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A farmer's gratitude

On the eve of thanksgiving, I find myself reflecting on some things for which I am grateful. As farmers, we derive our livelihood from the environment over which we have no control. Despite increasing unpredictability and pendulum swings toward the extremes, there are still days that take my breath away. The restoration of our landscape to something approaching what might have been here before the European settlers came evokes marvel and joy. The appreciation of slight relief in an otherwise flat landscape allows me to watch the grazing goats "disappear" over the hill toward the silvopasture. I could imagine bison in their place. The progression of seasonality still exists, and changes in the color of the vegetation and the sounds of the birds are perceptible weekly. The goats are sensitive to these changes too; their coats thickening against the colder and gustier days. We derive so much from our land. Our entire thanksgiving meal comes from neighboring farms who have toiled hard to offer up their bounty to eager eaters.

Tomorrow, after my ritual thanksgiving morning chevre ladle, I'll focus my attention on the kitchen, taking joy in the preparation as much as the consumption.


Happy Thanksgiving to all of you!

Farmers' Market Offerings and Farm Happenings

Hours are 8 am to 12 noon. The indoor market is located conveniently inside the south wing of Lincoln Square Mall. You can shop without a coat if you like! We'll bring a nice selection of our cheeses and fun accompaniments as well as some PFFC "merch" for the post Thanksgiving market. Even though you might feel like you never want to eat again after Thanksgiving, you always need some CHEESE, right?? S

We'll be bringing the following cheeses to market:

  • Fresh chevre--plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper 2022 American Cheese Society Gold Medal and 2023 Bronze Medal winner!

  • An assortment of seasonal chevre flavors, too numerous to mention

  • Angel Food: mixed milk mini brie or large format wheels--you choose--perfectly ripe!! 20% off gooey ones with purchase of any other cheese; we have super young ones too

  • Little bloom on the prairie-mixed milk camembert-sytle bloomy rind- young, but aging nicely

  • Ukrainian Farmhouse cheese-all cow milk fresh cheese, similar to a cross between cottage cheese and ricotta

  • Feta in whey brine: crumble on hearty stew or chili! Use the whey brine to marinate chicken or lamb! Put it on a pizza! 2023 ACS Bronze Medal

  • Goat milk yogurt (last batch of the season)-all natural, no thickening agents-use it as the base of a marinade, a salad dressing or just eat it with fresh fruit

Looking for a REALLY simple cheesy appetizer to keep your holiday guests occupied while you finish preparing the thanksgiving meal? Here's a great one featuring our chevre

Goat Cheese Stuffed Dates with Pistachios and Walnuts

Ingredients

· 15 med-large medjool dates

· 1/2 cup goat cheese (1 x 6 oz. tub of PFFC chevre frais will do)

· 1/4 cup raw walnuts

· 2 Tbsp raw pistachios

· 1 tsp honey (to drizzle)

· 1 Tbsp fresh thyme, stems removed

Instructions

1. Using a paring knife, slice medjool dates in half lengthwise. Remove the pit and set dates aside.

2. Once all dates are pitted, take a dinner knife and smear a small amount of goat cheese into each date half.

3. Then, press either walnuts and/or pistachios into the goat cheese. Use 1-2 nuts per date, depending on size.

4. Serve dates on a plate or tray. Lightly drizzle some honey over top and sprinkle them with fresh thyme.


Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery-Fresh Picks Cheese Board Collaboration

For those of you in the Chicagoland area who have been wondering where to find PFFC cheeses, look no further. Fresh Picks, a home delivery service featuring local and organic foods, carries a lovely assortment of our cheeses. You can order a la carte OR, even better, you can order a local cheese board featuring our cheeses, local charcuterie and accompaniments. You can even order wine to go with it!!

Cheesy Holiday Gifts

Our retail holiday gift collection is NOW LIVE and ready for you to make your selections. Order from our online retail store. We ship nationwide Mondays through Wednesdays every week. You can choose from one of our gift collections or just mix and match a la carte.

Holiday Cheese Platters

If you are entertaining this holiday season, consider ordering a holiday cheese platters for pick up at the farm. We are offering two sizes-medium rectangle platter and large round. Please include a note in your order indicating the date and time you would like to pick up your order. We request 48 hours notice for these platters so we can have adequate time to make them beautiful.

Farm Events in Fall and During the Holiday Season

It's the time of year when people tend to nest and get ready for the holidays. We at Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery are HERE FOR YOU! We have numerous special events, classes and workshops planned for November and December. Follow the links to book reservations NOW as these will fill up fast!

Join us this Saturday for our annual Tradition of dressing up our goats in holiday attire and having folks take their family holiday pictures with our "Santa Goats." We call it the "Holiday Goat Photo Booth." The farm is open 11-5 that day, so we can offer picture taking for most of that time. We also have our goat milk hot chocolate, Nieces Pieces brownie-gelato sundaes, savory and sweet cheesy snacks and more! The photo booth is inside one of our barns, so you're protected from the elements. It should be a nice "seasonal" (aka cold) day--perfect for an outing to the farm. While you're here, check out all the beautiful things we have for sale in the farm store. We have some unique gifts!

Upcoming Events on and off the farm

December 9th-Goat Holiday Photo Booth, 1-4 pm, Take Two (in case you missed the first one in November)

Farm Open Hours

We are open Saturdays and Sundays, 11 am to 5 pm through the end of December. You can visit with the goats, taste our cheeses, shop our farm store for cheeses, accompaniments and unique gifts, enjoy a cheese board or grab a scoop of gelato.

Please note: on Saturdays, we offer "build your own" cheese boards and flights starting at 12:30 pm until closing. On Sundays, they are available from 11-5.


Our farm is great place to unwind, enjoy some great cheese and gelato and take in the natural surroundings that are so scarce in central Illinois. Our goat teenage girls are usually hanging around close to the barns and fences, waiting for your adoration. We offer a fantastic selection of cheese accompaniments (crackers, jams, sauces, pickles, wines, beers) as well as Joyful Wren pastured-poultry eggs, our goat milk soap (made for us exclusively by The Wright Soapery), tea towels and t-shirts. Come see the latest new offerings in the farm store. From Divina fruit spreads, to Great Lakes Potato Chips ((the cherry BBQ is the "bomb!") to Central Illinois Bakehouse crackers and a growing array of roasted and seasoned Voss orchard pecans, we have some of the best accompaniments you'll find in central Illinois. Ask for cold brew "affogato" or a root beer-gelato float!

Special shoutout to our new potter in residence Irene Woo (Pottery by Irene). She has made some special goat milk soap holders for us. Her true works of art are these leaf and flower platters, using leaves and flowers from OUR FARM! You must come check these beauties out!!

photo and post by Laura Trovillion

Goat Hikes and Pasture Walks

Looking for something fun and unique to do outside? Want to commune with nature AND take a walk with some adorable goats? If the weather is good, we will continue to offer the goat hikes into December. Saturdays at 11 am. If you can't make it on Saturday, may offer a pasture walk with the milking goats on Sundays at 1 pm. No reservations required for either activity. Just check in with a staff member when you arrive at the farm. Cost is $18 per person and includes the hike/walk, a tour of the dairy and a scoop of gelato at the end.

HOLIDAY GIFT BOXES FOR BUSINESSES AND ORGANIZATIONS

If you own or work in a business or a non-profit organization that has the custom of giving gifts to your favorite clients/customers/donors, consider a unique and delicious cheesy gift box from Prairie Fruits Farm! We have curated four gift boxes for all budgets. Since this page/collection is password protected, please email me at prairiefruitswholesalecheese@gmail.com if you would like to check out our offerings and place an order. The deadline for placing orders for businesses is extended to December 6th.




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