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Alignment of the stars, Farmers' Market Offerings and Farm Happenings

Posted 9/29/2017 9:27am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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 Farm News

With a light puff of air from the weather gods, the mercury on the thermostat slide downward to autumnal “normal” this week.  There was no great front that came through. There were no thunder clouds or turbulent air currents; just a little tweak on the atmospheric thermostat dial.  While we welcomed the crisp chill in the air, we had hoped for a little rain from the changeover.  The gentle but sudden transformation aligned the “stars” of fall with immediate effect.  On our daily walk to the prairie, the goats’ gustatory fixations turned to dried cottonwood leaves, scarfing them up like junk food junkies on a potato chip binge.  The crackling communal munching was music to my ears. 

On their way to the prairie, the girls must pass by the buck pen. This gives us a chance to see who is in heat.  The bucks, ever vigilant, patrol the perimeter, snorting and calling to whomever of the ladies that will pay them attention.  Their pacing is so persistent that they have worn a path in the pasture paddock.  The does in heat saddle up to the fence and taunt the boys with tail wags-goat flirting is a sure sign that they are in heat.  There has been a lot of flirting going on in the past couple of days.  Today, we will clean out the doe barn and set up the breeding pens.  Next Monday, the bucks will finally get to satisfy their needs and fulfill their fall duties. 

Pumpkins are another sure sign that the stars of fall are aligned.  Yesterday, I made my annual pilgrimage to The Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur, IL to fill up the back of my station wagon with the bizarre and beautiful members of the Cucurbitaceae family-one of the most diverse plant families on the planet.  I always marvel at the showy array of colors, sizes and shapes of so many squashes, pumpkins and gourds.  They are genetic selection on steroids.  Pumpkins and squashes for every purpose-roasting, baking, seeds and yes carving.  We have a small selection of these beauties for sale at our farm store this weekend and next.

Farmers’ Market Offerings: We’ll be attending the Urbana Market at the Square this Saturday, September 30th.  We still have our special dried tomato chevre, but it won’t be around for too much longer. If you love this cheese as much as I do, I would recommend stocking up.  All flavors of chevre can be frozen for enjoyment later. All three bloomy rind cheeses are back in the line-up, but feta is gone for a while.

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper, dried tomato
  • Angel Food:  our little “crottin” style bloomy rind; small enough to eat in one sitting; paste is firm (it’s young) and this cheese is perfect with a tart jam
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: our goat milk camembert; perfect served with local honey
  • Black Goat: our ash-coated bloomy with a hint of yeast on the rind; try our ACS award winning cheese
  • 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 raw-milk tomme-style cheese, aged for about 4 months.  Semi-firm texture, fruity and sharp flavor notes.  Ask for a taste and you’ll be smitten.
  • Goat Milk Yogurt: Available in both pints and quarts; limited quantities this week

Crackers are on a semi-permanent hiatus as our cracker maker is busy with several other enterprises.

Gelato: take home a few pints this week (try our “three pint special: buy 3, get $3 off the total price!  With the cooler weather, we’ve got some really decadent flavors back in the line-up:

  • Watermelon-Mint Sorbetto (only two pints left)
  • Red Currant
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Turtle (decadent mixture of vanilla gelato, chocolate ganache, caramel and toasted local pecans)
  • Stracciatella (chocolate ganache chip)
  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Mexican Coffee (coffee with a hint of cinnamon and cayenne)
  • Rhubarb swirl
  • Fruitti di Bosco (fruits of the forest in Italian—black and red raspberries, aronia berry)
  • Mint Stracciatella (for those who love mint chocolate chip but without the green food coloring)

Farm Happenings

Farm Open Hours:  Please note that we shortened our open hours for the month of September.  We are now open only on the weekends (Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 PM).  We know that fall is a busy time, with kids back in school and work demands beckoning. If you need a little break from the hustle and bustle, come out to the farm.  It can be a very tranquil place in the early fall. There are still lots of things growing, and the goats love visitors any time of the year. 

The Real Stand is open for business, offering cheese, gelato, meats, eggs and other farm products.  NEW THIS WEEKEND: pumpkins and squashes from The Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur! We also have a few of their gorgeous potted mums. 

Fall Festival: With the weather finally acting like it should, we’re in a mood to celebrate the season. Come out to the farm on Sunday, October 8th (3-6 pm)—hay rides, cider pressing, cider drinking, light snacks, including a special appearance by Lucky Pierre bakers-doughnuts and muffins. SAVE THE DATE

We are planning to offer several classes and workshops later this fall (November)—cheese pairings with wine and beer and demystifying cheese for sure. We might even offer another all-day cheese-making workshop.  Stay tuned for details and dates.

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.  

Farm Dinners:  We still have tickets available for the “Celebration of Squash” farm dinner from guest chef Nicole Pederson (Found Kitchen). The dinner is TOMORROW night, so it’s now or never. Although the meal features many members of the Cucurbitaceae plant family, it is not vegetarian.  Check out the menu.    

We also have tickets to both seatings of the October 14th “Pizza Night Out” dinners-more casual fare. Check them out too.   

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.