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Autumnal equinox in confusion; new arrivals at the farm, market offerings and farm happenings

Posted 9/21/2017 6:33pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

If there is any theme to the rhythm of the seasons this year, it would be discord.  It would be unpredictable.  It would be set no expectations.  The cool, dry clarity of august set up expectations for fall; the fall of Midwest past: goats cycling into breeding heat, apples falling from the trees, soybean fields a blaze in rust and gold hues, market shoppers talking about soups they plan to make rather than salads. 

Early September was following the script. Then, early this week, thunder clouds rolled in, dumped nearly two inches of rain onto our cracked parched soils and cranked up the atmospheric thermostat to summer doldrums 90’s with heat index close to 100.  It was not a fleeting flare up either; this heat wave is settling in for a while.  

The abrupt change is jarring, especially on the eve of the autumnal equinox.  Autumn used to mean sweaters at sunset, not tank tops.  Goat coats should be growing not shedding.  Tomatoes should be slowing their ripening, giving the fall greens a chance to take center stage. Nature is confused, and farmers must acquiesce.  So, while we watch the combines start to roll in senescent cornfields, I will be imagining the farmers’ gratefulness for air conditioned tractor cabs.   

New arrivals at the farm A fellow farmstead goat creamery and dear friend of mine in Iowa has decided to call it quits.  She made beautiful little robiola-style cheeses and milked a handful of spoiled La Mancha goats.  When she notified me that she had made the very hard decision to stop, she asked if we would take some/most of her tiny herd (she was only milking about 12-15 goats, but, boy, are they great milkers). How could I say no? I knew her herd fairly well; I knew she treated her girls like princesses, and they gave back to her in copious quantities of lovely la mancha milk.   

So, last weekend, Erica (our herd manager) and her fiancé hitched up the trailer once again for a little road trip to Iowa-this time to get goats, not sell goats.  They arrived back at the farm with the precious cargo on Sunday afternoon. The new arrivals are slowly adjusting to their new environs.  When I enter the kid barn, and the doelings start screaming, they greenhorns look at me bewilderedly, “how did I end up here” is written all over their faces.   

Our friend had warned us that a couple of them were particularly spoiled (I’m putting a few on goat weight watchers), and they’re exhibiting full goat will power on the milk stand.  Soon enough, with Erica’s gentle (but firm) hand, they will get used to their new routine. For now, we pet them a lot, bring them low-calorie treats and reassure them that their new home is a good one.   

Farmers’ Market Offerings: We’ll be attending the Urbana Market at the Square this Saturday, September 23rd.  We still have our special dried tomato chevre and a few containers of feta available.  Angel Food is still on vacation, but will be back in the line- up next week.

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper, dried tomato  
  • Raw-milk Feta: Packed in whey brine for flavor and preservation-LIMITED AVAILABILITY
  • 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!  Check out the great variety:

  • Watermelon-Mint Sorbetto
  • Red Currant
  • Fresh Mint
  • Stracciatella (chocolate ganache chip)
  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Gianduja (chocolate-hazelnut)
  • Mexican Coffee (coffee with a hint of cinnamon and cayenne)
  • Rhubarb swirl

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. 

We are planning a “fall event” tentatively scheduled for Sunday October 8th (3-6 pm)—hay rides, cider pressing, cider drinking; stayed tuned for details, but SAVE THE DATE for now. 

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.

Delight Flower Farm Retreat on the Farm There are still spots open for this all-day retreat at the farm, hosted by Delight Flower Farm, on Saturday October 7th. Activities 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/ They have drastically reduced the price of this event to sweeten the pot.  You’ll be in great hands with these talented women--you'll be so relaxed and refreshed, you probably won't wont to leave the farm!

Farm Dinners:  We still have tickets available for the “Celebration of Squash” farm dinner from guest chef Nicole Pederson (Found Kitchen). She has crafted a menu that truly captures the delicious diversity of the family Cucurbitaceae.  You won’t want to miss it.  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.