you don’t know what you’re missing (price includes wine pairings).

Saturday, September 15th The Land Connection’s Annual “Artisan Fork & Cup” Fundraiser, 6-9pm at the Broadway Food Hall in Urbana. Chefs team up with local farms to craft a special dish that is judged by culinary professionals and the guests. It’s a great way to support local foods and the work of a great regional organization. For more information and tickets: https://thelandconnection.org/artisan-cup-fork

Thursday, September 20th Cooking Demonstration at the Farm: 5:30-8:00 pm. If you’re trying to eat healthier, and learn how locally-sourced ingredients are easy to prepare, this event is for you.

Marche-Glen Ellyn bus trip to Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery-Sunday, Sept. 23rd, all day trip For those you who live in the greater Chicagoland Area, and have been looking for an excuse to come visit us, and enjoy a locally-sourced lunch at the farm (as well as a guided tour), your ship (or bus) has come in. The amazing little cheese shop (gourmet foods too) in Glen Ellyn called Marche is offering an all-inclusive bus trip to our farm. Check out the details on their website: https://www.marche496.com/shop/marche-classes/sunday-september-23rd-farm-to-table-lunch-and-tour-at-prairie-fruits-farm/

CU Symphony Orchestra to perform special “environmental” pieces on our farm on Sunday September 23rd, 2-4 pm. Visit Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery for a free gelato social and concert from 2:00 to 4:00 pm on Sunday, September 23 to celebrate Mother Earth's summer harvest!

This tribute to our planet will feature musicians from the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra performing several earth-themed chamber works by CUSO Composer-in-Residence Stacy Garrop. PFFC owners Wes Jarrell and Leslie Cooperband will bring us the latest news about their sustainability efforts on the farm. Take a tour of the farm, visit the goats, and participate in our "Messages to Gaia" community art project--where you can draw pictures, write poetry or simply share your thoughts about our planet. Come enjoy! This free gelato social is sponsored by CUSO, New Music USA, and Prairie Fruit Farms & Creamery. 

September 24th, Standard Market Naperville will host Leslie Cooperband of Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery for cheese tasting and wine pairing event (6-8 pm). Check out the details here: https://standardmarket.com/events/prairie-fruits-farm/

Septembers 26th Illinois Makers Fall Festival, Pioneer Court adjacent to the Tribune Building and the Apple Store, Chicago, 2-6 pm. Leslie Cooperband will be there sampling cheese and selling cheeses too. Chicago fans, we miss you. Come see me that afternoon and pick up some cheese. 

Saturday, November 3rd Meet the Cheese Maker at Eataly Chicago, 12:30-1:30 pm. We’ll be headed up to Chicago to do a special cheese tasting and wine pairing.  Sign up here: https://www.eataly.com/us_en/classes-and-events/chicago/cheese-tasting-with-local-producer-prairie-fruits-farm-creamery-2018-11-03-5033 


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 9/7/2018 2:31pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Greetings Market Patrons:

After careful deliberations, we have decided to not attend Urbana's Market at the Square tomorrow, Saturday, the 8th of September. The weather forecast is calling for a 100% chance of severe rain during the five hours of the market. We are concerned about flooding and possible electrical damage to our coolers and freezers. 

Instead, we will extend our farm store hours tomorrow, Saturday, September 8th to 9 AM until 4:00 pm. 

In addition to selling our cheeses and gelato, we are also hosting Lucky Pierre Bakers, who will be bringing their decadent hand-rolled doughnuts, bagels, brioche and challah rolls. They will be premiering their new "chocolate sugar doughnut."  

All of the other items in our farm store are available as well: meats, chicken, eggs, pickled veggies, jams, etc.  

Stay dry and still support your local farmers this Saturday!

 


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.