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Slow Motion Farm Chores, Market Offerings and Farm Happenings

Posted 7/21/2017 8:43am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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 Farm News

It’s easy to complain about the excessive heat and humidity.  The air envelopes your being; your movements feel constrained, as if you’re surrounded by an invisible glass box. Some might resent the way the humid heat takes your breath away when you exit an air-conditioned room.  While we can seek temporary refuge in our cooled home and cheese plant, our work is outdoors. The cheese makers, normally sweating from their heavy lifting and hot make-room temps, are feeling privileged that their working environment is only 80 degrees.  As we go about the daily farm chores of milking and feeding and keeping all the critters as cool as possible, the air pushes against our efforts. We become dryland scuba divers, sweating inside our human-skin wet suits, weighted down by the air dense as water. 

Since our goats and poultry can’t sweat, they show their stress by open mouth breathing and panting.  The goats fight attempts to coax them to the pasture to eat; they congregate around the fans, heads first into the breeze of the warm moving air.  We try to keep cold water in front of them throughout the day, but they too keep their movements to a minimum, lounging inside the barn. 

The dogs follow us from barn to barn, but make a beeline for the house as soon as the chores are done.  As we go in and out of the house throughout the day, they too go in and out. When I leave the farm to run some errands, I marvel at Blue’s never-fail routine of grabbing a large stick (usually a giant piece of firewood or a 2 X 4 post) and running along the farm boundary (at the same speed as the car) escorting me out.  Somehow, his desire to herd overrules his need to go slow and stay cool.

Farmers’ Market News

This weekend, we’re attending just Urbana’s Market at the Square.  It will be another hot one, so get to the market early and bring your insulated bags with some ice packs. Cheese is a great light meal when your appetite is lack luster due to the heat:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Raw-milk Feta: Packed in whey brine for flavor and preservation, this cheese is perfect for salads or roasted veggies
  • Angel Food: our little compact bloomy rind—firm paste, mushroomy rind
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: our goat milk camembert
  • Black Goat: our ash-coated bloomy with a hint of yeast on the rind; don’t let the funky molds scare you away from tasting this cheese
  • Magia Negra: our nod to a Manchego style cheese, sharp nutty notes with hints of tart berries. Rind is rubbed with an olive oil-black currant & aronia berry paste
  • Moonglo: our first spring batches are finally ready for prime time.  The flavor is grassy and slightly tart compared with their fall-milk cousins. In addition to the picture perfect wedges, we’ll be selling some discounted wedges that have some rind imperfections.  These are strictly cosmetic cracks that occurred when we had some temperature fluctuations in our aging room this spring.
  • Huckleberry Blue: the last of the raw-goat-milk blue made last December. This cheese is creamy, sweet & salty—the most flavorful blue in central IL.

We will have crackers for you to accompany those cheeses at both markets- whole wheat-buckwheat and herbed flatbread only this week; it was too hot in the kitchen to make the oat chevre biscuits.

Gelato is a must this time of year and we’ve got some great flavors to keep you cool:

  • Peaches & Cream
  • Maple Chevre: made with our goat cheese and “Sticky Pete’s” maple syrup from Athens OH
  • Red Currant Sorbetto (this tart dairy-free option tastes as beautiful as it looks)
  • Lemon Crème (made with juice and zest of Meyer lemons)
  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Mexican Coffee (cinnamon and a hint of cayenne)
  • Stracciatella (fancy chocolate ganache chip)    

CU Farmers: Online Farmers Market with two outdoor pick up locations; weekly ordering opens Friday (7/21) at 8:00 AM through Monday, 7/24, 10 PM) If you’re not able to make to the market on Saturday, consider CU Farmers. Blue Moon Farm, Bane Family Meats and Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery have teamed up to offer the CU Community an online farmers’ market.  It is simple, convenient and comprehensive (veggies, meats, eggs, cheese and gelato).  You won’t find a better deal on some of the highest quality local foods around.  

Farm Happenings Farm Summer Hours:  

Our week-day AND weekend hours are a great way to visit the farm when there aren’t lots of people here.  Take in the tranquility of the landscape and enjoy a scoop of gelato in the shade. Shop the Real Stand Farm store for cheese, meats, eggs, and gelato.  We are expecting our neighbor’s, Babb Farms, sweet corn to show up as early as this coming Sunday, July 23rd or for sure by next Wednesday’s open hours.  If you haven’t tried it, you must! Tender and sweet, and it’s grown just up the road from our farm. The goats love visitors all the time, any time. We did have one U-Pick Peaches event this past Wednesday, but we’re taking a break waiting for the next varieties to ripen (you guys picked us CLEAN!!)

prairie peach picnic beer

Open hours are:

  • Wednesdays, 3-6 PM
  • Fridays, 11 AM to 6 PM
  • Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 PM

Don't forget to follow directions to the farm from our website. This will ensure easy travels during the road construction on N. Lincoln Avenue.

Family Friendly Happy Hour on the Farm:  TONIGHT! 5-7 PM. 

We decided to embrace the hot & humid weather.  Come out to the farm and cool off with some light snacks (cheese, bread, charcuterie) and COLD beverages. We’ve got a great new selection of beers and some chilled white wines, so why not celebrate the dog days of summer at the farm.  How about Triptych’s Prairie Peach Picnic Farm Ale with a scoop of vanilla gelato?? Not into beer (or too young)? Try a Homer Soda Maple Root Beer with a scoop of salted caramel gelato.  Delight Flower Farm will be tending bar and serving up their very cool Damiana Margarita as well.  We might even get totally wild and crazy, and set up the kiddie pool!! If you don’t want to fight the crowds at the market tomorrow, you can even come out and do some shopping-cheese, gelato, veggies grown at the farm by Deux Chevaux Farm (our incubator veggie growers). 

Farm Dinners

We have a few seats left for our Asian Carp Fish Fry with Chef Raquel Ritz tomorrow evening, July 22nd.  Asian Carp is NOT carp; these unusual fresh-water fish swim vertically in the water column eating algae. Their flesh is delicate and quite mild.  Help us prevent this invasive species from entering Lake Michigan by eating them! A cold glass of beer is included in the meal price.  

While you’re at it, check out the other dates and themes. We still have seats available for both seatings of the Cubano Brunch on Sunday, August 13th and the Summer Vegetarian Dinner on Saturday, August 19th.   

Thursday, July 27th 8-10 PM “Night of the Living Farm” An Exploration of the Creatures of the Dark  

Join entomologists Dr. Michael Jeffords and Susan Post for a unique exploration of the insects and other creatures that call Prairie Fruits Farm home. As the skies darken, Michael and Susan will give a short program on creatures of the night, followed by black-lighting to attract insects from the surrounding landscape. Insects from mayflies to moths are likely to make an appearance. As soon as the sky is sufficiently dark, we will explore the surrounding forest and prairie with miniature spotlights to see and experience Arthropod activity seldom witnessed. Everything from giant wolf spiders to munching caterpillars to charming tree frogs will likely appear in our flashing beams.

Cost is $10/per person and includes a brief farm tour and scoop of gelato. Please register through our Facebook Events page so we know how many people to expect.  

Copyright 2017. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2017. 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.