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Fighting circadian rhythms, Market offerings, Farm happenings

Posted 10/18/2018 2:02pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

The underlying physiological response to shorter days is slumber.  The farmer’s cognitive need to keep going fights against the brain’s automatic emission of chemical rivulets to slow down, to let go.  Despite the slow-down in milk production that normally accompanies breeding, there are still so many things to do before the season truly ends.  The early morning temperatures left a light frost this week, just enough to blacken the tips of the summer crops, but not enough to do them in all together. The still green tomato vines need to be cut down and hauled to the compost pile. The now rotting green and red tomatoes that have fallen to the ground need to be raked and carted away, so they don’t release their seeds into the soil to create a volunteer tomato weed patch next spring. 

The kid barn needs to be cleaned in anticipation of November breeding. The compost windrows need to be turned and, eventually, the finished compost needs to be spread on the pastures to begin the slow re-nourishment of the soil (and make room for more compost).  The desiccated tree fruit mummies (fruits that were diseased or insect damaged that rotted on the limbs or fell to the ground) need to collected and burned. Time spent on fall hygiene supposedly helps lessen the insect and disease pressure for next year. The orchard ground cover needs to be mowed to create an inhospitable environment for the voles who might think about winter “camping” and tree root “pruning” under snow and frozen ground. 

When the wind is just right, and the tinder not too wet or dry, we’ll need to light our giant burn piles on fire.  We’ll need to get rid of this year’s organic debris to make room for next year’s.  The ebb and flow of abundance and scarcity of products and by-products are normal. Mustering the energy and enthusiasm to bring order to the natural entropy can be challenging.

Text Message Customer Loyalty Program: This week’s text club special relates to green peppercorn moonglo. 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—and a bit breezy. This is the time of year that folks forget how much great local food is still available at the farmers’ markets. Take an hour out of your Saturday morning to patronize the farmers who provide you with beautiful, locally-grown produce. Our cheeses compliment so many of the fresh produce available now—fennel, carrots, radishes, apples and pears.   

We continue to 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. This may be the last weekend it is available.
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: This batch aging nicely; slightly gooey on the edges, 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 starting to get gooey and ripe but not overly ripe.  It still 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.
  • 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 floral pepperiness, the barley wine provides a bit of sweetness; the combination is sure to delight.  THIS IS MY ‘PERFECT PAIRING CHEESE’ THIS WEEK, PAIRED WITH FRESH APPLE SLICES.
  • 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.

Gelato: We still have a good selection of both gelato and sorbetto flavors this week. 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
  • Stracciatella (chocolate ganache ribbon “chips”)
  • Caramel Apple (apples from Red Crib Acres, Monticello)
  • Buttered Pecan (pecans from Voss Orchard, Carlyle, IL)
  • Pumpkin (pumpkins from Sola Gratia, Urbana)
  • Nectarine Sorbetto (a little taste of summer)
  • Red Currant Sorbetto (made with red currants from the Univ. IL Student Sustainable Farm)

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 through the end of October:  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

Now, 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.


PFFC goat meat—we have one pound packages of stew meat (1 lb. packages, $13/lb.) and leg shanks (2 to a package, $16/lb.). We also have shoulder roasts (approx. 4-5 lb. packages, $16/lb.). 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.

Fresh apples from Red Crib Acres: Winesap (one of my favorite late fall varieties) and Galarina (a French Gala variety). 

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.  The chef’s inspiration for the menu is the classic foreign film “Babette’s Feast.”

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.  We’ll be offering hay rides around the farm too: $5/adult, $2.50/child under 8 yrs. old. 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.  Chicagoans, if you’re missing PFFC cheeses, come to this event. 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

Fall Weeknight Classes: We’ll be offering a series of evening classes in November and December: wine & cheese, beer & cheese, cheese basics and cheese board building to name a few. Stay tuned for dates and registration information.

Holiday Time on the Farm: Once again, we will be transforming our farm store for the holidays.  Starting November 24th (Saturday after Thanksgiving) and through December 22nd, the farm will have extended weekend hours. Goats dressed up in holiday attire for picture taking, hay rides, warm spiced drinks and even a seasonal Pop-Up Café are in the works. Stay Tuned for Details! 

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.