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Taking stock of fruit set, market news, dinner season set to start and more

Posted 5/18/2018 9:01am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News 

I relish the times when we can actually walk the farm.  With the frenzy of kidding season behind us, and spring settling into more summer-like behavior, we took a little stroll through the orchard this week. Many of the peach trees, planted almost 15 years ago, are starting to show their age. Some trunks look haggard, cambium cracked, leaves puny and struggling. Others show their candelabra canopies with pride, revealing tiny fruits beneath their senescent blossoms. 

The apple trees seem to get better with age and careful pruning; many are strong and loaded with tiny fruits. Even the pears have a respectable fruit set this year.  The Moonglo pear trees’ branches tower with baby pears at their tips. Ladders will be needed to get those babies.  Our Seckel pears, planted more recently to help pollinate the Moonglo pears, revealed their own bounty for the first time ever.

The swell of so many tiny fruits evokes optimism.  We allow our minds to jump forward to the first bites of a juicy peach, a crisp tart apple or a sublime pear. It’s too early for insect damage or fungal rot to rear their ugly heads.  We can dream of the promise of perfectly ripe fruit for now.

Text Message Customer Loyalty Program: Thank you to those of you who have signed up for our new text messaging program. It's great to see this program catch on.

 This Saturday, our members will get first dips on a special seasonal flavor of chevre offered at the farmers’ market and at our farm store. 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

Now that spring “babies and breakfast” is behind us, we’re slowly transitioning over to summer hours. For the remaining two weekends in May, the farm will be open Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 pm. Then, starting in June, we will add weekday hours.  We are trying to create a tranquil space for folks to come to at the end of the day to enjoy the beauty of the farm, get some goat lovin’ and maybe unwind with a glass of wine or beer along with a cheese board. Stay tuned for details.

In the meantime, if you miss us at the market, you can still get cheese and gelato at the farm store, as well as other farm products: 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: Saturday, May 19th, 7-12

In case you haven’t noticed, 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. This week, we have a great line up of cheeses and gelato for you to enjoy.

  • 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. REMEMBER: TEXT "URBANA" TO 30500 TO GET THE SECRET PASSWORD FOR OUR SPECIAL FLAVOR.
  • 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 lightly in your oven 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.
  • 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.  I love this cheese with spicy dry-cured salami.
  • 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, fresh and salted caramel swirl. We will also be scooping gelato during “Babies and Brunch.”
  • Goat milk yogurt from Green Meadows Farm: This locally-made plain goat milk yogurt, is available inquart size only. This is a special batch that contains only goat milk and live cultures (no added thickeners); very limited quantities.

Special Cheese Dinner at Eataly—Hey Chicago fans, here’s your chance to spend some quality time with us: NEXT Thursday, May 24th at 6:30 pm, we’ll be the guest farmers/cheese makers for a very special and cheese centric dinner.  The event is part class-part meal.  Check out the details and SIGN UP NOW: https://www.eataly.com/us_en/classes-and-events/chicago/farm-to-fork-a-slow-food-dinner-featuring-prairie-fruits-farm-creamery-2018-05-24-4337

Dinners on the Farm: Our 2018 season is filling up. We now have the menus posted for the first spring dinner and our “Jar Sessions” dinner.  Take a look at the season and book your reservations NOW.   Can we tempt you with the menu for our first spring dinner featuring Caveny Farm Lamb?  

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 Asparagus Fire grilled bread *
Strawberry / cherry / chiffon trifle Whipped cream / Rhubarb compote  

Looking for a goat for a family milker? 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 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.