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Puttin' in a garden, holiday market offerings, farm dinner updates

Posted 5/24/2018 10:18pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

There has been a slow progression of priorities from goats to plants this past week.  Fewer kids demand constant attention, the does’ heads are buried in the pasture and the cheese making is falling into its full-steam summer production rhythm. It is time to turn our attention to the garden.  The blankets of chickweed and creeping charley have been ripped from their soil anchors.  The encroaching lemon balm, oregano and cup plant (it’s a lovely native prairie plant, but boy is it invasive!) have been whacked back into respectable spots in the herb garden, the goat-manure compost has been spread, and the soil has been tilled.

My usual overly zealous winter seed purchasing was curtailed this year, so we’re going with an “essentials only” vegetable and herb garden this year. For me, the essentials include tomatoes. The requisite canning tomato varieties made the cut, as well as our beloved Juliet mini-romas (for our dried tomato chevre), green zebras and rose de bern of course and one luscious variety of cherry tomato (called sun peach-it’s sublime).  Of course, we’ll put in a few varieties of peppers, some potatoes and cukes, a few varieties of basil and parsley and maybe we’ll succumb to a couple of varieties of winter squash or pole beans. 

Self-editing the diversity of a vegetable garden is hard. The promise of summer harvests of so many colors and flavors and textures is so alluring; the anticipated glee of biting into the first ripe tomato on the vine so convincing. I must remind myself about the time in between: the mulching, the weeding, the watering, the pest control—these memories will help me stifle the tendency to overdo the garden.

Text Message Customer Loyalty Program: Thank you to those of you who have signed up for our new text messaging program.  This Saturday, we’re running a special on our beautifully ripe & gooey Angel Food. 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.  Again, here are the key words based on your interests:

  • For general farm announcements, text GOAT to 30500
  • For special farmers’ market offers and promotions (Urbana’s Market at the Square patrons), text URBANA to 30500
  • For the latest news on farm to table meals, text TABLE to 30500
  • For CSA members, text CSA to 30500
  • For specials and events at the farm store, text FARMSTORE to 30500

Farm Store Summer Hours

This weekend, May 26-27, we are open Saturday and Sunday, 1-4 pm.  You can visit with the goats, enjoy a scoop of gelato in the shade and just stroll the farm. Stay tuned for details about our extended summer hours and farm experiences.

If you’re not able to come to market, you can still get our cheeses and gelato as well as other farmer products at our farm store: locally milled whole wheat flour from The Mill at Janie’s Farm, meats, poultry eggs from Bane Family Meats, Piemonte Sausages, Naturally-Crystalized Honey from Two Million Blooms, Jams from Autumn Berry Inspired and Prairie Fruits Farm “merch.”

Farmers’ Market Offerings It’s Memorial Day weekend, and the heat is moving in, so keeping meals simple and easy to enjoy outdoors is the theme.  Why not prepare a simple cheese board with 3-4 of our cheeses, some dry-cured salami or local sausages, cut local veggies and slices of hearty crusty bread. Crack open some local microbrews or a cold glass of rose, and you and your guests are set. Here’s the line-up of cheeses to help you make your decisions:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper—the lemony flavor of spring chevre is a perfect foil for slightly bitter spring leafy green vegetables—try grilling some asparagus and finish with a drizzle of really good olive oil and a few dollops of our chevre. 
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: This batch is now perfectly ripe.  Serve with local honey or one of the jams in our farm store. Try warming the round on your grill and serve with a quick pickle of ramps or beets for an even more amazing flavor explosion in your mouth.
  • Angel Food: our little “mini-brie” or crottin style bloomy rind; If you love a gooey brie, come ‘n get ‘em. We will be running a special through our TEXT MESSAGING club this weekend on Angel Food. Text “URBANA” or “GOAT” TO 30500 to sign up and get the special offer.
  • Black Goat: an ash-coated bloomy with a delicate and crinkly yeasty rind. The rounds are perfectly ripe with even more gooeyness on the edges We have some pretty ripe ones (very limited so come early) and some very young ones (let them ripen in your fridge for a few days or enjoy them in their firm & tangy youth)
  • Moonglo: fall-milk, tomme-style cheese; the texture of this semi-hard cheese is soft and supple like Gouda, but the taste is sharp and fruity. Ask for a taste if you’ve never had it before. Try it on crusty bread with onion jam or caramelized onions. Try melting it for a gourmet 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). This cheese is great crumbled on a salad, sliced and warmed on a steak or burger OR served on baguette with a fig jam or walnut balsamic vinegar reduction (this is an amazing combination). This cheese is ONLY available directly from us—no wholesale buyers have this cheese right now.
  • Gelato: We have pints of gelato available this weekend for sale at the market and at the farm store—vanilla, chocolate, espresso, fresh mint (limited),and salted caramel swirl (also limited).

DON’T FORGET: we have a new spot at the farmers’ market--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.

Dinners on the Farm: Reservations for our 2018 season are filling up. In fact, the “Jar Sessions” Dinner with Paul Virant is now SOLD OUT! We still have a few seats open for the first farm dinner of the season this Saturday, May 26th—“spring is in the air.” Here’s the menu if you need some enticing:

Savory goat cheese cheesecakes / granola crust / ramp marmalade / pickled radish / homemade crackers *
Minty spring pea purée roasted carrot / mustard seed / maple *
Rabbit terrine Mixed blue moon farm greens / edible flowers / herb vinaigrette *
Flyway Farm shiitake / trumpet Mushroom / spinach / sweet onion roasted beet ravioli / chive butter *
Fire-Grilled Caveny Farm Leg of lamb / roasted garlic / rosemary Shallot vinaigrette AsparagusFire grilled bread *
Strawberry / cherry / chiffon trifle Whipped cream / Rhubarb compote  

Do you dream of having goats in your life?  Do you want a family milk goat? 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.  We also have retired does, bucklings and wethers for grazing/brush control and companion animal needs. 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.