News

Welcome to Leslie's Blog.
Posted 9/18/2015 8:25am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

 Farm News

One of the most satisfying aspects of being a cheese maker is crafting a new cheese.  We often get pulled along by the currents of our usual repertoire, balancing the needs of the market place and our bottom line.  The weekly make schedule leaves little time for experimentation, especially during the height of our seasonal production schedule.  So, when Rick Bayless of Frontera Grill contacted me in late winter this year, asking if we could make a hard, grating “cotija” style cheese for his restaurants, I jumped at the chance. 

We conversed several times by phone, so I could get a clear picture of the texture and flavor profile he wanted.  He wanted a raw milk cheese, dry enough to be grated with sharp and distinct flavors. We then brought in a couple of cheese consultants familiar with Mexican and Spanish style cheeses.  Both tried to persuade me against using goat milk to make a cotija. Like many traditional artisan cheeses in Europe, cotija is a protected name cheese, made with milk from a specific breed of cattle in a specific place (Cotija, Mexico) during a specific time of year.  At some point in our discussions, one of the consultants suggested a cheese called “Majorero.” This is a hard, raw milk cheese made in the Canary Islands from the milk of Majorera goats.  Not familiar with this cheese, I went straight to google.  Despite the stark differences in climate and breeds of goat between the Canary Islands and central Illinois, I was drawn to this cheese.  The stark white paste against a beautiful rusty-red rind (the rind is rubbed with pimento—Spanish paprika) was a show stopper.

Obtaining an actual recipe from the cooperative of Majorero cheese producers proved next to impossible (I do understand their desire to protect their recipe), so I set out to develop my own recipe by designing a make procedure that would produce the desired effects in the finished cheese: raw milk, hard (pressed), slightly nutty but piquant, beautiful red rind, aged for just over two months.  When I suggested to Rick Bayless that we do a dried chile rub to simulate the pimenton, he recommended guajillo chilies.  The next thing I know, I’m receiving a five pound box of dried guajillo chilies that need to be toasted, seeded and finely ground to a paste with olive oil. 

Once I had a fairly good grasp of our recipe, we took the plunge and made a small batch (about 30 gallons) one fine day in April.  In many ways, you take a leap of faith, not having any solid reference points of how the curd should feel, how the acidification curve should progress, how long the wheels should be left in the brine.  We waited about a week before we started rubbing the rinds with chile paste.  We had also decided to make a rub with something completely different to see how the rub would affect the flavor development of the cheese. Always wanting to incorporate elements from our own landscape, I chose a black currant rub with our farm’s black currants.  We rubbed the cheeses a couple of times to keep the rogue molds in check. 

After one and a half months, we cored a wheel from each type to see how the aging was progressing.  The cheese textures and flavors from the two rubs were remarkably different.  The chile-rubbed cheese was slightly drier and sweeter, while the currant-rubbed cheese was more pliable and nutty.  We let the wheels age for another few weeks, tasted them again, and remarkably, the currant-rubbed cheese had taken on greater nutty complexity while approaching the sweeter, drier flavors of the chile-rubbed cheese.

Finally, in early July, we were able to bring the chile-rubbed cheese to Chicago for its tasting debut at Frontera Grill.  Our entire cheese making staff (well, it’s only three of us plus our cheese maker intern) presented the cheese to Rick Bayless and his chefs, explained how we made and aged the wheels and then cut one in half for the tasting.  I’m happy to report that they loved the cheese.  We went back to our creamery and decided to make another batch of just black currant rubbed wheels so we could offer it to our farmers’ market customers.  That batch is finally ready for prime time: meet “Magia Negra” (black magic in Spanish). 

magia negra

Farmers’ Markets

After another roller coaster week of cold to hot to cool weather, the forecast for Saturday is again very fall-like.  We have a great line up of cheeses for you to try and buy:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper and tomato (only a few more weeks of dried tomato chevre, so you better stock up now)
  • Feta two ways: packed in whey-brine and marinated in olive oil with fresh herbs
  • Angel Food: dense and fudgy bloomy rind—delicate mushroomy rind
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: perfectly ripe this week with just the right amount of gooeyness
  • Black Goat: gorgeous geo rind over charcoal ash, also perfectly ripe for eating this week
  • Moonglo: our raw milk tomme—fruity & nutty perfect for fall fruits like apples and pears
  • Huckleberry Blue: raw milk blue—creamy and piquant
  • Magia Negra: the latest in our raw milk repertoire—firm, dry, nutty—a wonderful grating style cheese.

Although the heat of the summer is gone, we still have lots of great gelato flavors for you. The good news is that the pints won’t melt on their way home to your freezers:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Salted Caramel
  • Fresh Mint
  • Strawberry Cheesecake
  • Green Tea
  • Plum Sorbetto

Are some of the flavors we should have at the farmers’ market.  Salted goat milk caramels return to the markets this week (it’s been cooler in the kitchen, so we can make them again) along with our farmhouse crackers.  We may even have some of our house-made jams for sale. 

Farm Happenings

The farm is open week-days from 10 AM to 5PM. Come on out to see the goats and buy some farm products if you need an escape from your daily grind. 

Saturday, September 19th (YES, that’s tomorrow) is the start of our “Cider Daze.”  You’ll be so blown away by the taste of our cider, you'll be put in a daze of bliss. We are open 1-4 PM for apple picking, hot cider by the cup, slices of pie (with or without gelato) as well as cheese, gelato, sausages and other farm goodies.  Bring the family or just come out yourself. Remember to follow our road detour directions.   


Copyright 2015. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2015. 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.

Posted 9/10/2015 9:01pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

Farm News

We’ve been waiting and waiting to hear from our beekeeper, Emil, just how did our honey crop turn out this year.  We’ve been dying to know how our pollinator habitat “experiment” played out.  A couple of weeks ago, I snagged Emil leaving the farm, bee supers loaded in the back of his pickup truck.  I’ve become used to bad bee news; small brood densities, bees leaving honey uncapped, queens mysteriously disappearing. I’ve become used to seeing Emil’s sad eyes, his look of helplessness and exasperation over bees not behaving as they should.  Sadness has been the theme of bee keeping at the farm over the past few years.

When I caught him nearly pulling out of our driveway, he rolled down his window, and I asked, with trepidation, about the bees.  Despite his usual Lutheran-minister “poker” face, he managed to crack a smile and reported that the bees look great.  There is lots of brood (baby bees), the adults have been capping their honey and they appear to still be foraging on fall asters, goldenrod and clover.  He went on to tell me that the hives haven’t looked this good in years.  He seems almost giddy (again, those Lutheran ministers don’t show their cards much).  He’d decided to leave them extra honey (meaning, we don’t get much this year), but I tell him, I don’t care. I’m so happy that our bees might actually have a fighting chance of surviving the winter, that less honey for us this year might reap bountiful honey next year.  

I feel both instantaneous and delayed gratification.  I’m guardedly optimistic that our attempts to provide habitat and nectaries from early spring to fall have helped them produce healthy colonies. I believe that our placement of the hives next to the prairie was prudent, buffering the hives from agricultural fields that are assaulted by agro-chemicals.  We won’t rest on our laurels next year. We’ll plant even more flowering plants with even longer flowering times.  For now, I am happy to have some honey to offer our customers this fall; the sweetness of summer concentrated in golden liquid.

fall honey

Farmers’ Markets

From crisp fall air to heat wave back to fall cool, this Saturday could be a true fall blustery day.  Don’t let a little cold air slow you down. Come visit us at Urbana’s Market at the Square and Chicago’s Green City Market.  We have cheese:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper and heirloom-dried tomato
  • Feta: both marinated in olive oil with fresh herbs and packed in whey brine
  • Angel Food: crottin style, delicate flavor with a hint of mushroom
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: this batch is young, but has all the makings of a perfect camembert-style cheese.  Come get some to ripen in your frig for a few days
  • Black Goat: ash-ripened beauties, slightly tangy and yeasty but oh so good
  • Moonglo: raw milk tomme, firm but creamy; loaded with complex flavors
  • Huckleberry Blue: raw milk blue, creamy and nutty; a blue-lover’s blue

We have gelato:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Green Tea
  • Honey Thyme
  • Salted Caramel
  • Fresh Mint
  • Tart-cherry Stracciatella
  • Plum Sorbetto

Are most of the flavors we’ll have on hand to try and to buy.  We will also have our farmhouse crackers for sale as well as some goat milk soaps.  DON’T FORGET THE HONEY: AVAILABLE IN 8 AND 16 OUNCE GLASS JARS.  Now that the weather is cooling off and it’s cooler in the kitchen, we’ll start making our mouth-watering goat milk caramels next week. 

Farm Happenings

We have a very busy weekend here at the farm.  Saturday, September 12th, we’re hosting the Illinois Organic Growers’ Association’s “Crop Cycle” cycling tour of farms in the morning. Then, the chefs from Honey Butter Fried Chicken (Chicago) arrive to cook up a fantastic “fancy fare” meal (still have four tickets left for sale for this one).  Sunday, September 13th, from 1:30 to 5:30, we’re hosting our “Cheese, Wild Game and Wine” Tasting Trail.” There are a few tickets left for that event too. 

Don’t forget to reserve some apple cider from our orchard caretakers, Dani and Erica. Email them at PFFCFRUIT@gmail.com. They will be starting U-Pick Apples next Saturday, September 19th, so keep close to your Facebook and other social media outlets for all the details about that.

If you’ve been thinking about splurging for a farm dinner, we still have TICKETS!!  We thought we were sold out for our 100 Yard Dinner, but alas, there are 10 seats OPEN for this meal. You really shouldn’t miss it. There are also seats left for guest chefs from Perennial Virant and the Radler (modern German cuisine partnered with beer from the Blind Pig Brewery) and our blow-out final “Holiday Dinner” in early December. 

With the cooler weather approaching, we’re making plans for farm classes and workshops as well as special tasting events. Stay tuned for upcoming dates and details. 


Copyright 2015. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2015. 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.

Posted 9/8/2015 11:43am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

September is in full swing, and many folks are back to work and school, but farmers' market season is VERY much alive. We will be at The Land Connection's Downtown Champaign Farmers' Market this afternoon (4-7 PM), so come visit us.  We'll have cheese: 
  • Fresh Chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper AND heirloom-dried tomato
  • Feta marinated in olive oil with fresh herbs
  • Black goat and Angel Food
  • Moonglo and Huckleberry Blue

We have LOTS of pints of gelato including: vanilla, chocolate, gianduja (choc-hazelnut), salted caramel swirl and green tea

We will probably be bringing some organic apples too.  

Cheese to Wine Tasting Trail tickets are still available.  Spend a fun-filled Sunday afternoon this Sunday, September 13th in East-Central IL.  Details and ticket purchase HERE.

Tickets to our famed "100 Yard Dinner" are now available.  We thought it was sold out, but it's NOT.  This is the farm dinner not to be missed--98% of all the food served come from within 100 yards of the dinner table.  Click here to make reservations. 


Copyright 2015. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2015. 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.

Posted 9/3/2015 10:12pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

Farm News

Now that our intern has gone back to school, I’ve been doing the lion’s share of the feeding chores around the farm.  Morning and evening, there are so many hungry mouths to feed and water; from retired does to kids to breeding bucks. Let’s not forget the poultry; guineas and the laying hens.  Each group has its own dynamic and idiosyncrasies, and I find myself honing in on a particular order in which I complete each task for each group.  With all critter groups, it starts with the grain.  There must be something fundamentally appealing about eating grain because the lust spans the farm animal kingdom from bird to ruminant. 

bucks with heads in grain

All goats, young to old, clamor and croon at the sound of the lid being lifted from the grain bin.  While they’re fighting over the last morsels of grain, I clean out the goat hay feeders and toss in new flakes of alfalfa hay.  Goats are obsessive food sorters (dispelling the myth that goats will eat anything), often leaving grass and alfalfa stems behind after plucking the tender leaves.  The waste hay goes to the compost pile.  While they’re eating their grain and hay, I watch to make sure everyone is eating with gusto and all behinds are clean; the first sign of a sick goat is no interest in food. Then, there’s assessing the bedding situation; if it’s wet and odiferous, I sprinkle barn lime and re-bed with fresh straw or chopped corn cobs.  Lastly, I dump out their water, scrub the algae from the bottom of the stock tank and refill with fresh, clean water. 

chickens and waterer

I admit that I spend more time fussing over the goats than the poultry.  By the time I get to let the hens out of the chicken coop in the morning, they’ve congregated at the screen door, squawking impatiently for me to open the door and set them free to roam their weed jungle for the day.  I check for eggs missed the night before, refill their grain feeder, fluff up the bedding in their nest boxes and clean out their waterer.  Chickens lack concern for hygiene, and invariably, I’m dumping out straw-laden soiled water at each feeding.  I’ve become accustomed to this routine. 

As I walk from one feeding venue to the next, I look for the cues of seasons changing, of small signs that nature’s harbored by our farm.  I marvel at the number of spiders that have spun dense webs between every single fruit tree in the orchard, the flocks of multi-species black birds that have begun congregating on electrical wires (in anticipation of migrating) and the abundance of monarch butterflies alighting on orchard clover.  I’ve been thinking a lot about the word “chore.”  We often refer to this routine as “doing chores.”  The word “chore” evokes drudgery, slogging through the daily grind, performing an act that must be done, but it’s not pleasant.  Even the phonetics of the word sound pained.  I confess that I like doing chores for the most part (sometimes I would rather sleep in); perhaps we should come up with a name that reflects the comfort and satisfaction of repetition, of sameness. 

path home

Farmers’ Market News

We have a long holiday weekend before us, and we’ll be attending both Urbana’s Market at the Square and Chicago’s Green City Market with a great assortment of cheeses, crackers and gelato.  It will be hot, perfect for an end-of-summer picnic or barbeque. You need cheese?

We’ve got:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper AND YES, Heirloom-dried tomato (it won’t last forever, so stock up now)
  • Feta in olive oil—we’ve dressed up our feta in beautiful glass jars filled with extra virgin olive oil (EVOO—I love this) and fresh herbs from our herb garden—this feta is PERFECT for adorning grilled vegetables
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie-very very limited quantities of our goat milk camembert. If you want some, you better get to the market early
  • Angel Food-our little crottin-style cheese. It’s great served with local honey or tart jam; a nice little bite to offer your guests while they wait for the main course
  • Black Goat—ash-ripened little rounds with a yeasty rind; slice a wedge and place it on a wedge of fresh heirloom tomato. You won’t regret it.
  • Moonglo—our raw milk tomme made with spring milk is tasting mighty delicious right now—if you want to be decadent, try melting it on a burger.
  • Huckleberry Blue—our raw milk blue, reminiscent of a goat gorgonzola—crumble it on a salad, put it on a pizza or, yes, top your burger with it too.

Cool off with Gelato? Of course(* are flavors going to Green City Market and Urbana):

  • Green Tea
  • Vanilla
  • HoneyThyme*
  • Gianduja (chocolate-hazelnut)
  • Chocolate
  • Salted Caramel*
  • Plum-Peach Sorbetto*

Green City Market goers will also get single servings of:

  • Glazed carrot
  • Plum-Peach Sorbetto
  • Peaches & Cream

Come get your shopping out of the way early on Saturday. Beat the heat and stock your frig with some great local foods of summer.

Farm Happenings

Don’t forget to sign up for the “Crop Cycle” next Saturday, the 12th of September and our “Forkin the Road Tasting Trail on Sunday, September 13th.  It should be an action-packed weekend showcasing the great local farms in our neck of the woods (prairie, really). 

We’re gearing up for apple picking season on the farm.  Dani and Erica (the tenders of the orchard this year), have been busy cleaning up fallen fruit and turning “ugly” organic fruits (pears and apples) into fresh cider.  We will start U-pick apples on Saturday, September 19th.  We’ll also be selling cider and probably baked goods made with our fruits.  Stay tuned for details about fall U-Pick on our website and Facebook pages.  

dani making cider


Copyright 2015. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2015. 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.

Posted 8/27/2015 10:02pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

Farm News

The guinea hens are growing quickly. This year, we decided to set up their moveable pen in the shade outside the front of our house.  They have a carpet of weeds to dine on, along with a nice mixture of non-GMO grains.  Their appetite is voracious, and I’m impressed with the lightning speed at which they lay bare the soil beneath the greenery. Each day, Wes moves their pen to a clean spot. This ordeal involves inserting a hand cart underneath one side of the pen and tugging it along, guineas inside.  It helps to have someone inside the pen to make sure they don’t get underneath the back side and escape. 

Blue, our dog, has taken a fancy to the guineas, and for some strange reason, his herding instincts seem to snap into place when it’s pen moving time. He circles the pen as Wes pulls it forward, ensuring that no guineas make a play for freedom. 

Blue took a shining to these birds on the day I brought them home from Rural King.  When the fluffy keats (guinea chicks) were first moved outside, I noticed them escaping from the pen, only to discover they could slide their tiny bodies underneath the spaces between the pen frame and the uneven ground.  Blue went right to work, rounding them up, even gently placing one or two escapees in his mouth (well, maybe he wanted to bite down, but he could tell from my look that these creatures were forbidden food). 

Like all poultry on a farm, guineas are highly desired by predators of all stripes.  Protecting them from ground-dwelling predators such as weasel and raccoons, involves securing wooden boards along the base of the pen, with nails exposed to impale anyone attempting to enter the pen.  I had heard other farmers complain about air-borne predators, but when we saw a red-tailed hawk alight on the top of their pen one morning, I was a taken aback. The guineas expressed their terror with complete silence and immobility.  The hawk seemed a bit brazen; he reluctantly retreated to a branch above the pen when we opened the front door to snap a photo.  The hawk insisted on early morning visits to torment the fowl for nearly a week. Then one day, perhaps resigned to being thwarted by our well-constructed pen, he disappeared.  The guineas have put on their adult plumage and are beginning to make their adult guinea calls at dusk.  They’re predator free for the time being. 

hawk on guinea pen

 

Farmers’ Markets

We’re attending both Urbana’s Market at the Square and Chicago’s Green City Market.  In addition to our cheese regulars, we have a couple of new items for you. The Juliet tomatoes have been dripping off their vines, and I have been busy drying them. SO, TOMATO CHEVRE IS BACK!!  We also have some lovely jars of feta cubes marinated in extra virgin olive oil and fresh herbs from our garden.  The feta is velvety and delicious. 

feta in olive oil

In addition, we have:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Angel Food-limited quantities, so come early if you want some
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie-very limited quantities this week
  • Black Goat
  • Moonglo
  • Huckleberry Blue

Looking for gelato? We have some GREAT new flavors as well as some of our regular favorites.

gelato flavors

 

Don’t forget to check to sign up for our upcoming Tasting Trail with Sleepy Creek Vineyard and KD Ranch. Tickets are going fast.  Also, we have a few seats left for our Cucurbit Dinner at the end of September. The menu is now posted on our website.  Although our Summer Open House is done for the season, stay tuned for details about fall hours for apple picking too.   


Copyright 2015. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2015. 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.

Posted 8/24/2015 9:18pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

Summer really is drawing to an end, but it's not too late to come out and visit the farm or see us at The Land Connection's Downtown Champaign Farmers' Market.

Tuesday, August 25th, 4-7 PM.  TLC's Farmers' Market. We'll be there with cheese, gelato and hand-made crackers.  The weather should be GORGEOUS so come out and shop.

Wednesday, August 26th: 4-6 PM: LAST Summer Open House of the Season--come visit the farm and see the goats.  Take a selfie with the little white Nigerian Dwarf doeling "Zaya baby" and enter our Facebook contest to win farm goodies.  

Grab a scoop of gelato and walk around the farm.  We won't have U-Pick Peaches (they're pretty much done for the season), but we are gearing up for apple picking in September and maybe even October.  

Buy some cheese: we'll have fresh chevre, bloomies, Moonglo and Huckleberry Blue. 

Get some great summer produce from Tomahnous Farm and Heirloominous Farm.

Pick up some breads or bagels or granola from Stewart's Artisan Breads.

Ask us about pastured eggs and whole chickens from Seven Sisters Farm.

Check out our freezer full of artisan sausages (pork, chicken and yes, goat) by Piedmonte Sausage Co.

Let Laurence the Knife Dude sharpen your knives while you shop and visit the farm.

Don't forget to sign up for our September Tasting Trail on September 13th.


Copyright 2015. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2015. 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.

Posted 8/20/2015 10:28pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

Farm News

As much as last week’s sweltering temperatures and violent thunderstorms had me convinced that summer would linger, today’s unmistakable crispness foreshadows a change of the seasons.  The signs are here:  the clarity of light in the afternoon, the bounty of red tomatoes dropping off their vines, the wafting of buck odors from the north pasture, the intense glow from the waxing moon and evening stars.  

You could argue that this is the best time of year. The earth is rich with the fruits of spring plantings, the peaches are still ripening and sweet, the does’ milk is starting its gradual increase in solids so perfect for cheese making.  That sense of urgency that pervades farm life for most of spring and summer becomes slightly muted as fall approaches. Yet, you know that what follows the serenity of autumn is the frigidity and barrenness of winter.  It takes discipline to just be present in these glorious days of late august.

Farmers’ Markets

We’re back to two farmers’ markets this Saturday, August 22nd: Urbana’s Market at the Square and Chicago’s Green City Market.  Here’s the cheese line up:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper (heirloom tomato will be appearing very soon)
  • Angel Food
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie
  • Black Goat
  • Moonglo
  • Huckleberry Blue

It’s still perfect weather for gelato:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Sweet Corn
  • Salted Caramel
  • Peaches & Cream
  • Nectarine Sorbetto

Are some of the flavors we’ll be offering both in pints and single servings

Farm Happenings

School may be starting, but we have lots going on at the farm over the next several weeks:

Third Friday Pop-Up—That’s TOMORROW, FRIDAY, AUGUST 21ST 5:30-7:30—Can you say “Porchetta?”

Last Summer Open House of the Season: Wednesday, August 25th: 4-6 PM (maybe still have U-Pick Peaches too)

Fork in the Road Tasting Trail: September 13th 1:30-5:30 PM

"For the Love of Cucurbits" Farm Dinner: Saturday, September 26th (Tickets are still available)

Stay tuned for details about fall apple picking, classes, tastings and workshops at the farm. 


Copyright 2015. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2015. 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.

Posted 8/18/2015 8:40pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

The carefree days of summer are slowly winding down, but there's still time to visit the farm.  We have one more Wednesday Open House in August next week, BUT NO Open House on Wednesday, September 2nd (we have a private event scheduled for that evening). Depending on interest, we might have a final Open House on Wednesday Sept. 9th, so stay tuned.

This Wednesday's Farm Open House is loaded with seasonal foods that scream "SUMMER."

Plenty of cheese:

chevre, bloomies, Moonglo and Huckleberry Blue

Refreshing gelato and sorbetto by the scoop:

  • Local strawberry
  • Green tea
  • Chocolate
  • Stout Turtle
  • Nectarine Sorbetto

Lots and lots of summer veggies from Tomahnous Farm and Heirloominous Farm.

Breads, bagels, cookies and granola by Stewart's Artisan Breads

Pastured eggs and whole chickens by Seven Sister's Farm

Artisan sausages including our very own goat merguez (North African spiced) sausage by Piemonte Sausage Co.

Knife Sharpening by Laurence the Knife Dude

Come meet the newest arrivals to the farm--Nigerian dwarf twins born last Thursday!

Come out to pick some delicious white peaches (Belle of Georgia variety) too--U-Pick runs from 2-6 PM.  Regular Open House runs from 4-6 PM. 


Copyright 2015. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2015. 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.

Posted 8/13/2015 10:45pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

Farm News

Chino, the orange cat, walked out of a corn field and into our lives 12 years ago.  He appeared on our doorstep not too long after we moved into our house, about a week after I brought home two barn kittens from Wisconsin, Marie and Louie.  Unlike most stray cats I’ve wooed over the years, Chino (his name comes from the masculine version of Puerto Rican speak for “orange” or “china”), took very little coaxing to win him over.  Somehow he sensed he belonged here on this farm, with us. Before long, he was on the couch, in my lap and working his way into my heart. 

He was a great hunter, helping us fight the voles who insisted on eating the roots of our fruit trees.  After a while we noticed that his pupils were always dilated.  I didn’t think much of his lemur-like stare until we started to notice him bumping into things.  This seemed odd for a cat; feline hunters are supposed to have laser sharp vision.  So, I took him to the vet who diagnosed his condition as a congenital degenerative eye disease. Chino was slowly going blind.  Because his loss of sight was gradual, he had time to compensate and build his other senses of touch, hearing and smell.  Even as his condition worsened, he remained a superior hunter to his “partner” in crime with perfect cat vision, Marie.

chino stalking paulie

I like to think that Chino’s dilated pupils were a metaphor for our adventures in farming; eyes wide open to let in all the light, but sometimes unable to focus on the finer details.   At each turn that moved our farm in directions we had never anticipated, the eyes wide open propelled us forward.  Chino was with us for all the twists and turns, frequenting the goat barns to sit atop the hay or catch a mouse, climbing on our backs as we sowed our garden each spring or, more frequently later in life, dozing on the porch on a bale of straw.

chino lounging on straw

He took ill a little less than two weeks ago and died peacefully in my arms early yesterday morning. While we never knew his age exactly, he lived a pretty good long life with us on our farm. We laid him to rest in the shade of the porch corner where he loved to perch and lounge.    True to the cycle of death and life on the farm, Polly (one of our Nigerian Dwarf does who got rebred about 2 months after she kidded in late February—Oops!), kidded with twins early this morning: a dainty little doe less than three pounds and a stocky little buck with a very large head.  I’d like to believe in reincarnation. I’d like to believe that my beloved Chino has come back to us as a sweet little goat. 

Farmers’ Market News and Upcoming Farm Events

We will be attending only ONE farmers’ market this Saturday, August 15th: Urbana’s Market at the Square.  We WON’T be attending Chicago’s Green City Market because of the Chicago Air Show.  We will return to Green City Market on Saturday, August 22nd.  We have some beautiful cheeses for you this week:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Angel Food (limited quantities)
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie
  • Black Goat
  • Moonglo
  • Huckleberry Blue—yes it’s back and it’s creamy and nutty and delicious

You say you want something sweet to cool you down? How about gelato:

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Cajeta (goat milk caramel sauce) swirl
  • Lemon Balm
  • Fresh Mint
  • Sweet Corn
  • Lavender
  • Peach sorbetto

We'll have a few bags of our goat milk caramels as well as our additive farmhouse crackers too. We’ll also be bringing some delectable baked goods made with our peaches and black berries (gallettes, pies, cookies). 

There are a number of events coming up at the farm in the next few weeks:

Wednesday Farm Open House: we should have U-pick peaches for our white peach variety, Belle of Georgia, but we’ll let you know for sure early next week.

Weed Dating at Heirloominous Farm on August 20th (for more info, visit The Land Connection’s website)

Third Friday Pop-Up on August 21st, featuring heritage pork “porquetta” sandwiches and a whole bunch of summer sides. The menu should be posted to our website some time this week.

Dinners on the Farm—there are still tickets available to several of the fall dinner dates. Check 'em out!

Fork in the Road Tasting Trail—September 13th with KD Wild Game Ranch and Sleepy Creek Vineyard and Winery.  It's a great way to taste your way across central IL on a Sunday afternoon.


Copyright 2015. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2015. 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.

Posted 8/10/2015 9:01pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

We know many of our patrons can't make it to the Saturday farmers' markets, so this week, we have two mid-week opportunities to get your fix of Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery products.  

Tuesday August 11th: 4-7 PM: The Land Connection's Downtown Champaign Farmers' Market
We'll have cheese (plenty of fresh chevre, feta, bloomies and raw milk beauties), gelato (pints of vanilla, chocolate, mint, lavender, peaches & cream and peach-raspberry sorbetto for sure) and farmstead crackers. We might even bring some peaches to sell.

Wednesday, August 12th Open House: 4-6 PM (with U-Pick Peaches from 2-6 PM)

Same great cheeses, special gelato flavors by the scoop (check out our Facebook page on Wednesday for the flavors of the week) AND:

Stewart's Artisan Breads: rustic breads, bagels, cookies and granola

Tomahnous Farm: organic veggies, fruits and beautiful flower bouquets

Heirloominous Farm: organic veggies (you can venture out to her plot to see her laying hens and pastured hogs too)

Pastured farm-fresh eggs and frozen whole chickens by Seven Sisters Farm

Sausages (pork, chicken and merguez made with our pasture-raised goat) by Piemonte Sausage.  

Come visit the farm, commune with the goats and meander through the orchard. Summer only lasts so long. 

 


Copyright 2015. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2015. 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.