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Posted 6/6/2019 9:40pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

What is cheese making?

Cheese is a humble food, ubiquitous, so seemingly familiar.  The generic name “cheese” implies simplicity and similarity.  Yet, those who skip past the plastic-wrapped blocks and pre-shredded packages in the dairy case and venture to a well-curated cheese case, begin to imagine there is more to cheese than “cheese.” 

For those unschooled in the processes of fermentation, cheese making can seem like magic. Milk, a liquid, is transformed into a solid, cheese, somehow. There are so many styles, flavors, consistencies, rinds, no rinds—how does milk become so diverse in the form of cheese? As a cheese maker, I walk the tight rope of science and art, of respecting certain fundamentals and using my intuition to fill in the gaps. 

There are a few basic universal truths about cheese making: milk is a suspension of solids (fats, proteins, minerals) in a liquid medium (water), and cheese making upends the suspension, causing solids to aggregate and liquids to be expelled.  Most cheeses employ the services of microbes to separate solids from liquids; the microbes eat the milk sugar, lactose, and release lactic acid as a byproduct.  The build-up of lactic acid causes the milk to curdle—this is the beginning of solids sticking together to form the “curd.” 

Many cheeses seal the deal of coagulation with an enzyme called ‘rennet.’ The rennet is like a conductor, orchestrating specific molecules to line up to achieve a firm curd.  Once the curd is formed, the liquid or whey is released. Cheese makers of our scale (small, artisan) let the whey drain on the floor, knowing, sadly, that there must be a higher use for this product still loaded with nutrients and probiotics. 

Accepting these fundamentals, what are the processes that transform milk into so many styles of cheese? The styles are variations along the continuum of microbial and rennet-driven curd formation, the degree to which the cheese maker manipulates the curd (ladling, cutting, heating, washing, stretching), the additions or not of ripening cultures, the care of the rinds (washing, brushing, waxing) and the microclimates of the aging rooms (temperature and humidity. So many variables coupled with different types of milk (cow, goat, sheep, water buffalo….) and your head can begin to spin.  If you want to add even more complexity to the mix, add a seasonal milk supply or have the milking animals eating a varied diet over their lactation. 

Cheese making is a magic trick of sorts, borne of an accidental discovery that you could preserve milk by taking out the water.  Cheese makers use a variety of tools and tricks to attain the ideal versions of the cheese styles they love; some guard their recipes like teenage secrets; others let nature dictate the process.  All cheese makers become the humble servants of their microbial task masters, without whom milk would forever remain liquid.   

 Farmers’ Market Offerings Saturday, June 8th Market at the Square” 7 AM to 12 Noon.

The weather forecast is looking downright pleasant (low 80's for highs) farmers'market shopping. This week, we have a full house of bloomies-little bloom, angel food and black goat, although they are still "young." We were feeling a little ambitious this week, so we decided to make some fresh ricotta today. We'll have that available for sale at the market and the farm store. It (ricotta that is) is screaming to be paired with fresh strawberries and local honey OR stuff some squash blossoms if you can find them.

We still have several quart containers of our goat milk yogurt-simple, plain yogurt with a slight tang. No thickeners added. If you want a thicker yogurt, you can always strain it through cheese cloth to get more of “greek style” consistency. Here’s the cheese lineup for this weekend:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Angel Food-our little crottin style bloomy, it’s compact, firm in the center with a slightly gooey edge. This batch is young, bright and firm. As it ages, the mushroom notes from the rind take hold. Slice over a salad of fresh local greens or lightly bread it and bake it for a fancy cheese plate.
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie-a goat milk camembert-style bloomy, this batch is still young but headed in a very good direction.
  • Black Goat: our funky ash-dusted bloomy rind with a crinkly white-mold rind. This batch is young, so the paste is firm and fudgy in consistency. The yeastiness of the young rind is prominent in a bread-dough kind of way.
  • Moonglo-Enjoy a wedge of this complex, raw-milk beauty. Each wheel is washed with a cultured brine made with pear-leaf tea. It’s great with local charcuterie or try some shaved over a salad of greens and roasted asparagus. We are almost finished with our last wheels of this cheese, so grab some while it's still here. 
  • Goat Milk Yogurt-our very own goat milk yogurt—just milk and live cultures—no thickeners or sweeteners added. It’s great mixed with fresh berries, nuts and a drizzle of local honey or maple syrup (it’s my breakfast staple every morning)

Grab a pint of gelato (3 pint special is still a thing—buy 3, get $1/pint off): Here's the line up:

  • Vanilla
  • Maple walnut (with Funk’s Grove maple syrup)
  • Chocolate
  • Fresh Mint
  • Salted Caramel Swirl

How about topping off some gelato with our house-made cajeta (goat’s milk caramel sauce)?  We made a special version with chocolate this time. We’ll be bringing some jars to sell at the market on Saturday, and they’ll be available in our farm store too.

Can’t make it to the market on Saturday morning? No worries: the farm is open this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, 1-4 pm.

Starting mid June (date not determined yet), we will be open Thursdays and Fridays, 4-8 pm in addition to our regular weekend hours of 1-4 pm. You can still visit with the goats (kids and adults alike), stroll through the orchard and check out our herb and vegetable garden (finally planted).  

You can also enjoy a scoop of gelato OR cheese board with a glass of wine/beer or a black currant spritzer.  Need a little caffeine? We can make you a special espresso drink. We can even put a scoop of gelato for an “affogato. 

Check out the local products in our farm store:  

-eggs, meats and poultry from Bane Family Meats (Sidney)

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

-Pancake mixes from Funks Grove Heritage Fruits & Grains-think pancakes with jam and chevre!

-Animal Welfare Approved Bandanas

-Charcuterie from Piemonte Sausage Co.  (pancetta, pork loin filleto and capocollo) as well as their frozen sausages (need to be cooked)

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

Other Farm Happenings   

Tickets to one of our farm dinners are a hot commodity. Check out themes and dates on our website and our ticket sales page (ShowClix), and make some reservations. We have some great additions this year:

  • Our July 20th BBQ dinner now has a New England "Surf and Turf" bent to it
  • Jake Chappell, Chef of Vincent in Chicago will be doing a Sunday afternoon lamb dinner with Catalpa Grove Farm Lamb--this chef is up and coming and super talented.
  • Eric Damidot, Chef of NoMi Kitchen (Park Hyatt, Chicago) will be doing a France meets Midwest themed meal
  • Chef Raquel Ritz is tackling a five course meal focused around all things milk (a version of our traditional "100 Yard Dinner")
  • The Great Pumpkin Patch is back this year for our very popular Pumpkin & Squashes themed dinner
  • Vicia Restaurant, St. Louis (Chef Michael Gallina) will venture north for a Sunday afternoon local food feast
  • and we’ll end the season with a Whole Hog-Triptych brewery holiday feast.

Behind the Scenes Tour & Tasting

Michael Darin, our special events coordinator extraordinaire, will be offering his "Behind the Scenes" tours next weekend: June 15th/16th at 2 and 3 pm each day.  For those of you celebrating father's day, why not surprise your dad by taking him to the farm for a tour/tasting, and then order a cheese board with your favorite adult beverages.

For the tours, guests will gather under the Prairie Pavilion to start the tour. Michael will give a brief history about the farm and some background about the owners Wes Jarrell and Leslie Cooperband.  He will then guide guests around the farm and creamery where they will learn about raising goats, how the farm functions day-to-day, as well as how the creamery transforms our goat milk into delicious cheese and gelato. The tour will end with an interactive cheese tasting in the Real Stand Farm Store.   

Tours are conducted rain or shine, and last approximately 45-minutes. Please be prepared to walk around the farm; comfortable closed-toed shoes are advised. No reservations are required. Cost is $10 for adults, $6 for kids 12 and under. Glasses of wine or beer can be added to the tasting for a tour price of $6.   

Goat Walk Happy Hour

How about accompanying the goats out to pasture after their evening milking and then enjoying a glass of wine or beer or a special cocktail with some cheese? We will be hosting a very special happy hour like no other on Thursday, June 27th, 6-8 pm. Make your reservations here for this event (limited to 35 guests only),Tickets are almost sold out: $15/person includes one drink. Additional drinks and cheesy snacks will be available for additional purchase. 


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 5/30/2019 8:49pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

There is a proverbial silver lining to the multitude of thunder clouds that continue to unleash their holdings over our landscape; the pastures have never been taller or so lush.  Like excited children wading out into the ocean beyond the shore, the goats meander through the grasses and we quickly lose sight of them. The greenery closes over them as they barely bend their slender necks to sample the tender growth. 

After a long day in the creamery, I decided to pay the bucks a visit in their summer pasture, just north of the orchard.  On my walk through the orchard, I inspected the peach trees again, hoping to spot a budding fruit or two—no such luck. The apples have a respectable fruit set, and there will be a few pears.  As I approached the buck pasture, I could only see Lentil, our La Mancha buck, along the fence line.  There was no sign of Nate or Rik, our two Nubian bucks. As I spoke gently to Lentil, Nate appeared out the tall grass to acknowledge my presence; no sign of Rik. I called his name a couple of times, and then suddenly his head popped up out the tall grass in the middle of the pasture. He looked at me implying “what, what do you want??” then quickly dove back in to enjoy whatever it was he was eating. Lentil and Nate wandered back into the sea of green to disappear again. Happiness is a goat engulfed by his food. 

Bucks in pasture

The return of the purple martins

When we bought our farm 16 years ago, it came with a double decker purple martin house next to our iconic windmill.  As we settled into our first spring on the farm, it was a joy to witness the return of the martins.  They would show up suddenly in late spring, kick out the free-loading English sparrows out of the nest boxes, and set up their own communal broods.  Their socialist, nesting commune, their fierce protective dispositions and their voracious appetites for mosquitos and flies endeared me to them immediately.  Like clockwork, they would return every year, except a few years ago, they did not come.  I had no clue what would have caused this change in their behavior:  different migration pattern, young not imprinting on their birth place; I was never sure. 

The English sparrows resumed their parasitic ways and continued to use the martin house as if they owned the place.  After a couple of seasons of disappointment, we decided to take the house down. We thought this might discourage the avian riffraff.  This spring, Wes cleaned out the house and put it back up, ever hopeful that the martins might spot it and decide to alight.  Sure enough, last Saturday evening (during our first farm dinner, no less), the martins returned.  First two, then several, landed on the top of the house, belting out their song of pleasure in finding a suitable home to lay their eggs. It gave me great joy to watch them pull out the nesting material from the English sparrows and have the sparrows acquiesce to the rightful owners of this house. 

Farmers’ Market Offerings Saturday, June 1st Market at the Square” 7 AM to 12 Noon.

The weather forecast is looking very hopeful for Saturday morning farmers'market shopping. This week, we have some lovely young little bloom and angel food to share with our patrons. Black Goat is on a little vacation until next weekend. Wes will be manning our farm stand, so come by and say hi to him.

We still have several quart containers of our goat milk yogurt-simple, plain yogurt with a slight tang. No thickeners added. If you want a thicker yogurt, you can always strain it through cheese cloth to get more of “greek style” consistency. Here’s the cheese lineup for this weekend:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Angel Food-our little crottin style bloomy, it’s compact, firm in the center with a slightly gooey edge. This batch is young, bright and firm. As it ages, the mushroom notes from the rind take hold. Slice over a salad of fresh local greens or lightly bread it and bake it for a fancy cheese plate.
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie-a goat milk camembert-style bloomy, this batch is young but headed in a very good direction.
  • Moonglo-Enjoy a wedge of this complex, raw-milk beauty. Each wheel is washed with a cultured brine made with pear-leaf tea. It’s great with local charcuterie or try some shaved over a salad of greens and roasted asparagus.
  • Goat Milk Yogurt-our very own goat milk yogurt—just milk and live cultures—no thickeners or sweeteners added. It’s great mixed with fresh berries, nuts and a drizzle of local honey or maple syrup (it’s my breakfast staple every morning)

Grab a pint of gelato (3 pint special is still a thing—buy 3, get $1/pint off): Our repertoire is limited this weekend, but we'll be back with more flavors next week

  • Vanilla
  • Maple walnut (with Funk’s Grove maple syrup)

How about topping off some gelato with our house-made cajeta (goat’s milk caramel sauce)?  We made a special version with chocolate this time. We’ll be bringing some jars to sell at the market on Saturday, and they’ll be available in our farm store too.

Can’t make it to the market on Saturday morning? No worries: the farm is open this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, 1-4 pm.

During the month of May, the farm is open weekends, 1-4 pm each day. You can still visit with the goats (the babies are growing so fast), stroll through the orchard and just check for new signs of spring life on the farm. 

You can also enjoy a scoop of gelato OR cheese board with a glass of wine/beer or a black currant spritzer.  Need a little caffeine? We can make you a special espresso drink. We can even put a scoop of gelato for an “affogato. 

Check out the local products in our farm store:  

-eggs, meats and poultry from Bane Family Meats (Sidney)

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

-Pancake mixes from Funks Grove Heritage Fruits & Grains-think pancakes with jam and chevre!

-Animal Welfare Approved Bandanas

-Charcuterie from Piemonte Sausage Co.  (pancetta, pork loin filleto and capocollo) as well as their frozen sausages (need to be cooked)

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

Other Farm Happenings   

Tickets to one of our farm dinners are a hot commodity. Check out themes and dates on our website and our ticket sales page (ShowClix), and make some reservations. We have some great additions this year:

  • Our July 20th BBQ dinner now has a New England "Surf and Turf" bent to it
  • Jake Chappell, Chef of Vincent in Chicago will be doing a Sunday afternoon lamb dinner with Catalpa Grove Farm Lamb--this chef is up and coming and super talented.
  • Eric Damidot, Chef of NoMi Kitchen (Park Hyatt, Chicago) will be doing a France meets Midwest themed meal
  • Chef Raquel Ritz is tackling a five course meal focused around all things milk (a version of our traditional "100 Yard Dinner")
  • The Great Pumpkin Patch is back this year for our very popular Pumpkin & Squashes themed dinner
  • Vicia Restaurant, St. Louis (Chef Michael Gallina) will venture north for a Sunday afternoon local food feast
  • and we’ll end the season with a Whole Hog-Triptych brewery holiday feast.

Behind the Scenes Tour & Tasting

Michael Darin, our special events coordinator extraordinaire, will be offering his "Behind the Scenes" tours this weekend: June 1st/2nd at 2 and 3 pm each day.  Guests will gather under the Prairie Pavilion to start the tour. Michael will give a brief history about the farm and some background about the owners Wes Jarrell and Leslie Cooperband.  He will then guide guests around the farm and creamery where they will learn about raising goats, how the farm functions day-to-day, as well as how the creamery transforms our goat milk into delicious cheese and gelato. The tour will end with an interactive cheese tasting in the Real Stand Farm Store.   

Tours are conducted rain or shine, and last approximately 45-minutes. Please be prepared to walk around the farm; comfortable closed-toed shoes are advised. No reservations are required. Cost is $10 for adults, $6 for kids 12 and under. Glasses of wine or beer can be added to the tasting for a tour price of $6.   

Goat Walk Happy Hour

How about accompanying the goats out to pasture after their evening milking and then enjoying a glass of wine or beer or a special cocktail with some cheese? We will be hosting a very special happy hour like no other on Thursday, June 27th, 6-8 pm. Reservations are now live for this event (limited to 35 guests only), so grab your tickets before they’re gone. $15/person includes one drink. Additional drinks and cheesy snacks will be available for additional purchase. 


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 5/23/2019 10:32pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

The farm is determined to have its spring in spite of the onslaught of rainy days. In fact, the grey skies accentuate the pale blue of the irises and soft pinks of the peonies. The lilac bush exudes an intoxicating perfume that masks the manure odors emanating from the barns. The prairie is a blaze with the yellow blossoms of a brassica. The goats can’t stop eating those flowers! The bucks, back in their summer pasture, nuzzle their heads in the carpet of red clover and succulent green grass.

Our neighboring water birds seem immune to the stormy weather. The tell-tale white head, white tail and black body of a majestic bald eagle flew over the farm this afternoon, no doubt in search of a piscine meal to feed her brood. The heron rookery in the tree tops along the creek is a riot of feathers and twig nests. The herons traverse the pond and glide gracefully along the creek bank. They do not seem pressed for time or want for food. The ephemeral pools of standing water in our neighbors’ fields, while frustrating to farmers desperate to get their crops planted, provide refuge for migrating water fowl.  So far, the birds are coming out ahead this spring.

Farmers’ Market Offerings Saturday, May 25th Market at the Square” 7 AM to 12 Noon.

The weather forecast for Saturday is calling for a chance of rain. Don’t let the wet stuff deter you from shopping for some great local foods—delicious greens, asparagus, mushrooms, meats, eggs and even strawberries!  We have a few containers of fresh ricotta left, a great selection of fresh chevre and limited bloomies this week (waiting for the next batches to ripen a bit).

We’ve also brought back our own goat milk yogurt for a limited engagement-simple, plain yogurt with a slight tang. No thickeners added. If you want a thicker yogurt, you can always strain it through cheese cloth to get more of “greek style” consistency. Here’s the cheese lineup for this weekend:

  • Fresh Whole Goat Milk Ricotta-creamy and delicate, sweet milk taste-VERY LIMITED
  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Angel Food-our little crottin style bloomy, it’s compact, firm in the center with a slightly gooey edge. As it ages, the mushroom notes from the rind take hold. Slice over a salad of fresh local greens.
  • Black Goat-our ash-coated mold-ripened cheese. The rind looks like brain corral; the paste is soft and creamy with a slightly yeasty bread dough flavor on the palate.  Enjoy with local honey or a dollop of local jam. This batch is perfectly ripe
  • Moonglo-Enjoy a wedge of this complex, raw-milk beauty. Each wheel is washed with a cultured brine made with pear-leaf tea. It’s great with local charcuterie or try some shaved over a salad of greens and roasted asparagus.
  • Goat Milk Yogurt-our very own goat milk yogurt—just milk and live cultures—no thickeners or sweeteners added. It’s great mixed with fresh berries, nuts and a drizzle of local honey or maple syrup (it’s my breakfast staple every morning)

Grab a pint of gelato (3 pint special is still a thing—buy 3, get $1/pint off):

  • Vanilla
  • Buttered Pecan (with Voss Orchard pecans)
  • Maple walnut (with Funk’s Grove maple syrup)
  • Salted caramel swirl

How about topping off some gelato with our house-made cajeta (goat’s milk caramel sauce)?  We made a special version with chocolate this time. We’ll be bringing some jars to sell at the market on Saturday, and they’ll be available in our farm store too.

Can’t make it to the market on Saturday morning? No worries: the farm is open this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, 1-4 pm.

During the month of May, the farm is open weekends, 1-4 pm each day. You can still visit with the goats (the babies are growing so fast), stroll through the orchard and just check for new signs of spring life on the farm. 

You can also enjoy a scoop of gelato OR cheese board with a glass of wine/beer or a black currant spritzer.  Need a little caffeine? We can make you a special espresso drink. We can even put a scoop of gelato for an “affogato. 

Check out the local products in our farm store:  

-eggs, meats and poultry from Bane Family Meats (Sidney)

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

-Pancake mixes from Funks Grove Heritage Fruits & Grains-think pancakes with jam and chevre!

-Animal Welfare Approved Bandanas

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

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

Other Farm Happenings   

Tickets to one of our farm dinners are a hot commodity. Check out themes and dates on our website and our ticket sales page (ShowClix), and make some reservations. We have some great additions this year:

  • Our July 20th BBQ dinner now has a New England "Surf and Turf" bent to it
  • Jake Chappell, Chef of Vincent in Chicago will be doing a Sunday afternoon lamb dinner with Catalpa Grove Farm Lamb--this chef is up and coming and super talented.
  • Eric Damidot, Chef of NoMi Kitchen (Park Hyatt, Chicago) will be doing a France meets Midwest themed meal
  • Chef Raquel Ritz is tackling a five course meal focused around all things milk (a version of our traditional "100 Yard Dinner")
  • The Great Pumpkin Patch is back this year for our very popular Pumpkin & Squashes themed dinner
  • Vicia Restaurant, St. Louis (Chef Michael Gallina) will venture north for a Sunday afternoon local food feast
  • and we’ll end the season with a Whole Hog-Triptych brewery holiday feast.

Behind the Scenes Tour & Tasting

Michael Darin, our special events coordinator extraordinaire, launched our “Behind the Scenes” farm tours last weekend, and they were a HUGE hit. He’ll be hosting them again, the weekend of June 1st/2nd at 2 and 3 pm each day.  Guests will gather under the Prairie Pavilion to start the tour. Michael will give a brief history about the farm and some background about the owners Wes Jarrell and Leslie Cooperband.  He will then guide guests around the farm and creamery where they will learn about raising goats, how the farm functions day-to-day, as well as how the creamery transforms our goat milk into delicious cheese and gelato. The tour will end with an interactive cheese tasting in the Real Stand Farm Store.   

Tours are conducted rain or shine, and last approximately 45-minutes. Please be prepared to walk around the farm; comfortable closed-toed shoes are advised. No reservations are required. Cost is $10 for adults, $6 for kids 12 and under. Glasses of wine or beer can be added to the tasting for a tour price of $6.   

Goat Walk Happy Hour

How about accompanying the goats out to pasture after their evening milking and then enjoying a glass of wine or beer or a special cocktail with some cheese? We will be hosting a very special happy hour like no other on Thursday, June 27th, 6-8 pm. Reservations are now live for this event (limited to 35 guests only), so grab your tickets before they’re gone. $15/person includes one drink. Additional drinks and cheesy snacks will be available for additional purchase. 


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 5/16/2019 10:05pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

Farm News

When the clouds lift and the soil no longer squishes under foot, it’s time to get to work.  The long list of postponed projects beckons, and it’s hard to set priorities when they all seem so urgent.  Moving the compost, cleaning out the doe barn, moving the bucks into their summer pasture, getting the kids out to graze the orchard, putting up more fencing so the does can browse unsupervised in the prairie—how do we choose which one to tackle first? Patience and respect for the hours of daylight aid in forming the strategy.  We’re driven by our desire to get our goats in front of as much fresh forage as possible.  The lushness of the new growth must not be wasted.  No doubt, all those succulent greens cause the udders to swell with milk. 

Doelings in the orchard

Indeed, the milk volume is ramping up, and it’s all we can do to keep up with transforming it into cheese.  My mornings are spent moving milk from bulk tank to cheese vats, sometimes making two batches of cheese in a day.  I find myself racing from task to task in the creamery, determined to orchestrate the day’s activities with as much efficiency as possible. Pasteurizing comes first, salting comes next, cleaning the baskets and tables for the next ladle follows and packing chevre ensues thereafter. Then, there are the small jobs—cleaning, flipping cheese, more cleaning, wrapping cheese, more cleaning—these tasks fill in the gaps while waiting for the cheese making process to unfold.  There is beauty and some salvation in organizing the chaos.   

Farm Market Offerings Saturday, May 17th Market at the Square”  7 AM to 12 Noon.

The weather forecast is calling for sultry temperatures, making it perfect for a morning of shopping for some great local foods. We've got a nice selection of cheeses and gelato for our patrons. We're bringing some fresh ricotta to the market! It goes so well with grilled asparagus or fresh strawberries with a drizzle of honey.  Come early if you want some.We'll also be bringing our farm-made ramp pesto. Serve it with some warmed chevre and crusty bread!

Here’s the cheese lineup:

  • Fresh Whole Goat Milk Ricotta-creamy and delicate, sweet milk taste
  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie—This batch is perfectly ripe, but limited in offering-come early if you want one. 
  • Angel Food-our little crottin style bloomy, it’s compact, firm in the center with a slightly gooey edge. As it ages, the mushroom notes from the rind take hold. Slice over a salad of fresh local greens.
  • Black Goat-our ash-coated mold-ripened cheese. The rind looks like brain corral; the paste is soft and creamy with a slightly yeasty bread dough flavor on the palate.  Enjoy with local honey or a dollop of local jam.
  • Moonglo-Enjoy a wedge of this complex, raw-milk beauty. Each wheel is washed in a cultured brine made with pear-leaf tea. It’s great with local charcuterie or try shaving it over a salad of greens and roasted asparagus.

Grab a pint gelato (3 pint special is still a thing—buy 3, get $1/pint off) :

  • Vanilla
  • Buttered Pecan (with Voss Orchard pecans)
  • Maple walnut (with Funk’s Grove maple syrup)
  • Salted caramel swirl
  • Chocolate

Can’t make it to the market on Saturday morning? No worries: the farm is open this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, 1-4 pm.

During the month of May, the farm is open weekends, 1-4 pm each day. You can still visit with the goats (the babies are growing so fast), stroll through the orchard and just check for new signs of spring life on the farm.  You can also enjoy a scoop of gelato OR cheese board with a glass of wine/beer or a black currant spritzer.  Need a little caffeine? We can make you a special espresso drink. We can even put a scoop of gelato for an “affogato. 

Check out the local products in our farm store:  

-eggs, meats and poultry from Bane Family Meats (Sidney)

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

-Pancake mixes from Funks Grove Heritage Fruits & Grains-think pancakes with jam and chevre!

-Animal Welfare Approved Bandanas

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

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

Other Farm Happenings 

I’ve posted a bunch more of the farm dinner themes and dates on our website and our ticket sales page (ShowClix), so check them out and make some reservations. We have some great additions this year:

  • Our July 20th BBQ dinner now has a New England "Surf and Turf" bent to it
  • Jake Chappell, Chef of Vincent in Chicago will be doing a lamb dinner with Catalpa Grove Farm Lamb--this chef is up and coming and super talented. Check out this Sunday afternoon meal!
  • Eric Damidot, Chef of NoMi Kitchen (Park Hyatt, Chicago) will be doing a France meets Midwest themed meal
  • Chef Raquel Ritz is tackling a five course meal focused around all things milk
  • The Great Pumpkin Patch is back this year for our very popular Pumpkin & Squashes themed dinner
  • Vicia Restaurant, St. Louis (Chef Michael Gallina) will venture north for a Sunday afternoon local food feast
  • and we’ll end the season with a Whole Hog-Triptych brewery holiday feast.

These tickets go fast, so grab ‘em while you can.

LAST CHANCE: CSA sign up through Blue Moon Farm! Blue Moon Farm is offering a new customizable CSA (Community Supported Agriculture for those unfamiliar). They are partnering with a number of other local farms (including ours) to offer “add-ons” in addition to their weekly vegetable shares.

The customizable CSA puts you in charge of deciding what products you want and when you want them.  They have multiple pick up locations too! Their season starts some time in May, so don’t delay in signing up for a one-stop shop of some of the best local food in Central IL.

Behind the Scenes Tour & Tasting

Michael Darin, our special events coordinator extraordinaire, will be offering weekend tours of the farm with a tasting of several cheeses. The first tours will be offered this Saturday/Sunday, May 18th/19th at 2 pm and again at 3 pm each day. These tours will be offered twice monthly through the summer. Guests will gather under the Prairie Pavilion to start the tour. Michael will give a brief history about the farm and some background about the owners Wes Jarrell and Leslie Cooperband. 

He will then guide guests around the farm and creamery where they will learn about raising goats, how the farm functions day-to-day, as well as how the creamery transforms our goat milk into delicious cheese and gelato. The tour will end with an interactive cheese tasting in the Real Stand Farm Store.   

Tours are conducted rain or shine, and last approximately 45-minutes. Please be prepared to walk around the farm; comfortable closed-toed shoes are advised. No reservations are required, Cost is $10 for adults, $6 for kids 12 and under. Glasses of wine or beer can be added to the tasting for a tour price of $6.   

Goat Walk Happy Hour

How about accompanying the goats out to pasture after their evening milking and then enjoying a glass of wine or beer or a special cocktail with some cheese? We will be hosting a very special happy hour like no other on Thursday, June 27th, 6-8. We will be taking reservations for this event (limited to 30 to 40 guests only), so save the date and stay tuned for more details.  


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 5/9/2019 10:32pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

Farm News

The sun shone for a few days this week. The flood waters retreated just enough to entice the goats to wade through some mud to get to the lush pastures. Their appetites for fresh forage overcame their disdain for wet feet; the sight of heads buried and sounds of goats munching brightened my otherwise over-committed and hectic week.

Meanwhile, the kids are awaiting the renovation of their pasture, content to run wind sprints in their pens and nibble on dry hay and grain.  We settled on our naming theme for this year’s replacement does—gem stones. Today, with little fanfare, we set to naming the next generation of Prairie Fruits Farm milkers: amber, beryl, topaz, lapis, larimar and nephrite to name a few. The new breeding bucklings will be "jasper" and "zircon."  While it is challenging to ascribe personality traits to rocks, the names seem to suit the kids’ color patterns and emotions that certain gem stones evoke.  Soon, they will be sporting their new collars and name tags, awaiting their adoring fans. 

Farm Market Offerings Saturday, May 11th Market at the Square”  7 AM to 12 Noon.

Despite the forecast of showers, we will be at the market on Saturday, loaded with great cheeses and gelato. Cheese makes the perfect mother's day gift. Grab your umbrella and come out and support your local farmers this Saturday.

Here’s the cheese lineup:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie—There’s a nice gooey layer between the rind and the paste now. It tastes like buttery mushrooms! Try warming it with spiced pecans (Voss Pecan orchard will be at the market this weekend!) and a drizzle of local honey
  • Angel Food-our little crottin style bloomy, it’s compact, firm with a tangy paste. As it ages, the mushroom notes from the rind take hold. Slice over a salad of fresh local greens.
  • Black Goat-our ash-coated mold-ripened cheese. The rind looks like brain corral; the paste is firm and fudgy with a slightly yeasty bread dough flavor on the palate.  Enjoy with local honey or a dollop of local jam.
  • Moonglo-Enjoy a wedge of this complex, raw-milk beauty. Each wheel is washed in a cultured brine made with pear-leaf tea. It’s great with local charcuterie or melt it for a fancy grilled cheese sandwich.

Grab a pint gelato (3 pint special is still a thing—buy 3, get $1/pint off) :

  • Vanilla
  • Buttered Pecan (with Voss Orchard pecans)
  • Maple walnut (with Funk’s Grove maple syrup)
  • Salted caramel swirl
  • Chocolate
  • Black Currant-Cassis—made with locally grown black currants from Midwest Agroforestry Solutions and Kentucky distilled cassis (black currant liqueur)

Can’t make it to the market on Saturday morning? No worries: the farm is open this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, 1-4 pm.

NOTE: Sunday, May 12th, we are hosting two seatings our "Mother's Day Brunch." The second seating ends at 2:30 pm. While this is by reservation only (and we're sold out), we will do our best to accommodate visitors to the farm during our regular open hours.

During the month of May, the farm is open weekends, 1-4 pm each day. You can still visit with the goats (the babies are growing so fast), stroll through the orchard and just check for new signs of spring life on the farm.  You can also enjoy a scoop of gelato OR cheese board with a glass of wine/beer or a black currant spritzer.  Need a little caffeine? We can make you a special espresso drink. We can even put a scoop of gelato for an “affogato. 

Check out the new items in our farm store and stock up on local products:

-eggs, meats and poultry from Bane Family Meats (Sidney)

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

-Pancake mixes from Funks Grove Heritage Fruits & Grains-think pancakes with jam and chevre!

-Animal Welfare Approved Bandanas

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

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

Other Farm Happenings 

I’ve posted a bunch more of the farm dinner themes and dates on our website and our ticket sales page (ShowClix), so check them out and make some reservations. We have some great additions this year:

  • Jake Chappell, Chef of Vincent in Chicago will be doing a lamb dinner
  • Eric Damidot, Chef of NoMi Kitchen (Park Hyatt, Chicago) will be doing a France meets Midwest themed meal
  • Chef Raquel Ritz is tackling a five course meal focused around all things milk
  • The Great Pumpkin Patch is back this year for our very popular Pumpkin & Squashes themed dinner
  • Vicia Restaurant, St. Louis (Chef Michael Gallina) will venture north for a Sunday afternoon local food feast
  • and we’ll end the season with a Whole Hog-Triptych brewery holiday feast.

These tickets go fast, so grab ‘em while you can.

CSA sign up through Blue Moon Farm! Blue Moon Farm is offering a new customizable CSA (Community Supported Agriculture for those unfamiliar). They are partnering with a number of other local farms (including ours) to offer “add-ons” in addition to their weekly vegetable shares.

The customizable CSA puts you in charge of deciding what products you want and when you want them.  They have multiple pick up locations too! Their season starts some time in May, so don’t delay in signing up for a one-stop shop of some of the best local food in Central IL.

Behind the Scenes Tour & Tasting

Michael Darin, our special events coordinator extraordinaire, will be offering weekend tours of the farm with a tasting of several cheeses. The first tours will be offered on Saturday/Sunday, May 18th/19th at 2 pm and again at 3 pm. These tours will be offered twice monthly through the summer. Guests will gather under the Prairie Pavilion to start the tour. Michael will give a brief history about the farm and some background about the owners Wes Jarrell and Leslie Cooperband. 

He will then guide guests around the farm and creamery where they will learn about raising goats, how the farm functions day-to-day, as well as how the creamery transforms our goat milk into delicious cheese and gelato. The tour will end with an interactive cheese tasting in the Real Stand Farm Store.   

Tours are conducted rain or shine, and last approximately 45-minutes. Please be prepared to walk around the farm; comfortable closed-toed shoes are advised. No reservations are required, Cost is $10 for adults, $6 for kids 12 and under. Glasses of wine or beer can be added to the tasting for a tour price of $6.   

Goat Walk Happy Hour

How about accompanying the goats out to pasture after their evening milking and then enjoying a glass of wine or beer or a special cocktail with some cheese? We will be hosting a very special happy hour like no other on Thursday, June 27th, 6-8. We will be taking reservations for this event (limited to 50 guests only), so save the date and stay tuned for more details.  


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 5/2/2019 11:16pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

 Farm News

The farm has become a water world. The dry lot behind the barns is a pond, a liquid barrier across which the goats won’t cross to get to the pasture. The grass between our house and the barns barely peaks above the ephemeral pools. The borrow pit pond, whose steep barren banks once exposed the destruction of construction, now hide under the shimmering serenity of water overflowing toward the creek and even flowing westward toward the road. Just when the sky appears to brighten and offer some reprieve, another round of thunder clouds rolls in to unload a continuous round of raindrops.

As the frustration and exasperation give way to resignation, I am thinking that it’s good time to be an amphibian. The trilling toads have started to trill during the daylight hours, emboldened by the expanding water world that surrounds them.  Surely it must be easier to find a mate in the continuous pools; surely they must feel that time is on their side.  

In between the raindrops, our last doe kidded on April 30th; she dropped twin bucklings with little fanfare.  Despite a few challenging and tragic deliveries, this year’s kidding season was swift and smooth. The oldest group of kids has been weaned, and the younger ones are growing like weeds. It’s a relief to know we can sleep soundly without worrying about late-night or early morning deliveries.  

Farm Market Offerings This Weekend: First Urbana “Market at the Square” starts May 4th, 7 AM to 12 Noon.

This is our 14th season at the Urbana Farmers’ Market. Our location is the same as last year-in the southwest corner of the market (first row, next to Moore Family Farm). We’re excited to be back outside with our fellow farmers. We are flush with cheese and gelato for the first farmers’ market. Our cheeses are the perfect foil for early spring veggies like asparagus, greens and wild-harvested ramps.  Try a simple sauté or lightly roast some veggies with olive oil and top with any of our spring cheeses: easy to make and a flavor party in your mouth.

Here’s the cheese lineup:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie—There’s a nice gooey layer between the rind and the paste now. It tastes like buttery mushrooms! Try warming it with spiced pecans (Voss Pecan orchard will be at the market this weekend!) and a drizzle of local honey
  • Angel Food-our little crottin style bloomy, it’s compact, firm with a tangy paste. As it ages, the mushroom notes from the rind take hold. Slice over a salad of fresh local greens.
  • Black Goat-our ash-coated mold-ripened cheese. The rind looks like brain corral; the paste is still firm and fudgy with a slightly yeasty bread dough flavor on the palate.  Enjoy with local honey or a dollop of local jam.
  • Moonglo-Enjoy a wedge of this complex, raw-milk beauty. Each wheel is washed in a cultured brine made with pear-leaf tea. It’s great with local charcuterie or melt it for a fancy grilled cheese sandwich.

Grab a pint gelato (3 pint special is still a thing—buy 3, get $1/pint off) :

  • Vanilla
  • Buttered Pecan (with Voss Orchard pecans)
  • Maple walnut (with Funk’s Grove maple syrup)
  • Salted caramel swirl
  • Lemon Crème
  • Chocolate
  • Stracciatella (chocolate ganache ribbons in vanilla gelato)-very limited
  • Black Currant-Cassis—made with locally grown black currants from Midwest Agroforestry Solutions and Kentucky distilled cassis (black currant liqueur)

Can’t make it to the market on Saturday morning? No worries: the farm is open this weekend, Saturday and Sunday, 1-4 pm.

During the month of May, the farm is open weekends, 1-4 pm each day. You can still visit with the goats (the babies are growing so fast), stroll through the orchard and just check for new signs of spring life on the farm.  You can also enjoy a scoop of gelato OR cheese board with a glass of wine/beer or a black currant spritzer.  Need a little caffeine? We can make you a special espresso drink. We can even put a scoop of gelato for an “affogato. 

SUNDAY CINCO de MAYO SPECIAL: Lucky Pierre fresh hot bagels and chevre AND DOUGHNUTS!!! Limited availability so first come first served.

Check out the new items in our farm store and stock up on local products:

-eggs, meats and poultry from Bane Family Meats (Sidney)

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

-Pancake mixes from Funks Grove Heritage Fruits & Grains-think pancakes with jam and chevre!

-Animal Welfare Approved Bandanas

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

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

Other Farm Happenings 

There are a few open seats for the first seating (10 am to 12 noon) of the Mother’s Day Brunch Buffet. Check out the amazing menu that Chef Raquel has crafted and book your reservations NOW.  The second seating is sold out!

I’ve posted a bunch more of the farm dinner themes and dates on our website and our ticket sales page (ShowClix), so check them out and make some reservations. We have some great additions this year:

  • Jake Chappell, Chef of Vincent in Chicago will be doing a lamb dinner
  • Eric Damidot, Chef of NoMi Kitchen (Park Hyatt, Chicago) will be doing a France meets Midwest themed meal
  • Chef Raquel Ritz is tackling a five course meal focused around all things milk
  • The Great Pumpkin Patch is back this year for our very popular Pumpkin & Squashes themed dinner
  • Vicia Restaurant, St. Louis (Chef Michael Gallina) will venture north for a Sunday afternoon local food feast
  • and we’ll end the season with a Whole Hog-Triptych brewery holiday feast.

These tickets go fast, so grab ‘em while you can.

CSA sign up through Blue Moon Farm! Blue Moon Farm is offering a new customizable CSA (Community Supported Agriculture for those unfamiliar). They are partnering with a number of other local farms (including ours) to offer “add-ons” in addition to their weekly vegetable shares.

The customizable CSA puts you in charge of deciding what products you want and when you want them.  They have multiple pick up locations too! Their season starts some time in May, so don’t delay in signing up for a one-stop shop of some of the best local food in Central IL.

Behind the Scenes Tour & Tasting

Michael Darin, our special events coordinator extraordinaire, will be offering weekend tours of the farm with a tasting of several cheeses. The first tours will be offered on Saturday/Sunday, May 18th/19th at 2 pm and again at 3 pm. These tours will be offered twice monthly through the summer. Guests will gather under the Prairie Pavilion to start the tour. Michael will give a brief history about the farm and some background about the owners Wes Jarrell and Leslie Cooperband. 

He will then guide guests around the farm and creamery where they will learn about raising goats, how the farm functions day-to-day, as well as how the creamery transforms our goat milk into delicious cheese and gelato. The tour will end with an interactive cheese tasting in the Real Stand Farm Store.   

Tours are conducted rain or shine, and last approximately 45-minutes. Please be prepared to walk around the farm; comfortable closed-toed shoes are advised. No reservations are required, Cost is $10 for adults, $6 for kids 12 and under. Glasses of wine or beer can be added to the tasting for a tour price of $6.   

Goat Walk Happy Hour

How about accompanying the goats out to pasture after their evening milking and then enjoying a glass of wine or beer or a special cocktail with some cheese? We will be hosting a very special happy hour like no other on Thursday, June 27th, 6-8. We will be taking reservations for this event (limited to 50 guests only), so save the date and stay tuned for more details.  


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 4/25/2019 8:50pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

Farm News

We have an emotional attachment to our peaches. Our farm was founded partly on the promise of a dead-ripe peach in the heat of summer. So, we try to do right by them during the critical stages of their life cycle. The 2019 winter to try men’s (and women’s) souls, with its apocryphal polar vortex, seemed to buy us time in March to prune our peach trees before bud break.

In between goat births, we were able to take out dead wood and re-establish the open candelabra habit so typical of a well-groomed peach tree. Little did we know at the time of pruning that the dye had already been cast with the flower buds. The minus 20 degrees F and below temperatures that encased the farm in early February had killed them.  As the orchard awoke this past week, we saw the casualties in plain sight. There are some apples and a few pears in white bloom, but the lovely sea of pink in the south end of the orchard is absent.

The peaches have leafed out without a single flower.  No flowers, no fruit. There will be a void of chin-dripping sweetness this summer; we can only hope that our fruit farmer friends in the southern part of the state fared better than we have. 

“April showers bring May flowers,” typically trite and evocative of lovely images, feels especially cruel this spring.  I feel more like the refrain from the ‘60’s pop song “Please stop the rain…” Like so many of our fellow farmers, chomping at the bit to get out and till the ground and plant, we cringe at the sight of the darkening sky and the sound of rain drops ricocheting on the metal roof.  There is nowhere else for any more rain to go. Despite the exponential growth of greenery, the poor roots can’t soak up this wetness fast enough. 

We stew in our frustrations, unable to clean out our barns, unable to spread our compost to make room for more manure once we can clean out our barns, unable to till up our pasture so we can reseed with some wonderful new forages for the goats.  There’s hollow consolation in commiserating with our fellow farmers. Farmers obsess about the main driver of their livelihood, the one thing over which they have no control. 

Fourth and Final Week of Full Menu “Babies & Brunch” with Chef Raquel Ritz

On a happier note, all delicious things have their season, and “Babies & Brunch” is all about early spring. Come join us for our final full-menu brunch of the season, this Saturday, April 27th. The farm is open 10 am to 2 pm. The Illinois Marathon is happening in and around C-U in the morning, so take care to find open routes out of town.

In keeping with her efforts to craft delicious food from as many local farms as possible, Chef Raquel’s brunch menu looks amazing. Be sure to get here early so you can sample as many of the menu items as possible. You can visit with the goats, sample cheeses, enjoy a scoop of gelato, 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 requesting a $5/car donation (this is not mandatory, but with the extremely wet weather we’re experiencing this spring, our parking spaces are quite limited).

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

Cow Creek Farm will be here again selling ramps (wild-harvested from their farm’s woodlands near Paxton IL)-ramps are wild leeks that emerge from forest soils before the trees have a chance to leaf out. They have a very short season, and their flavor is beautifully complex—onion x leek x garlic. 

Farm Market Offerings This Weekend

This weekend, we’ll debut a full-house of bloomy rind cheeses. Also, this is your last chance to get our special spring flavor of chevre: Chevre with Fresh Chives and Lemon Zest. Here’s the lineup:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie—still young, but developing some nice flavors. There’s a slight gooey layer between the rind and the paste now. If you like it with more goo, just let it age in your fridge for another week or so.
  • Angel Food-our little crottin style bloomy, it’s compact, firm with a tangy paste. As it ages, the mushroom notes from the rind take hold.
  • Black Goat-our ash-coated mold-ripened cheese. The rind looks like brain corral; the paste is still firm and fudgy with a slightly yeasty bread dough flavor on the palate.  Enjoy with local honey or a dollop of local jam.
  • Moonglo-Enjoy a wedge of this complex, raw-milk beauty. Each wheel is washed in a cultured brine made with pear-leaf tea. It’s great with charcuterie or melt it for a fancy grilled cheese sandwich

OR get a scoop or pint gelato:

  • Vanilla
  • Lemon Crème
  • Chocolate
  • Stracciatella (chocolate ganache ribbons in vanilla gelato)
  • Black Currant-Cassis—made with locally grown black currants from Midwest Agroforestry Systems (Vulcan Farm, Sidney, IL) and Kentucky distilled cassis (black currant liqueur)

Check out the new items in our farm store and stock up on local products:

-eggs, meats and poultry from Bane Family Meats (Sidney)

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

-Pancake mixes from Funks Grove Heritage Fruits & Grains-think pancakes with jam and chevre!

-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 “Build your own Cheese Board” with wine/beer, peruse the farm store and visit with the goats-young and old.  You might even get lucky and catch a goat giving birth!

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.  Seats are going fast. The first seating is almost sold out!

I’ve posted a bunch more of the farm dinner themes and dates on our website and our ticket sales page (ShowClix), so check them out and make some reservations. We have some great additions this year:

  • Jake Chappell, Chef of Vincent in Chicago will be doing a lamb dinner with Catalpa Grove Farm
  • Eric Damidot, Chef of NoMi Kitchen (Park Hyatt, Chicago) will be doing a France meets Midwest themed meal
  • Chef Raquel Ritz is tackling a five course meal focused around all things milk
  • The Great Pumpkin Patch is back this year for our very popular Pumpkin & Squashes themed dinner
  • Vicia Restaurant, St. Louis (Chef Michael Gallina) will venture north for a Sunday afternoon local food feast
  • We’ll end the season with a Whole Hog-Triptych brewery holiday feast. 

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. Several dates are already sold out! This playful take on yoga practice will surely delight—check out the dates and book your reservations now.

CSA sign up through Blue Moon Farm! Blue Moon Farm is offering a new customizable CSA (Community Supported Agriculture for those unfamiliar). They are partnering with a number of other local farms (including ours) to offer “add-ons” in addition to their weekly vegetable shares.

The customizable CSA puts you in charge of deciding what products you want and when you want them.  They have multiple pick up locations too! Their season starts some time in May, so don’t delay in signing up for a one-stop shop of some of the best local food in Central IL. 


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 4/19/2019 6:28pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

 Farm News

In my self-proclaimed tradition of reflecting on Earth Day from a farmer’s point of view, I’ve decided to write about the current language around food and farming this year.  There’s an ever-growing chasm between those who raise food and those who consume it, leaving those who consume at the mercy of the food labelers and marketers to provide context for food purchasing decisions.  The folks in the middle of the food chain have become the translators. They often use words and images to evoke a 19th century picture of farming: farmers toiling the land with small machinery, growing and harvesting the crops themselves, raising their livestock on pastures, letting their chickens run around the yard.  The intent is to assure consumers that these products are wholesome and healthful, raised with care and kindness. Yet the words and images don’t usually mesh with the reality of our large-scale industrialized food system. If consumers try to verify these claims, they hit a wall of privacy or are led to opaque websites with scant information about the actual farms. 

Contrast this scenario with the language of direct market farmers. Their signs are often hand-written, their products sometimes imperfect, their words often scant, letting the products speak for them.  They grow varieties that don’t ship well, they pick fruits closer to their peak ripeness, they raise their livestock on a small scale, allowing the animals to express their true natures.  They don’t spend much money on slick labels; they want to engage their customers in direct conversations. They want to tell folks what’s tasting really good right now, they want to show patrons pictures of their prized pig or their champion chicken.  The length of their food chain is typically two to three people deep.  Theirs is the language of flavor, of color, of health, of sensory excitement.  On the eve of Earth Day, as we contemplate our relationship to our planet, consider your own food dialect and try learning the language of your local farmers. 

Third Week of Full Menu “Babies & Brunch” with Chef Raquel Ritz

Chef Raquel keeps upping her culinary game. This Saturday’s brunch menu looks amazing and features so many great local farms and food artisans. Be sure to get here early so you can sample as many of the menu items as possible. 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 requesting a $5/car donation (this is not mandatory, but with the extremely wet weather we’re experiencing this spring, our parking spaces are quite limited).

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

Cow Creek Farm will be here selling ramps (wild-harvested from their farm’s woodlands near Paxton IL)-ramps are wild leeks that emerge from forest soils before the trees have a chance to leaf out. They have a very short season, and their flavor is beautifully complex—onion x leek x garlic. 

Farm Market Offerings This Weekend

We can’t stop making this special spring flavor of chevre because we can’t stop eating it ourselves: Chevre with Fresh Chives and Lemon Zest.

In addition, we have:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie—first of the season, goat-milk camembert-style—this batch is still young, but we couldn’t resist offering it to you for your holiday tables this weekend
  • Moonglo-celebrate National #rawcheeseday and grab a wedge of our rich and complex raw-goat milk tomme. Each wheel is washed in a cultured brine made with pear-leaf tea. It’s great with charcuterie or melt it for a fancy grilled cheese sandwich

OR get a scoop or pint gelato:

  • Vanilla
  • Lemon Crème
  • Chocolate
  • Stracciatella (chocolate ganache ribbons in vanilla gelato)
  • 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 and stock up on local products for your spring holiday needs:

-eggs, meats and poultry from Bane Family Meats (Sidney)

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

-pancake mixes from Funks Grove Heritage Fruits & Grains-think pancakes for Easter brunch

-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. If you’re looking for a fun activity to take your holiday guests to between meals, take them to the farm on Sunday afternoon. Although we won’t be offering brunch service, you can “Build your own Cheese Board” with wine/beer, peruse the farm store and visit with the goats-young and old. 

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.  Seats are going fast.

I’ve posted a bunch more of the farm dinner themes and dates on our website and our ticket sales page (ShowClix), so check them out and make some reservations. These tickets go 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. Several dates are already sold out! This playful take on yoga practice will surely delight—check out the dates and book your reservations now.

CSA sign up through Blue Moon Farm! Blue Moon Farm is offering a new customizable CSA (Community Supported Agriculture for those unfamiliar). They are partnering with a number of other local farms (including ours) to offer “add-ons” in addition to their weekly vegetable shares. The customizable CSA puts you in charge of deciding what products you want and when you want them.  They have multiple pick up locations too! Their season starts some time in May, so don’t delay in signing up for a one-stop shop of some of the best local food in Central IL. 


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 4/11/2019 9:45pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

There’s a vibrant color that now carpets the land around the farm. It’s a color we haven’t seen around here for too long a time; the color green.  Perhaps I’ve been so consumed by cheese making this spring that I didn’t notice the transformation. The monochromatic schema of browns and greys suddenly has given way to Technicolor splendor. There are other signs as well: the rhubarb leaves have popped out of the ground, hiding their ruby stocks below. A small flock of egrets circled overhead the barn this afternoon, appearing to engage in a courtship ritual.  The hum of the trilling toads crescendos in the evening air over the pond, evidence of amphibian love songs and tadpoles to come.

We are beginning the second wave of kidding, this time mostly the first-time mothers.  As they move from yearlings to new mothers, they seem perplexed by their transformation.  Their instincts and their hormones command them to undergo the pains of labor, only to deliver new life that they resist claiming as their own. It takes some coaxing to get them to clean off their newborn kids.  They act so surprised that this wet and slimy being has emerged from their own being. Reluctantly, they begin to take ownership and move toward the next phase of their lives as mothers, as milkers. 

Second Week of Full Menu “Babies & Brunch” with Chef Raquel Ritz Chef Raquel is planning to hit it out of the culinary ballpark again this Saturday. Check out her menu and plan to get here early to make sure we don’t run out of your favorite items

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 another Pop-Up Flower Shop in front of our barn.

Farm Market Offerings This Weekend

Back by popular demand: Chevre with Fresh Chives and Lemon Zest. In addition, we have:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper SPECIAL THIS WEEKEND ONLY: BUY 1 HERBS DE PROVENCE CHEVRE, GET A 2ND ONE FOR ONLY $5! (this offer applies only to herbs de Provence)
  • Moonglo
  • Pelota Roja

OR get a scoop or pint gelato:

  • Vanilla
  • Lemon Crème
  • Chocolate
  • Stracciatella (chocolate ganache ribbons in vanilla gelato)
  • 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 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, we’ll be featuring Lucky Pierre bagels and chevre.  You can also “Build your own Cheese Board” with wine/beer, peruse the farm store and visit with the goats-young and old. 

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. Several dates are already sold out! 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 4/5/2019 9:10pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

 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.