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New life comes in a bubble, Farm Events and Much More

Posted 3/29/2018 5:01pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

We’ve had a mini-baby boom this week as March draws to a close.  Most of the does decided that evening was the best time to go into labor, leaving me lingering in the doe barn after feeding chores, patiently waiting for signs of progression, hoping that they would deliver before 9 pm.  The faraway stare and lack of interest in feed (especially really good alfalfa hay) are the first signals that babies will come.  These segue into pawing at the ground (we call this nesting behavior) and emergence of a mucus plug (birth fluid discharge). If the stars are aligned well, the next phase is active pushing and the bulge of the birth sac.  The birth sac reminds me of the bubble that encased Glenda, the good witch of the North, as she descended into the land of Oz in the movie, "The Wizard of Oz." It’s opaque and it delivers goodness and beauty into the world.  After all these years witnessing birth, I am always impressed by the repeatability of the process. I am also humbled when the process doesn’t follow the normal course, and I need to intervene.  

If the kid is presented properly, you can see the front hooves first, followed by the head.  Once the head is visible, the body follows in short order and the baby is delivered.  If we’re there to watch the process unfold, we have clean towels ready and waiting to catch the baby as he/she exits the birth canal. This way, we can clean the birth fluid off the face right away and make sure he/she is breathing.

We hand off the sticky newborn to its mother to do the bulk of the cleaning.  Some first time mothers are baffled by the alien before them, and refuse to clean their baby. Since our pregnant does are in a communal pen that they share with some of our older retired does, I am always heartened by the motherly instincts of does with no hormonal or genetic reasons to clean off the kids of another doe. Yet, there they are, Elaine and Shelly, two 10-year old sisters, pushing their heads into the warm gooey mess of the newborns, tongues vigorously licking off birth fluid, working their way from head to tail. The ties that bind us mammals are strong.

Fundraiser Campaign Update: The support for the farm is humbling! Thank you SO MUCH to those who have contributed to our campaign thus far. This week, we hit the $10,000 mark.  With these funds, we can definitely finish the roof on the pavilion.  We still have other needed projects, and additional funds raised will go toward all 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 “Raise the Roof” and take the farm to whole new level.  We will also have a donation box out at the farm during spring open hours if you’d prefer to donate that way.

Spring Open House: Our second spring open house (aka babies and breakfast) is this Saturday March 31st.  Come on out to the farm from 9:30 am to 12:30 pm. Although we officially cancelled last week (because of that crazy spring blizzard), a number of you braved the elements to come out—THANK YOU!! So, this Saturday, the forecast is a bit iffy with possible rain, but a lot warmer than last week.  Most activities—food, beverages, farm store, baby and momma goats-are indoors, so we will host the event, rain or shine.

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, peach and Moonglo cheese (savory) $3 each
-cinnamon rolls $4 each
-cinnamon-roll ‘bread pudding’ $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.  If you're hosting guests this holiday weekend, make sure you pick up two or three of our cheeses for a holiday cheese board. We also have two NEW chevre flavors. These were the voted the most popular in a little survey we did on Facebook:

  • 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 your holiday roast leg of lamb. 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, fruitti di bosco and nectarine sorbetto) and gelato by the scoop (pistachio, vanilla, chocolate and coffee for sure). 
  • 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). It would be a great alternative to lamb for the holidays.
  • 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:  Tonight--Thursday, March 29th, 6:30-8:30 pm, 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. You can sign up on the spot tonight.

Babies and Brunch: Starting April 7th 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 next week.

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 this SATURDAY 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 and affectionate companions too. 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.