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Working through the heat, Market Offerings and Other Farm News

Posted 7/5/2018 6:42pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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 Farm News

I put on a mindset for working in extreme heat.  I tell my mind that I like to sweat, that sweating is nature’s air conditioning.  I wear my drenched clothing like a badge of honor; a testament to the work accomplished.  The normally simple tasks of feeding the goats, dumping out and cleaning the water troughs, sorting out the hay stems and replenishing their hay rarely provoke a dampened brow under “normal weather conditions. 

When the early morning temperatures are already above 75 degrees, and the mercury is soaring toward the mid 90’s, I am resigned to my face flushed and dripping at the onset of chores. I convince myself that, as the days of high heat & humidity accumulate, my body has adapted, and my endurance becomes more bearable. Once covered in sweat, I rationalize that is easier to just stay outside and continue to work.  Why not pull a few weeds in the garden, harvest some raspberries or check on the ripening tomatoes? Soon, it will be time to check the water troughs again and make sure the fans are working in the barns.

The goats do not sweat, so they pant, like dogs.   It turns out that conformation (how their bodies are put together) matters when it comes to susceptibility to heat stress.  I have noticed that the stockier does (mostly La Mancha and La Mancha crosses) with large heads and short necks are the first to pant or park themselves in front of the fans in the barn. Their earless character does them no favors either. The Nubians lose heat through their long floppy ears, a remnant adaptation from their north African heritage.  The long-necked Nubians seem almost unfazed by the extreme heat. They gallop to the prairie for browsing after the morning milking, and resist the signal to head back to the barn when the herder says it’s time to go. The herder squirts cold water from his/her water gun into the mouths of those does who solicit a cold drink.  The heat stressed does welcome a dousing from the water hose, their normal revulsive reflex at getting wet overridden by their desire to get cool.  

I have come to realize that those who have grown up in climates with dry summers have lower tolerance of what we affectionately call “the heat index.”  It’s the combination of heat and humidity that fights with the body’s attempts at evaporative cooling.  Wes, having grown up in the Pacific Northwest, describes this weather as suffocating.  He claims a feeling of drowning under the heat and humidity.  While I too desire the reprieve of an air-conditioned house, my childhood of hot & humid east-coast city summers with no air conditioning have primed my body to persevere. 

Text Message Customer Loyalty Program:  This week’s market special involves another one of our cheese & beer experiments. We’re pretty pleased with how this little washed rind cheese turned out. To get the message with the special info, you’ll need to sign up: text either “GOAT” or “URBANA” or “FARMSTORE” to 30500 to sign up. 

Farmers’ Market Offerings –Cheese is an easy meal in the hot weather

If you’ve decided to take a holiday from the heat of the kitchen, why not grab a few of our cheeses and make a simple cheese board to enjoy on your deck or patio (or even in the luxury of your air-conditioned home).  If you want to fancy it up, here’s a really simple fig-chevre recipe. Believe it or not, you can find locally grown fresh figs at the Urbana Farmers’ Market (Cary’s Garden has them if you get there early).

Warm Figs with Goat Cheese, Pistachios and Balsamic Glaze  

Warm figs with goat cheese, pistachios and balsamic glaze. Fresh figs are cut open with goat cheese and pistachios placed inside. They are then baked until warm and come served drizzled with balsamic glaze. https://culinaryginger.com/warm-figs-with-goat-cheese-pistachios-and-balsamic-glaze/

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper—so versatile, so delicious. Put it on or in everything you can find from the market this weekend.
  • Goat Milk Feta: Summer is “feta season!” We are now making our feta with pasteurized milk. It’s still aged in whey brine, imparting all the wonderful complex flavors you’ve come to expect from our feta. With the arrival of the first sweet corn, creamy-crumbly feta is in order. I make a chipotle mayo, slather that on my roasted sweet corn, crumble some feta, roll the cob in the cheese and finish with a squeeze of fresh lime juice. Trust me!
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: This batch is perfectly ripe this weekend.  Try grilling it for a few minutes. Then, serve with a local honey or a tart jam.
  • Angel Food: our little “mini-brie” or crottin style bloomy rind; this batch of Angel Food is firm and tangy.  It could be sliced into rounds, lightly breaded and pan-fried for topping a bed of fresh greens.
  • Black Goat: an ash-coated bloomy with a delicate and crinkly yeasty rind. This batch is ripening nicely, and it has a sublime fudgy consistency and a hint of yeastiness on the rind.  Try pairing with spicy dry-cured salami.
  • 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. Try melting it for a gourmet grilled 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). This cheese is ONLY available directly from us—no wholesale buyers have this cheese right now.

Gelato:  Flavors of gelato pints are limited for this weekend.  I encourage you to bring a cooler with ice packs to the market to keep your gelato in tip top shape as you travel from the market to your home.

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Stracciatella (chocolate ganache “chip)
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Fruitti di Bosco (mixed berry-all local strawberries, raspberries and blueberries)

DON’T FORGET: we have a new spot at the farmers’ market--Urbana Market at the Square. We are in spot #20 on the south-west (along Illinois Street) end of the market. We are right next to Moore Family Farm.

Farm Store Summer Hours

Now through the end of August, we are open Wednesdays-Fridays, 3-7 pm, as well as Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 pm. The farm is a tranquil green space where you can come after work to unwind. During our open hours, you can savor a scoop of gelato or “build your own” cheese boards—pick out your cheeses, add a salami (Underground Meats) or jar of jam from Autumn Berry Inspired or pickled veggies, grab some Lucky Pierre bagel chips and we’ll provide the board. You can sit outside under our new pavilion roof and enjoy a glass of wine or beer with cheese! We have lots of shades spots to get you out of the hot sun.  Want to go the total sweet route? How about a root-beer float with a scoop of our gelato?

De-stress by visiting with the goats. They love to be petted, even in the warm weather.  Shop in our farm store “The Real Stand.” We’ve got pasture-raised meats and poultry from Bane Family Meats, frozen artisan sausages from Piemonte Sausage Co., pickled veggies and pestos by Sarah (our former gelato maker), locally-grown and milled flours by The Mill at Janie’s Farm and much more. 

Upcoming Events at the Farm

July 12th, 5-7 pm “Wine Tasting with Michael” We’ll be featuring some refreshing Italian whites—Costamolino from Sardinia, a Venetian Pino Grigio and a rose (Sera Lori) from Sardinia.  We’ll uncork a few bottles of Spanish Cava too.  Michael is informative and lots of fun.  You won’t want to miss this one. $10 for the tasting; all wines are $7/glass.

July 12th, 6-8 pm “Weed Dating at Delight Flower Farm” The Land Connection’s popular event for singles who like to get dirty is back.  We are co-hosting the event with TLC and Delight Flower Farm. Take a break from pulling weeds and do our wine tasting while you're here.

July 14th, 5-7 pm Delight Flower Farm Open House and Guided Tours  Delight Flower Farm rents land from us, and they are opening their space up to show folks all the beautiful flowers they are growing.  Reservations required. We are keeping our farm store open that night so visitors can shop in our farm store or grab a cheese board and a glass of wine or beer.

Farm Dinners: There are still plenty of seats for our “Southern Style Seafood Boil”, our “Cheesy Affair” and our “Summer Vegetarian” farm dinners.  The menus will be posted soon, but I encourage you to book your tickets now, before they sell out. The farm is gorgeous in the summer, there usually is a breeze and it’s a magical place to enjoy a hyper-local farm-to-table meal.   

To sweeten the pot (the boiling pot that is), we're teaming up with Moon Grove Farm (a new farm B&B) to offer out-of-town guests special rates for the July 21st Farm Dinner. Check out their deals. 


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.