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The rule of hormones, Market offerings, Farm happenings

Posted 8/2/2018 9:56pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

September in July; days not even breaking a sweat over 80, nights dipping below 60; there has been a strange crispness to the air of mid-summer.  The need for a sweatshirt to do the morning chores felt out of place.  The quiet air of the barns without fans seemed almost decadent.  The sudden drop in temperatures was a welcome respite from the previous weeks of extreme heat and humidity. 

While the farmers were rejoicing, the goats were taking environmental cues.  Sudden changes in temperature stirred their dormant breeding hormones into action.  When they start cycling into heat, they exhibit a few telltale signs.  Like a bunch of high school girls with too much time between classes, their cliquishness becomes accentuated.  Small groups pick fights with a doe close to their rank in the dominance hierarchy.  Others decide to engage in one-on-one tete-a-tete girl spats. Some of the does’ udders become so sensitive they jump when you try to put the milking inflations on them.  Others wail on their way out to the pasture as they pass by the paddock with the breeding bucks.

Their milk production suffers a bit too, as their resources are reallocated to other priorities.  We need them to keep their milk production up.  We are nowhere near ready for them to put their minds on procreation.  The forecasting return to summer temperatures is bittersweet.  The farmers will sweat, but the goats will return to more “normal” summer pursuits: eating pasture and making milk. 

Text Message Customer Loyalty Program: This week’s text club special relates to huckleberry blue. 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  

Summer is back. This Saturday’s forecast for Urbana is warm and sunny. So, come early to the market to get your weekly fare of locally-grown goodness. The market is brimming with mid-summer bounty-peaches, sweet corn, tomatoes, eggplants, berries, and lots of delicious goat dairy products from yours truly. Here’s the cheese line up for Saturday:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: This batch is perfectly ripe, bordering on gooey this weekend.  Nice delicate rind with hints of mushroom.
  • Angel Food: our little “mini-brie” or crottin style bloomy rind; this batch of Angel Food is aging nicely, with hints of cream and mushroom.  It could be sliced into rounds, lightly breaded and pan-fried for topping a bed of fresh greens.
  • Black Goat: an ash-coated bloomy with a delicate and crinkly yeasty rind. This batch is perfectly ripe, and it has a sublime fudgy almost gooey consistency, a slight goat tang and a hint of yeastiness on the rind. 
  • 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 melting it for a gourmet grilled cheese.
  • 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!)—LIMITED OFFERING THIS WEEK
  • 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).

Gelato: We’ve got a good quantity of with gelato and sorbetto this week.  I encourage you to bring a cooler with ice packs to the market to keep your gelato in tip top shape as you travel from the market to your home.

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Fresh Mint
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Buttered Pecan (made with Voss Orchard Pecans)
  • Peaches & Cream (made with our very own peaches from the PFFC orchard)
  • Nectarine Sorbetto (with nectarines from Mileur Orchard)
  • Peach Sorbetto (with PFFC peaches)
  • Sweet Corn Gelato (made with Babb Farms sweet corn)

DON’T FORGET: 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 Summer Hours

Now through the end of August, we are open Wednesdays-Fridays, 3-7 pm, as well as Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 pm. The farm is a tranquil green space where you can come 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 Lucky Pierre bagel chips or 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! We have lots of shades spots in the grass too.  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, even in the warm weather.  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. Next week, we'll be bringing back goat milk yogurt by Green Meadow Farm in Arthur. Look for it in our store fridge starting next Wednesday, August, 8th. 

NEW in the Store! Fresh sweet corn from Babb Farms. Their corn is tender and sweet, and ready for your grill or stock pot.

U-PICK: We were picked clean on peaches last weekend. So, U-picking is suspended until further notice. 

Farm Dinners

We have a few seats left for our “Summer Vegetarian” farm dinner on August 18th (just 3-4 tickets remain).  The menu is on our website and it’s fantastic; I encourage you to book your tickets now. The farm is gorgeous in the summer, there usually is a breeze and it’s a magical place to enjoy a hyper-local farm-to-table meal.  While you’re on our website, check out the themes and dates for the fall. We have two versions of our 100 Yard Dinner this year: a progressive meal around the farm in mid-September and “ploughman’s feast” style meal in October. 

Upcoming Farm Events

Thursday, August 23rd, 5-7 pm “Wine tasting with Michael” Michael Darin, our resident wine guy, will be pouring some easy-drinking summer reds from our wine portfolio.  These reds are light and nuanced and pair well with our bloomy rind cheeses.  Some of the wines to be featured include: Lovegrass Shiraz (Australia), Argiolas Costera (Sardinia), Tarapaca Gran Reserva Organica (Chilean blended red) and Valle Real Montepuciano de Abruzzo (Italy). Michael is always informative and entertaining.  A good time will be had by all. Make a night of it and order a build-your-own cheese board while you’re here too. Please RSVP to our Facebook event so we know how many folks to expect:   https://www.facebook.com/events/235013683815265/

Back by Popular Demand (by ME!): Night of the Living Farm Tuesday, August 28th 7:30 or 8:00 pm start time (will depend on sunset) Join entomologists Dr. Michael Jeffords, Susan Post, and Dr. Joe Spencer from the Illinois Natural History Survey, for a unique exploration of the insects and other creatures that call Prairie Fruits Farm home. As the skies darken, Michael will give a short program on creatures of the night, followed by black-lighting to attract insects from the surrounding landscape. Insects from mayflies to moths are likely to make an appearance.

As soon as the sky is sufficiently dark, we will explore the surrounding forest and prairie with miniature spotlights to see and experience Arthropod activity seldom witnessed. Everything from giant wolf spiders to munching caterpillars to charming tree frogs will likely appear in our flashing beams. We will charge a nominal fee of $10/person (includes a scoop of gelato).  We now have a registration page for this event on our website:   http://www.prairiefruits.com/store/special-events

CU Symphony Orchestra to perform special “environmental” pieces on our farm on Sunday September 23rd, 2-4 pm. Their composer in residence, Stacy Garrop, wrote these pieces to celebrate “Gaia,” mother earth.  Details to follow; for now, save the date.   


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.