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Third Annual Farmer-Earth Day Reflections, Raw-Milk Cheese Appreciation Day, Babies & Brunch and Oth

Posted 4/19/2018 9:31pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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 Farm News

Earth Day is a somewhat random date on the calendar. April historically is a fitting month to celebrate the earth in the northern hemisphere. After all, it is a time of environmental reawakening, the re-greening of a seasonally dormant and dull landscape.  It serves as a punctuation mark, a call to attention, mostly for those who don’t perceive that their lives or livelihoods depend on the natural world.  We farmers are reminded daily of our inter-dependence on the whims of nature and her fragility; her cruel snow squalls in April, her marvelous swelling of peach blossom buds.

This year’s exceedingly slow departure of winter and reluctant arrival of spring have given us pause for special reflection.  Farming is a progression of tasks that assume the change of seasons.  In spring, we assume the sun will shine and the days will get warmer, we assume the pasture will grow so the goats can go out and graze, we assume the soil will be warm and dry enough to till and plant early season vegetables.

 When these assumptions are stymied, we raise our fists in frustration, we obsess about the daily temperature highs and lows and the incessant waves of storms, we curse the mud and the tractor ruts, and we resent the continued need for multiple layers of clothing.  We lament the changes to our planet that invalidate the normal assumptions we have made for so many years.  We want to believe we are stewards of the land, that we take care of her, and she provides for us in return. We think we are fulfilling our end of the bargain, but the rules of engagement are shifting.  Earth Day is a reminder to put ourselves in a bigger context; to make connections beyond our daily spheres of influence.  We need to up our game of stewardship.   

Fundraiser Campaign Update:  

We are fast approaching the end date of our fundraiser campaign-April 30th, and we’re making great progress (close to $14K at this point). A very generous donor has offered to donate $2500 if we can match this amount with collective donations by April 30th.  So, here’s the challenge: please donate NOW so we can take advantage of this most generous offer.

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 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 send a text message to the number 30500 with the key words below, and we only send messages to those who want to receive them. 

  • For general farm announcements, text GOAT to 30500
  • For special farmers’ market offers (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.

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. In between all the movies you’ll be watching at Ebertfest, you need to eat, right?? 

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.  The format is different than our past “Spring Open Houses,” which have featured mostly grab and go type foods and beverages. 

Here’s how the new 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 AND Celebrating Raw Milk Cheese Appreciation Day

We have a really great line up of cheeses to offer you this weekend, as we roll out the first bloomy rind cheese of the season—little bloom on the prairie. Also, April 21st is RAW MILK CHEESE APPRECIATION DAY. Initiated by the Oldways Cheese Coalition, this “holiday” celebrates the diversity and terroir of artisan cheeses made lovingly by hand, using old techniques that preserve and enhance the native flora of milks around the country and the world.  We are pleased to offer our customers two raw (unpasteurized) milk cheeses-Moonglo and Huckleberry Blue.

In fact, to celebrate Raw Milk Cheese Appreciation Day, we will be giving free tastes of both of these cheeses, and taking 10% off the price of each wedge of those two cheeses!!    

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper—these are our regular flavors available all year round
  • 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.
  • CELEBRATE RAW MILK CHEESE! 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.
  • CELEBRATE RAW MILK 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)

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 first of the season pints of gelato available this weekend—vanilla, chocolate and salted caramel swirl, as well as scoops of salted caramel, 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: We have two seatings for brunch on May 13th, Mother’s Day. These brunches are by reservation only.  Check out the menu for this special mother’s day brunch (scroll all the way down the page) and book your tickets now! The second seating is almost sold out but we still have a good number of seats for the first seating.  

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. 

Dinners on the Farm: Our 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 have a great diversity of dinner themes this year from Italian to Oaxacan.  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.