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Everything in miniature

Posted 10/10/2014 8:54am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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We traveled north to Michigan this week to pick up our new Nigerian Dwarf bucks.  In my search for commercial milking herds with Nigerian Dwarf does, I had found a small young creamery nestled just outside of Ann Arbor.  The quest had been difficult; most folks who raise Nigerian Dwarf goats keep them for show, not for milk production.  Although they are remarkably adorable, I’m really in love with their rich milk. 

As we crossed the state line from Indiana into Michigan, the onslaught of semis dropped away and the rolling hills lined with neat rows of apples, peaches and grapes became more numerous.   Although tempted to stop to pick apples, we journeyed on, late with our date to meet the newest members of our herd.  Approaching our exit on I-94E, we entered a zone of intense thundershowers.  We drove our way through it, met by the most intense double rainbow either of us had ever seen.  The color lines were so sharp, you could see the full ROY G BIV in all its glory. The V (for violet) was especially beautiful; a benevolent omen to the start of our storybook journey.

rainbow over the highway


We arrived at White Lotus Farm just before sunset to see the end of the evening milking shift.  The dwarf does filed into the little milking parlor onto the little four-doe stantion. Their milk flowed into a bucket milking machine.   The creamery, located in a room attached to the same building as the milking parlor has compact, 23-gallon vat pasteurizer.  They produce beautiful small cheeses from their creamy rich Nigerian dwarf milk.  Everything in miniature; everything serene. 

white lotus milking parlor


The next day, after belly’s full of food from Zingerman’s Road House Restaurant and a late morning sleep in (it was 8:30 eastern time,  but really 7:30 central time, so not much of a sleep in), we ventured into Ann Arbor to get some breakfast at the famous Zingerman’s Deli.  Then, we headed back out of town to the farm to check out the does we will be buying later this fall as bred does.  It is difficult to evaluate Nigerian Dwarf does when you’re used to looking at standard breeds’ conformation. Their short and stocky stature makes it hard to evaluate the classic “dairy wedge.”  It didn’t help that they were taking a late morning lounge and really didn’t want to stand for us.  Nonetheless, we were able to pick out four does who will be joining our herd this winter. 

We had a lovely lunch of tamales and goat cheese with the farm’s cheese makers, and then headed over to the farm with the bucks to pick up our little guys.  After five minutes of hysteria, they settled into the straw in the back our Mazda pickup and remained pretty mellow for the remainder of the five-hour journey home.  Soon, their arrangement nuptials will be fulfilled.

Farmers’ Markets, Farm Food

We’re attending one market tomorrow, Saturday, October 11th: Urbana’s Market at the Square. It will be a bit chilly, but sunny—perfect fall weather for local food shopping.  Our bucks are “getting’ the job done” in the doe barn, so our milk production is starting to go down. However, we’ve still got a nice selection of cheeses for you to try and buy:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Angel Food Brie
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie
  • Black Goat (limited quantity)
  • Moonglo

Our gelato flavors are moving into fall with a few reminiscent of summer:

  • Brown-butter & Maple pecan
  • Cardamom
  • Pumpkin
  • Honey Thyme
  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Espresso
  • Peach-Raspberry Sorbetto
  • Red Currant Sorbetto

Due to a cancellation last week, we have a couple of seats open for this Saturday’s Farm Dinner “100 Yard Dinner: Gobble it Down.” This is the dinner at which we strive to craft a five course meal with ingredients raised within 100 yards of the dinner table.  Turkey is the featured protein this year. You can check out the menu on our website and find the link to our reservations page there too.  If they don’t sell by 8PM tonight, I will have them for sale at the farmers’ market tomorrow.

Also, we’ve got a theme picked out for our “Un-thanksgiving” farm dinner on November 22nd: “Our grandmothers’ kitchens.” Check out the new description on our website. Plenty of seats still available.   There are also seats available for our Holiday Party dinner on Saturday December 6th. 

Mark your calendars and stay tuned for details about our next farm Pop-Up: Sunday, November 19th; 12-3 PM. Nomad Pizza returns to the farm!

Copyright 2014 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2014. 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.