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When favorite goats die

Posted 9/5/2014 7:32am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

We lost our first-born kid yesterday; our wether, Hershey.  Hershey was our “learning curve” kid.  He was born the Monday after Thanksgiving almost ten years ago. His mother, Chocolate, a first freshener at the time, got pregnant within two weeks of arriving on our farm in July of 2004. As utter novices to world of goats and goat births, we had NO idea she was pregnant until a little buckling appeared “in the manger” (no kidding—he was hiding under a hay feeder when I found him that auspicious Monday night).  He grew like a weed, and we decided to keep him as a wether (a castrated male goat for the un-initiated).  He had a jolly carefree personality. 

Wes with Hershey as a baby

 He was always in need of a head scratch or a body nuzzle.  Having no real job on the farm, he had an enviable life.  His hearty appetite and lust for grain lead to episodic “Atkins style” goat dieting—grass hay, but he always managed to avail himself of whatever goodies the other goats were offered. He hung out with our other boys during their off season (always being so tolerant of their buck antics), and then he would join the does during breeding season. 

It was only a few weeks ago that we noticed a sudden drop in his weight.  His appetite was still strong, so we chalked up the weight loss to old age. Yesterday, Wes found him lying on his side, unable to get up.  We called the vet and they discovered tumors in his abdomen.  We made the tough decision to euthanize.  He died peacefully with his head cradled in my lap. 

Hershey was Wes’ buddy. He reflected on the loss: “Last night at Open House, I was looking at the young of the year with the guests.  Someone asked me what the hardest part of having our farm was – haying, milking, feeding, planting, managing money, employees, guests.  It came to me immediately – ‘watching one of your goats die.’ He was a great goat; hearty and healthy his whole life on the farm.  We console ourselves with the thought that he had a great life, a week of not feeling his normal self, and a few minutes to die with the people who loved him, carrying a good appetite up to the end.  I couldn’t ask for more myself.”

Farmers’ Markets, Farm Dinners and Special Events We’re attending two Farmers’ Markets this Saturday: Urbana’s Market at the Square and Chicago’s Green City Market. If it’s delicious cheese you need, it’s cheese we’ve got:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper AND HEIRLOOM TOMATO CHEVRE!!—yes, we’ve been busy drying those succulent Juliet tomatoes to make our seasonal tomato chevre.
  • Angel Food Brie
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie
  • Black Goat
  • Moonglo
  • Huckleberry Blue

We have lots of great local flavors of gelato for you this week (* indicates flavors available at both markets):

  • Honey Lavender*
  • Sweet Corn*
  • Fresh Mint*
  • Cantaloupe Melon Sorbetto
  • As well as Vanilla and Chocolate

Although our summer open house season has come to an end, stay tuned for announcements about special events at the farm. For example, NEXT FRIDAY, September 12th  (5 PM start time), we’re hosting a fundraiser dinner for the Champaign-Urbana Symphony Orchestra.  They still have a few tickets available for sale. Here’s the menu to temp you:

  • Chocolate Mint Iced Tea
  • Grilled watermelon and heirloom tomato salad with house made goat-milk yogurt dressing and thai basil  
  • Herb roasted Lake Superior Whitefish with German potato salad, creamed corn and green bean relish
  • Prairie Fruits Farm cheese plate with preserves and house made crackers
  • Local plum and cornmeal cake with honey thyme gelato

For more information and to make reservations, please call the CU Symphony Orchestra Office from 10AM to 5PM at 217-351-9139 

Copyright 2014 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2014. 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.