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Seasons that bleed, Market offerings, Farm happenings and Other events

Posted 9/20/2018 9:02pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

There is a recurring theme to the change of seasons this year.  Unlike years past where one season gradually fades into the next, each respecting the others’ boundaries, this year’s seasons bleed into each other. Winter bled into spring, leaving snow and dormancy in its wake.  Summer reverse bled into spring, giving nature very little time to adjust to the brusque cold-hot pivot.  On reflection, spring never really made much of an appearance, save for the fruit tree blossoms and the songs of the trilling toads. 

Summer settle in early and decided to stay for a good long while.  She bellowed out so much hot wet air in June that the stagnant seedling crops shot themselves out of the ground and clamored toward the sky.  Within weeks, the weeds were a carpet and the tomato vines were so thick the trellises could no longer support them. Summer seeded clouds every so often, which discharged their moisture when they got too full to hold anymore.  The lush vegetation perspired like a nervous teenager, and the heat and humidity conspired to regenerate themselves for weeks on end. 

Fall tried to make an appearance in early September, pushing the gulf stream southward toward the gulf, but summer rebelled and pushed the gulf stream northward just for spite.   As we approach the autumnal equinox, the fall may win the latest match.  The shortening days and senescent grains belie nature’s plans; there’s even talk of frost in the coming week.  The neighbor farmers have begun the annual grain harvest. Soon, they can turn off the air conditioning in their tractor cabs and finally set it to heat.  It’s time. 

Text Message Customer Loyalty Program:  This week’s text club special encourages you to stock up on cheese. 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 cool and sunny weather-perfect for market shopping. We have some special seasonal cheeses as well as gelato flavors for you, so come out and support your local farmers this Saturday. This is the time of year when summer produce is still abundant and fall crops are starting to make their appearances--even seasonal vegetables and fruits bleed into each other!

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
  • Fresh chevre with dried tomatoes! It’s back and it’s delicious as ever. 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.
  • Goat Milk Feta: Tomatoes are still plentiful and delicious. With the cooler weather, why not roast some tomatoes with crumbled feta and fresh chopped herbs?   
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: This batch is at ripeness perfection.  Flavor is 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 and firm; the opposite of last week’s ooey-gooey version.  It has a wonderful yeasty aroma and a tart lemony paste.
  • Blushing Goat: our take on a washed rind cheese—these little rounds are washed with a kombucha beer for one month.  These blushing pink-orange beauties have a dense gooey-fudgy paste with a rich umami flavor. If you haven’t tried it, ask for a taste. Try it with caramelized onions or some prosciutto on a crostini.
  • 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. I’ve got a Sweet-Corn-Moonglo “Queso” recipe posted on our website, so take a look.
  • Huckleberry Blue: our limited late fall goats’ milk blue cheese-we only have a few wedges left of this cheese, and then it’s gone until next year.  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). VERY LIMITED-come early if you want some.

Gelato: A cornucopia of flavors for you 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
  • Buttered Pecan (made with Voss Orchard Pecans, Carlyle IL)
  • Fresh Mint
  • Peaches & Cream (made with our very own peaches from the PFFC orchard)
  • Nectarine Sorbetto (with nectarines from Mileur Orchard)
  • Honey-Vanilla-Chevre (made with local  honey)
  • Thai Basil
  • Tart Cherry Amaretto-Stracciatella (it’s a mouthful and it’s delicious)—premium flavor costs $12/pint
  • Sicilian Pistachio (premium flavor—pure Italian pistachio paste) $12/pint
  • Honey Lavender (local honey and lavender from Sharp’s Crossing Lavender Farm)
  • Pear Frangelico Sorbetto (made with our Seckel pears)

If haven’t figured out yet where we are at the market this year: 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. The outdoor market goes until the end of October this year, then we will be moving inside Lincoln Square Mall.

Farm Store Fall Hours

We have new hours for the fall:  Fridays, 4-7 pm and Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 pm. Come see the farm as summer fades into fall.  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 or pickled veggies, grab some Central IL Bake-house 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! Want to go the total sweet route? How about a root-beer float with a scoop of our gelato?

Enjoy the changes of the season. Come visit with the goats. They love to be petted, and they might try to trick you into feeding them some hay.  Shop in our farm store: “The Real Stand.” We’ve got pasture-raised meats and poultry from Bane Family Meats, frozen artisan sausages from Piemonte Sausage Co., pickled veggies and pesto 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, 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 varieties of their earl fall apples. Come try them and take home a bag.

U-PICK: U-picking is suspended until further notice.  We might have apples for u-pick in mid-September. We are also planning another “Cider Days” event, probably in October, so stay tuned for details. 

Farm Dinners: Fall season is upon us, and most of the farm dinners 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 will now feature Bane Family Meats pastured pork and beers from Triptych Brewery.  Guest Chef, Mark Hartstein (currently cooking at bacaro, champaign and was one of the co-founders of Watson’s Shack & Rail) has crafted a gorgeous and creative menu, so check it out and grab your tickets before they’re sold out!

Upcoming Farm or Farm-Related Events—There are a lot of great things going on this fall. Check them out:

CU Symphony Orchestra to perform special “environmental” pieces on our farm on Sunday September 23rd, 2-4 pm. Visit Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery for a free gelato social and concert from 2:00 to 4:00 pm on Sunday, September 23 to celebrate Mother Earth's summer harvest! This tribute to our planet will feature musicians from the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra performing several earth-themed chamber works by CUSO Composer-in-Residence Stacy Garrop.

PFFC owners Wes Jarrell and Leslie Cooperband will bring us the latest news about their sustainability efforts on the farm. Take a tour of the farm, visit the goats, and participate in our "Messages to Gaia" community art project--where you can draw pictures, write poetry or simply share your thoughts about our planet. Come enjoy! This free gelato social is sponsored by CUSO, New Music USA, and Prairie Fruit Farms & Creamery.  Feel free to RSVP on the Facebook event page: https://www.facebook.com/events/431622700696468/

September 24th, Standard Market Naperville will host Leslie Cooperband of Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery for cheese tasting and wine pairing event (6-8 pm). Check out the details here: https://standardmarket.com/events/prairie-fruits-farm/

September 26th Illinois Makers Fall Festival, Pioneer Court adjacent to the Tribune Building and the Apple Store, Chicago, 2-6 pm. Leslie Cooperband will be there sampling cheese and selling cheeses too. Chicago fans, we miss you. Come see me that afternoon and pick up some cheese: https://www.enjoyillinois.com/explore/listing/illinois-made-fall-market-day

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.