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Building the Roof, Market and Farm Store Offerings, Farm Summer Hours and More

Posted 5/31/2018 10:17pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

Not being endowed with the skills to build things, I am always in awe of those in the trades.  The roofers arrived bright and early on Tuesday morning this week. Within minutes, they had their equipment unloaded, and they went right to work assembling their version of a mise en place (the French culinary expression for putting all of your ingredients and tools of the trade together so you can work most efficiently).  I watched their progress throughout the day; the rafters that Wes had precut were connected to the skeleton frame in lightning speed.  By quitting time, the rafters and purlins were in place, ready to receive their metal covering.

The crew returned early again the next day to finish the job. With the threat of thunder storms looming, their pace quickened. It was hard for me to believe they could work any faster; the barn-red metal sheets stretching across the growing roof, like an unfurling flower in a time-lapsed nature film. The intermittent bursts of rain slowed their progress. It wasn’t that they didn’t want to get wet; they educated me that wet metal is as slippery as black ice, and they didn’t want to fall.  I’d say that’s legit.  Despite a few setbacks, they were able to get most of the roof finished by the end of the day, returning this morning to put on the finishing touches and clean up their work space. 

The beautiful red roof ties in perfectly with the red doors on our barn. The pavilion is tall and grand. The shade it casts will be a welcome respite to future guests who dine under its majesty.  Thank you again to those who contributed to our fundraiser to make this roof raising possible. If you’d like to see a little photo collage I put together, click here.

Text Message Customer Loyalty Program:

This week’s offer relates to the delicious fresh ricotta we will be selling at the farmers’ market and farm store on Saturday.  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.  Again, here are the key words based on your interests:

  • For general farm announcements, text GOAT to 30500
  • For special farmers’ market offers and promotions (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

Farmers’ Market Offerings

The heat and the thunder showers are making the pasture grow lush and strong. The goats’ daily forays to the pasture and prairie are filling their udders with some delicious milk. The early summer-like conditions are producing some lovely cheeses—this week, we’ve got lemony chevre, a host of bloomy rind cheeses and fresh ricotta.

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper—the lemony flavor of our chevre is a perfect foil for a mixed green salad or a simple frittata made with local mushrooms.
  • Fresh Whole-Milk Ricotta: we make our ricotta using an Italian basket style recipe.  The result is a slightly more firm ricotta that has sweet-cream, delicate flavor. This ricotta is too good to put in lazagna; enjoy with simple accompaniments--either savory or sweet OR check out my recipe below for a simple, elegant seasonal dessert.
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: This batch is perfectly ripe.  Serve with local honey or one of the jams in our farm store. If you want to go savory, try warming the round slightly and serving with one of our new spring pestos—wild ramp or green garlic (found only in our farm store).
  • Angel Food: our little “mini-brie” or crottin style bloomy rind; we only have a few left of these very ripe & gooey little treats, so come early to the market if you want one.
  • Black Goat: an ash-coated bloomy with a delicate and crinkly yeasty rind. This batch is young, but it has a sublime fudgy consistency and a hint of yeastiness on the rind.  Try pairing with spicy dry-cured salami.
  • 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. Try melting it for a gourmet 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). 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). This cheese is ONLY available directly from us—no wholesale buyers have this cheese right now.
  • Gelato: We don’t have many pints of gelato for sale this week at the market, but come out to the farm to cool off with a scoop of gelato. We should be back with a full-house of gelato on June 9th.

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.

Need some inspiration for how best to enjoy our ricotta? Here’s a simple dessert recipe:

Ricotta stuffed strawberries
1 pound of strawberries
4 oz. of fresh ricotta
1 T heavy cream
1 t sugar or honey
1-2 oz. semi-sweet or dark chocolate, finely chopped or shaved
1 t grated orange zest

Cut off strawberry tops and cut in half, lengthwise. If big enough, scoop out part of center to make a well for the ricotta filling.

Arrange strawberry halves cut side up on a serving plate.

Combine fresh ricotta, cream and sugar/honey; mix to smooth consistency.

Using a small tea spoon, mound the ricotta cream mixture on top of each strawberry half. Top with chopped chocolate and orange zest. Enjoy!

Farm Store Summer Hours

This weekend, we are open Saturday and Sunday, 1-4 pm. Starting Wednesday, June 6th, through the end of August, we will be open Wednesdays-Fridays, 3-7 pm, as well as Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 pm.

To kick off the summer season, we’ve invited our friend Michael Darin, a local wine connoisseur, to do a little wine tasting on Thursday, June 7th, 5-7 pm. He’ll be sampling some of the wines in farm portfolio, all of which are organic and/or biodynamic.  If you want to make an evening of it, we’ll be offering “build your own” cheese boards—pick out your cheeses, add a salami or jar of jam or pesto, grab some crackers and we’ll provide the board. You can sit outside under our new pavilion roof and enjoy a glass of wine with cheese!

If you just want to come out to do a little shopping in farm store, we’ll have cheese and scoops of gelato as well as other farmer products: locally milled whole wheat flour from The Mill at Janie’s Farm, meats, poultry eggs from Bane Family Meats, Piemonte Sausages, Naturally-Crystalized Honey from Two Million Blooms, Jams from Autumn Berry Inspired and Prairie Fruits Farm “merch.”

Dinners on the Farm: Our 2018 season has begun. Summer is a great time to enjoy dining outside at the farm, especially under our new timber-frame pavilion. We have some fantastic themes for summer—“Summer Tapas,” “A Crawfish Boil,” “A Cheesy Affair” (with guest from Pastoral Appellation Wine Bar) and “Summer Vegetarian” (with guest chef Dan Compton of Vie Restaurant).

Do you dream of having goats in your life?  Do you want a family milk goat? 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 have a few pregnant does and even a couple of does in milk available NOW.

We also have retired does, 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.