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Endings and beginnings, Market offerings, Farm happenings

Posted 10/12/2018 9:06am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

In the cyclical life of a farmer, sometimes waiting permeates the week’s activities, while other times, you are thrust into radical change. This week, the clouds and winds left a 40-degree temperature drop in their wake, setting into motion a flurry of activity more appropriate to the season. After weeks of distant pinning and unmet amorous frustrations, the breeding bucks finally were brought up to the doe barn to begin breeding. When we went over to the north pasture to retrieve them, we brought a bucket of grain, thinking we would need to coax them out of their summer pasture. This gesture proved totally unnecessary. Like missiles programmed to strike their targets with laser-like precision, they jaunted up through the orchard (Nate was actually galloping) toward the doe barn.  Erica and Zev both had to restrain them to put the marking harnesses on each one before letting them into their breeding pens. 

breeding harness onto bucks

Within minutes of releasing them into their pens, the courtship rituals of flagging (does waving their tails), urine analysis (bucks testing the does’ urine for estrous hormones) and even mounting the few in standing heat ensued.  After a couple of days, the males and their harems are settling into their new routine with occasional bouts of jealousy if someone else’s does come into heat.  So, we begin the simultaneous creep toward the end of this year’s lactation cycle with the first steps toward next year’s production.

As new beginnings stir in the doe barn, the bonus garden crops from delayed summer must now be harvested before the coming frosts.  Yesterday, I spent a couple of hours pulling off ripe and green tomatoes, peppers and any other cold sensitive crops from their vines. My feelings were conflicted—wanting to hoard every single ripe tomato, even those that had fallen to the ground versus accepting that it is ok to leave a few to rot or be eaten. 

fall tomatoes

Despite my better judgement, I was overcome by a sense of last chances, the strong need to glean all of the year’s harvest. It is hard for me to let anything go to waste (perhaps of so many years of childhood indoctrination into the “clean plate club”), even though I know our freezers are full of frozen fruit and veggies.  Just a few more pickles to make, a few more jars to fill and line the shelves.

Text Message Customer Loyalty Program:  This week’s text club special is still about chevre. 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. 

Farmers’ Market Offerings

The forecast is calling for seasonal temperatures—this means cool—but sunny. Perfect shopping weather-lots of farmers will have the end-of-summer produce as well as fall beauties.  We have a great line-up of cheeses, especially chevre, as well as gelato flavors for you, so come out and support your local farmers this Saturday.

If you can’t make it to the market, our farm store is open Friday evening, 4-7 pm, Saturday and Sunday, 1-4 pm. Here’s the cheese line up for Saturday:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper-late summer/early fall milk is making some rich chevre-start stocking up and throw some in your freezer for winter.
  • Roasted poblano chevre: poblano peppers grown on our farm, gently roasted to remove the skins, chopped and blended into our fresh chevre. Slight heat from the peppers, cooled by the creamy chevre; need I say more? Try it on a crostini with pan-roasted mushrooms.
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: This batch aging nicely; buttery, milky and slightly mushroomy. Enjoy a wedge with local honey or jam.
  • Black Goat: an ash-coated bloomy rind cheese with a delicate and crinkly yeasty rind. This batch is aging well with a fudgy texture to the paste.  It has a wonderful yeasty aroma and a tart lemony taste.  This cheese pairs well with sliced pears or try with a reduced balsamic vinegar. 
  • Moonglo:  Our first spring milk batches of this raw milk tomme (sort of like a Gouda, but not really) are making their debut at the market and in the farm store. The spring milk produces a lighter, tangy paste with hints of pineapple. The texture of the cheese is a bit more firm than fall milk batches. Melts well, or just slice and enjoy with your favorite salami.
  • Lunar Eclipse: Earlier this spring, when milk was plentiful, we experimented with a cheese make that attempted to hybridize our “Magia Negra” (a Manchego-style cheese with a black currant rub on the rind) with our Moonglo.  Lunar Eclipse is the same size as our Moonglo wheels, but has a very different paste texture and flavor profile. The paste is slightly dry and crumbly, making it suited to both slicing and grating. The flavor has hints of tannins from the black currant rub.  It looks like the dark side of the moon, but the flavor will put you over the moon (we hope). 
  • Green Peppercorn-Barley Wine Moonglo: another spring-milk experiment. Just before the curds had set in the vat, we add cracked green peppercorns and a touch of a local barley wine.  The cheese wheels have been aging for nearly five months, and the verdict is complex deliciousness.  The green peppercorns give a hint of pepperiness, the barley wine provides a bit of sweetness; the combination is sure to delight.

Gelato: We still have a good selection of both gelato and sorbetto flavors this week, although a couple of flavors are quite limited. Pints only at the market ($10 each or 3 for $27); scoops at the farm during open hours. Market pint flavors include:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Caramel Apple (apples from Red Crib Acres, Monticello)
  • Buttered Pecan (pecans from Voss Orchard, Carlyle, IL)
  • Pumpkin (pumpkins from Sola Gratia, Urbana)
  • Thai Basil-Limited
  • Pear Amaretto Sorbetto (made with our Seckel pears)-Limited

If haven’t figured out yet where we are at the market this year: 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. The outdoor market goes until the end of October this year, then, we will be moving inside Lincoln Square Mall starting November 3rd.

The market DOES NOT end once it moves inside; it’s just a change of venue.

Farm Store Fall Hours

We have new hours for the fall:  Fridays, 4-7 pm and Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 pm. Now that the weather is cooler (hopefully), the farm is a great place to visit and to shop.  On Fridays, come out after work to unwind. During our open hours, you can savor a scoop of gelato or “build your own” cheese boards—pick out your cheeses, add a stick of salami (Underground Meats) or a jar of jam from Autumn Berry Inspired, our own house-made jams or pickled veggies, grab some Central IL Bake-house or Bread Co. baguette bread and we’ll provide the board.

Friday Fall Happy Hours at the Farm

Starting October 12th and through the end of October, Michael Darin, our “wine guy” returns to farm for Friday low-key happy hours, 4-7 pm. He’ll offer tastings and suggestions for special cheese and wine pairings each Friday evening. It’s a fun way to try some new wines and/or local micro-brews alongside our cheeses. Check out the details.

Shop in our farm store “The Real Stand.” In addition to our cheese and gelato, we’ve got pasture-raised meats and poultry from Bane Family Meats, frozen artisan sausages from Piemonte Sausage Co. (Bernie’s Classic Sweet, Cantalupo and Chicken Apple are back in stock as well as bulk chorizo sausage), jams and pickled veggies by Sarah (our former gelato maker), locally-grown and milled flours by The Mill at Janie’s Farm and much more.

NEW: Delight Flower Farm has a self-service bouquet stand at the entrance to our farm! Get a gorgeous bouquet of fresh flowers for only $10!! Leave your $$ in their box via the honor system.

FEATURED IN THE STORE

PFFC goat meat—we have one pound packages of stew meat, goat loin or rib chops (4 to a package) and leg shanks (2 to a package). We also have shoulder roasts (approx. 4-5 lb. packages). Pasture raised, very lean and mild, try the meat that most of the rest of the world enjoys regularly. 

Apple Cider pressed from Red Crib Acres apples—we hand pressed apples into delicious, refreshing cider.

Two Million Blooms Honey: we’ll have 1 lb. squeeze bottles and 4 oz. and 1 lb. fancy bottles for sale this weekend.  Their honey is beautiful and sweet.

Farm Dinners  We only have a few dinners left this season, and all but one are sold out. I encourage you to book your tickets now for the remaining date (December 8th). It will be an early winter holiday celebration themed meal.  We probably won’t post the menu for another few weeks, but I promise that we will end the dinner season in style.

Sunday, October 21st Cider Dayz at the Farm--mark your calendars for our second annual fall apple cider festival. From 1-4 pm, you’ll be able to press your own cider, enjoy a cider-gelato float, grab some fresh apples and savor some cider-inspired pastries by Lucky Pierre Bakers.  RSVP on our Facebook page.  

Delight Flower Farm will be offering a fall wreath making workshop in our pavilion from 3:00-4:30 that same afternoon.  Reservations required for the workshop.

Saturday, November 3rd Meet the Cheese Maker at Eataly Chicago, 12:30-1:30 pm. We’ll be headed up to Chicago to do a special cheese tasting and wine pairing.  Sign up here: https://www.eataly.com/us_en/classes-and-events/chicago/cheese-tasting-with-local-producer-prairie-fruits-farm-creamery-2018-11-03-5033 


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.