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Carharts not coming off any time soon, First spring open house and Other farm happenings

Posted 3/22/2018 8:17pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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 Farm News

It’s cold still. The water buckets have a layer of ice every morning that requires use of a blunt instrument to get to the frigid water underneath.  The goats drink the cold water reluctantly; they’re thirsty after eating their hay and grain.  The sun shines, but the pasture is in suspended animation.  The pseudo warmth lures the goat girls out to graze, only to find them back in the doe barn within ten minutes rooting for hay.  The chilled air bites our hands and faces, and as much as I’d like to take off my Carhart jacket while doing chores, it’s not coming off any time soon.  

The frenzy of goat births has slowed to a trickle, and we’re getting caught up on the spring tasks that had to be put on hold—trimming hooves, vaccinating baby goats, cleaning out barns, composting waste hay, filling in tractor tire ruts.  We’ve hit the 100 kids born on the farm mark, but it seems to have happened at a much more leisurely pace compared with last year’s record of 100 kids in 10 days. The edginess of kidding season anxiety is giving way to a more predictable routine of spring: milking, cheese making, kid feeding and cleaning when there’s time.  The orchard trees are getting pruned, the flower farm’s green house has early spring blooms, the daffodils inch their heads ever higher toward the sky each day.  The vernal equinox will be fulfilled; spring will come, winter coat or not. 

Fundraiser Campaign Update:  Thank you SO MUCH to those who have contributed to our campaign thus far. We have already raised over $2000. While we have a ways to go, we are grateful for the funds received that will go toward the special projects we hope to accomplish this spring.  If you aren’t yet familiar with our “Raise the Roof” campaign, please CLICK HERE, you can read all about it—our projects, our goals, our donation levels.  As we’ve stated before, this community has been very good to us over the years. We hope you’ll consider making a donation (small or large) to help us take the farm to whole new level. 

Spring Open House: Our first spring open house (aka babies and breakfast) is this Saturday March 24th.  Come on out to the farm from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm. The forecast isn’t looking super great to be outdoors, but rest assured, we will keep you warm with hot beverages and heart-warming baby goats. 

Here’s the menu:

  • Goat Milk Hot Chocolate $3.50/cup
  • Hot Coffee from Columbia Street Roastery $2.50 cup

All pastries and baked goods by Lucky Pierre Bakers:

-hand-rolled doughnuts made with locally milled flour—cardamom vanilla, ginger, lemon, lamington $3/each
-NY style bagels: plain, sesame, everything—buy a couple of bagels and pick up one of our chevre flavors to go with them (see chevre flavors below) $2.75 each bagel
-scones: chocolate pecan, lemon ginger, fig & honey $3 each
-cinnamon rolls $4 each
-fig/walnut and Huckleberry Blue cheese rolls $4/each

Cheese and Gelato Offerings

We have a really great line up of cheeses to offer you this weekend, featuring the lovely and lemony spring chevre. We’re rolling out two NEW chevre flavors. These were the voted the most popular in a little survey we did on Facebook last week:

Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper—these are our regular flavors available all year round

Fresh chevre special flavors: cinnamon sugar, caramelized onion—these will go great on those Lucky Pierre bagels (of course our regular flavors will too).

Goat milk Feta in Olive Oil: a late fall batch of raw-milk feta bathed in extra virgin olive oil and select dried herbs—perfect for early spring salads or on top of a hearty stew. Very limited availability, so grab a container while they last

Moonglo: fall-milk, tomme-style cheese; the texture of this semi-hard cheese is supple like gouda, but the taste is sharp and fruity. Ask for a taste if you’ve never had it before. Makes a killer-good 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)

Jams and Honey: We have a limited selection of jams from Autumn Berry Inspired, house-made jams and some beautiful bottles of fall honey from Two Million Blooms.These make great accompaniments to our cheeses.

Gelato: We have limited pint flavors (chocolate, salted caramel, chai tea and maybe a few others) and despite the cold weather forecast, we will offer gelato by the scoop (as a New Englander who’s accustomed to eating ice cream in the dead of winter, I see no problem with enjoying a scoop of gelato when it’s below freezing outside). 

Other Farm Products

  • David Bane of Bane Family Meats will be here to offer you farm-fresh eggs, chicken, beef, pork and lamb products
  • We also have a selection of Piemonte Sausages: several styles of pork sausage as well as our goat merguez
  • Goat Stew Meat and Cabrito Halves—we have a few packages of lean and tender goat meat available in our farm shop freezer. If you’ve never tried goat meat, you should. It’s very mild and lean (lends itself to slow cooking techniques)
  • Prairie Fruits Farm Merch: While you’re here, take home a memento from the farm—t-shirts, hooded sweat shirts, batik aprons, tea towels, onesies, note cards, cheese boards and goat milk soaps. 

Build your own cheese board for the holidays-Grove Stone Class:  Thursday, March 29th, I will be teaching a class at Grove Stone in Champaign, IL on how to craft the perfect spring cheese and accompaniments board for the holidays. Whether you’re hosting guests for Easter or Passover, or just celebrating spring with some friends, this class will cover basic cheese styles and how to pair them with simple accompaniments (jams, vinegars, nuts, etc) and wine.  Check out the details and reserve your spot before they’re sold out.

Babies and Brunch: Starting in April and running through May 12th, we’ll be serving brunch-Saturdays and Sundays, 9:30-1:00.  Check out the fabulous menu that Chef Raquel and Sarah of Feast Catering have crafted as well as the details of how these brunches will be run.  The format will be different than our “Spring Open Houses,” which have featured mostly grab and go type foods and beverages. More details to come in the next couple of weeks.

Special Graduation Dinner & Mother’s Day Brunch: We are offering a special farm to table dinner for graduates and their families on Saturday May 12th AND a local-foods brunch buffet for Mother’s Day. Check out the menu for dinner and/or mother’s day brunch and book your tickets now! They’re going fast. 

Goat Yoga and Delight Flower Spring bouquet shares: Delight Flower Farm has a lot going on this year. Maggie Taylor has decided to host yoga with baby goats again this year at the farm.  Right now, she has a few dates in May for goat yoga classes. You can registration on their website: 

http://delightflowerfarm.com/shop/ They are also offering a limited time “spring bloom bouquet CSA”  Check out all the details as well all the other great things they offer here: DelightFlowerFarm.com

Cheese and Gelato CSA: The deadline to get our pre-season discount on Cheese and Gelato Shares ends on March 31st.  If you’re not familiar with how our “CSA” works, I encourage you to check out the details.  We have pick up locations in Champaign Urbana and Bloomington-Normal.  We treat our CSA members like royalty. Come join our special club. 

Dinners on the Farm: Our 2018 season is now posted on our website and ticket sales are LIVE for the entire season.  Take a look at the dates and themes, and book your reservations NOW.  These tickets go fast, so don’t delay.  We have a great diversity of dinner themes this year from Italian to Oaxacan.  We’re excited to host you on our farm for a memorable farm to table experience.   

Looking for a goat for a family milker? How about for brush control or rural pet? Goats are wonderful working animals. We have great breeding stock with excellent health and milk records.  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.