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Posted 11/2/2017 1:17pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

Laundry’s getting done. Soup is being made. Thoughts about reading books are allowed to emerge.  First frost; check; leaves changing, falling; check. Cold, damp air hovers over barns, cuts through Carhart jacket. Daylight savings falling off the calendar this weekend, early darkness is just around the corner.  Bald chickens molting drop their egg production; waiting for artificial light and a regrowth of feathers to keep them warm. 

The slow creep toward the end of another season is on.  Newly pregnant does are shutting off the tap of milk. Milk volumes in the bulk tanks are shrinking, while the butterfat and milk protein concentrations soar.  The seasonal tug of war between work and not work has begun. Do we keep the does going, milk them twice a day, make a few more batches of cheese? Or, do we go to once/day milking, let nature take her course, dry herself off, let rest overtake her.  The latter is oh so tempting, but the drive to stock the cheese cupboard for winter aging will probably prevail. 

Farmers’ Market News

The final outdoor Market at the Square (7 AM to 12 noon) is Saturday, November 4th.  Compared with last weekend, outdoor temps are forecast to be down-right balmy (high 50’s). It might be a bit wet, but don’t let the rain slow you down.  There is still A LOT of great food to be had, and most of it goes great with our cheeses. DON'T FORGET--MARKET IN THE SQUARE STARTS ON 11/11 (8 am-1 pm) ,AND WE WILL BE MOVING INSIDE LINCOLN SQUARE MALL through end of December.

We have a few special cheeses available for sale this week too (roasted poblano chevre, a few pieces of “Pelota Roja,”-the guajillo-chile paste-rubbed hard cheese we make for Rick Bayless’ restaurants) AND the last of the raw milk feta for the season):

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper, roasted poblano
  • Raw milk feta: the last batch of the season; our feta is tangy and crumbly; packed in a whey-brine, it lasts a really long time in your fridge
  • Angel Food:  our little “crottin” style bloomy rind; small enough to eat in one sitting; great warmed with a drizzle of honey.  I’d buy two if I were you.
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: our goat milk camembert; the final batch of the season is young and firm, but should soften up with some aging
  • Black Goat: our ash-coated bloomy with a hint of yeast on the rind; try our ACS award winning cheese. Perfectly ripe—THESE ARE THE FINAL ROUNDS OF THE SEASON!!
  • Magia Negra: our nod to a Manchego style cheese, sharp nutty notes with hints of tart berries. Rind is rubbed with an olive oil-black currant & aronia berry paste
  • Moonglo: our raw-milk tomme-style cheese, aged for about 4 months.  Semi-firm texture, fruity and sharp flavor notes.  Ask for a taste and you’ll be smitten.
  • Goat Milk Yogurt: Available in both pints and quarts-LAST of the SEASON!!

Gelato Pint Flavors: Take advantage of our “three pint special”: buy 3, get $3 off the total price! 

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Salted Caramel
  • Masala Chai Tea
  • Fruitti di Bosco (mixed berry)
  • Local Ginger
  • Hazelnut
  • Turtle  

Farm Happenings

Our cheese pairings class is sold out! Our farm store, The Real Stand, is temporarily closed as we get ready for the holiday season. We will reopen on Sunday, November 19th, 1-4 pm. You can pick up pre-ordered pasture-raised turkeys from Bane Family Meats and pick up any last minute needs for the Thanksgiving Holiday.  The turkey size range will be from 12-25 lbs., and the price is $4.00/lb. Orders will be taken by phone (217-722-2188) or by email (davidpbane@aol.com) until they are sold out. 

Our “grand” launch of our seasonal holiday market will be Saturday, November 25th, 1-4 pm. The goat photo booth returns (yes, we dress up some of our goats in holiday attire, and yes, you can take your holiday pictures with them) as well as fresh doughnuts from Lucky Pierre Bakers.  Stay tuned for details.   


Copyright 2017. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2017. 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 10/26/2017 6:49pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

We like to close cycles here at the farm. We recycle as much as possible.  We (I) recoil in horror if someone accidentally or unknowingly puts food waste in the trash. I often find myself pulling onion skins and kale stems out of the trash to “save them.”  I’m always eating leftovers way past the date that the chef says we can enjoy them; I come from the generation of the “clean plate club.” 

We pride ourselves in composting all the organic wastes generated on the farm—the animal manure, deceased animals, prunings and kitchen waste.  We often feed our animals treats from the gardens or the kitchen—discarded flowers and kale stems are especially prized by our goats. While I frequently throw green weeds over the fence to our laying hens, I hadn’t really considered them appreciative of food scraps.  Their excitement over burdock leaves and pigweed stems suggested kitchen wastes might delight them. 

Most folks not familiar with the ways of fowl believe they are vegetarians. Nothing could be further from the truth. I chuckle at the labels on egg cartons claiming “fed only a vegetarian diet.” Chickens are omnivores, just like us.  They fight like “hens” when unearthing prized beetles or worms in their yard.  The more varied their diet, in fact, the more healthful and delicious their eggs. 

So, sometime this summer, we started giving them buckets and buckets of food scraps from the kitchen—watermelon rinds, peach skins and pits, potato peelings, polenta, slightly rotten tomatoes—their appetites seemed insatiable.  We would spread 5-gallon buckets full of food waste onto their yard, thinking it would take days to work through the heap.  To our amazement, they would go to work immediately; the rhythm of scratch, tug and tear mesmerizing. 

Their efficiency and thoroughness are inspiring. The thread-bare skeleton watermelon shells are a testament to the power of the chicken gut. Time to move over compost microbes; there’s a competitor recycler in your midst.    

Farmers Market AT THE FARM-Saturday October 28th

We have decided to “stay home” this coming Saturday and host market patrons at the farm.  We’ll be open from 9 AM to 4 PM.  We will return to the outdoor market on Saturday, November 4th, for the last outdoor market, and then we will move inside to the “Market in the Square” thereafter.  We feel so decadent, skipping out on near freezing temperatures forecast for this Saturday, but we thought our market patrons might like to experience a cozy fall Saturday morning in the warmth of our barn. 

To make it extra special, we will have doughnuts from Lucky Pierre Bakers (these are HUGE, delicious doughnuts fried in clarified butter!!!), and we’ll make some espresso drinks to warm you up (espresso, café Cubano, café Americano, cappuccino, affogato).  If you dress up in Halloween costume (adults and kids a like), we’re offering trick or treats too (yes, that means CANDY). 

Don't forget to follow  directions to the farm from our website. This will ensure easy travels during the road construction on N. Lincoln Avenue. The detour is in effect until November 6th.

We’re running a special on remaining pumpkins, gourds and squashes from The Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur--50% off! You can cook with them or just use them as decorations. They are gorgeous and quirky (and delicious).  You can also visit with the goats, and enjoy the fall foliage in the countryside. 

Here are our cheese offerings for the weekend:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Angel Food:  our little “crottin” style bloomy rind; small enough to eat in one sitting; this cheese is perfectly ripe right now.  I’d buy two if I were you.
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: our goat milk camembert; also perfectly ripe with just the right amount of gooey edges
  • Black Goat: our ash-coated bloomy with a hint of yeast on the rind; try our ACS award winning cheese. This batch is still young, but has a lovely fudgy consistency
  • Magia Negra: our nod to a Manchego style cheese, sharp nutty notes with hints of tart berries. Rind is rubbed with an olive oil-black currant & aronia berry paste
  • Moonglo: our raw-milk tomme-style cheese, aged for about 4 months.  Semi-firm texture, fruity and sharp flavor notes.  Ask for a taste and you’ll be smitten.
  • Goat Milk Yogurt: Available in both pints and quarts

Gelato Pint Flavors: At the farm or at the market, take advantage of our “three pint special”: buy 3, get $3 off the total price! 

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Salted Caramel
  • Masala Chai Tea
  • Fruitti di Bosco
  • Local Ginger
  • Hazelnut
  • Turtle  

Since our market is at the farm this weekend, we are also serving gelato by the scoop!!

Farm Open Hours:  In addition to our special Halloween market at the farm, we will be open on Sunday the 29th of October too--1-4 PM.  Then, we will be close the Real Stand temporarily in November to get it ready for the holidays. We will re-open the Sunday before Thanksgiving, so that folks who might have missed the holiday Market in the Square on Saturday, the 18th can have a chance to purchase cheese, gelato and other farm treats.

David Bane, of Bane Family Meats is offering his pastured “broad-breasted bronze” turkeys for sale at our farm this year. You must pre-order and then pick up at our farm on Sunday, Nov. 19th 1-3 pm. 

Here are the details: All turkeys have been raised on pasture with no antibiotics, no GMO's and no pesticides on Bane Family Farm. The size range will be from 12-25 lbs., and the price is $4.00/lb. Orders will be taken by phone (217-722-2188) or by email (davidpbane@aol.com) until we are sold out.   

Learn something new! Take our Cheese Pairings Class on Sunday afternoon (1-3 pm), November 5th—we will wow you with lots of styles of cheese and lots of accompaniments –jams, honey, pickles, wines, beers.  We’ll cover a few basic concepts about cheese styles and how to use all your senses to appreciate the dizzying array of flavors and textures. Then, we’ll dive in head first to a fun-filled afternoon of flavor sensations.  $35 ticket covers everything (limited to 30 participants, so don’t delay in signing up).    


Copyright 2017. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2017. 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 10/19/2017 9:39pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

Typically, by this time of year, we’ve had our first frost.  Yes, the nights are cooler, yes, the air forms crispness in my nostrils, but the days of late October are drenched in warm sunlight. The neglected vegetable garden still holds richly sweet tomatoes and peppers for those willing to pick them.  The stately maple’s leaves have barely begun to turn yellow at the very tip of the tree’s crown. The farm almost feels like it’s in suspended animation; a holding pattern hovering above the bridge between late summer and fall. 

Normally, there’s a sense of urgency.  Normally, we check the forecast for threats of nightly lows dipping into the low thirties.  The threat sends us scrambling to collect the last tomatoes clinging to the vines, green ones and all.  Interestingly, we are complacent and even disinterested in harvesting them when there is no threat of frost.  It feels strange not to have an impending dip below the freezing line any time soon.  There’s decadence to the absence of urgency.    

Blue, our farm dog, has got himself into trouble again.  His cattle dog genes frequently propel him down the driveway when Wes or I leave the farm in a vehicle. Often he’s balancing a 10-foot 2’ X 4’ or a very large piece of firewood in his mouth, while traveling at a clip of 25-30 mph.  Late last week, he chased Wes out of the driveway onto the road and came back limping badly dripping blood from his front paw.  Usually, we can fix his mishaps with a few home remedies, but it was clear this injury was not getting better. When we took him to the vet, early this week, she surmised that his cut was very deep and needed stitching.  He went into surgery and came home with the cone of shame on his head, two sets of stitches and neoprene glove over his paw, strangely reminiscent of the infamous Michael Jackson “glove.” 

He is a terrible patient, and it’s hard to follow the vet’s instructions of limited activity.  So, I take him on little strolls around the farm to check on the goats.  They are alarmed by his head cone. Lentil, one of our breeding bucks, sounds the alarm with a snort, and the does retreat behind him.  The doelings and retired does peer at him over the fence, not sure that there’s the dog they know at the base of the white cone.  Blue, meanwhile, is oblivious to their concerns, laying peacefully in the dirt, soaking up the warmth of the fall sun. 

 

Farmers’ Market Offerings: We’ll be attending the Urbana Market at the Square this Saturday, October 21st.  Please come visit the market and get some of the bountiful produce before a frost really does come.  We are still quite flush with cheese and gelato. We have a special flavor of chevre this week: chevre with roasted poblano peppers. The peppers have a very mild heat, and they complement the creaminess of the chevre.

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper, poblano pepper
  • Angel Food:  our little “crottin” style bloomy rind; small enough to eat in one sitting; this cheese is perfectly ripe right now.  I’d buy two if I were you.
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: our goat milk camembert; also perfectly ripe with just the right amount of gooey edges
  • Black Goat: our ash-coated bloomy with a hint of yeast on the rind; try our ACS award winning cheese. This batch is young, but has a lovely fudgy consistency
  • Magia Negra: our nod to a Manchego style cheese, sharp nutty notes with hints of tart berries. Rind is rubbed with an olive oil-black currant & aronia berry paste
  • Moonglo: our raw-milk tomme-style cheese, aged for about 4 months.  Semi-firm texture, fruity and sharp flavor notes.  Ask for a taste and you’ll be smitten.
  • Goat Milk Yogurt: Available in both pints and quarts

Gelato: For some strange reason, people don’t seem to buy gelato in the fall. For me, any season is gelato season, even in the depths of winter.  Why not take advantage of our “three pint special”: buy 3, get $3 off the total price! 

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Salted Caramel
  • Masala Chai
  • Fruitti di Bosco
  • Grape two ways Sorbetto
  • Peaches & Cream

Farm Happenings

Farm Open Hours:  We are open only on the weekends through the end of October (Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 PM).  We will be closing the Real Stand temporarily in November to get it ready for the holidays. We will re-open the Sunday before Thanksgiving, so that folks who might have missed the holiday market on Saturday, the 18th can have a chance to purchase cheese, gelato and other farm treats.   

David Bane, of Bane Family Meats is offering his pastured “broad-breasted bronze” turkeys for sale at our farm this year. You must pre-order and then pick up at our farm on Sunday, Nov. 19th 1-3 pm. 

Here are the details: "All turkeys have been raised on pasture with no antibiotics, no GMO's and no pesticides on Bane Family Farm. The size range will be from 12-25 lbs, and the price is $4.00/lb. Orders will be taken by phone (217-722-2188) or by email (davidpbane@aol.com) until we are sold out. "    

In the meantime, The Real Stand is open for business this weekend, offering cheese, gelato, meats, eggs and other farm products through the end of this month.  Check out our fall offerings: pumpkins, gourds and squashes from The Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur! You can cook with them or just use them as decorations. They are gorgeous and quirky (and delicious). 

Don't forget to follow  directions to the farm from our website. This will ensure easy travels during the road construction on N. Lincoln Avenue. The detour is in effect until November.

Learn something new! Take our Cheese Pairings Class on Sunday, November 5th—we will wow you with lots of styles of cheese and lots of accompaniments –jams, honey, pickles, wines, beers.  We’ll cover a few basic concepts about cheese styles and how to use all your senses to appreciate what you are tasting. Then, we’ll dive in head first to a fun-filled afternoon of flavor sensations.  $35 covers everything (limited to 30 participants, so don’t delay in signing up). 

LAST CHANCE: If you can’t leave the city for the farm, why not bring the farm to the city? The Café at Local Foods Grocers in Chicago is crafting a five-course meal featuring many of the products raised on our farm. The event will be held at Local Foods on Saturday, October 21st.  The menu is sublime, and they even have optional wine pairings.  Here’s the link to their Eventbrite page where you can make reservations.  

Consider booking your holiday party at our farm. Let us craft a holiday meal with local ingredients.  Our barn dining room is quite cozy and festive when there’s a chill in the air. Email us with inquiries: prairiefruits@gmail.com 


Copyright 2017. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2017. 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 10/12/2017 7:02pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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 Farm News

Dust to mud in under seven days; this week’s theme for the farm.  I welcome the soggy ground underfoot. The psychedelic green has returned to our lawn, while our neighbor’s newly planted wheat crop is lapping up the soil moisture, a mat of crew-cut shiny shoots to show for their thirst. 

Following a night or two of deluge, we’ve been pelleted by a fine mist over the past few days.  The sky tries to clear itself, only to become shrouded in a low-hanging grey blanket a new. The blanket spits at us annoyingly. The skid steer moving heavy bales of bailage leaves muddy tracks in its wake; mud that will make its way onto goat hooves and dog paws, mud that will seek out the clean floors of our log house.  The leaves are still mostly green on the trees, ignoring any autumnal cues, believing the unseasonably warm temperatures instead.  The gusty rain blows them onto the concrete slab in front of our barn, leaving a stained imprint of fading summer as I brush them away. 

Farmers’ Market Offerings: We’ll be attending the Urbana Market at the Square this Saturday, October 14th.  We have noticed a marked decline in attendance at the markets over the past few weeks. We hope patrons know that there is still a LOT of great produce and other local farm products available at the farmers’ markets. We hope you’ll find a little window of time to come out and support the farmers who bring you such beautiful and delicious food.  We are still quite flush with cheese and gelato:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper
  • Angel Food:  our little “crottin” style bloomy rind; small enough to eat in one sitting; paste is firm (it’s young) and this cheese is perfect with a tart jam
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: our goat milk camembert; perfect served with local honey
  • Black Goat: our ash-coated bloomy with a hint of yeast on the rind; try our ACS award winning cheese
  • Magia Negra: our nod to a Manchego style cheese, sharp nutty notes with hints of tart berries. Rind is rubbed with an olive oil-black currant & aronia berry paste
  • Moonglo: our raw-milk tomme-style cheese, aged for about 4 months.  Semi-firm texture, fruity and sharp flavor notes.  Ask for a taste and you’ll be smitten.
  • Goat Milk Yogurt: Available in both pints and quarts

Gelato: take home a few pints this week (try our “three pint market special: buy 3, get $3 off the total price! 

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Salted Caramel
  • Masala Chai
  • Stracciatella
  • Fruitti di Bosco
  • Turtle
  • Grape two ways Sorbetto
  • Red Currant
  • Pineapple sage

Farm Happenings

Farm Open Hours:  We are open only on the weekends through the end of October (Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 PM).  We will be closing the Real Stand temporarily in November to get it ready for the holidays. We will re-open the Saturday after Thanksgiving. 

In the meantime, The Real Stand is open for business, offering cheese, gelato, meats, eggs and other farm products through the end of this month.  Check out our fall offerings: pumpkins, gourds and squashes from The Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur! You can cook with them or just use them as decorations. They are gorgeous and quirky (and delicious). 

Don't forget to follow  directions to the farm from our website. This will ensure easy travels during the road construction on N. Lincoln Avenue. The detour is in effect until November.

JUST POSTED: Learn something new! Take our Cheese Pairings Class on Sunday, November 5th—we will wow you with lots of styles of cheese and lots of accompaniments –jams, honey, pickles, wines, beers.  We’ll cover a few basic concepts about cheese styles and how to use all your senses to appreciate what you are tasting. Then, we’ll dive in head first to a fun-filled afternoon of flavor sensations.  $35 covers everything (limited to 30 participants, so don’t delay in signing up).   

Farm Dinners: There are a few tickets to both seatings of the October 14th “Pizza Night Out” dinner.   Grab while they last.

CANCELLED—WE ARE SORRY TO ANNOUNCE THAT BRUNCH ON THE STAGE AT THE VIRGINIA THEATRE IS CANCELLED. WE APOLOGIZE TO THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE ALREADY PURCHASED TICKETS—YOU WILL BE REFUNDED BY THE VIRGINIA THEATRE. WE’LL TRY AGAIN NEXT YEAR TO OFFER THIS EVENT.  Brunch on the Stage at the Virginia Theatre—SUNDAY OCTOBER 15TH.   

If you can’t leave the city for the farm, why not bring the farm to the city? The Café at Local Foods Grocers in Chicago is crafting a five-course meal featuring many of the products raised on our farm. The event will be held at Local Foods on Saturday, October 21st.  The menu is sublime, and they even have optional wine pairings.  Here’s the link to their Eventbrite page where you can make reservations.


Copyright 2017. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2017. 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 10/5/2017 10:18pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

The planned chaos that is breeding season is in full swing at the farm.  This year’s nuptial arrangements are a bit complicated.  We have four breeding groups—the two Nubian bucks, Nate and Rik, have a dozen or so partners each, while the two La Mancha bucks-BJ (our new guy from Iowa) and Lentil have somewhere between 12-25 betrotheds. We also have a group of retiring does still in milk who are not being bred.  Normally, the kid barn is spared from the mayhem of goat mating rituals, but the doe barn just isn’t big enough to handle all these groups. 

Milking and feeding chores now take almost twice as long as normal.  Moving groups to and from their breeding pens without “incident” is a gift. Invariably, a doe in heat decides she’d rather be with a buck other than her chosen one, making a beeline for the lusty boy, instead of sauntering up the ramp to the milking parlor.  While they’re being escorted to and from the kid barn, if there’s a chink in the “armor” keeping does from a grain bin, they will find it. 

In an attempt to minimize confusion and monitor the progression of breeding, we’ve given each buck a breeding harness, complete with a marking crayon. The crayon is inserted into a holder on the chest so that when the buck mounts the doe, he leaves a color marking on her back side.  Each caprine cassanova has a different color-orange for BJ, green for Lentil, blue for Nate and yellow for Rik.  Lentil, in his first season as a breeder, has been a busy boy, based on the number of green-butted does in his pen. I’ve caught him napping soundly on a couple of afternoons this week (his slumber was so sound, I actually had to check to make sure he was breathing); no doubt exhausted from his single-minded job. 

Not only can we track how productive each buck has been, the colors let us know who has been with whom. If a sneaky doe ends up with an unintended partner, her backside color will be betray her dalliance.  Girls being girls, especially girls in heat, the color markings don’t always stay where they first land.  We seem to have a lot of blue-faced goats making their way to the milking parlor. 

Farmers’ Market Offerings: We’ll be attending the Urbana Market at the Square this Saturday, October 7th.  This is the last week for dried tomato chevre-it’s now or never.  All flavors of chevre can be frozen for enjoyment later.

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper, dried tomato
  • Angel Food:  our little “crottin” style bloomy rind; small enough to eat in one sitting; paste is firm (it’s young) and this cheese is perfect with a tart jam
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: our goat milk camembert; perfect served with local honey
  • Black Goat: our ash-coated bloomy with a hint of yeast on the rind; try our ACS award winning cheese
  • Magia Negra: our nod to a Manchego style cheese, sharp nutty notes with hints of tart berries. Rind is rubbed with an olive oil-black currant & aronia berry paste
  • Moonglo: our raw-milk tomme-style cheese, aged for about 4 months.  Semi-firm texture, fruity and sharp flavor notes.  Ask for a taste and you’ll be smitten.
  • Goat Milk Yogurt: Available in both pints and quarts

Gelato: take home a few pints this week (try our “three pint special: buy 3, get $3 off the total price! 

  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Salted Caramel
  • Stracciatella
  • Fruitti di Bosco
  • Turtle
  • Grape two ways Sorbetto
  • Red Currant
  • Pineapple sage

Farm Happenings

Farm Open Hours:  We are now open only on the weekends (Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 PM).  We know that fall is a busy time, with kids back in school and work demands beckoning. If you need a little break from the hustle and bustle, come out to the farm.  It can be a very tranquil place in the early fall. There are still lots of things growing, and the goats love visitors any time of the year.

The Real Stand is open for business, offering cheese, gelato, meats, eggs and other farm products.  Check out our fall offerings: pumpkins and squashes from The Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur! We also have a few of their gorgeous potted mums. 

Fall Festival: Come out to the farm this Sunday, October 8th (3-6 pm)—hay rides, cider pressing, cider drinking, light snacks, including a special appearance by Lucky Pierre bakers-doughnuts and muffins.  You can find all the details on our Facebook events page.

We are planning to offer several classes and workshops later this fall (November)—cheese pairings with wine and beer and demystifying cheese for sure.  Stay tuned for details and dates.

Don't forget to follow  directions to the farm from our website. This will ensure easy travels during the road construction on N. Lincoln Avenue. The detour is in effect until November.  

Farm Dinners: Tickets to both seatings of the October 14th “Pizza Night Out” dinner are still available but they’re going FAST.   

NEWS FLASH: two new farm to table events featuring Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery:  

Brunch on the Stage at the Virginia Theatre—SUNDAY OCTOBER 15TH.  We’re so excited to partner up with the Virginia to offer a farm to table brunch, complete with music by Sam Payne and select readings by yours truly.  There’s not much time to sign up, and seating is limited, so check out the menu and book your reservations now.  You’ll also get a behind the scenes tour of the historic theatre.   

If you can’t leave the city for the farm, why not bring the farm to the city? The Café at Local Foods Grocers in Chicago is crafting a five-course meal featuring many of the products raised on our farm. The event will be held at Local Foods on Saturday, October 21st.  The menu is sublime, and they even have optional wine pairings.  Here’s the link to their Facebook event page where you can get all the details: https://www.facebook.com/events/146892029254488/ 
You can also just go directly to their ticket purchasing page.


Copyright 2017. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2017. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 9/29/2017 9:27am by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

new header

 Farm News

With a light puff of air from the weather gods, the mercury on the thermostat slide downward to autumnal “normal” this week.  There was no great front that came through. There were no thunder clouds or turbulent air currents; just a little tweak on the atmospheric thermostat dial.  While we welcomed the crisp chill in the air, we had hoped for a little rain from the changeover.  The gentle but sudden transformation aligned the “stars” of fall with immediate effect.  On our daily walk to the prairie, the goats’ gustatory fixations turned to dried cottonwood leaves, scarfing them up like junk food junkies on a potato chip binge.  The crackling communal munching was music to my ears. 

On their way to the prairie, the girls must pass by the buck pen. This gives us a chance to see who is in heat.  The bucks, ever vigilant, patrol the perimeter, snorting and calling to whomever of the ladies that will pay them attention.  Their pacing is so persistent that they have worn a path in the pasture paddock.  The does in heat saddle up to the fence and taunt the boys with tail wags-goat flirting is a sure sign that they are in heat.  There has been a lot of flirting going on in the past couple of days.  Today, we will clean out the doe barn and set up the breeding pens.  Next Monday, the bucks will finally get to satisfy their needs and fulfill their fall duties. 

Pumpkins are another sure sign that the stars of fall are aligned.  Yesterday, I made my annual pilgrimage to The Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur, IL to fill up the back of my station wagon with the bizarre and beautiful members of the Cucurbitaceae family-one of the most diverse plant families on the planet.  I always marvel at the showy array of colors, sizes and shapes of so many squashes, pumpkins and gourds.  They are genetic selection on steroids.  Pumpkins and squashes for every purpose-roasting, baking, seeds and yes carving.  We have a small selection of these beauties for sale at our farm store this weekend and next.

Farmers’ Market Offerings: We’ll be attending the Urbana Market at the Square this Saturday, September 30th.  We still have our special dried tomato chevre, but it won’t be around for too much longer. If you love this cheese as much as I do, I would recommend stocking up.  All flavors of chevre can be frozen for enjoyment later. All three bloomy rind cheeses are back in the line-up, but feta is gone for a while.

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper, dried tomato
  • Angel Food:  our little “crottin” style bloomy rind; small enough to eat in one sitting; paste is firm (it’s young) and this cheese is perfect with a tart jam
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: our goat milk camembert; perfect served with local honey
  • Black Goat: our ash-coated bloomy with a hint of yeast on the rind; try our ACS award winning cheese
  • Magia Negra: our nod to a Manchego style cheese, sharp nutty notes with hints of tart berries. Rind is rubbed with an olive oil-black currant & aronia berry paste
  • Moonglo: our raw-milk tomme-style cheese, aged for about 4 months.  Semi-firm texture, fruity and sharp flavor notes.  Ask for a taste and you’ll be smitten.
  • Goat Milk Yogurt: Available in both pints and quarts; limited quantities this week

Crackers are on a semi-permanent hiatus as our cracker maker is busy with several other enterprises.

Gelato: take home a few pints this week (try our “three pint special: buy 3, get $3 off the total price!  With the cooler weather, we’ve got some really decadent flavors back in the line-up:

  • Watermelon-Mint Sorbetto (only two pints left)
  • Red Currant
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Turtle (decadent mixture of vanilla gelato, chocolate ganache, caramel and toasted local pecans)
  • Stracciatella (chocolate ganache chip)
  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Mexican Coffee (coffee with a hint of cinnamon and cayenne)
  • Rhubarb swirl
  • Fruitti di Bosco (fruits of the forest in Italian—black and red raspberries, aronia berry)
  • Mint Stracciatella (for those who love mint chocolate chip but without the green food coloring)

Farm Happenings

Farm Open Hours:  Please note that we shortened our open hours for the month of September.  We are now open only on the weekends (Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 PM).  We know that fall is a busy time, with kids back in school and work demands beckoning. If you need a little break from the hustle and bustle, come out to the farm.  It can be a very tranquil place in the early fall. There are still lots of things growing, and the goats love visitors any time of the year. 

The Real Stand is open for business, offering cheese, gelato, meats, eggs and other farm products.  NEW THIS WEEKEND: pumpkins and squashes from The Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur! We also have a few of their gorgeous potted mums. 

Fall Festival: With the weather finally acting like it should, we’re in a mood to celebrate the season. Come out to the farm on Sunday, October 8th (3-6 pm)—hay rides, cider pressing, cider drinking, light snacks, including a special appearance by Lucky Pierre bakers-doughnuts and muffins. SAVE THE DATE

We are planning to offer several classes and workshops later this fall (November)—cheese pairings with wine and beer and demystifying cheese for sure. We might even offer another all-day cheese-making workshop.  Stay tuned for details and dates.

Don't forget to follow directions to the farm from our website. This will ensure easy travels during the road construction on N. Lincoln Avenue. The detour is in effect until November.  

Farm Dinners:  We still have tickets available for the “Celebration of Squash” farm dinner from guest chef Nicole Pederson (Found Kitchen). The dinner is TOMORROW night, so it’s now or never. Although the meal features many members of the Cucurbitaceae plant family, it is not vegetarian.  Check out the menu.    

We also have tickets to both seatings of the October 14th “Pizza Night Out” dinners-more casual fare. Check them out too.   



Copyright 2017. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2017. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 9/21/2017 6:33pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

If there is any theme to the rhythm of the seasons this year, it would be discord.  It would be unpredictable.  It would be set no expectations.  The cool, dry clarity of august set up expectations for fall; the fall of Midwest past: goats cycling into breeding heat, apples falling from the trees, soybean fields a blaze in rust and gold hues, market shoppers talking about soups they plan to make rather than salads. 

Early September was following the script. Then, early this week, thunder clouds rolled in, dumped nearly two inches of rain onto our cracked parched soils and cranked up the atmospheric thermostat to summer doldrums 90’s with heat index close to 100.  It was not a fleeting flare up either; this heat wave is settling in for a while.  

The abrupt change is jarring, especially on the eve of the autumnal equinox.  Autumn used to mean sweaters at sunset, not tank tops.  Goat coats should be growing not shedding.  Tomatoes should be slowing their ripening, giving the fall greens a chance to take center stage. Nature is confused, and farmers must acquiesce.  So, while we watch the combines start to roll in senescent cornfields, I will be imagining the farmers’ gratefulness for air conditioned tractor cabs.   

New arrivals at the farm A fellow farmstead goat creamery and dear friend of mine in Iowa has decided to call it quits.  She made beautiful little robiola-style cheeses and milked a handful of spoiled La Mancha goats.  When she notified me that she had made the very hard decision to stop, she asked if we would take some/most of her tiny herd (she was only milking about 12-15 goats, but, boy, are they great milkers). How could I say no? I knew her herd fairly well; I knew she treated her girls like princesses, and they gave back to her in copious quantities of lovely la mancha milk.   

So, last weekend, Erica (our herd manager) and her fiancé hitched up the trailer once again for a little road trip to Iowa-this time to get goats, not sell goats.  They arrived back at the farm with the precious cargo on Sunday afternoon. The new arrivals are slowly adjusting to their new environs.  When I enter the kid barn, and the doelings start screaming, they greenhorns look at me bewilderedly, “how did I end up here” is written all over their faces.   

Our friend had warned us that a couple of them were particularly spoiled (I’m putting a few on goat weight watchers), and they’re exhibiting full goat will power on the milk stand.  Soon enough, with Erica’s gentle (but firm) hand, they will get used to their new routine. For now, we pet them a lot, bring them low-calorie treats and reassure them that their new home is a good one.   

Farmers’ Market Offerings: We’ll be attending the Urbana Market at the Square this Saturday, September 23rd.  We still have our special dried tomato chevre and a few containers of feta available.  Angel Food is still on vacation, but will be back in the line- up next week.

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper, dried tomato  
  • Raw-milk Feta: Packed in whey brine for flavor and preservation-LIMITED AVAILABILITY
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: our goat milk camembert; perfect served with local honey
  • Black Goat: our ash-coated bloomy with a hint of yeast on the rind; try our ACS award winning cheese
  • Magia Negra: our nod to a Manchego style cheese, sharp nutty notes with hints of tart berries. Rind is rubbed with an olive oil-black currant & aronia berry paste
  • Moonglo: our raw-milk tomme-style cheese, aged for about 4 months.  Semi-firm texture, fruity and sharp flavor notes.  Ask for a taste and you’ll be smitten.
  • Goat Milk Yogurt: Available in both pints and quarts; limited quantities this week

Crackers are on a semi-permanent hiatus as our cracker maker is busy with several other enterprises.

Gelato: take home a few pints this week (try our “three pint special: buy 3, get $3 off the total price!  Check out the great variety:

  • Watermelon-Mint Sorbetto
  • Red Currant
  • Fresh Mint
  • Stracciatella (chocolate ganache chip)
  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Gianduja (chocolate-hazelnut)
  • Mexican Coffee (coffee with a hint of cinnamon and cayenne)
  • Rhubarb swirl

Farm Happenings

Farm Open Hours:  Please note that we shortened our open hours for the month of September.  We are now open only on the weekends (Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 PM).  We know that fall is a busy time, with kids back in school and work demands beckoning. If you need a little break from the hustle and bustle, come out to the farm.  It can be a very tranquil place in the early fall. There are still lots of things growing, and the goats love visitors any time of the year. The Real Stand is open for business, offering cheese, gelato, meats, eggs and other farm products. 

We are planning a “fall event” tentatively scheduled for Sunday October 8th (3-6 pm)—hay rides, cider pressing, cider drinking; stayed tuned for details, but SAVE THE DATE for now. 

Don't forget to follow directions to the farm from our website. This will ensure easy travels during the road construction on N. Lincoln Avenue. The detour is in effect until November.

Delight Flower Farm Retreat on the Farm There are still spots open for this all-day retreat at the farm, hosted by Delight Flower Farm, on Saturday October 7th. Activities include: yoga, a plant walk, a farm tour, flower arranging, an herbalism class, an introduction to Ayurveda, campfire rituals, and plenty of time to take in the healing properties of nature.  Local-farm-sourced and professionally prepared meals are included.

Here's the link: http://delightflowerfarm.com/natural-medicine-a-farmstead-retreat/ They have drastically reduced the price of this event to sweeten the pot.  You’ll be in great hands with these talented women--you'll be so relaxed and refreshed, you probably won't wont to leave the farm!

Farm Dinners:  We still have tickets available for the “Celebration of Squash” farm dinner from guest chef Nicole Pederson (Found Kitchen). She has crafted a menu that truly captures the delicious diversity of the family Cucurbitaceae.  You won’t want to miss it.  We also have tickets to both seatings of the October 14th “Pizza Night Out” dinners-more casual fare. Check them out too.   


Copyright 2017. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2017. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 9/14/2017 7:06pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm news

At the risk of plagiarizing Garrison Keillor, “it’s been a quiet week here at Prairie Fruits Farm.”  Sometimes, quiet is good; sometimes routine is good enough.  We focused on the quotidian: the daily rituals of milking, herding the goats to the prairie, feeding all the critters, making some cheese, harvesting some vegetables and prepping for our upcoming CSA members’ farm dinner.  We watched the mid-week skies darken with rain clouds, only to be utterly disappointed with the spit-like consistency of the paltry precipitation we received.  The soil is so dry, that there are fissures in the orchard.  While we secretly hoped for some of the hurricane remnants to migrate northward and soak our parched ground, these pipe dreams don’t seem to be in the cards for our region.   

The silver lining of the drought is that the fruits taste sweeter.  We started harvesting our apples for cider this week-just a few Winesaps, just to affirm it’s fall.  While most of our apples are riddled with insect damage, they make some mighty fine cider.  As we wait for more to ripen, we’ll take a little respite and sip some fresh-pressed cider.  

Farmers’ Market Offerings:

We’ll be attending the Urbana Market at the Square this Saturday, September 16th.  Summer’s last gasp will be returning, so come early and beat the heat.  There are still loads and loads of great fresh produce to be had, and most of it goes splendidly with our cheeses.  Dried tomato chevre is scrumptious and hyper seasonal. We will have it available at the market tomorrow, but don’t wait until the last minute to get some. It might be gone by the time you there. This is our last week of selling raw milk feta at the market, so stock up (it lasts a really long time in the whey brine). 

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper, dried tomato  
  • Raw-milk Feta: Packed in whey brine for flavor and preservation, this tangy cheese is perfect for salads, grilled corn or topping a quick pasta dish. 
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: our goat milk camembert; perfect served with local honey
  • Black Goat: our ash-coated bloomy with a hint of yeast on the rind; try our ACS award winning cheese
  • Magia Negra: our nod to a Manchego style cheese, sharp nutty notes with hints of tart berries. Rind is rubbed with an olive oil-black currant & aronia berry paste
  • Moonglo: our raw-milk tomme-style cheese, aged for about 4 months.  Semi-firm texture, fruity and sharp flavor notes.  Ask for a taste and you’ll be smitten.
  • Goat Milk Yogurt: It’s BACK! Available in both pints and quarts

Crackers are on a semi-permanent hiatus as our cracker maker is busy with several other enterprises.

Gelato: take home a few pints this week (try our “three pint special: buy 3, get $3 off the total price!  We have a nice selection of “flavors of summer” mixed with comforting fall flavors:

  • Watermelon-Mint Sorbetto
  • Red Currant
  • Peaches & Cream
  • Fresh Mint
  • Stracciatella (chocolate ganache chip)
  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Gianduja (chocolate-hazelnut)
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Espresso

Farm Happenings

Farm Open Hours:  Please note that we shortened our open hours for the month of September.  We are now open only on the weekends (Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 PM). We know that fall is a busy time, with kids back in school and work demands beckoning. If you need a little break from the hustle and bustle, come out to the farm.  It can be a very tranquil place in the early fall. There are still lots of things growing, and the goats love visitors any time of the year. The Real Stand is open for business, offering cheese, gelato, meats, eggs and other farm products. 

We are planning a “fall event” tentatively scheduled for Sunday October 8th (3-6 pm)—hay rides, cider pressing, cider drinking; stayed tuned for details, but SAVE THE DATE for now. 

Don't forget to follow directions to the farm from our website. This will ensure easy travels during the road construction on N. Lincoln Avenue. The detour is in effect until November.

Delight Flower Farm Retreat on the Farm The talented women who own Delight Flower Farm are hosting an all-day retreat on the farm, Saturday October 7th.  Events will include: yoga, a plant walk, a farm tour, flower arranging, an herbalism class, an introduction to Ayurveda, campfire rituals, and plenty of time to take in the healing properties of nature.  Local-farm-sourced and professionally prepared meals are included. Here's the link: http://delightflowerfarm.com/natural-medicine-a-farmstead-retreat/ They have drastically reduced the price of this event to sweeten the pot.  You’ll be in great hands with these talented women.  

Farm Dinners:  We still have tickets available for the “Celebration of Squash” farm dinner from guest chef Nicole Pederson (Found Kitchen). She has crafted a menu that truly captures the delicious diversity of the family Cucurbitaceae.  You won’t want to miss it.   

Menu 
First Course Roasted Squash and Tomato Soup
Second Course Squash Mezze Thinly sliced squash spread with walnut/pepper paste Squash borani, pff goat yogurt, saffron water- with Squash blossom paratha Braised Goat, PFF Feta Cheese and squash  
Third Course “Cider can” Guinea Fowl with Grilled Squash and Squash bbq sauce Simple mashed squash with butter and warm spices Squash Slaw
Fourth Course Selection of Prairie Fruits Farm Cheese with Squash moraba (preserves with cardamom and rosewater- Persian) Squash membrillo Squash Seed Cracker
Dessert Squash cake, apple cider icing, crab apple butter, goat's milk gelato  

We also have tickets to both seatings of the October 14th “Pizza Night Out” dinners-more casual fare. Check them out too.   First Seating and Second Seating


Copyright 2017. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2017. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 9/7/2017 6:18pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm news

The early morning air is crisp and dry. There’s a slight bite when you open the door, forcing you to grab a sweatshirt before you venture outside.  The sky light has a piercing quality; there must be something about the sun’s angle this time of year. Through the vibrant greenery colored globes of ripening fruits hang on the vines.  It’s fall and the time of overabundance has arrived.  The excitement of eating the first fresh ripe veggies has waned, and it’s time to preserve the harvest bounty. 

Sarah, our gelato maker, changed culinary hats this week. The gelato freezer fell silent, the canning jars were sterilized and the canning pot was filled with water to boil. We perused our respective preservation cook-books and came up with a plan to go pickle crazy.  Bush-bean picking got you down? How about some dilly beans?  Carrots pushing their shoulders above the soil line? Pickle ‘em! Tired of grilling eggplant? Make a pickled eggplant relish. Cabbage heads taking up too much space in your fridge? Make some kraut.  The acrid smell of hot vinegar wafted throughout the farm kitchen, and the lovely pop of well-sealed jars interrupted light conversation and kitchen music. 

In honor of canning season and in celebration of all those women (and men) slaving over a hot stove so they can enjoy a little bit of summer later on, I am sharing a poem I wrote a few years ago to celebrate my mother-in-law’s 90th birthday. Now approaching 93, she still cans, just not as much.

Edith’s hands, she cans
Hands deep-lined, sun-dappled hands pierce red-brown dirt,
heritage of long-dead volcanoes.
Curved fingers dig deep, pull gnarly carrots,
double joints come in handy sometimes.
Hands snip bursting grape clusters,
fingers twist and pluck peaches from their drooping branches.
Jars aligned on the counter, water boiling on the stove top warmly await the harvest bounty.
Production time is here!
Hands peeling, fingers coring…
More sugar?
No sugar?
Hands pack peeled fruit into jars
maybe one more peach half… get it in there!
Jars, fruit-laden, lowered into boiling water
Strong, confident hands lift canning ring-full of jars onto counter,
tea towels await to soften the shock.
Hands rest on hips, waiting for the sign…..
Pop! Pop! Pop!
Lids are sealing
summer is trapped.
Cold hands loosen over hot coals of the wood stove, pry open a jar of peaches.
Summer escapes into the cold and damp,
reminds those hands how good that dead ripe peach tasted, dripping down her chin.  

Farmers’ Market Offerings:

We’ll be attending the Urbana Market at the Square this Saturday, September 9th. The crisp fall weather will be perfect for shopping. Don’t let the cool weather fool you; there are still tons of great summer and early fall produce at the market, and cheese goes well with so many veggies and fruits. The lovely little Juliet tomatoes are finally ripening, and the food dryer has been busy.  This means our first batch of dried tomato chevre will make its seasonal debut this weekend (better get to the market early if you want some):

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper, dried tomato  
  • Raw-milk Feta: Packed in whey brine for flavor and preservation, this tangy cheese is perfect for a watermelon salad. Want to “fancy” it up? Try cutting into cubes and marinating in extra virgin olive oil with some fresh herbs. 
  • Angel Food: our little compact bloomy rind—firm paste, mushroomy rind-VERY LIMITED availability
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: our goat milk camembert; perfect served with local honey
  • Black Goat: our ash-coated bloomy with a hint of yeast on the rind; try our ACS award winning cheese
  • Magia Negra: our nod to a Manchego style cheese, sharp nutty notes with hints of tart berries. Rind is rubbed with an olive oil-black currant & aronia berry paste
  • Moonglo: our raw-milk tomme-style cheese, aged for about 4 months.  Semi-firm texture, fruity and sharp flavor notes.  Ask for a taste and you’ll be smitten.

NO YOGURT or CRACKERS THIS WEEK. Crackers are on a semi-permanent hiatus as our cracker maker is busy with several other enterprises.

Gelato: take home a few pints this week (try our “three pint special: buy 3, get $3 off the total price!  We have a nice selection of “flavors of summer” mixed with comforting fall flavors:

  • Watermelon-Mint Sorbetto
  • Red Currant
  • Thai Basil (limited)
  • Matcha green tea (limited)
  • Fresh Mint
  • Stracciatella
  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Gianduja (chocolate-hazelnut)
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Espresso

Farm Happenings

Farm Open Hours:  Please note that we shortened our open hours for the month of September. These are subject to change if we find that people are just not able to come out. We know that fall is a busy time, with kids back in school and work demands beckoning. If you need a little break from the hustle and bustle, come out to the farm.  It can be a very tranquil place in the early fall. There are still lots of things growing, and the goats love visitors any time of the year. The Real Stand is open for business, offering cheese, gelato, meats, eggs and other farm products. 

Fridays, 1-6 PM

Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 PM

Don't forget to follow directions to the farm from our website. This will ensure easy travels during the road construction on N. Lincoln Avenue. The detour is in effect until November.

Delight Flower Farm Retreat on the Farm The talented women who own Delight Flower Farm are hosting an all-day retreat on the farm, Saturday October 7th.  Events will include: yoga, a plant walk, a farm tour, flower arranging, an herbalism class, an introduction to Ayurveda, campfire rituals, and plenty of time to take in the healing properties of nature.  Local-farm-sourced and professionally prepared meals are included. Here's the link: http://delightflowerfarm.com/natural-medicine-a-farmstead-retreat/ They have drastically reduced the price of this event to sweeten the pot.  You’ll be in great hands.  

Farm Dinners  

We received the menu for the “Celebration of Squash” farm dinner from our guest chef Nicole Pederson (Found Kitchen). She has crafted a menu that truly captures the delicious diversity of the family Cucurbitaceae.  There are still a few tickets left for this event. With guest farmer Mac Condill of the Great Pumpkin regaling guests with squash tales, you won’t want to miss it.   

Menu Celebration of Squash Dinner  
First Course: Roasted Squash and Tomato Soup
Second Course Squash Mezze: Thinly sliced squash spread with walnut/pepper paste Squash borani, pff goat yogurt, saffron water- with Squash blossom paratha Braised Goat, PFF Feta Cheese and squash  
Third Course: “Cider can” Guinea Fowl with Grilled Squash and Squash bbq sauce Simple mashed squash with butter and warm spices Squash Slaw
Fourth Course: Selection of Prairie Fruits Farm Cheese with Squash moraba (preserves with cardamon and rosewater- persian),Squash membrillo, Squash Seed Cracker
Dessert: Squash cake, apple cider icing, crab apple butter, goat's milk gelato  


Copyright 2017. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2017. All rights reserved. 4410 N. Lincoln Ave., Champaign, Illinois 61822 Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC is responsible for the content of this email. Please contact Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell with any inquiries.

Posted 8/31/2017 7:13pm by Leslie Cooperband or Wes Jarrell.

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Farm News

In about one week, we’ll be sitting down to the farm dinner table with nearly 60 guests to celebrate the diverse labors of the farm. It’s our annual “100 Yard Dinner,” a ritual we have been practicing for nearly ten years!  In the thick of the farming season, it’s easy to get lost in the weeds (literally and figuratively) and lose sight of the diversity we have cultivated on our little postage stamp of a farm.  The food that is brought to the table is the culmination of a season’s work (sometimes more than one season’s worth), and embodies the minds and hands of many micro-entrepreneurs who share and work the farm with us.

The planning for the meal begins in mid-winter, when the ground is frozen and covered with a skiff of snow. By this time, amnesia has set in, blanketing the summer stress of so many tomatoes rotting on the ground.  Instead, the playboy sex appeal of seed catalogues lures you back to purchase way too many varieties of way too many vegetables.  This year will be different. Nothing will go to waste; everything will be eaten fresh or pickled or canned or frozen. 

The orchard lies dormant, awaiting its spring prune, ever hopeful for continuous cold (so as not to break dormancy and kill those insect pests burrowed beneath the tree canopies.)  Winter wipes the slate clean for the dreams of the next season—to bear fruits unblemished from pests and diseases (the organic fruit grower can dream can’t she??).  The goats are pregnant and dry, eating obliviously to stay warm and grow the next generation in their wombs, slowly allocating resources to another season of milk production. 

With light and warmth, thawed ground and fresh compost, the flurry of prepping and planting the garden begins in April. This year’s vegetable garden has been tended lovingly by one of our incubator farmers, “Deux Chevaux.” They tilled, shaped their beds, put down weed barrier and drip irrigation and then planted lots and lots of seedlings and seeds. As I look out at the many hours of their labors, and the fussing over tiny plants, I see a garden brimming with tomatoes, watermelon, peppers, tomatillos, greens, beans, eggplant and herbs; it has never looked better. 

The orchard bore a respectable peach crop, despite threats from the usual suspects: a cool, wet spring, a near-miss killing frost in April, new & old insect pests and brown rot. The apples are ugly but plentiful, pitted with plum curculio damage, but ripening slowly. Even the blackberries, usually raided by misbehaving goats, have respectable ripe berries on their canes.  The two women who tend our orchard spent countless hours pruning and judiciously spraying with biological agents to fend off the pests. In the three years that they have been managing the orchard, they have experienced the joys and sorrows of raising organic fruits. They have learned to work smarter, not harder; they have learned to let go of the quixotic quest for beautiful and perfect organic fruit (they sold lots and lots of ugly but delicious peaches to Triptych Brewery to turn into a sublime peach Belgian ale).  We convinced them to just cut out the bad parts, pick out the insect larvae and savor the sweet-tart joy of a perfectly ripe peach.  We pick up apples from the ground and eat around the bruises.  It’s the truce we’ve come to with the critters and climate over which we have little to no control. 

We always raise poultry for the 100 Yard Dinner. Of course, we usually keep a dozen hens to give us eggs, but this year, we pulled out the stops to raise both Freedom Ranger chickens and guinea fowl.  Not having raised guineas for a couple of years, a familiar kind of selective memory (mostly about how delicious they taste and forgetting about how challenging they are to raise) had set in regarding their husbandry.  The Freedom Rangers are like your perfect child; they come as sturdy little day-old chicks, they grow quickly, they rarely get ruffled by daily stresses and they eat lots and lots of bugs.  Before you know, they are ready for their “one bad day” trip to Arthur.

Guineas, by contrast, are poultry possessed by a poltergeist. The keets (baby guineas) squeeze through the tiny holes in the fencing of their pen and make you chase them around the barn.  As they get older, they like to fly to roost. If they find a crack in the bird netting above their pen, they will fly out and make you chase them through the stacks of hay and the piles of farm junk stored haphazardly in the barn.  Once they graduate to the moveable “chicken tractor,” they try to escape every time the tractor is moved on to fresh vegetation. Once they escape, they’re as good as gone forever, since they hide in the orchard vegetation and then get eaten by predators.  Wes’ solution to their kamikaze tendencies—a giant fish catching net.  Attrition is low this year (cross fingers).

The goats are the starlets of the farm.  Last year’s fall breeding produces an annual crop of captivating kids in March; their curiosity and affections winning over even the biggest curmudgeons among us.  The mothers’ milk flows easily and prolifically in spring, giving us the “problem” of what to do with all that milk.  Their daily gushes let us sock away several batches of raw milk cheeses to enjoy when the wells begin to dry.  The cheese makers toil in their daily routines, transforming liquid to solid, cleaning and tending the aging cheeses and their environs as if they were livestock.  The gelato maker takes what milk she can, working her magical sense of frozen flavors with the season’s bounty of fruits, herbs and nuts.  Day in, day out; spring turns to summer and summer turns to early fall. Seasonal milk changes and the dairy artisans go with the flow.

The dairy is the lifeblood of the farm, and the herd manager keeps the goats healthy and engaged.  She escorts them daily to their prairie and browse; she notices when someone isn’t quite right or someone just needs some extra TLC.  Like a well-seasoned parent, she has learned when to be firm and when to indulge. 

Then, there are the beautiful flowers we admire from our dining patio. The vibrancy of colors, the multiple canopies with showy heads, seducing the bees and native pollinators with their scents and nectar runways.  Each week, I have marveled at the talents of the women who run Delight Flower Farm, their ability to craft sumptuous bouquets from the tidy rows in their flower garden.  Their arrangements will welcome our guests to the dinner table. The whole of our farm is greater than the sum of its parts. 

Although seemingly disparate, the micro-enterprises are connected. They feed each other and then they feed us. Waste vegetables and discarded flower stems are fed to chickens; chicken eggs and meat are enjoyed.  Goat manure fertilizes the gardens, the orchard and the pastures. The vegetables, fruits, dairy products and animal proteins are prepared with love and care by the chefs, and we sit at the table and marvel at what we have grown this year.   

Market News This holiday weekend, we’re attending Urbana’s Market at the Square. The forecast is looking great for hordes of local foods shoppers to descend on the farmers’ market.   Here is the line-up of cheeses for this coming Saturday:

  • Fresh chevre: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper-butterfat is slowly going up, making the chevre even creamier than usual
  • Raw-milk Feta: Packed in whey brine for flavor and preservation, this tangy cheese is perfect for a summer “Greek” salad; with watermelon in season, how about feta & watermelon salad?? Get it while it lasts!
  • Angel Food: our little compact bloomy rind—firm paste, mushroomy rind-very ripe and gooey this week
  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: our goat milk camembert; young but scrumptious
  • Black Goat: our ash-coated bloomy with a hint of yeast on the rind; try our ACS award winning cheese
  • Magia Negra: our nod to a Manchego style cheese, sharp nutty notes with hints of tart berries. Rind is rubbed with an olive oil-black currant & aronia berry paste
  • Moonglo: Our spring batches have a lighter, fruitier flavor profile than our rich & decadent fall batches.  Ask for a taste and you’ll be smitten.

NO YOGURT or CRACKERS THIS WEEK

Gelato: take home a few pints this week (try our “three pint special: buy 3, get $3 off the total price!

  • Bourbon Peach Sorbetto
  • Grape Two Ways Sorbetto
  • Peaches & Cream
  • Red Currant
  • Thai Basil
  • Vanilla
  • Chocolate
  • Hazelnut
  • Gianduja (chocolate-hazelnut)
  • Salted Caramel Swirl
  • Mint Stracciatella

Farm Happenings

Farm Open Hours:  

Please note that we shortened our open hours for the month of September. These are subject to change if we find that people are just not able to come out. We know that fall is a busy time, with kids back in school and work demands beckoning. If you need a little break from the hustle and bustle, come out to the farm.  It can be a very tranquil place in the early fall. There are still lots of things growing, and the goats love visitors any time of the year. The Real Stand is open for business, offering cheese, gelato, meats, eggs and other farm products.  We are planning to offer a few fall themed events. Stay tuned for details and dates.

  • Fridays, 1-6 PM
  • Saturdays and Sundays, 1-4 PM

Don't forget to follow directions to the farm from our website. This will ensure easy travels during the road construction on N. Lincoln Avenue. The detour is in effect until November.

Family Friendly Happy Hour on the Farm:  TOMORROW September 1st 5-7 PM.  This is the final happy hour of the season

Our guest brewer will be Triptych. They’ll be bringing some tasty microbrews to share.  If beer isn’t your thing, we have a fantastic selection of organic and biodynamic wines and Homer Sodas. David Bane of Bane Family Meats returns to the farm grill to cook up some his delicious pasture-raised chickens.  Finish the night with a scoop of gelato or a root beer or Triptych Prairie Peach Picnic ale float.  You can even come out and do some shopping-cheese, gelato, veggies grown at the farm by Deux Chevaux Farm (our incubator veggie growers).  The Sweedler Brothers will be back to serenade you with their gypsy-jazz tunes. 

Delight Flower Farm Retreat on the Farm The talented women who own Delight Flower Farm are hosting an all-day retreat on the farm, Saturday October 7th.  Events will include: yoga, a plant walk, a farm tour, flower arranging, an herbalism class, an introduction to Ayurveda, campfire rituals, and plenty of time to take in the healing properties of nature.  Local-farm-sourced and professionally prepared meals are included. Here's the link: http://delightflowerfarm.com/natural-medicine-a-farmstead-retreat/ If you register by September 1st, they’re offering an early-bird discount ($100 off the total registration).   

Dinners on the Farm: Get your tickets NOW before they’re all sold out. Seats still available for the September 30th Celebration of Squash and the October 14th Pizza Night Out Pop-Up.  


Copyright 2017. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. 2017. 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.