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Snorkeling on the prairie, first farmers' markets and upcoming farm happenings

Posted 5/4/2017 8:05pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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 Farm News

It has been a long time since we’ve seen rain fall from the skies like it has this past week. Although our southerly neighbors have taken the brunt of the intensity, we’ve received close to five inches in the past six days (about 1/8 the total average rainfall for our region). The incessant nature of the fall and the whiplash winds make forays from the house to the barns barely tolerable.  Even the dogs scurry from grass to barns, bodies hunched to dodge as many raindrops as possible.  Water is ponding around the house, rivulets run west to east through the aisle of the kid barn and the drone of the sump pump is continuous.  If we don’t get a reprieve soon, I am going to have to don my mask and snorkel to do the feeding chores. 

Kidding season is slowly coming to a close. Cecilia kidded with triplets yesterday and we’re down to the final four pregnant does.  We still muster enthusiasm at the sight of wet new born kids, but I admit that it’s just not the same level of delight as I had in early March.  Our weaned kids have accepted their life without milk, and it gives me to joy to see their heads buried in hay mangers, barely acknowledging me when I walk in the barn.  Once the waters subside from our pastures, they will graduate to a life of mostly grazing/browsing.  I see a little break in the clouds as the day comes to a close. I promise not to squint when the sun pushes through. 

Farmers’ Markets At last, the beginning of market season is upon us. We are attending two markets this year: Urbana’s Market at the Square (every Saturday, from 7-12) and Chicago’s Green City Market (every OTHER Saturday this year, starting this Saturday, May 6th).  For both markets, WE WILL BE IN NEW LOCATIONS THIS YEAR! 

In Urbana, our spot will be moved to the northeast corner of aisle 2.  This location is just south of our old location in the north row. The market has a map and, if you have trouble finding us, please go to the market information tent, and they will point you in our direction. 

In Chicago, we will be located at the west end of the paved path close to Clark Street. It is much easier spot to find us than last year’s location. Again, if you can’t find us, please ask the GCM market staff, and they will help you find us. 

We have a fantastic lineup of cheeses for you this weekend:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Angel Food: our little bloomy “crottin” style—this mild, slight tangy and firm paste-pair with a rhubarb jam or some pickled ramps
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: our camembert-style goat round; this batch is young, but if you let it ripen in your fridge for another few days, you’ll be rewarded with a little layer of goo just under the mushroomy rind. Try it warmed in the oven with caramelized onions
  • Black Goat: our ash-coated “geo” (crinkly white mold that tastes like yeasty bread) rinded wonder—this little guy loaded with flavor.  I really like it with a drizzle of local honey 
  • Moonglo: we are down to the last several wheels of our late fall batch of Moonglo. This high-solids, raw-milk cheese is LOADED with complex flavors-nutty, fruity, toasty.  You can only get this cheese at the farmers’ markets now, so come out and get a wedge!
  • Huckleberry Blue: our late-lactation raw-milk blue—it’s creamy, slightly sweet and salty and very approachable as a blue cheese.  You MUST try it, even if you’re shy about blue cheese
  • Little Red: a raw cow milk cheese made by one of our fall cheese making classes! This is a hard, grating style cheese with a mild, slightly tangy flavor. We just made a ramp pesto using this cheese, and boy is it DELICIOUS!! You should give it a try-use in place of romano or parmesan.
  • Goat Milk Yogurt: whole goat milk, live cultures—THAT’S IT FOLKS—NO STABILIZERS, NO THICKENERS.  We sell our yogurt in pints and quarts. It lasts a really long time too.

GELATO

Sarah, our gelato maker, has been spinning gelato like a whirling dervish. Here are the flavors this week (* indicates local flavors coming to Green City Market as well as Urbana’s market):

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Local strawberry * (frozen from Klug Farm)
  • Rhubarb swirl *
  • (made with our very own rhubarb)
  • Salted caramel swirl *
  • Spiced pecan * (Voss Pecan Orchard in Carlyle IL)

In addition to our cheese, yogurt and gelato, we’ll probably bring a few other items from the farm, including local grains crackers (oat-chevre and herbed flatbread; flours and grains from Severson Farm and Hazzard Free Farm), green tomato jam and goat milk soap

Other Farm Happenings

With the conclusion of “babies and breakfasts” last Saturday, Saturday mornings will be quiet once again on the farm. However, we’re gearing up for some fun summer activities at the farm.  Starting in early June, we’ll host a Friday night “Happy Hour on the Farm” featuring local brews, organic/biodynamic wines, cheese, salumi and other bites. The first one will be on Friday June 2nd (5-7 PM).  Stay tuned for details as the date approaches.

Our Farm “summer hours” will resume the third week of May to coincide with our first CSA pick up on the farm-Wednesday May 17th.  For sure, we’ll be open from 1-6 pm that day. We’re still working out the details for the days of the week and weekend hours. We will let you all know as soon as things are set.  During farm summer hours, folks can walk around the farm (self-guided), visit with the goats, enjoy a scoop of gelato or a cheese “snack,”  and just commune with the natural world around us. 

Don’t forget to peruse our “Dinners on the Farm” series too. With Chef Andres Padilla (Frontera-Topolobamba executive chef) and Rick Bayless’ chef team winning the “outstanding restaurant in the US” award at the James Beard Foundation event this week, you’ll probably see those tickets (October 28th) get scarfed up pretty quickly.  Our other chefs and meals promise to be “outstanding” as well, so check them out.   


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.