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The mystery of the lonely pigeon, holiday market push and season's greetings to all

Posted 12/14/2017 10:19pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

Last Sunday, a lone black and grey pigeon appeared at the entrance to the farm shop, seeming to have dropped randomly out of the sky.  The sight of a pigeon on the farm is incongruous.  It’s like a visit from mid-town Manhattan socialite in heels and a slinky black evening dress.  He/she (we don’t know how to identify the gender of a pigeon but let’s assume it’s a “she” for now) acts as if she knows she is out of place. She is calm yet cautious and stays close to the barn, sifting and pecking at the ground for stray grains of wheat from fallen straw. 

She seems content but lonely. She doesn’t seem to be fearful of humans (or dogs for that matter), causing us to wonder if she is someone’s pet. She isn’t banded, so we’ve ruled out the homing pigeon hypothesis.  We suspect that maybe she was blown in on the fierce winds we’ve been having these past few days and that maybe her wings are damaged.   She seems to be able to fly short distances, but doesn’t seem to be in any hurry to get back to wherever she came from.  Her silence deepens the mysteries around her. 

I am beginning to wonder if her sudden appearance has some deeper underlying meaning.  Was she sent here to remind us to care for the stranger among us? Does this urban bird symbolize the encroachment of the city on the farm? Is her loneliness a reminder to keep tabs on the folks who are on their own during the holidays? I have no answers to these questions.  If she decides to stay, we’ll start giving her some chicken feed and welcome her into the rest of the farm family of strays and stragglers. 

Holiday Markets-The Final Push 

There’s not much time left before the holidays descend upon us.  We’re doing our part to keep you and your guests in high-class cheese and gelato. We also have some fantastic local artisan gifts and Prairie Fruits Farm “merch” that make wonderful and unique gifts for the special folks on your lists.  Please come visit us either at the market or at the farm this weekend.

Saturday, December 16th, we’re attending the Urbana “Market in the Square” from 8-12 noon (we are leaving early to head back to the farm). This is our last appearance at the market for the season. Stock up on chevre for the winter or get the perfect trio for your holiday cheese board. We’re running an end of season special on Angel Food: buy one, get a 2nd at 50% off! We’re also bringing our famous (and delicious) spiced pecans to accompany these cheeses:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper-better stock up now for the winter—you can freeze our chevre and enjoy it throughout the winter
  • Angel Food:  our little “crottin” style bloomy rind; small enough to eat in one sitting; great warmed with a drizzle of honey; perfect for holiday entertaining
  • Pelota Roja: we saved a wheel of this Rick Bayless cheese exclusive to offer to those patrons who get to the market early enough to snag a wedge. It’s made in the same style (manchego) as our Magia Negra, but the rind is rubbed with a guajillo chile-olive oil paste, giving the cheese a slight piquant flavor from the chiles.
  • Moonglo: our raw-milk tomme-style cheese, aged for about 4 months.  Semi-firm texture, fruity and sharp flavor notes.  Make yourselves a “fancy” grilled cheese with Moonglo and our onion jam (or caramelized onions). 

Gelato Pint Flavors: Our gelato flavors are the perfect accompaniment to your holiday sweets and desserts! Buy three pints and get a discount:  HOLIDAY SPECIAL—we made a very special batch of pistachio gelato with pure Sicilian pistachio paste. This is a premium flavor ($12/pint versus $10/pin for our regular flavors), but it’s totally worth it!

  • Pistachio
  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Salted Caramel
  • Masala Chai Tea (limited)
  • Fruitti di Bosco (limited)
  • Local Ginger
  • Peaches & Cream
  • Hazelnut
  • Lemon Verbena  

Farm Happenings-The Real Stand

The farm is OPEN—weekends, 1-4 pm now through Sunday December 17th.  Depending on our mood, we might also be open on Saturday, December 23rd, and we’ll let you know next week if that’s the case. The Real Stand is stocked to the brim with sustainably-raised farm products and local artisan crafts.  We have cheese, gelato, lots of pickled veggies, jams, meats, sausages, eggs, etc.

In addition to the unique and beautiful gifts you’ll find, we are also selling holiday wreaths by Delight Flower FarmNEW IN THE STORE—locally milled organic wheat flour (2 lb. bags) from “The Mill at Janie’s Farm!” We’re so excited to offer this product to our customers.  The wheat is grown and milled in central IL, right in our own farming backyard. 

Saturday, the 16th, we’ll be offering winter holiday hay rides—1:30, 2:30 and 3:30 (20 person capacity per ride).  The weather should be mild, but we have blankets to cover you up and keep you warm.  We take folks to a part of the farm that most seldom get to see-the eastern edge of our property where the goats browse on the restored prairie and riparian hedge.  It’s quite beautiful. Hay ride costs: $5/adult and $3/children (children less than 1 yr. old are free).  After your ride, come into the farm shop and warm up with a cup of mulled hot cider (thank you Curtis Orchard).  Check out all the details on our FACEBOOK events page. 

If you can’t make it out on Saturday, no worries-we’re open Sunday, December 17th 1-4 pm too! Come out to join Delight Flower Farm for one of their workshops (herbal salve making workshop OR final wreath making workshop) and then grab some warm mulled cider or a cup of espresso and gelato and RELAX at the farm for a while.  The goats will be happy to get some extra lovin’ before the season ends. 

2018 Cheese and Gelato CSA Season is Open for Sign-Ups

We’re already planning ahead for next year. If you’re not familiar with the concept of CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), think of it as a private farm club. Patrons (CSA members) support the farmer by buying a season’s worth of farm products ahead of time—in our case, cheese and gelato-- and members get treated like royalty with special cheeses and gelato flavors throughout the season.  If you sign up now or before the end of December, you’ll get a 5% discount off the total price.  Become a member yourself or consider buying a CSA membership for the cheese lover in your life.

Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery is Hiring

After four glorious seasons, one of our cheese makers is leaving to pursue her own dreams of a small farm. We are looking for a cheese maker to start in early March 2018.  Check out the position description and application details if you’re qualified and interested. 

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.