My days are tightly programed. From the moment I open my eyes in the early morning to the time I drag myself to bed, my movements are metered from house to creamery to goats and back. The summer seems to be whizzing past me. I have yet to enjoy a prairie walk with the goats. I haven’t even ventured into the orchard to check for the meager crop of peaches we might get. I glimpse the vegetable garden from afar during forays between the barn and the house; I can see it is lush with growing plants. I have no idea what kind of fruits have set or how close they are to ripening. I can see the herbs in the herb garden filling in, and I admonish myself for not finding time to harvest any. During drive-bys to town, I check for signs of life in the silvopasture trees. I am happy to see green leaves atop the spindly whips. I also see lots of gaps where I know trees were planted, but no signs of them remain.
Occasionally, something catches me off-guard, while sprinting from task to task. The other evening, while venturing out to flip some draining cheeses, I realized the sun was setting during a light rain shower. I scanned the horizon, hoping for a rainbow. Instead, I noticed the fireflies alighting in the low brush outside our house, with the backdrop of the sun setting in the western sky. There was no wind, just a gentle falling rain with the sun’s rays shooting through the tracks of the raindrops. The barn swallows, now nesting in our porch roof, swooped and darted among the quince bush branches, catching bugs (maybe even some fireflies, oh no!) to feed their hatchlings. It was over in a moment, but I etched it into my brain. I need more collisions of that world and my current world of cheese submersion.
Victory Cheese-#ChooseitORloseit!—LAST CHANCE FOR RICK BAYLESS VICTORY CHEESE BOX
This is truly the last week for the Rick Bayless box as we get ready to launch our new Victory Cheese Box collaboration with Chef Stephanie Izard of Girl & the Goat.
The Bayless “All Illinois” box features three Illinois farmstead cheeses (Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery chevre, Marcoot Jersey Creamery sharp cheddar and Ludwig Farmstead Creamery Kickapoo). You can add a “More Mexican Cooking Everyday” cookbook signed by Chef Rick Bayless himself! You can either pick up your box at the farm (please pre-order through our online store) on Saturdays, 1-4 pm OR you can have it shipped. We still have a few more signed cookbooks, so grab one of these while they last.
Urbana’s Market at the Square-Summer bounty keeps growing
The offerings at the farmers’ market are peak right now, from tasty tomatoes, to juicy peaches and berries to squashes, sweetcorn and peppers. During the hot weather, consider making yourselves a simple cheese board with some fresh vegetables or fruits, along with cold beverages. It’s just the ticket for an easy meal that can be enjoyed outside (or in the comfort of air conditioning). We continue to offer a bounty of cheeses-from light and tangy fresh chevre to feta to bloomies to raw-milk. We have SOO much cheese this week, we’re hoping you all come out and buy lots.
The Urbana Market has modified it’s COVID-19 related restrictions starting this weekend. They still require social distancing, and both patrons and farmers must wear masks at all times. The main difference is that patrons will now be able to select their own produce. Our market stand practices will remain the same. We have a Square card reader set up for you to swipe your card for payment. If you bring cash, we will give you change (and sanitize our hands between transactions). Gelato pints are ONLY available through online farm store sales/farm pick up.
Here’s the cheese line up for this weekend:
Pelota Roja—raw milk “Manchego style” hard cheese with a guajillo chile-olive oil rub on the rind $7/wedge
Blushing Goat- washed rind with a Peach-Bourbon Kombucha beer; gooey, oozy and delicious
Available in two sizes—rounds weighing approximately 7 oz. for $13 each; squares weighing approximately 8-9 oz. for $15 each; We’ll have a few half-squares available too for $8 each
Fresh Chevre $8/each
--herbs de Provence
Seasonal chevre flavor of the week: Chevre with local honey! We love to feature ingredients from other farmers, and this week’s chevre has honey from Goldsberry Farm in Watseka (you can buy their honey at the Urbana Farmers’ Market) $9/each
Little Bloom on the Prairie—our goat milk camembert $11/each
Black Goat: our ash-ripened bloomy; aging nicely $10
Fleur du la Prairie-bloomy rind cheese adorned with dried herbs and edible flowers; beautiful AND delicious $11/each-
Goat Milk Feta—aged in whey brine, tangy with a creamy-crumbly texture PERFECT for salad season! $7 each
Other Opportunities to Purchase Our Products
If you’re not able to buy our cheeses in person, you can order online for shipping. We ship on Tuesdays and Wednesdays each week. There are also lots of retail establishments throughout central IL and the Chicagoland area that carry our cheeses.
Farm Open Hours and Offerings this Summer
If you can’t make it to the farmers’ market, no worries. You can order online by 10 AM Saturday for Farm Pick-Up between 1-4 pm. Gelato pints are available for farm pick up ONLY-new flavors this week include Vanilla, Fresh Mint, Anise Hyssop, Salted Caramel Swirl and Nectarine Sorbetto (made with Mileur Orchard Nectarines).
New items in the online farm store (and in the farm shop “The Real Stand”):
**Raw Milk! Yes, finally, we have a permit from the Illinois Department of Public Health to sell our raw milk. You can either order online (for Saturday Pickup, 1-4 pm) OR come out to the farm on Sundays, from 1-4. We’re selling milk in half gallon jugs for $9 (competitively priced compared to conventional goat milk found in the grocery store).
**”Wash Your Hands! In Style”—new gift item (or just buy it for yourself!) featuring goat milk soaps made exclusively for us by the Wright Soapery. We’re offering a large bar of goat milk soap (tea tree oil, lemongrass, fresh mint or chamomile-oatmeal) with a “Three Chippys” tea towel for $15.
We will be open this Sunday afternoon, July 26th to visitors, with some restrictions. From 1-4 pm, you can peruse our farm store, enjoy a cup of gelato or a cheese board with wine/beer/other beverages under our pavilion, visit with the goats (no petting, just viewing) and just enjoy the rural outdoors. All visitors must wear masks and practice social distancing while visiting the farm. We’ll be featuring ALL OF OUR CHEESES for sale during open hours. Consider getting a simple cheese board with blushing goat, warm baguette and a Unity Vibration Peach-Bourbon Kombucha beer!!
Can you see yourself (with family or friends) enjoying this cheese board? Sure you can!
Yoga on the Farm-This Sunday, July 26th, 6:30-7:30 pm
Join us for a relaxing evening of outdoor yoga at Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery!
The class will be instructed by Jill Mikenis and assisted by Megan Reynolds, in a gentle style, designed for all levels. If you would like to enroll your children in the class, please keep in mind that we recommend them to be age 10 or older. Class is limited to 15 students to ensure social distancing. Register now!
Regarding farm dinners and farm tours, they are on hold until we feel that we can host them safely and in the spirit of our normal farm conviviality. We hope things will be better in the fall, and if so, we plan to schedule a couple of special cheese tastings and farm dinner events then. Regarding our orchard, there is not be enough fruit for u-pick this year, but you will be enjoying whatever fruit we get either through the farm store or in the forms of jam or gelato.