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The urgency of fall

Posted 10/9/2009 9:58am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.
fall at Prairie Fruits farm

This time of year I am struck by a sense of urgency. Urgency to harvest the last tomatoes off the ground for canning; urgency to dig up our sweet potatoes so we can cure them for winter storage, urgency to plant a cover crop blanket over our vegetable garden and urgency to get the barn ready for winter and make sure our hay supply keeps dry.  The does have a sense of urgency to breed (as do the bucks by the way).  They are also sensing the inevitable slide toward winter as their coats get thicker with onset of cold weather. For them, the silver lining of cool fall weather is munching on dried leaves as they fall from the trees--I call them "goat potato chips."
Our grain farmer neighbors have a frustrated sense of urgency to get their corn and soybeans harvested between the onslaught of rain and the threat of frost.  Delayed harvest means grains begin to rot in the fields. This is a year that we will worry about mold growth in feed grain and the potential for mycotoxins that can cause severe health problems. 
As the does' milk production begins their annual decline, I also feel a sense of urgency to make as much cheese as we can. Every drop of milk and every ounce of curd becomes precious.  We received our last batch of sheep milk this week from the Plank Family. They will now dry off their ewes and give them a well-deserved rest.  We made our last batch of Ewe Bloom yesterday, so we have this cheese through the end of November.  The same holds for Krotovina, since that cheese is half sheep and half goat milk. 
Many of our customers probably sense the changes of the season as well.  Despite the cooler weather, we still have plenty of wonderful cheeses to offer you at farmers' markets this weekend and well into the remainder of the fall.
This week we are attending four farmers' markets: Bloomington, Urbana, Oak Park and Green City Market. 
We have the following for your eating pleasure:
Fresh chevre--nice and creamy--plain, herbs de Provence, cracked peppercorn
Angel Food--rich and plentiful
Little Bloom on the Prairie--back in the saddle and really yummy
Ewe Bloom-as good as it always is
Roxanne-notes of summer grass
Kaskaskia--perfect for grating over a hearty fall stew

Krotovina and Moonglo are taking a break this week, but should be back in the line up next week. 

For those of you attending our last farm dinner on Sunday afternoon (October 11th), please remember it starts at 1PM.  The weather forecast calls for SUN (Yeah), but cold (boo). Please dress for the weather. We will be dining inside the barn (with heaters) and we will probably have our chimeneas going.  We're also planning to do a hay ride for the tour of the farm. It should be a lot of fun. If you haven't seen the menu yet, check it out on our website.

Lastly, I want to thank all of you who have signed our i-petition and sent letters to legislators regarding the Olympian Drive road project.  The large number of folks who have signed both the hard copy and electronic version is a testament to the strength of the community that supports family farms and local foods agriculture. I will be sharing these signatures with our local government leaders in the coming weeks.  THANK YOU!!