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A day nearly total, market news and farm happenings

Posted 8/25/2017 8:05am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

Eclipse mania started early last week in these parts.  With the zone of totality within an easy two hour’s drive south, it seemed like everyone we knew was getting in their cars to face the traffic jams on I-57.  The pull of the magnetic corona was tugging at their hearts and minds- the chance to witness nearly two minutes of total coverage irresistible. We knew that the farm would keep us grounded in the nearly total eclipse realm.  While we had heard that 94% was nothing like totality, we were resigned to embrace whatever show nature had in store for us here at home.

As usual, we had not planned. We had no special viewing glasses. We were short-staffed.  The forecast was calling for clouds in our area, maybe even a brief shower.  As the morning wore on, we went about our daily chores, peering up at the sky from time to time, watching the clouds shift across and block the sun.  The eclipse was going to be a bust, we thought, assuaging our feelings of regret for not having followed the crowds to southern Illinois.  At close to 10:30, a pop-up shower dumped a few drops of rain on the farm, and then a couple of miraculous things happened: the sun came out and some friends came over with some viewing glasses. 

We decided to take the goats down to the prairie during the eclipse.  There was a slight haze in the sky, but without the viewing glasses, you would be hard pressed to realize that something was starting to cover the sun.  As the eclipsed progressed, however, the light in the sky began to change and the air became totally still.  The dim brightness reminded me of eerie pre-tornado skies.  The diurnal insects fell silent. The guinea fowl began their evening ritual of whooping and cackling, their tiny prehistoric brains believing it was dusk. The goats meandered through the prairie, munching on flowers, pulling down cottonwood branches to dine on their leaves, seemingly oblivious to the subtle changes in the sky.  From time to time, we would done the special glasses to view the progress of the moon’s coverage of the sun.  Yet, the beauty and wonder of the eclipse was the translucent light and the behavior of the critters with whom we spend our days. 

Market News

We’re attending two markets this coming Saturday, August 26th: Urbana’s Market at the Square and Chicago’s Green City Market. This will be our FINAL outdoor Green City Market.  We plan to attend a couple of the indoor markets around the holidays (Thanksgiving and Christmas).  We have enjoyed selling to our patrons in Chicago, and we value your support over all these years.  The logistics of getting our cheese and gelato to market in Chicago has become extremely challenging.  We continue to sell our cheeses to select retail cheese shops, and we recommend that you patronize Local Foods, Pastoral, Eataly and several of the Whole Foods stores.  Here is the line-up of cheeses for this coming Saturday:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper-it’s perfect on grilled veggies or a quick summer salad
  • Raw-milk Feta: Packed in whey brine for flavor and preservation, this tangy cheese is perfect for a summer “Greek” salad; with watermelon in season, how about feta & watermelon salad??
  • Angel Food: our little compact bloomy rind—firm paste, mushroomy rind
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: our goat milk camembert
  • Black Goat: our ash-coated bloomy with a hint of yeast on the rind; this latest batch is young but delicious
  • Magia Negra: our nod to a Manchego style cheese, sharp nutty notes with hints of tart berries. Rind is rubbed with an olive oil-black currant & aronia berry paste
  • Moonglo: Our spring batches have a lighter, fruitier flavor profile than our rich & decadent fall batches.  
  •  Goat Milk Yogurt: we’re only making small batches of yogurt once every few weeks, so if you’re fond of our simple yogurt, come early to the markets-pints and quarts available.

Gelato: take home a few pints this week (try our “three pint special: buy 3, get $3 off the total price! * indicates flavors that will be available at both Urbana and Green City Markets):

  • Bourbon Peach Sorbetto*
  • Grape Two Ways Sorbetto
  • Chevre with Sea Salted Dark Chocolate
  • Lemon Verbena
  • Peaches & Cream
  • Red Currant*
  • Thai Basil*
  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Gianduja (chocolate-hazelnut)
  • Espresso
  • Salted Caramel Swirl*
  • Pineapple Sage with Fresh Pineapple (limited)
  • Stracciatella (limited)

Farm Happenings

Farm Open Hours:  With school back in session, we are shortening our open hours, effective next week (week of August 28th) through the end of September:

Fridays, 1-6 PM Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 PM

You can still stroll the farm, visit with the goats and check out the offerings in our farm store, The Real Stand. We will still be serving gelato by the scoop. We’ll even serve you a cup of espresso with gelato (very Italian—“Affogato”).  We will always have cheese, pints of gelato, meats, eggs and other farm products for sale as well. 

Don't forget to follow directions to the farm from our website. This will ensure easy travels during the road construction on N. Lincoln Avenue. The detour is in effect until November.

Family Friendly Happy Hour on the Farm: NEXT Friday September 1st 5-7 PM.  This is the final happy hour of the season.  Our guest brewer will be Triptych. They’ll be bringing some tasty microbrews to share.  If beer isn’t your thing, we have a fantastic selection of organic and biodynamic wines and Homer Sodas David Bane of Bane Family Meats returns to the farm grill to cook up some his delicious pasture-raised chickens.  Finish the night with a scoop of gelato or a root beer or Triptych Prairie Peach Picnic ale float.  You can even come out and do some shopping-cheese, gelato, veggies grown at the farm by Deux Chevaux Farm (our incubator veggie growers). 

Delight Flower Farm Retreat on the Farm The talented women who own Delight Flower Farm are hosting an all-day retreat on the farm, Saturday October 7th.  Events will include: yoga, a plant walk, a farm tour, flower arranging, an herbalism class, an introduction to Ayurveda, campfire rituals, and plenty of time to take in the healing properties of nature.  Local-farm-sourced and professionally prepared meals are included. Here's the link: http://delightflowerfarm.com/natural-medicine-a-farmstead-retreat/ If you register by September 1st, they’re offering an early-bird discount ($100 off the total registration).   

Dinners on the Farm: Get your tickets NOW before they’re all sold out. Seats still available for the September 30th Celebration of Squash and the October 14th Pizza Night Out Pop-Up.  


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