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The little goat that couldn't then could, more "babies & brunch", final fundraiser push and other fa

Posted 4/27/2018 11:18am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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 Farm News

This year’s kidding season has been challenging on a number of fronts.  We had our usual share of breach and twisted kids needing delivery assistance, but the one that completely through us for a loop was a little doeling born to Malta.  Malta is a large-bodied La Mancha doe who we purchased from a goat dairy in Iowa last fall.  During one of those peak baby-boom Sundays in early March, I assisted in the delivery of her twins. They were lovely caramel-colored kids, a buckling and a doeling. The doeling had one front leg tucked backwards, but the delivery was not difficult and all seemed well.  

It was only after a couple of days, when we moved the kids from the birthing totes to the “newborn” pen, that we realized that the doeling couldn’t stand or walk. We’d seen this many times before—sometimes kids born with twisted limbs have weak leg muscles that delay them standing and walking. No problem, we thought; we just splint the legs to help muscles develop, and within a week, the issue resolves itself.  This trick didn’t work at all.  In fact, she would just fall flat on her face and struggle to right herself. We noticed she had an unusual knot in her neck and her head was tilted to one side.  The reality that something was fundamentally wrong with her anatomy began to sink in. 

Since her delivery was mostly normal, we were skeptical that she had sustained an injury during birth.  Despite her awkward posture, she had a voracious appetite and would down a bottle of milk in minutes.  During feeding times, her eyes would lock fiercely onto yours, and her tail would wag with a fervor suggesting a strong will to live.  We tried massaging her legs and giving her support to force her to stand.

malta baby

She was fostered by a small army of volunteers and staff over the ensuing weeks, each person taking her home for a weekend here and there to give her a little extra TLC, ever hopeful that we could get her to stand.  One of our newest staff members, Zev, developed a particularly strong bond with her, determined to work with her and find her a home that could better accommodate a special needs goat. 

On his own time, he took her to the vet school to get an X-ray of her spine.  Amazingly, the X-ray showed a rare spinal cord deformity in her neck; one of her vertebrae was oriented backwards, causing the bulge that we could see and feel and likely preventing her brain from coordinating movement to her limbs.  The experts’ prognosis was that she would probably never be able to walk.  She had other plans in mind. 

The growing fans and foster parents of the “Malta-baby” named her “pigweed,” an apt name for a pugnacious little goat whose resilience surprised and impressed us all. After nearly two months of patience and gentle encouragement, she started to stand with assistance.  Just last week, she took a few steps on her own.  Now she is “running,” especially when a bottle of milk is held in front of her. Her gait is faulting and awkwardly endearing, but she has warmed all of our hearts with her determination and grit. 

pigweed after a bottle

We have all become way too attached to this little goat that couldn’t. She is leaving the farm this weekend to go to her new home in Pennsylvania—a goat rescue/rehab center that specializes in special needs goats. While we know she is going to a place that can take better care of her, her departure is bittersweet.  She has brought us joy during trying times this spring.  “Au revoir” little pigweed. 

pigweed feasting on baylage

Fundraiser Campaign Update:  

Monday, April 30th, is the final date for our fundraising campaign.  So many of you have given so generously, and we are so grateful.  We are really close to having raised $20,000.  We are also really close to attaining the match for our special donor’s offer of donating $2500.

 If you aren’t yet familiar with our “Raise the Roof” campaign, please CLICK  HERE, you can read all about it—our projects, our goals, our donation levels.  You can either donate online or send a check. We will also have a donation box out at the farm during spring open hours if you’d prefer to donate that way. THANK YOU so much to all who have donated so far. 


In our efforts to seek out better ways to keep our patrons up to date on the latest farm happenings, special product promotions and farmers’ market offerings, we are pleased to announce a new text message program.  You won’t get unwanted text messages from Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery. You simply send a text message to 30500 with one or more of the key words below, and we only send messages to those who want to receive them. 

We hope to use text messaging to reward our most loyal customers. Think of this as a rewards program for our most loyal customers.

  • 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

We hope you’ll give it a try.  It’s an easy way to stay in touch with the farm and all of our goings-on. It’s a great way to get the best deals on our products.

Babies and Brunch:

Full Brunch on BOTH Saturdays and Sundays is HAPPENING! Come out to the farm this weekend—we’re open from 9:30 am to 1:00 pm. Saturday is the IL Marathon, but you should be able to get out to the farm once the runners pass your area.  Here’s a link t to the Illinois Marathon route, so you can see how your roads might be impacted.  For those of you running, come out after the race to refuel with some great eats. 

Check out this weekend’s NEW menu that Chef Raquel and Sarah of Feast Catering have crafted as well as the details of how these brunches will be run.  Here’s how the farm “Pop-Up Café” works: we seat you at a table, you order your food and you enjoy a more substantial brunch. If you have to wait for a table (so far, people have only had to wait 5-10 minutes), you can visit with the goats, sample our cheese and gelato and/or shop in our farm store.

Cheese and Gelato Offerings

We have a full house of bloomy rind cheeses to offer you this weekend—angel food, little bloom and black goat are back in the line- up as well as our creamy & tangy chevre.

  • 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 sautéing some fresh spinach or kale and finish with a drizzle of really good olive oil and a few dollops of our chevre.  Need to be convinced that our chevre has made a mark on the national cheese stage? Check out this article in Cheese Connoisseur Magazine. 
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: first of the season goat milk-camembert style cheese is ready for prime time. The little rounds blanketed in a delicate, white mushroomy rind are young, but the flavor is creamy sweet spring milk.  Serve with local honey or one of the jams in our farm store. Try warming the round lightly in your oven for an even more amazing flavor explosion in your mouth.
  • Angel Food: our little “mini-brie” or crottin style bloomy rind; the paste is firm and slightly tart/chalky while the rind is soft and fluffy.  Enjoy with a fruity balsamic reduction
  • Black Goat: an ash-coated bloomy with a delicate and crinkly yeasty rind. The rounds are young, but the paste is unctuous and fudgy
  • 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.
  • 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)

Jams and Honey: We have a limited selection of jams from Autumn Berry Inspired, house-made jams and some beautiful bottles of fall honey from Two Million Blooms. These make great accompaniments to our cheeses.

Gelato: We have pints of gelato available this weekend—vanilla, chocolate and salted caramel swirl, as well as scoops of vanilla, red currant and rhubarb swirl.

Other Farm Products NEW in the Store:  Goat milk yogurt from Green Meadows Farm. Our friend, Meryl Kauffman, in Arthur, IL raises mostly La Mancha goats (some of whom came from our herd). His goat milk products are delicious, and we're excited to carry his plain goat milk yogurt in quart size only. He has made a special batch for us that is JUST goat milk and live cultures (no added thickeners). Come try some this weekend.

David Bane of Bane Family Meats will be here to offer you farm-fresh eggs, chicken, beef, pork and lamb products

We also have a selection of Piemonte Sausages: several styles of pork sausage as well as our goat merguez

Goat Stew Meat and Cabrito Halves—we have a few packages of lean and tender goat meat available in our farm shop freezer. If you’ve never tried goat meat, you should. It’s very mild and lean (lends itself to slow cooking techniques)

Locally milled flour from the Mill at Janie’s Farm (Ashkum, IL)-did you know you can now get organic, locally milled, specialty grain flours? We are proud to be one of the first retail outlets for this amazing product. Make a pie or a quiche this weekend with this whole-grain flour. It’s amazing.

Prairie Fruits Farm Merch: While you’re here, take home a memento from the farm—t-shirts, hooded sweat shirts, batik aprons, tea towels, onesies, note cards, cheese boards and goat milk soaps. 

Mother’s Day Brunch: Our second seating (11:30-1:30) is sold out, but we still have plenty of seats open for the first seating (9:00-11:00) on Sunday, May 13th, Mother’s Day. This is a brunch buffet by reservation only.  Check out the menu for this special mother’s day brunch and book your tickets now!

Cheese and Gelato CSA: We still have openings for our 2018 season. The deadline for sign up is May 5th, so if you’ve been on the fence, act soon.  If you’re not familiar with how our “CSA” works, I encourage you to check out the details.  We have pick up locations in Champaign Urbana and Bloomington-Normal.  We treat our CSA members like royalty. Come join our special club.

We will be attending an information meeting about CSA's in Champaign this Saturday, April 28th, 3:30-4:30 at the Champaign Public Library. Blue Moon Farm, Bane Family Meats and other CSA farms will be there too.

Special Cheese Dinner at Eataly—we’re teaming up the cheese and culinary folks at Eataly-Chicago to offer a very special, slow-food dinner featuring our cheese on Thursday, May 24th. The event will be part class-part meal.  Check out the details and make your reservations now.

Dinners on the FarmOur 2018 season is posted on our website and ticket sales are LIVE for the entire season.  Take a look at the dates and themes, and book your reservations NOW.  These tickets go fast, so don’t delay.   We’re excited to host you on our farm for a memorable farm to table experience.   

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.