News

Welcome to Leslie's Blog.
Posted 4/5/2019 9:10pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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 Farm News

When we planned last fall’s breeding season to freshen over 50 does in less than three weeks, we thought mostly about minimizing the sleepless nights delivering babies and fretting over laboring mothers.  We thought less about the consequences of exponential milk growth in the bulk tanks. The upshot has been a brisk transition from one or two batches of cheese per week to cheese makes every day. I confess that the Maserati speed has been a bit jarring to my aging body. My existence is now tuned to the whims of the precious white fluid: pump milk, pasteurize milk, culture milk, ladle curd, wash dishes, scrub floors and repeat.  The intensity of the routine leaves little time for reflection; the curd waits for no one. 

As the progression begins to congeal into familiar patterns, I take comfort in the certainty of repetition.  There is beauty in the movement of the ladle and the sound of curd plopping gently into cheese cloth.  There is satisfaction in the gleam of a well-cleaned cheese vat.  There is pride in reconnecting with the deliciousness of fresh spring chevre. 

First Full Menu “Babies & Brunch” with Chef Raquel Ritz, Market Offerings This Weekend

Chef Raquel is back in her culinary saddle this week as we launch the April Full Menu “Babies and Brunch.” She has pulled out all the stops for the first menu. You can get all the details, including this week's menu HERE

Remember: Saturday, the farm is open 10 AM to 2 PM. You can visit with the goats, see the babies and enjoy brunch.  Parking is limited due to continued wet and soggy ground. We encourage our guests to carpool.

New this year-if you have 4 or more people in your car you can park for free! Fewer than four? We are taking a $5/car donation.

Delight Flower Farm will be here doing a Pop-Up Flower Shop in front of our barn.

We’ve been making lots and lots of fresh chevre (because there’s nothing better than spring chevre) and we have made a special flavor in honor of spring: Chevre with Fresh Chives and Lemon Zest. In addition, we have:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Moonglo
  • Pelota Roja

OR get a scoop gelato:

  • Vanilla (we have a few pints of  vanilla only this week)
  • Lemon Crème
  • Chocolate
  • Espresso
  • Black Currant-Cassis—made with locally grown black currants from Midwest Agroforestry Systems (Ogden, IL) and Kentucky distilled cassis (black currant liqueur)

Check out the new items in our farm store

-soaps from Red Barn Farm (including loofa soaps and liquid soap)

-pancake mixes from Funks Grove Heritage Fruits & Grains

-Animal Welfare Approved Bandanas

-Charcuterie from Piemonte Sausage Co.  (pancetta, pork loin filleto)

-locally milled flours from Janie’s Mill

-fresh eggs and pastured meats and poultry from Bane Family Meats

AND MORE!

In addition to “Babies & Brunch,” the farm will be open on Sunday from 1-4 pm. Although we won’t be offering brunch service, you can still “Build your own Cheese Board” with wine/beer, peruse the farm store and visit with some of the goats (the barns will be closed, but we’ll have a pen with babies set up outside so you can get your fill of those jubilant beings). 

Other Farm Happenings

We’re now taking reservations for our Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet. We have two seatings—10 am to 12 noon and 12:30-2:30. Check out the amazing menu that Chef Raquel has crafted and book your reservations NOW. 

Don’t forget to sign up for a farm dinner. I will be adding more dates and themes in the next week or so, but the tickets already for those already on sale are going fast.

Yoga with Goats

Maggie Taylor, owner of Delight Flower Farm, will once again be offering goat yoga this spring. She has posted a number of dates with ticket sales in progress. This playful take on yoga practice will surely delight—check out the dates and book your reservations now. 


Copyright 2019. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2019. 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 3/30/2019 8:58am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Hi Farm Fans:
I'm very sorry to announce that the farm is flooded from all the rain we've had over the past 12 hours. We will NOT be open at the farm today.

The good news is that we're bringing "the circus" to town: we will have a small version of "Babies & Brunch" at the entrance to Common Ground Food Coop in Urbana from 10 AM to 2 PM TODAY! For sale:

  • goat cheese
  • gelato pints
  • Lucky Pierre Bakers bagels and doughnuts

AND--a little pen of baby goats! Stay dry and come see us at the Coop today. 

The farm will be open tomorrow (Sunday) for regular store hours (1-4 pm), and limited walking around the farm.  The ground is so saturated with water, we are NOT able to park many cars. 



Copyright 2019. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2019. 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 3/28/2019 10:39pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

Over 100 kids on the ground in less than three weeks’ time: a continuous stream of birth and renewal of milk and cheese on the farm.  The transformation from stillness and quiet to the moans of labor and the cries of newborns as they take their first breaths never ceases to astound me.  Adrenaline is a dairy farmer’s aid during kidding season.  Our reactions to the signs of labor have become instinctual.  We done our gear grab our labor and delivery box (equipped with OB gloves, betadine, lube and fresh clean towels) and head to the doe barn as the stages of active labor ensue.   

The does usually separate themselves from the rest of the herd as they sense the onset of labor.  They paw at the ground, moving the straw just so to create the perfect nest in which to lie for delivery.  They arch their backs, yawn, and get up and down repeatedly, all in an effort to position their kids for delivery in the birth canal.  As they enter the final stages of labor, they start to push. We look for the birth sack and the first signs of hooves. If the head doesn’t follow right away, we wait a little longer.

We like to encourage our does to do most of the work in delivering their kids, but sometimes they need some assistance.  We’ve had a lot of very big kids born this year; the bigger the kids, the more likely they are to get stuck in the birth canal or come out backwards. I spring into action as goat midwife: OB gloves, lots of lube and a few drops of betadine and in I go in search of the right body parts.  If I find legs, I reach back to find the head attached to those legs. Sometimes, two kids are trying to exit the birth canal at the same time, making it tricky to make sure the legs I am pulling are attached to the right body.  Eventually, the body parts are sorted out, the head is straightened and the front legs move forward to dive into the new world.  

The new mother relaxes as the pressure and pain subside. The other newly freshened mothers gather around the baby to help clean off the birth fluid. Despite her maternal instincts, the new mother allows her herd mates to share in the ritual of welcoming the newborn kid into their communal world. 

new goat mommas

New season of cheese and gelato; First “Babies & Brunch” of the season

Once there was sufficient milk free of colostrum to collect for cheese making and gelato production, we sprang into action in the creamery.  Like bees cleaning their hives after a long and messy winter, we got to work scrubbing and washing, soaking and sanitizing, putting the shine back on the cheese vats.  In one week, we’ve already made three batches of chevre and a batch of gelato base. 

We’re excited to share the fruits of our early season’s labors with you on our first “Babies & Brunch” this Saturday, March 30th, 10 AM-2 PM. Lucky Pierre Bakers will provide us with their scrumptious sweet and savory baked goods:

  • Doughnuts
  • Bagels (try theme with our fresh chevre)
  • Scones
  • Cinnamon Rolls
  • White Peach & Chevre Turnovers

We’ll have fresh coffee from Columbia Street Roastery and our famous goat milk hot chocolate.

Take home some cheese while you’re here:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Moonglo
  • Pelota Roja

OR get a scoop or pint of gelato:

  • Vanilla
  • Lemon Crème
  • Chocolate
  • Espresso
  • Try our newest flavor—Black Currant-Cassis—made with locally grown black currants and Kentucky distilled cassis (black currant liqueur)

black currant gelato

Check out the new items in our farm store:

-soaps from Red Barn Farm

-pancake mixes from Funks Grove Heritage Fruits & Grains

-Animal Welfare Approved Bandanas

-Charcuterie from Piemonte Sausage Co.  (pancetta, pork loin filleto)

-locally milled flours from Janie’s Mill AND MORE!

In addition to “Babies & Brunch,” the farm will be open on Sunday from 1-4 pm. Although we won’t be offering brunch service, you can still “Build your own Cheese Board” with wine/beer, peruse the farm store and visit with some of the goats (the barns will be closed, but we’ll have a pen with babies set up outside so you can get your fill of those jubilant beings). 

Other Farm Happenings

Don’t forget to sign up for a farm dinner. I will be adding more dates and themes in the next week or so, but the tickets already for those already on sale are going fast.

Yoga with Goats

Maggie Taylor, owner of Delight Flower Farm, will once again be offering goat yoga this spring. She has posted a number of dates with ticket sales in progress. This playful take on yoga practice will surely delight—check out the dates and book your reservations now.  

goat yoga


Copyright 2019. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2019. 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 3/8/2019 7:43pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

The baby births are on slow burn as February fades into March. While we’re anxious to get the season underway, we’re secretly happy for the glacial pace. The longer they delay, the more likely winter will make its seasonal retreat from our landscape.  The goats can almost taste the hint of warmer temperatures in the humid air.  Our second doe to kid this season dropped two beautiful bucklings this morning. Several of her barn mates are putting themselves in delivery states of mind. The nights of sleep deprivation loom happily on the horizon.

Farm Store Hours This Weekend

The farm is open for visitors Saturday and Sunday, March 9th and 10th, 11-3 each day. Come see the very pregnant goats and maybe even catch a glimpse of the newest babies.  Come inside the farm store, The Real Stand, to buy some cheese!

NEW in the store: Piemonte Sausage Co. of Urbana is now making charcuterie! We have their pancetta and pork lomito available. Claude and Susan, the owners of Piemonte, went to Italy last fall to learn the craft of salumi making. These products are authentic and delicious! Give them a try. We also have frozen sausages from Piemonte Sausage Co. and meats/poultry and eggs from Bane Family Meats. 

The Prairie Fruits Farm “Milk Bar” will be open, serving espresso drinks and cow milk hot chocolate.  We’ll have a few baked goods from Central IL Bakehouse OR, stay awhile and enjoy a cheese board with baguette and a glass of wine or beer. 

PLEASE NOTE: The farm will be closed the weekends of March 16/17 and 23/24 as we get things ready for Babies & Brunch starting March 30th!

Babies and Brunch Season will be here soon!

The arrival of baby goats at Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery means one thing to many of our patrons: the return of “Babies and Brunch.” This year, our season kicks off on Saturday March 30th with pastries and baked goods from Lucky Pierre Bakers.  Chef Raquel Ritz will take over the culinary helm in April with her pop-up café style menu.

Details and menus are forthcoming, but mark your calendars NOW.  The farm store will be open every weekend starting March 30th, both Saturdays and Sundays, but hours and offerings will differ for each day. Saturday hours March 30th through April 27th: 10 AM to 2 PM, Sunday hours, March 31st through April 28th: 1-4 PM.

No Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery CSA this year, but try our Cheese CSA add on through Blue Moon Farm’s CSA

We have decided to forgo our cheese and gelato CSA this year, so that we can focus our attentions on bringing you delicious cheese and gelato to the Urbana Farmers’ Market and to offer it to you in our farm store, The Real Stand. That said, we will be participating in Blue Moon Farm’s new multi-farmer, customizable CSA program.  The link is now open and ready for folks to add on our cheese share (two options) as part of the Blue Moon Farm veggie CSA.

Dinners on the Farm: The 2019 Season

Hard to believe that winter will depart and spring and summer will push their way onto the farm. Start planning your special evenings at the farm by booking a dinner.

If you’re not familiar with how our dinners work, check out our “Dinner Basics” page. If you’re a regular and you want to dive right in, go to the “2019 Season” page. We have a fantastic line up of chefs and themes so far, with more in the planning. One dinner (July 6th with Stephanie Izard) is already sold out, but we still have plenty of seats open for most of the posted dinners. We will be adding more dates and themes within the coming week too. We are excited to host you all again and to ignite the magic around good food and great company.

Taking reservations for spring goat kids

If you’re looking for exceptionally healthy, American-Dairy-Goat-Association-registerable breeding stock (doelings and bucklings) or just a great pet/companion, consider reserving a kid or more through our website.  Our kidding season will start in mid- March, and prices vary by age.  


Copyright 2019. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2019. 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 2/21/2019 10:03pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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 Farm News

The dull light, the pervasiveness of gray, the clingingly cold humid air, the lifeless frozen ground; all bespeak the persistence of winter.  The star rodent who dwells in Pennsylvania predicted an early spring, but he must have received a bum tip from his handlers.  Having come to trust in the ground hog’s prognostications, I feel somewhat betrayed. The standing pools of partially frozen water and the mud that clings to our dog Blue’s undercarriage suggest that spring, like me, has decided to sleep in a little while longer.

The goats show no interest in venturing outside, content to burrow a little deeper in their straw bedding to stay warm.  There swelling bellies and voracious appetites underline the urgency of moving forward despite winter’s lingering grip.  We have started to clean out the kid barn, to wash the baby bottles and set up the new born totes. The births are insensitive to the weather; they will come when it’s time, snow squalls or not.  The inevitability of the change of seasons gives me hope. Sleep deprivation awaits me in the near future.

Final Dote on the Does-This Weekend February 23-24, 11 AM to 3 PM each day

Come out for “Dote on the Does” and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate or a specialty coffee drink as you meet the moms of the babies that will be born this spring. Our staff will be grooming and feeding the goats, as well as answering any questions you may have. Watch as we measure and track the girth of the does scheduled first to go (kidding season should start the first full week in March): Helena, Medusa, Periwinkle, Violet, and Zora.  

This is your last chance to take your guess at which doe will give birth first! Pick a doe, a date and the number of kids for a chance to win a free Prairie Fruits Farm t-shirt. While you’re visiting, venture into the Farm Store for a cheese board and glass of wine or beer or just curl up in a comfy chair and read a book or magazine. The farm store will have a limited repertoire of cheese for sale, as well as other products (meats, eggs, sausages, locally milled flour, honey, jam, PFF& C “merch”) and more!  

Babies and Brunch Season will be here soon!

The arrival of baby goats at Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery means one thing to many of our patrons: the return of “Babies and Brunch.” This year, our season kicks off on Saturday March 30th with pastries and baked goods from Lucky Pierre Bakers.  Chef Raquel Ritz will take over the culinary helm in April with her pop-up café style menu. Details are forthcoming, but mark your calendars NOW.  The farm store will be open every weekend starting March 30th, both Saturdays and Sundays, but hours and offerings will differ for each day.

No Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery CSA this year, but try our Cheese CSA add on through Blue Moon Farm’s CSA

We have decided to forgo our cheese and gelato CSA this year, so that we can focus our attentions on bringing you delicious cheese and gelato to the Urbana Farmers’ Market and to offer it to you in our farm store, The Real Stand. That said, we will be participating in Blue Moon Farm’s new multi-farmer, customizable CSA program. Details and sign up opportunities are in the works.

Dinners on the Farm: The 2019 Season

What better way to encourage winter to be on its way than to plan for our summer-fall farm dinner series. We’ve been communicating with a number of chefs this winter, some familiar favorites and some new, and we are excited to launch the sale of tickets for many of the dates this season.  Ticket sales begin on Friday, February 22nd at 10 AM

If you’re not familiar with how our dinners work, check out our “Dinner Basics” page. If you’re a regular and you want to dive right in, go to the “2019 Season” page. We have a fantastic line up of chefs and themes so far, with more in the planning. We are excited to host you all again and to ignite the magic around good food and great company.

Taking reservations for spring goat kids

If you’re looking for exceptionally healthy, American-Dairy-Goat-Association-registerable breeding stock (doelings and bucklings) or just a great pet/companion, consider reserving a kid or more through our website.  Our kidding season will start in mid- March, and prices vary by age. 

Volunteer Opportunities at the Farm

If you’re interested in volunteering during kidding season (we need lots of help feeding baby goats, cleaning their pens and making sure they’re happy and healthy), send us an email and we’ll add you to our list of volunteers. The email address is: prairiefruitsinfo@gmail.com

Feeding shifts are 7-8 AM, 12-1 PM and 4:30-5:30 PM, 7 days a week from mid-March through mid-May.   We are hosting a mandatory volunteer orientation this Sunday, February 23rd from 3-4 pm. If you want to help feed baby goats, you must attend this meeting. 


Copyright 2019. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2019. 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 2/3/2019 6:27pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

We humble folks of the upper Midwest pride ourselves on our toughness, our ability to take weather extremes in stride.  Got snow? Just plow it or shovel and get on with the day. Ice storm got you encased? Throw down some salt or sand and hope the warming thaw is not too far behind. It has been a few years since we’d experienced a “polar vortex, ”and last week’s was exceptional in its temperature lows. 

In preparation for the deep freeze, we put down extra layers of fresh straw bedding in the goat barns and sealed the cracks in the chicken coop with plywood.  As the mercury plummeted, the goats enlisted their multi-pronged approach to staying warm. They puff up their winter coats to keep the cold air further away from their skin. As ruminants, they eat grassy hay continuously, keeping their rumens active and generating heat as a by-product of digestion.  As dusk falls, they nestle down into the straw and huddle together to share in each other’s body heat.

During such times of extreme weather we worry most about our senior goats—Liberty (14) and Gidget (13) are the two oldest does in our herd. Both retired, they have trouble keeping on weight, even though neither is bred.  On the morning of the coldest day (minus 20 actual temperature), Wes found Liberty and Gidget snuggling together, their bodies buried so deep in the straw, their heads were barely visible.  Worried that they might be unable to stand up, he helped them to their feet. Taking it all in stride, they puffed up their coats and waddled over to the hay manger to get some chow. Tough farmers, tough goats; everyone happy that the groundhog predicts an early arrival of spring.

Dote on the Does

During the winter months, the farm seems fairly quiet, but actually there’s a lot going on. The hardest working animals on the farm are our female goats, or does, which are over half way through their 150-day gestation period. Each doe is starting to show signs of pregnancy as their bodies go into overdrive to develop the babies inside.   It’s this time of the year they deserve a little pampering!

Come out for “Dote on the Does” and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate or a specialty coffee drink as you meet the moms of the babies that will be born this spring. Our staff will be grooming and feeding the goats, as well as answering any questions you may have. Watch as we measure and track the girth of the does scheduled first to go (kidding season should start the first full week in March): Helena, Medusa, Periwinkle, Violet, and Zora.  

While you’re out at the farm, be sure to take your guess at which doe will give birth first! Pick a doe, a date and the number of kids for a chance to win a free Prairie Fruits Farm t-shirt. Then come back into the Farm Store for a cheese board and glass of wine or beer, or just to warm up in a comfy chair, as you plan your next visit to dote on your favorite doe.

The farm store will have a limited repertoire of cheese for sale, as well as other products (meats, eggs, sausages, locally milled flour, honey, jam, PFF& C “merch” and more!  

Taking reservations for spring goat kids

If you’re looking for exceptionally healthy, American-Dairy-Goat-Association-registerable breeding stock (doelings and bucklings) or just a great pet/companion, consider reserving a kid or more through our website.  Our kidding season will start in mid- March, and prices vary by age. 

Volunteer Opportunities at the Farm

If you’re interested in volunteering during kidding season (we need lots of help feeding baby goats, cleaning their pens and making sure they’re happy and healthy), send us an email and we’ll add you to our list of volunteers. The email address is: prairiefruitsinfo@gmail.com Feeding shifts are 7-8 AM, 12-1 PM and 4:30-5:30 PM, 7 days a week from mid-March through mid-May.    


Copyright 2019. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2019. 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 1/24/2019 9:08pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Once again, the winter weather has conspired against us. Due to extremely dangerous icy conditions at the farm, we will not be open this weekend for our "dote on the does" activities. The farm store will not be open either.  We apologize for having to cancel our winter open hours, but we are concerned for the safety of our patrons and our staff. Stay tuned for future postings about the next opportunity on February 9th and 10th.  Keep warm.



Copyright 2019. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2019. 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 1/11/2019 5:34pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Hello farm fans:

The snow storm forecast for Saturday looks pretty intense, so we've decided to cancel our farm open hours and "Dote on the Does" for tomorrow (Saturday, Jan. 12th). We will NOT have our cheese at the Urbana Market in the Square (with Blue Moon Farm) either. We're sorry for any inconvenience this may cause, but we are concerned about treacherous road conditions out here. 

We will be open Sunday, Jan. 13th, from 11-3 and you are most welcome to visit the farm in all its winter wonderland glory!


Copyright 2019. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2019. 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 1/10/2019 9:26pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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 Farm News

Last weekend, the sun shone so brightly and the air held traces of a false scent of spring.  It was the kind of weather that lured us off of our comfy chairs and compelled us to clean; a “no excuses” kind of day so atypical of winter.  My target was the chicken coop. The laying hens’ sense of hygiene and feed frugality leave a lot to be desired. The neglected floor of the coop had a layer of co-mingled waste feed, straw bedding and manure so dense and compacted; we needed a pick ax to break it loose. 

We collected our implements and let the hens out of their fenced yard to roam the orchard and the compost pile. They reveled in their freedom, fanning out across the dormant grass and pushing away the swirling piles of desiccated leaves. They were downright giddy with the warm weather that had softened the soil, revealing the occasional dormant grub. 

While they busied themselves hunting for insects, we got to work on our cleaning job.  Wes broke loose the coop floor debris and pushed it out the door; I scooped it up and placed onto the cart that would take it to the compost pile.  Several of the hens, concerned about the goings on in their “house” wandered back from time to time, expressing clucking concerns about the disruptive project.  Once the original wood of the floor became visible, I moved inside to get to work on freeing the roosts of the hens’ nightly toilet deposits. Then, I removed the straw bedding from the nest boxes and brushed away the cobwebs around the corners of the coop. Soon, the coop’s original foot print revealed itself, and I could begin to reconstruct their basic necessities: fresh straw for the nest boxes, a skiff of straw underneath the roosts to collect their nightly deposits, fresh water and clean feed and scratch. 

All the while, the broody hens wandered in and out of the coop to check on my progress. As soon as the fresh straw was tucked neatly into the nest boxes, one of the red hens dove in head first and clucked with delight. Another reddish-grey gal with a mini-afro scratched away the fresh straw underneath the roost and belted out the call they make after they have laid an egg.  Clearly she approved of our housekeeping standards. The other hens, intrigued by her calls, pulled themselves away from the compost pile to revel in their freshly primped digs.  I know how they feel; there are few things more satisfying than a freshly cleaned house. 

Dote on the Does

During the winter months, the farm seems fairly quiet, but actually there’s a lot going on. The hardest working animals on the farm are our female goats, or does, which are in the middle of their 150-day gestation period. Each doe is starting to show signs of pregnancy as their bodies go into overdrive to develop the babies inside.   It’s this time of the year they deserve a little pampering!

Come out for “Dote on the Does” and enjoy a cup of hot chocolate or a specialty coffee drink as you meet the moms of the babies that will be born this spring. Our staff will be grooming and feeding the goats, as well as answering any questions you may have. Watch as we measure and track the girth of the does scheduled first to go (kidding season should start the first full week in March): Helena, Medusa, Periwinkle, Violet, and Zora.  

While you’re out at the farm, be sure to take your guess at which doe will give birth first! Pick a doe, a date and the number of kids for a chance to win a free Prairie Fruits Farm t-shirt. Then come back into the Farm Store for a cheese board and glass of wine or beer, or just to warm up in a comfy chair, as you plan your next visit to dote on your favorite doe. The farm store will have a limited repertoire of cheese for sale, as well as other products (meats, eggs, sausages, locally milled flour, honey, jam, PFF& C “merch” and more!  

Dates are every two weeks, starting this weekend, 1/12-13 through the end of February.

Farm Store Hours 11am – 3pm.

Follow directions to our farm on our website. Please note that it is NOW easier than ever to get to the farm, even in bad weather—North Lincoln Ave and Olympian Drive Eastward are brand new roads, maintained by the city of Urbana during inclement winter weather.   

Market in the Square

We will NOT be attending the market this Saturday in person. HOWEVER, Blue Moon Farm has graciously offered to sell some cheese for us at their stand (8 AM to 12 noon). They will have:

  • Fresh (frozen) chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper (very limited)
  • Goat Milk Feta in Whey Brine (limited)—perfect crumbled over a hot bowl of winter chili or stew
  • Moonglo: indulge yourself by making a fancy grilled cheese with this cheese
  • Pelota Roja: The piquant Manchego style cheese with a guajillo-chile rub on the rind—this is the cheese we make for Rick Bayless’ restaurants-Frontera Grill-Topolobampa-Leña Brava. It is perfect grated over scrambled eggs or a winter frittata. 

We will also have these cheeses available for sale in our farm store during the open hours this weekend: Saturday and Sunday, 11 AM to 3 PM.

Taking reservations for spring goat kids

If you’re looking for exceptionally healthy, American-Dairy-Goat-Association-registerable breeding stock (doelings and bucklings) or just a great pet/companion, consider reserving a kid or more through our website Our kidding season will start in mid- March, and prices vary by age. 

Prairie Fruits Farm is HIRING!

Job Opening: Head Cheesemaker/Production Manager

Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LCC is an artisan farmstead goat dairy and creamery located in Champaign, Illinois. This award-winning creamery, established in 2005, is looking for a new cheesemaker to manage the production of the current line of products (cheese and gelato).  We are looking for a candidate who would love to be part of a small artisan operation and help to further develop the company with increasing production volumes, developing new products, and improving the overall profitability of the operation.

The ideal person has 2 to 5 years of experience with cheese making and understands what it takes to produce dairy products safely in a small, family-owned farmstead operation. In addition to cheese-making, the production manager would be responsible for making gelato base, flavoring and spinning gelato, managing cheese and gelato inventory, managing wholesale accounts, supervising other cheeserie employees and maintaining all relevant records related to production and food safety compliance.   

As time permits, the ideal candidate could also is participate in other farm activities, such as marketing and promotion, goat milking and agri-tourism, etc. The new cheesemaker will receive initial training by the owners, and will gradually take over management-level duties when trained.

We also encourage those who aspire to a career as a cheesemaker and/or working for an artisan company to apply if they have significant experience in similar fields (culinary, food science, production of fermented foods/beverages) and have a clear motivation to follow this career path for the long-run.

The candidate must have an eye for detail, excellent organizational skills, impeccable sense of hygiene, ability to be on his/her feet for 8-10 hours/day, ability to lift 50 lbs. or more and an ability to work independently and with a small team (2-3 people). The company is offering a competitive salary with benefits which will depend on the quality and experience of the candidate.

The position is open now and can be filled between January 20th and March 1st. If interested email / your resume (including names and contact information of three work-related references) with a letter to: Leslie Cooperband prairiefruits@gmail.com

For more information about Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, visit our website or Facebook page.

Volunteer Opportunities at the Farm

If you’re interested in volunteering during kidding season (we need lots of help feeding baby goats, cleaning their pens and making sure they’re happy and healthy), send us an email and we’ll add you to our list of volunteers. The email address is: prairiefruitsinfo@gmail.com

Feeding shifts are 7-8 AM, 12-1 PM and 4:30-5:30 PM, 7 days a week from mid-March through mid-May.   


Copyright 2019. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2019. 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 12/20/2018 3:03pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

Browns and grays dominate the farm’s color palette this time of year, offset by the reds of the barn door and the pavilion roof.  The few days of blue-sky sunlight and the ribbons of orange and yellow strewn across the western sun-setting sky provide much-needed visual relief as we approach the darkness of the winter solstice.  Life pushes back against the inertia of hibernation. The resident hawks, perched on fence posts, salivate over unimpeded views of desiccated grasses barely hiding the raised tunnels of their favorite prey.  The pond, still with open water, provides respite for chatty migratory geese and ducks.  The herons linger too, sometimes sighted far from their usual proximity to water, perhaps hoping to score a “turf-born” morsel rather than their usual “surf-born” fare.

This is the beginning of down shifting, the time of year when we can walk the farm and take stock of lingering needs.  The greenery that hid the piles of rotting wood, burn piles and old farm equipment has died back, leaving the exposed nakedness of patchy pastures, bare-trunk fruit trees, discarded moldy hay bales and messy compost piles.  The farm dogs embrace our own tendencies for laziness. Wes has to fight them for the coveted recumbent position on the couch.  Exposing the myriad of winter projects is akin to tackling a vice; acknowledgment is the first step in a long line of steps to improvement and change.  For now, we will allow ourselves some time to rest, to indulge the slumber that darkness encourages. Winter is the farmer’s best friend.

Farmers’ Market and Farm Store (aka The Real Stand) Offerings

We’ll be at the final indoor “Market in the Square” of the 2018 season, inside Lincoln Square Mall this Saturday, 8 AM to 12:15 PM. We have our regular spot next to Blue Moon Farm.  

If you miss us at the market, come see us at the farm. We’re open 1-4 PM Saturday and Sunday through December 23rd.  Our farm store will be closed in January and February, except for special events. So, come out for a little goat lovin' and a warm drink or cheese board.

If you think our farm is far from town, in fact, we are REALLY close to Champaign-Urbana—literally 5 miles from each downtown. We are also within two miles of both I-74 and I-57.  Follow directions on our website if you’re not familiar.

The line-up of cheese offerings this week has diminished, but the flavors of what we have to offer will sure to delight your holiday guests. In short work, our cheeses will be the star attraction of your perfect appetizers or the accent of our savory main dishes:

  • Fresh chevreplain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper-the milk is SUPER rich and the texture of the chevre is perfect for a simple holiday dip. Try one of our flavored chevre, or just drizzle the plain chevre with some local honey or a balsamic vinegar reduction, serve with raw or pickled veggies.
  • Goat Milk Feta: Our flavorful and tangy feta is aged and packed in whey brine. It's perfect to crumble on a fall salad or a top a hearty stew or bowl of chili.  Check out our newest recipe “Baked Feta with Olives, Honey & Thyme. This is PERFECT for simple & delicious holiday entertaining! THIS IS THE LAST FETA IN THE HOUSE FOR THE SEASON (CHEESE HOUSE), SO GRAB A CONTAINER THIS WEEKEND! We won’t be making more feta until next spring.
  • Spiced Feta in Extra Virgin Olive Oil- Don’t to mess with recipes or cooking for the hordes of holiday guests? This ready-made appetizer is perfect with some crusty bread and a jar of fancy pickles. It’s all dressed up and ready to go home with you. Let the container come to room temperature so that the congealed olive oil liquefies.
  • Moonglo:  Spring milk batches of this raw milk tomme (sort of like a Gouda, but not really) produce a more mild, tangy paste with hints of pineapple. Melts well, or just slice and enjoy with your favorite salami. You could even use it in place of Swiss style cheeses for fondue OR grate it over roasted veggies or a vegetable gratin. If you really want to impress your holiday guests, try this recipe for roasted pumpkin-filled fondue pots.
  • Gelato: If you’re looking for a perfect accompaniment to your decadent holiday desserts, try our gelato. We only have a few pints of vanilla left. These are the last pints of the season. Pints only at the market ($10 each or 3 for $27); scoops at the farm during open hours.

We’ll be bringing some other gift items and staples to the market including tea towels, t-shirts, hooded sweat shirts, batik aprons, cheese boards, jams, and goat stew meat.

Farm Products Featured in our Farm Store

  • Meats, Poultry and Eggs from Bane Family Meats, Sidney IL
  • Artisan Sausages by Piemonte Sausage Co, Urbana, IL (Bernie’s Classic Sweet, Cantaloupo, Cranberry-Apple-Pecan and bulk Chorizo)
  • Locally milled wheat flour from the Mill at Janie’s Farm, Ashkum, IL
  • Honey from Two Million Blooms, Champaign-Urbana, IL
  • House-made jams-Seckel pear, rhubarb, red pepper jelly
  • Artisan Cured Salamis from Underground Meats, Madison, WI
  • Tulsi Tea from Delight Flower Farm-tulsi is a variety of basil known for its sweet aroma and medicinal properties. With a spoonful of honey, this tea will warm you up and keep you healthy during the cold months ahead.
  • PFFC goat meat—we have one pound packages of stew meat (1 lb. packages, $13/lb.). Pasture raised, very lean and mild, try the meat that most of the rest of the world enjoys regularly. 
  • Goat Milk Soaps by Red Barn Farm—made with goat milk, organic olive oil and organic coconut oil and herbs or essential oils (no artificial fragrances). They are pure and gentle on the skin: $6.50/bar or 3 for $19

NEW in the store:

Folkmanis screaming Nubian goat hand puppet.  Check out the newest of our line of goat puppets. This beautiful dappled Nubian hollers like the real deal when squeezed. It’s a must have for the goat lover in your life ($56/each). Mountain Goat Puppets have made a last minute return to the farm store ($36/each)

goat puppetRustic cheese boards--hand-made from wood milled right on the farm (maple, cherry, ash)—these 3-4 ft. boards are lightly stained with a coffee stain. They are perfect for creative a simple and elegant cheese and wine board for your holiday entertaining. ONLY $30/each!!

Rustic holiday cheese boards

Visit the Farm during Open Hours

This is the final weekend that the farm will be open before we close the farm for the winter. Come visit during open hours: Saturdays & Sundays, 1-4 PM. Pet the goats, enjoy the natural surroundings in early winter (the farm is really beautiful this time of year), relax inside our cozy farm store with a warm drink, a glass of wine or beer and a “build your own” cheese board.  We’ll also have some special treats for you to enjoy with a warm coffee drink or some mulled wine (Glugg)-chevre cheese cake by the slice and warmed pecan buns.

Holiday Wishes and Thank you

We have had a wonderful 2018 season filled with beautiful goats, delicious cheese, memorable farm-to-table events and amazing dedicated staff.  We want to thank you, our patrons, for supporting us and helping us end the year on a very positive note.  We also want to let everyone know that things will continue “business as usual” at the farm in 2019. In fact, we are already starting to plan for even more events at the farm next year!  Stay tuned to see what we’re planning. In the meantime, stay warm and enjoy the comforts of the season with delicious local foods and good company.  Happy Holidays to all and we’ll see you in the New Year!! 


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.