News

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Posted 4/19/2018 9:31pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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 Farm News

Earth Day is a somewhat random date on the calendar. April historically is a fitting month to celebrate the earth in the northern hemisphere. After all, it is a time of environmental reawakening, the re-greening of a seasonally dormant and dull landscape.  It serves as a punctuation mark, a call to attention, mostly for those who don’t perceive that their lives or livelihoods depend on the natural world.  We farmers are reminded daily of our inter-dependence on the whims of nature and her fragility; her cruel snow squalls in April, her marvelous swelling of peach blossom buds.

This year’s exceedingly slow departure of winter and reluctant arrival of spring have given us pause for special reflection.  Farming is a progression of tasks that assume the change of seasons.  In spring, we assume the sun will shine and the days will get warmer, we assume the pasture will grow so the goats can go out and graze, we assume the soil will be warm and dry enough to till and plant early season vegetables.

 When these assumptions are stymied, we raise our fists in frustration, we obsess about the daily temperature highs and lows and the incessant waves of storms, we curse the mud and the tractor ruts, and we resent the continued need for multiple layers of clothing.  We lament the changes to our planet that invalidate the normal assumptions we have made for so many years.  We want to believe we are stewards of the land, that we take care of her, and she provides for us in return. We think we are fulfilling our end of the bargain, but the rules of engagement are shifting.  Earth Day is a reminder to put ourselves in a bigger context; to make connections beyond our daily spheres of influence.  We need to up our game of stewardship.   

Fundraiser Campaign Update:  

We are fast approaching the end date of our fundraiser campaign-April 30th, and we’re making great progress (close to $14K at this point). A very generous donor has offered to donate $2500 if we can match this amount with collective donations by April 30th.  So, here’s the challenge: please donate NOW so we can take advantage of this most generous offer.

If you aren’t yet familiar with our “Raise the Roof” campaign, please CLICK  HERE, you can read all about it—our projects, our goals, our donation levels.  You can either donate online or send a check. We will also have a donation box out at the farm during spring open hours if you’d prefer to donate that way. THANK YOU to all who have donated so far. 

NEW WAY OF COMMUNICATING WITH OUR PATRONS-TEXT MESSAGING:

In our efforts to seek out better ways to keep our patrons up to date on the latest farm happenings, special product promotions and farmers’ market offerings, we are pleased to announce a new text message program.  You won’t get unwanted text messages from Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery. You send a text message to the number 30500 with the key words below, and we only send messages to those who want to receive them. 

  • For general farm announcements, text GOAT to 30500
  • For special farmers’ market offers (Urbana’s Market at the Square patrons), text URBANA to 30500
  • For the latest news on farm to table meals, text TABLE to 30500
  • For CSA members, text CSA to 30500
  • For specials and events at the farm store, text FARMSTORE to 30500

We hope you’ll give it a try.  It’s an easy way to stay in touch with the farm and all of our goings-on.

Babies and Brunch:

Full Brunch on BOTH Saturdays and Sundays is HAPPENING! Come out to the farm this weekend—we’re open from 9:30 am to 1:00 pm. In between all the movies you’ll be watching at Ebertfest, you need to eat, right?? 

Check out this weekend’s NEW menu that Chef Raquel and Sarah of Feast Catering have crafted as well as the details of how these brunches will be run.  The format is different than our past “Spring Open Houses,” which have featured mostly grab and go type foods and beverages. 

Here’s how the new farm “Pop-Up Café” works: we seat you at a table, you order your food and you enjoy a more substantial brunch. If you have to wait for a table (so far, people have only had to wait 5-10 minutes), you can visit with the goats, sample our cheese and gelato and/or shop in our farm store.

Cheese and Gelato Offerings AND Celebrating Raw Milk Cheese Appreciation Day

We have a really great line up of cheeses to offer you this weekend, as we roll out the first bloomy rind cheese of the season—little bloom on the prairie. Also, April 21st is RAW MILK CHEESE APPRECIATION DAY. Initiated by the Oldways Cheese Coalition, this “holiday” celebrates the diversity and terroir of artisan cheeses made lovingly by hand, using old techniques that preserve and enhance the native flora of milks around the country and the world.  We are pleased to offer our customers two raw (unpasteurized) milk cheeses-Moonglo and Huckleberry Blue.

In fact, to celebrate Raw Milk Cheese Appreciation Day, we will be giving free tastes of both of these cheeses, and taking 10% off the price of each wedge of those two cheeses!!    

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper—these are our regular flavors available all year round
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: first of the season goat milk-camembert style cheese is ready for prime time. The little rounds blanketed in a delicate, white mushroomy rind are young, but the flavor is creamy sweet spring milk.  Serve with local honey or one of the jams in our farm store. Try warming the round lightly in your oven for an even more amazing flavor explosion in your mouth.
  • CELEBRATE RAW MILK CHEESE! Moonglo: fall-milk, tomme-style cheese; the texture of this semi-hard cheese is soft and supple like gouda, but the taste is sharp and fruity. Ask for a taste if you’ve never had it before. Try it on crusty bread with onion jam or caramelized onions.
  • CELEBRATE RAW MILK CHEESE! Huckleberry Blue: our limited late fall goats’ milk blue cheese—it’s a gateway to blue cheeses; creamy texture, not overly blue-veined (or sharp in a blue way). 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)

Jams and Honey: We have a limited selection of jams from Autumn Berry Inspired, house-made jams and some beautiful bottles of fall honey from Two Million Blooms. These make great accompaniments to our cheeses.

Gelato: We have first of the season pints of gelato available this weekend—vanilla, chocolate and salted caramel swirl, as well as scoops of salted caramel, red currant and rhubarb swirl.

Other Farm Products NEW in the Store:  

Goat milk yogurt from Green Meadows Farm. Our friend, Meryl Kauffman, in Arthur, IL raises mostly La Mancha goats (some of whom came from our herd). His goat milk products are delicious, and we're excited to carry his plain goat milk yogurt in quart size only. He has made a special batch for us that is JUST goat milk and live cultures (no added thickeners). Come try some this weekend.

David Bane of Bane Family Meats will be here to offer you farm-fresh eggs, chicken, beef, pork and lamb products

We also have a selection of Piemonte Sausages: several styles of pork sausage as well as our goat merguez

Goat Stew Meat and Cabrito Halves—we have a few packages of lean and tender goat meat available in our farm shop freezer. If you’ve never tried goat meat, you should. It’s very mild and lean (lends itself to slow cooking techniques)

Locally milled flour from the Mill at Janie’s Farm (Ashkum, IL)-did you know you can now get organic, locally milled, specialty grain flours? We are proud to be one of the first retail outlets for this amazing product. Make a pie or a quiche this weekend with this whole-grain flour. It’s amazing.

Prairie Fruits Farm Merch: While you’re here, take home a memento from the farm—t-shirts, hooded sweat shirts, batik aprons, tea towels, onesies, note cards, cheese boards and goat milk soaps. 

Mother’s Day Brunch: We have two seatings for brunch on May 13th, Mother’s Day. These brunches are by reservation only.  Check out the menu for this special mother’s day brunch (scroll all the way down the page) and book your tickets now! The second seating is almost sold out but we still have a good number of seats for the first seating.  

Cheese and Gelato CSA: We still have openings for our 2018 season. The deadline for sign up is May 5th, so if you’ve been on the fence, act soon.  If you’re not familiar with how our “CSA” works, I encourage you to check out the details.  We have pick-up locations in Champaign Urbana and Bloomington-Normal.  We treat our CSA members like royalty. Come join our special club. 

Dinners on the Farm: Our 2018 season is posted on our website and ticket sales are LIVE for the entire season.  Take a look at the dates and themes, and book your reservations NOW.  These tickets go fast, so don’t delay.  We have a great diversity of dinner themes this year from Italian to Oaxacan.  We’re excited to host you on our farm for a memorable farm to table experience.   

Looking for a goat for a family milker? How about for brush control or rural pet? Goats are wonderful working animals and affectionate companions too. We have great breeding stock with excellent health and milk records.  We also have bucklings and wethers for grazing/brush control and companion animal needs. Check out what's available and contact us if interested. 


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 4/12/2018 7:19pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

One of our two-year old first-fresheners (freshening refers to giving birth and coming into milk) kidded this past weekend, just before our “Babies & Brunch.”  Couscous, the great-grand-daughter of our foundation doe, Chippewa (the namesake for our farm logo-mascot “Chippy”), gave birth to twin does.  One of these little does may well continue the legacy of high butterfat milk, longevity and matronly manner on our farm. When your memory is stretched to push back into the great or great-great grandmother lineages, you know you’ve been in the goat business a long time. 

We have several genetic lines like this one. They harken back to the early days when we had no idea what we were doing with breeding. We did our research, tried to buy foundation stock from reputable breeders who we thought understood our goals, put unrelated purebred bucks in with random groups of does, and hoped for the best. 

Some of our best breeding outcomes came from accidental crosses of a wild & crazy La Mancha buck we named “Little Ritchie” (‘cause he had this great Buffon-style hairdo reminiscent of “Little Richard”) and a very modest Nubian milker named Penny.  We have many does that trace their lines back to their daughters: “Boots and “Gidget,” “Elaine and Shelly” and “Stevie.”  

Over the years, our herd has developed a unique genetic fingerprint, a blending of the best of the two main breeds in our herd-Nubian & La Mancha. When people come to our farm to buy their own “starter” herds, they often ask for purebreds only.  Most fall for the floppy-eared puppy-doglike Nubians. I try to convince them that the gems in our herd are the hybrids; the serendipitous blends with the awkward dangly elf ears that give us the most delicious milk and worm their way into our hearts.  

Fundraiser Campaign Update:  

The donations keep rolling in. Our campaign will  be ending at the end of April, so if you’ve been thinking about donating (small or large, all are much appreciated), don’t delay.  If you aren’t yet familiar with our “Raise the Roof” campaign, please CLICK  HERE, you can read all about it—our projects, our goals, our donation levels. 

As we’ve stated before, this community has been very good to us over the years. You can either donate online or send a check. We will also have a donation box out at the farm during spring open hours if you’d prefer to donate that way.

Babies and Brunch: Full Brunch on BOTH Saturdays and Sundays is FINALLY here! Come out to the farm this weekend—we’re open from 9:30 am to 1:00 pm.  Check out the NEW fabulous menu that Chef Raquel and Sarah of Feast Catering have crafted for this week as well as the details of how these brunches will be run. 

The format is different than our “Spring Open Houses,” which have featured mostly grab and go type foods and beverages.  We’re calling it a “Pop-Up Café,” where you can sit at tables, order your food and enjoy a more substantial meal.

Cheese and Gelato Offerings

We have a really great line up of cheeses to offer you this weekend, still featuring the lovely and lemony spring chevre:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper—these are our regular flavors available all year round
  • Fresh chevre special flavors: cinnamon sugar, caramelized onion—these are limited edition flavors, so get them while they last!
  • Goat milk Feta in Olive Oil: a late fall batch of raw-milk feta bathed in extra virgin olive oil and select dried herbs—perfect for early spring salads or on top of a hearty stew. Very limited availability.
  • Moonglo: fall-milk, tomme-style cheese; the texture of this semi-hard cheese is supple like gouda, but the taste is sharp and fruity. Ask for a taste if you’ve never had it before. Makes a killer-good grilled cheese
  • Huckleberry Blue: our limited late fall goats’ milk blue cheese—it’s a gateway to blue cheeses. Creamy texture, not overly blue-veined (or sharp in a blue way)
  • Jams and Honey: We have a limited selection of jams from Autumn Berry Inspired, house-made jams and some beautiful bottles of fall honey from Two Million Blooms. These make great accompaniments to our cheeses.
  • Gelato: We just have gelato by the scoop this weekend—salted caramel swirl, tart-cherry stracciatella and coffee. Gelato by the pint should be available next week.
  • NEW in the Farm Store: Green Meadows Farm Goat Milk Yogurt. Our friend, Meryl Kauffman, in Arthur, IL raises mostly La Mancha goats (some of whom came from our herd). His goat milk products are delicious, and we're excited to carry his plain goat milk yogurt in quart size only. He has made a special batch for us that is JUST goat milk and live cultures (no added thickeners). Come try some this weekend.

Other Farm Products: David Bane of Bane Family Meats will be here to offer you farm-fresh eggs, chicken, beef, pork and lamb products We also have a selection of Piemonte Sausages: several styles of pork sausage, a new chicken-basil-tomato sausage as well as our goat merguez.

Goat Stew Meat and Cabrito Halves—we have a few packages of lean and tender goat meat available in our farm shop freezer. If you’ve never tried goat meat, you should. It’s very mild and lean (lends itself to slow cooking techniques)

Prairie Fruits Farm Merch: While you’re here, take home a memento from the farm—t-shirts, hooded sweat shirts, batik aprons, tea towels, onesies, note cards, cheese boards and goat milk soaps. 

Mother’s Day Brunch: We have two seatings for brunch on May 13th, Mother’s Day. These brunches are by reservation only.  Check out the menu for this special mother’s day brunch and book your tickets now! They’re going fast.  

Goat Yoga and Delight Flower Spring bouquet shares: Delight Flower Farm has a lot going on this year. Maggie Taylor has decided to host yoga with baby goats again this year at the farm.  Right now, she has a few dates in late April and some in May for goat yoga classes. You can registration on their website:  http://delightflowerfarm.com/shop/ 

They are also offering a limited time “spring bloom bouquet CSA” Check out all the details as well all the other great things they offer here: DelightFlowerFarm.com

Cheese and Gelato CSA: We still have openings for our 2018 season.  If you’re not familiar with how our “CSA” works, I encourage you to check out the details.  We have pick up locations in Champaign Urbana and Bloomington-Normal.  We treat our CSA members like royalty. Come join our special club. 

Dinners on the Farm: Our 2018 season is posted on our website and ticket sales are LIVE for the entire season.  Take a look at the dates and themes, and book your reservations NOW.  These tickets go fast, so don’t delay.  We have a great diversity of dinner themes this year from Italian to Oaxacan.  We’re excited to host you on our farm for a memorable farm to table experience.   

Looking for a goat for a family milker? How about for brush control or rural pet? Goats are wonderful working animals and affectionate companions too. We have great breeding stock with excellent health and milk records.  Check out what's available and contact us if interested. 


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 4/6/2018 9:22am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

Crystalline white petals encasing a bright orange trumpet; the daffodil is the persistent harbinger of spring.  On Sunday, April 1st, we awoke to a blanket of over four inches of pristine white snow; the warm soil beneath gasping for breath.  The waning moon was still in the western sky, while the warming sun rose over the creek to the east.  There was steam rising over the borrow pit pond and snowy ice crystals coating the emergent green stems of weeds in the pasture. Daffodils frozen tall in a bed of snow; a cruel April Fools prank, indeed.

 

Assuming that this spring would be like most others here in the Midwest, we had moved our bucks out to the pasture just before kidding season commenced.  The poor guys have had to endure several snow squalls and a blizzard-more snow than we got in the months of January and February combined. I’m impressed with their adaptability.  They have toughened up quite a bit (yes, they have shelter to get out of the weather), and the April Fool’s Day snow didn’t slow them down one bit.  As I pushed out the fluffy white stuff out of their feed troughs, they wait, with steaming breath, for the promise of grain and fresh hay.  We’re all trying to come to grips with discordant weather, and we all must eat. 

Fundraiser Campaign Update:  The donations continue to flow in and we continue to be so grateful. We are now over $11,000, close to one third of our total goal.  If you aren’t yet familiar with our “Raise the Roof” campaign, please CLICK  HERE, you can read all about it—our projects, our goals, our donation levels.  As we’ve stated before, this community has been very good to us over the years. We hope you’ll consider making a donation (small or large) to help us “Raise the Roof” and take the farm to whole new level.  We will also have a donation box out at the farm during spring open hours if you’d prefer to donate that way.

Babies and Brunch: Full Brunch on BOTH Saturdays and Sundays is FINALLY here! Come out to the farm this weekend—we’re open from 9:30 am to 1:00 pm.  Check out the fabulous menu that Chef Raquel and Sarah of Feast Catering have crafted as well as the details of how these brunches will be run.  The format will be different than our “Spring Open Houses,” which have featured mostly grab and go type foods and beverages.  We’re calling it a “Pop-Up Café.”

Cheese and Gelato Offerings We have a really great line up of cheeses to offer you this weekend, featuring the lovely and lemony spring chevre:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper—these are our regular flavors available all year round
  • Fresh chevre special flavors: cinnamon sugar, caramelized onion—these are limited edition flavors, so get them while they last!
  • Goat milk Feta in Olive Oil: a late fall batch of raw-milk feta bathed in extra virgin olive oil and select dried herbs—perfect for early spring salads or on top of a hearty stew. Very limited availability.
  • Moonglo: fall-milk, tomme-style cheese; the texture of this semi-hard cheese is supple like gouda, but the taste is sharp and fruity. Ask for a taste if you’ve never had it before. Makes a killer-good grilled cheese
  • Huckleberry Blue: our limited late fall goats’ milk blue cheese—it’s a gateway to blue cheeses. Creamy texture, not overly blue-veined (or sharp in a blue way)
  • Jams and Honey: We have a limited selection of jams from Autumn Berry Inspired, house-made jams and some beautiful bottles of fall honey from Two Million Blooms. These make great accompaniments to our cheeses.
  • Gelato: We have limited pint flavors (chocolate, fruitti di bosco and nectarine sorbetto) and gelato by the scoop (pistachio, salted caramel and coffee for sure). 
  • Other Farm Products David Bane of Bane Family Meats will be here to offer you farm-fresh eggs, chicken, beef, pork and lamb products We also have a selection of Piemonte Sausages: several styles of pork sausage as well as our goat merguez
  • Goat Stew Meat and Cabrito Halves—we have a few packages of lean and tender goat meat available in our farm shop freezer. If you’ve never tried goat meat, you should. It’s very mild and lean (lends itself to slow cooking techniques)
  • Prairie Fruits Farm Merch: While you’re here, take home a memento from the farm—t-shirts, hooded sweat shirts, batik aprons, tea towels, onesies, note cards, cheese boards and goat milk soaps. 

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

Goat Yoga and Delight Flower Spring bouquet shares: Delight Flower Farm has a lot going on this year. Maggie Taylor has decided to host yoga with baby goats again this year at the farm.  Right now, she has a few dates in late April and some in May for goat yoga classes. You can registration on their website:  http://delightflowerfarm.com/shop/

They are also offering a limited time “spring bloom bouquet CSA” Check out all the details as well all the other great things they offer here: DelightFlowerFarm.com

Cheese and Gelato CSA: We still have openings for our 2018 season.  If you’re not familiar with how our “CSA” works, I encourage you to check out the details.  We have pick up locations in Champaign Urbana and Bloomington-Normal.  We treat our CSA members like royalty. Come join our special club. 

Dinners on the Farm: Our 2018 season is now posted on our website and ticket sales are LIVE for the entire season.  Take a look at the dates and themes, and book your reservations NOW.  These tickets go fast, so don’t delay.  We have a great diversity of dinner themes this year from Italian to Oaxacan.  We’re excited to host you on our farm for a memorable farm to table experience.   

Looking for a goat for a family milker? How about for brush control or rural pet? Goats are wonderful working animals and affectionate companions too. We have a few retired milkers and great breeding stock with excellent health and milk records.  Check out what's available and contact us if interested. 


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

Posted 3/29/2018 5:01pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

We’ve had a mini-baby boom this week as March draws to a close.  Most of the does decided that evening was the best time to go into labor, leaving me lingering in the doe barn after feeding chores, patiently waiting for signs of progression, hoping that they would deliver before 9 pm.  The faraway stare and lack of interest in feed (especially really good alfalfa hay) are the first signals that babies will come.  These segue into pawing at the ground (we call this nesting behavior) and emergence of a mucus plug (birth fluid discharge). If the stars are aligned well, the next phase is active pushing and the bulge of the birth sac.  The birth sac reminds me of the bubble that encased Glenda, the good witch of the North, as she descended into the land of Oz in the movie, "The Wizard of Oz." It’s opaque and it delivers goodness and beauty into the world.  After all these years witnessing birth, I am always impressed by the repeatability of the process. I am also humbled when the process doesn’t follow the normal course, and I need to intervene.  

If the kid is presented properly, you can see the front hooves first, followed by the head.  Once the head is visible, the body follows in short order and the baby is delivered.  If we’re there to watch the process unfold, we have clean towels ready and waiting to catch the baby as he/she exits the birth canal. This way, we can clean the birth fluid off the face right away and make sure he/she is breathing.

We hand off the sticky newborn to its mother to do the bulk of the cleaning.  Some first time mothers are baffled by the alien before them, and refuse to clean their baby. Since our pregnant does are in a communal pen that they share with some of our older retired does, I am always heartened by the motherly instincts of does with no hormonal or genetic reasons to clean off the kids of another doe. Yet, there they are, Elaine and Shelly, two 10-year old sisters, pushing their heads into the warm gooey mess of the newborns, tongues vigorously licking off birth fluid, working their way from head to tail. The ties that bind us mammals are strong.

Fundraiser Campaign Update: The support for the farm is humbling! Thank you SO MUCH to those who have contributed to our campaign thus far. This week, we hit the $10,000 mark.  With these funds, we can definitely finish the roof on the pavilion.  We still have other needed projects, and additional funds raised will go toward all the special projects we hope to accomplish this spring.  If you aren’t yet familiar with our “Raise the Roof” campaign, please CLICK  HERE, you can read all about it—our projects, our goals, our donation levels.  As we’ve stated before, this community has been very good to us over the years. We hope you’ll consider making a donation (small or large) to help us “Raise the Roof” and take the farm to whole new level.  We will also have a donation box out at the farm during spring open hours if you’d prefer to donate that way.

Spring Open House: Our second spring open house (aka babies and breakfast) is this Saturday March 31st.  Come on out to the farm from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm. Although we officially cancelled last week (because of that crazy spring blizzard), a number of you braved the elements to come out—THANK YOU!! So, this Saturday, the forecast is a bit iffy with possible rain, but a lot warmer than last week.  Most activities—food, beverages, farm store, baby and momma goats-are indoors, so we will host the event, rain or shine.

Here’s the menu:

  • Goat Milk Hot Chocolate $3.50/cup
  • Hot Coffee from Columbia Street Roastery $2.50 cup

All pastries and baked goods by Lucky Pierre Bakers:

-hand-rolled doughnuts made with locally milled flour—cardamom vanilla, ginger, lemon, lamington $3/each
-NY style bagels: plain, sesame, everything—buy a couple of bagels and pick up one of our chevre flavors to go with them (see chevre flavors below) $2.75 each bagel
-scones: chocolate pecan, lemon ginger, fig & honey, peach and Moonglo cheese (savory) $3 each
-cinnamon rolls $4 each
-cinnamon-roll ‘bread pudding’ $4/each
-fig/walnut and Huckleberry Blue cheese rolls $4/each

Cheese and Gelato Offerings

We have a really great line up of cheeses to offer you this weekend, featuring the lovely and lemony spring chevre.  If you're hosting guests this holiday weekend, make sure you pick up two or three of our cheeses for a holiday cheese board. We also have two NEW chevre flavors. These were the voted the most popular in a little survey we did on Facebook:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper—these are our regular flavors available all year round
  • Fresh chevre special flavors: cinnamon sugar, caramelized onion—these will go great on those Lucky Pierre bagels (of course our regular flavors will too).
  • Goat milk Feta in Olive Oil: a late fall batch of raw-milk feta bathed in extra virgin olive oil and select dried herbs—perfect for early spring salads or on your holiday roast leg of lamb. Very limited availability, so grab a container while they last
  • Moonglo: fall-milk, tomme-style cheese; the texture of this semi-hard cheese is supple like gouda, but the taste is sharp and fruity. Ask for a taste if you’ve never had it before. Makes a killer-good grilled cheese
  • Huckleberry Blue: our limited late fall goats’ milk blue cheese—it’s a gateway to blue cheeses. Creamy texture, not overly blue-veined (or sharp in a blue way)
  • Jams and Honey: We have a limited selection of jams from Autumn Berry Inspired, house-made jams and some beautiful bottles of fall honey from Two Million Blooms. These make great accompaniments to our cheeses.
  • Gelato: We have limited pint flavors (chocolate, salted caramel, fruitti di bosco and nectarine sorbetto) and gelato by the scoop (pistachio, vanilla, chocolate and coffee for sure). 
  • Other Farm Products David Bane of Bane Family Meats will be here to offer you farm-fresh eggs, chicken, beef, pork and lamb products We also have a selection of Piemonte Sausages: several styles of pork sausage as well as our goat merguez
  • Goat Stew Meat and Cabrito Halves—we have a few packages of lean and tender goat meat available in our farm shop freezer. If you’ve never tried goat meat, you should. It’s very mild and lean (lends itself to slow cooking techniques). It would be a great alternative to lamb for the holidays.
  • Prairie Fruits Farm Merch: While you’re here, take home a memento from the farm—t-shirts, hooded sweat shirts, batik aprons, tea towels, onesies, note cards, cheese boards and goat milk soaps. 

Build your own cheese board for the holidays-Grove Stone Class:  Tonight--Thursday, March 29th, 6:30-8:30 pm, I will be teaching a class at Grove Stone in Champaign, IL on how to craft the perfect spring cheese and accompaniments board for the holidays. Whether you’re hosting guests for Easter or Passover, or just celebrating spring with some friends, this class will cover basic cheese styles and how to pair them with simple accompaniments (jams, vinegars, nuts, etc) and wine.  Check out the details. You can sign up on the spot tonight.

Babies and Brunch: Starting April 7th and running through May 12th, we’ll be serving brunch-Saturdays and Sundays, 9:30-1:00.  Check out the fabulous menu that Chef Raquel and Sarah of Feast Catering have crafted as well as the details of how these brunches will be run.  The format will be different than our “Spring Open Houses,” which have featured mostly grab and go type foods and beverages. More details to come next week.

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

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

Cheese and Gelato CSA: The deadline to get our pre-season discount on Cheese and Gelato Shares ends this SATURDAY March 31st.  If you’re not familiar with how our “CSA” works, I encourage you to check out the details.  We have pick up locations in Champaign Urbana and Bloomington-Normal.  We treat our CSA members like royalty. Come join our special club. 

Dinners on the Farm: Our 2018 season is now posted on our website and ticket sales are LIVE for the entire season.  Take a look at the dates and themes, and book your reservations NOW.  These tickets go fast, so don’t delay.  We have a great diversity of dinner themes this year from Italian to Oaxacan.  We’re excited to host you on our farm for a memorable farm to table experience.   

Looking for a goat for a family milker? How about for brush control or rural pet? Goats are wonderful working animals and affectionate companions too. We have great breeding stock with excellent health and milk records.  Check out what's available and contact us if interested. 


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

Posted 3/24/2018 7:51am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Good morning farm fans:


I am sorry to announce that we will be canceling the spring open house scheduled for this morning. We had thought that the weather would just be rain, but we've got a thick layer of slushy snow on the ground, and the forecast isn't look good for the remainder of the morning. In the eight years that we've been welcoming folks to the farm in the spring, we've never had to cancel our spring open house. We apologize for any inconvenience.  


If folks do venture out, please take care driving. The roads are not good.  We will have hot beverages and food ready, just in case. The goats are tucked inside the barns, and will welcome visitors, regardless of the weather. 



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

Posted 3/22/2018 8:17pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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 Farm News

It’s cold still. The water buckets have a layer of ice every morning that requires use of a blunt instrument to get to the frigid water underneath.  The goats drink the cold water reluctantly; they’re thirsty after eating their hay and grain.  The sun shines, but the pasture is in suspended animation.  The pseudo warmth lures the goat girls out to graze, only to find them back in the doe barn within ten minutes rooting for hay.  The chilled air bites our hands and faces, and as much as I’d like to take off my Carhart jacket while doing chores, it’s not coming off any time soon.  

The frenzy of goat births has slowed to a trickle, and we’re getting caught up on the spring tasks that had to be put on hold—trimming hooves, vaccinating baby goats, cleaning out barns, composting waste hay, filling in tractor tire ruts.  We’ve hit the 100 kids born on the farm mark, but it seems to have happened at a much more leisurely pace compared with last year’s record of 100 kids in 10 days. The edginess of kidding season anxiety is giving way to a more predictable routine of spring: milking, cheese making, kid feeding and cleaning when there’s time.  The orchard trees are getting pruned, the flower farm’s green house has early spring blooms, the daffodils inch their heads ever higher toward the sky each day.  The vernal equinox will be fulfilled; spring will come, winter coat or not. 

Fundraiser Campaign Update:  Thank you SO MUCH to those who have contributed to our campaign thus far. We have already raised over $2000. While we have a ways to go, we are grateful for the funds received that will go toward the special projects we hope to accomplish this spring.  If you aren’t yet familiar with our “Raise the Roof” campaign, please CLICK HERE, you can read all about it—our projects, our goals, our donation levels.  As we’ve stated before, this community has been very good to us over the years. We hope you’ll consider making a donation (small or large) to help us take the farm to whole new level. 

Spring Open House: Our first spring open house (aka babies and breakfast) is this Saturday March 24th.  Come on out to the farm from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm. The forecast isn’t looking super great to be outdoors, but rest assured, we will keep you warm with hot beverages and heart-warming baby goats. 

Here’s the menu:

  • Goat Milk Hot Chocolate $3.50/cup
  • Hot Coffee from Columbia Street Roastery $2.50 cup

All pastries and baked goods by Lucky Pierre Bakers:

-hand-rolled doughnuts made with locally milled flour—cardamom vanilla, ginger, lemon, lamington $3/each
-NY style bagels: plain, sesame, everything—buy a couple of bagels and pick up one of our chevre flavors to go with them (see chevre flavors below) $2.75 each bagel
-scones: chocolate pecan, lemon ginger, fig & honey $3 each
-cinnamon rolls $4 each
-fig/walnut and Huckleberry Blue cheese rolls $4/each

Cheese and Gelato Offerings

We have a really great line up of cheeses to offer you this weekend, featuring the lovely and lemony spring chevre. We’re rolling out two NEW chevre flavors. These were the voted the most popular in a little survey we did on Facebook last week:

Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper—these are our regular flavors available all year round

Fresh chevre special flavors: cinnamon sugar, caramelized onion—these will go great on those Lucky Pierre bagels (of course our regular flavors will too).

Goat milk Feta in Olive Oil: a late fall batch of raw-milk feta bathed in extra virgin olive oil and select dried herbs—perfect for early spring salads or on top of a hearty stew. Very limited availability, so grab a container while they last

Moonglo: fall-milk, tomme-style cheese; the texture of this semi-hard cheese is supple like gouda, but the taste is sharp and fruity. Ask for a taste if you’ve never had it before. Makes a killer-good grilled cheese

Huckleberry Blue: our limited late fall goats’ milk blue cheese—it’s a gateway to blue cheeses. Creamy texture, not overly blue-veined (or sharp in a blue way)

Jams and Honey: We have a limited selection of jams from Autumn Berry Inspired, house-made jams and some beautiful bottles of fall honey from Two Million Blooms.These make great accompaniments to our cheeses.

Gelato: We have limited pint flavors (chocolate, salted caramel, chai tea and maybe a few others) and despite the cold weather forecast, we will offer gelato by the scoop (as a New Englander who’s accustomed to eating ice cream in the dead of winter, I see no problem with enjoying a scoop of gelato when it’s below freezing outside). 

Other Farm Products

  • David Bane of Bane Family Meats will be here to offer you farm-fresh eggs, chicken, beef, pork and lamb products
  • We also have a selection of Piemonte Sausages: several styles of pork sausage as well as our goat merguez
  • Goat Stew Meat and Cabrito Halves—we have a few packages of lean and tender goat meat available in our farm shop freezer. If you’ve never tried goat meat, you should. It’s very mild and lean (lends itself to slow cooking techniques)
  • Prairie Fruits Farm Merch: While you’re here, take home a memento from the farm—t-shirts, hooded sweat shirts, batik aprons, tea towels, onesies, note cards, cheese boards and goat milk soaps. 

Build your own cheese board for the holidays-Grove Stone Class:  Thursday, March 29th, I will be teaching a class at Grove Stone in Champaign, IL on how to craft the perfect spring cheese and accompaniments board for the holidays. Whether you’re hosting guests for Easter or Passover, or just celebrating spring with some friends, this class will cover basic cheese styles and how to pair them with simple accompaniments (jams, vinegars, nuts, etc) and wine.  Check out the details and reserve your spot before they’re sold out.

Babies and Brunch: Starting in April and running through May 12th, we’ll be serving brunch-Saturdays and Sundays, 9:30-1:00.  Check out the fabulous menu that Chef Raquel and Sarah of Feast Catering have crafted as well as the details of how these brunches will be run.  The format will be different than our “Spring Open Houses,” which have featured mostly grab and go type foods and beverages. More details to come in the next couple of weeks.

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

Goat Yoga and Delight Flower Spring bouquet shares: Delight Flower Farm has a lot going on this year. Maggie Taylor has decided to host yoga with baby goats again this year at the farm.  Right now, she has a few dates in May for goat yoga classes. You can registration on their website: 

http://delightflowerfarm.com/shop/ They are also offering a limited time “spring bloom bouquet CSA”  Check out all the details as well all the other great things they offer here: DelightFlowerFarm.com

Cheese and Gelato CSA: The deadline to get our pre-season discount on Cheese and Gelato Shares ends on March 31st.  If you’re not familiar with how our “CSA” works, I encourage you to check out the details.  We have pick up locations in Champaign Urbana and Bloomington-Normal.  We treat our CSA members like royalty. Come join our special club. 

Dinners on the Farm: Our 2018 season is now posted on our website and ticket sales are LIVE for the entire season.  Take a look at the dates and themes, and book your reservations NOW.  These tickets go fast, so don’t delay.  We have a great diversity of dinner themes this year from Italian to Oaxacan.  We’re excited to host you on our farm for a memorable farm to table experience.   

Looking for a goat for a family milker? How about for brush control or rural pet? Goats are wonderful working animals. We have great breeding stock with excellent health and milk records.  Check out what's available and contact us if interested.


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

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

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Farm News

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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 Farm News

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

Erica with Artie twins

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

Farmers’ Market Sales

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

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

CSA Sign-Up

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

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

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

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


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

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

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Farm News

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sign Up for our 2018 Cheese and Gelato CSA Season

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


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