<< Back to main

Pressing apples, songs of unrequited goat love, market offerings, farm happenings

Posted 10/4/2018 4:16pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

Farm News

Despite the roller coaster temperatures that make it difficult to get on with fall, we pressed some apples this week for cider.  Our cider press is old fashioned; it requires human strength to load the apples into the hopper (not so taxing), hand crank the chopper and then dial down on the chopped pieces of apples to expel their juice (most muscle required, especially upper body strength).  Although this has become an annual ritual on the farm over the years, I always marvel at the golden caramel colored juice flowing from the white and yellow fleshed apples.  One hundred pounds of apples yielded almost five gallons of cider: nectar of the pomme fruits.

The brisk winds of late are carrying the buck mating odors eastward toward the pasture.  The does are coming into heat in waves now. This morning, another early morning phone call from our buck keeper, Abad, alarmed that there had been another doe breakout into the buck pen.  We rushed down through the orchard to find a line of does wailing along the fence line in the direction of their suitors. Wes watched Pattie, clearly in heat, test the hot wire with her nose; a gentle jolt gave her sufficient respect to not challenge the fence.  

Inside the buck pen, the bucks’ lips were curled up to test the winds for doe pheromones.  Like the humpback whales who sing to their mates in the deep blue ocean, the wave of does in heat call to the bucks and the bucks respond with their own chants and snorts.  The breeding males go after the remaining bucklings in their pasture paddock, practicing moves for eventual mating yet frustrated that they can’t have the real thing just yet. To get a first hand account of the serenading, go to our Facebook page.

Text Message Customer Loyalty Program: This week’s text club special is all 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 for pleasant temperatures (70’s to low 80’s) and a chance of rain. Don’t let the a few drops of the wet stuff slow you down-bring an umbrella. The market is brimming with so much goodness right now—the fleeting crops of summer and the sweetness of fall crops like apples, pears and carrots.  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.
  • Fresh chevre with dried tomatoes: Last chance folks! We have a limited number of tubs of this intensely tomato flavored chevre. We grow the mini-Roma tomatoes called Juliette, dry them chop them up and then blend them into our fresh chevre.  This is my favorite flavor of chevre.
  • 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?
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: This batch is young but loaded with flavor; buttery, milky and slightly mushroomy. Enjoy simply on a slice of crusty bread with local honey or jam.
  • Black Goat: an ash-coated bloomy rind cheese with a delicate and crinkly yeasty rind. This batch is young with a fudgy texture to the paste.  It has a wonderful yeasty aroma and a tart lemony taste.
  • 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 some 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
  • Honey-Lavender (limited availability) with lavender from Sharp’s Crossing Lavender Farm, Urbana
  • Tart Cherry Amaretto-Stracciatella-LIMITED (it’s a mouthful –local cherries marinated in amaretto liquor with a chocolate ganache ribbon throughout)—premium flavor costs $12/pint
  • Sicilian Pistachio (premium flavor—pure Italian pistachio paste) $12/pint
  • Pear Amaretto Sorbetto (made with our Seckel pears)
  • Ginger White Peach Sorbetto (made from our peaches)

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. You can sit outside under our new pavilion roof and enjoy a glass of wine or beer with cheese! 

Starting October 12th and through the end of October, Michael Darin, our “wine guy” returns to farm for Friday low-key happy hours, 5-7 pm. He’ll offer tastings and suggestions for special cheese and wine pairings. 

Visit with the goats-they will be in breeding pens starting October 10th.  Walk through the orchard, or even take stroll down to our restored prairie. The farm has amazing natural beauty and the fall light, especially at the end of the day is surreal.

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.


  • 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. 
  • Apples from Red Crib Acres (formerly Wolfe Orchard) in Monticello-we have three new varieties this weekend: Mutsu (large, crisp and tart), Jonagold (perfectly sweet-tart) and Smokehouse (a crisp, yellow fleshed apple that tastes like cider). $2.75/pound. 
  • 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

Fall season is upon us, and most of the remaining farm dinners have sold out already.  I encourage you to book your tickets now for the two remaining dates (Oct. 6th and December 8th). The beer dinner on Saturday, October 6th features Bane Family Meats pastured pork and beers from Triptych Brewery.  Guest Chef, Mark Hartstein (currently cooking at bacaro, and was one of the co-founders of Watson’s Shack & Rail) and his partner, Leslie Bettridge (GM at Farrens) have crafted a gorgeous and creative menu to go with the wonderful and varied beers of Triptych Brewery. We still have a few tickets left for this event, so don’t delay. 

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 maybe even meet the farm who grew them) and savor some cider-inspired pastries by Lucky Pierre Bakers.   Delight Flower Farm will be offering a fall wreath making workshop in our pavilion from 3:00-4:30 that same afternoon. More details to come, but put this one on your calendars.

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.