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The joy of herbivory, celebrate National Farmers' Market week and Farm Happenings

Posted 8/10/2017 10:00pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

I get so much joy watching my animals eat. Perhaps because I love good food myself, or maybe it’s my “jewish mother” tendencies, but the sight and sound of goats enjoying good forage warm my soul.  I rarely get to partake of our daily ritual of shepherding the goats to the prairie and riparian zone, but this week, I was able to steal a little time to accompany them on their daily walk.  They look forward to this routine; by mid-morning, they line up at the back of the barn, waiting for the shepherds to escort them beyond the fenced pasture. 

As soon as the gate is opened, they rush into the prairie tearing off mouthfuls of the first leaves they encounter.  Dragon flies the size of mini-pterodactyls hover overhead, while barn swallows dive bomb the other insects dislodged by the pushing and shoving goats.  They shimmy their way down the hill toward the prized cottonwood tree leaves.  Nimbly they stand on their hind legs to pull down the branches so that all can partake.  When the branches within reach are stripped of their green goodness, they move on to the other delectable woody browse at the edge of the creek—honeysuckle, black locust and multi-flora rose await them. They wrap their lips around the delicate twigs, and within minutes, leaves are dislodged and the thorns are left behind. 

The adventurous of the group scurry up the levy to check out other potential morsels.  The timid are cajoled through the tall prairie plants to the safety of the old hay field. Relieved to see the horizon, they bury their heads in the pasture, pulling up clumps of thistle and orchard grass.  As they fill their bellies with the emerald riches, my mind wanders to the milk that will come from all this eating. 

It’s National Farmers’ Market Week-celebrate by supporting the farmers

We’re attending both Urbana’s Market at the Square and Chicago’s Green City Market this Saturday, August 12th.   A note to our patrons at Green City Market: Our last outdoor market of the season will be August 25th.  We’ve had a number of logistical challenges getting our products to market this year, and so, we will be cutting our season short. We plan to attend the indoor markets prior to Thanksgiving and Christmas. We value your patronage and thank you for your support.

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Raw-milk Feta: Packed in whey brine for flavor and preservation, this cheese is perfect for a summer “Greek” salad.
  • 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; this latest batch is not quite as gooey as last week’s, but it is SOO delicious!
  • 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 spring batches have a lighter, fruitier flavor profile than our rich & decadent fall batches.  The flavor is grassy and slightly tart. In addition to the picture perfect wedges, we are 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 few wedges were cut this week, and we only have enough to send to the Urbana market. VERY LIMITED.
  • Goat Milk Yogurt: our plain, whole-milk yogurt is simple and delicious.  Both markets, but limited quantities

Crackers ARE BACK!! We’ll have a nice selection at both markets this week.

Gelato: try some great flavors this week:

  • Nectarine Sorbetto -very limited
  • Lemon Crème (made with juice and zest of Meyer lemons)
  • Mint Stracciatella
  • Pineapple Sage with Fresh Pineapple
  • Chevre with Sea Salted Dark Chocolate
  • Lemon Verbena
  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Mexican Coffee (cinnamon and a hint of cayenne)

Green City Market Gelato Flavors:

  • Pineapple Sage
  • Lemon Verbena
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Nectarine Sorbetto

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 have Babb Farms, sweet corn! It’s tender and sweet, and it’s grown just up the road from our farm. NEW in the store: local honey by “Two Million Blooms.” It’s spring honey, so the color is a light golden. It’s really delicate and floral.  We also have Autumn Berry Jam—this tart jam will go splendidly with any of our bloomy rind cheeses.  We have a brand new batch of goat milk soaps for sale too.  U-pick peaches are still on hold as we wait for the next varieties to ripen. 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.

We’re building a pavilion! For years, we’ve been planning to construct a pavilion over our patio so that we can extend the outdoor dining season and have good cover when pop-up showers occur.  Well, these plans have finally come to fruition, and we’re working with Trillium Dell to construct a beautiful timber frame structure next week. WE NEED SOME HELP! We’re looking for 10 volunteers per day to help erect the structure next week—Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. We'll feed you lunch and give you all the gelato you can eat in exchange for your helping hands.  If you’re available for any or all of those days, please email us at prairiefruits@gmail.com 

Family Friendly Happy Hour on the Farm: Friday August 18th 5-7 PM.  This is the second to last summer happy hour of the season (last one is September 1st). If you’ve been away, or just haven’t had a chance to visit the farm on a Friday evening, now’s your chance.  We’ve got a great new selection of small-batch regional microbrews that we’ll be offering for this Happy Hour, along with our great selection of wines. Chef Raquel Ritz returns to the grill to serve up some fried fish and pulled cabrito sandwiches.  Of course, we’ll have other snacks and cheese plates to round out your gustatory needs.

Guest musicians, Chickadee Sermon, will be here to serenade you.   Finish the night with a scoop of gelato or a root beer float.  You can even come out and do some shopping-cheese, gelato, veggies grown at the farm by Deux Chevaux Farm (our incubator veggie growers).  They should have lots of great produce next week, as lots of stuff is starting to ripen in the garden now.

Farm Dinners

The Summer Vegetarian Dinner (August 19th) with guest Chef Dan Compton (Vie Restaurant, Western Springs IL) and guest farm & brewery Big Thorn Farm has a few seats still available.  The menu and beer pairings are divine:

chevre-stuffed marinated peppers
moonglo cheese straws, smoked apple butter, summer squash escabeche
angel food and roasted cabbage empanadas, tomatillo salsa
citra sour  
heirloom tomatoes, wood-grilled corn, hawaiian bread, aioli, tarragon oil, hot peppers, black goat
farm pale with citra hops  
grilled summer vegetables cacio e pepe: beans, squashes, eggplant, tropea onions, kale, broccoli, magia negra, brown rice cake
farm red ale  
tart cherry clafouti, fresh blueberries, lemon verbena sour cream

After August, we have plenty of seats still available for our “Celebration of Squash” feast with guest chef Nicole Pederson of Found Restaurant, Evanston, IL and guest farmer, Mac Condill of the Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur. We also have tickets to our “Pop-up pizza night” in October with Sunday Dinner Club chefs. All other dinners are sold 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.