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Experimentation, Holiday Cheese Offerings and More

Farm News

The routines of cheese making can be tedious. The daily set up of vats, the transfer of milk, the culturing, the ladling, the salting, the flipping, and lest we forget, the dishwashing and cleaning. Cheese makers often find solace in the routines, the rhythmic flow from one task to the next, the checking off of lists. Yet, the times when we are developing something new or changing a process provide distraction from the quotidian.


Our mixed milk bloomy rind cheeses have provided fertile ground for experimentation. Last week, we played with different coatings for our new mixed milk crottin “snowy woodland.” We tried a shaved black truffle preserved in olive oil (truffle “carpaccio”), a truffle sea salt rub, some dried sumac, an herb called “hyssop thyme” (Turkish) and a mixture of sumac and hyssop thyme. We tasted them today and recorded our flavor and aesthetic evaluations. One or two of these “experiments” will make their debut at the farmers’ market; some will not see the market “light of day,” while others will be tweaked and retested. We do a lot of tasting, observing and evaluating. We try to document in detail what we did, how the milk behaved in the cheese vat, what the aging conditions were like; then we weave all of these data points together to help us grow as cheese makers and improve our cheeses in the next iterations. As a scientist, I find joy in the experimentation.

Our cheeses and gift boxes make the perfect gifts for the holidays

Holiday season is in full swing, and we have several NEW curated collections of cheese, charcuterie and accompaniments for holiday gift giving. We’re especially excited about two new boxes: “Victory Cheese for the Holidays” and “The Farm’s Kitchen Sink.” We’re also stocking up on PFFC merch: goat masks, tea towels, aprons and goat milk soap.

Not only can you order for shipping or farm pick up, but we can also accommodate larger business orders. If you would like to discuss a gift box for your favorite customers or clients, please email us at prairiefruits@gmail.com We offer several price options too!


The Land Connection’s WINTER FARMERS’ MARKET-We will be there tomorrow!

Every Saturday morning, from now through December 19th, we are selling our products (safely with masks and social distancing enforced) from 8-11 am. We are located just inside the south entrance to Lincoln Square Mall (next to Stango Restaurant). This is a farmers and food only market (no crafts). PLEASE come out and support your farmers! We all have so much great food to share with you.


Here’s the cheese line up for this weekend:


NEW ITEM: Mixed milk (cow-goat) plain yogurt (Quart size only) $7

Add on: Girl & the Goat-ceries blueberry refrigerator jam ($4/ 4-oz. jar)

Fresh Chevre $8/each

--plain

--herbs de Provence

--cracked peppercorn


Special Holiday Flavor: spiced dried cranberries (cinnamon, cardamon, nutmeg and clove) $9-Get them while they last!


Try one or more of our mix-milk bloomies:


NEW: Snowy Woodland with Truffle “Carpaccio”: our mixed milk “crottin” style bloomy (similar to angel food); it’s a tall cylinder with a delicate mushroomy rind; There’s a little slice of black truffle “carpaccio” (preserved in extra virgin olive oil) that takes the flavors up several notches $10/each

Snow Fog: our mixed milk camembert style bloomy; young but quite luscious $10/each


Midnight Eclipse: mixed milk bloomy with ash rind (similar to black goat with buttery notes from the cow milk) $10/round-LIMITED offering this week—these beauties are perfectly ripe right now


Goat Milk and Mixed Milk Feta—aged in whey brine, tangy with a creamy-crumbly texture-PERFECT for fall salads or crumble over roasted beets or a hot bowl of stew! ONLY A FEW ALL-GOAT FETA TUBS ARE LEFT; MIXED MILK (COW-GOAT) IS A BIT MORE CREAMY BUT STILL NICE ‘N TANGY $7/each


Pelota Roja—raw milk “Manchego style” hard cheese with a guajillo chile-olive oil rub on the rind $7/wedge-consider shaving this cheese over grilled zucchini or eggplant! Shave it on a wilted salad of fall greens in place of parmesan cheese; grate it over roasted beets or cauliflower. Try using in a local corn-meal polenta! GOOD FOOD AWARDS CHEESE FINALIST!

We’ll be bringing some special house-made treats to the market too:

--pecan brittle made with pecans from Voss Orchard

-spiced and cinnamon sugar pecans from Voss Orchard

-chocolate-chevre truffles

-Nut butter-chevre-dark chocolate bars AND Pumpkin Chevre Cheesecake Bars


ORDERING FROM OUR ON-LINE STORE

If you’re not able to buy our cheeses in person at the farmers’ market or during our farm open hours, you can always order online for on-farm pick up or shipping. If you order for pick up by 10 AM Saturday, you can pick up from 1-4 pm either Saturday or Sunday.


Gelato pints are available for farm pick up ONLY- flavors this weekend include: Pumpkin Spice, Local Grape-Champagne Sorbetto, Mexican Coffee, Masala Chai, Chocolate, Salted Caramel Swirl, Pure Pistachio, and Nectarine Sorbetto.


We ship on Tuesdays and Wednesdays each week, 1-2-day ground ($20 shipping/handling) for most of the Midwest and 2nd-Day Air for other areas of the country ($35/shipping & handling). The last shipping day for orders to arrive by Christmas is December 15th.


There are also lots of retail establishments throughout central IL and the Chicagoland area that carry our cheeses. If you don’t find our cheeses in your favorite store, ask them to contact us, so we can get our cheeses to you!


Farm Open Hours and Offerings

The farm will continue to be open through December 20th BOTH Saturdays and Sundays from 1-4 pm each day.


During our weekend open hours from 1-4 pm, you can peruse our farm store, enjoy a cup of gelato, or order a cheese board with wine/beer/other beverages to enjoy outside if the weather permits-yes, it can be nice even in December. We can also put together a cheese board to go if the weather is not suitable for outdoor enjoyment. We’re also offering custom-made holiday cheese boards that you can pick out yourself in the farm shop, and we’ll put it together for you for holiday entertaining, in whatever form that takes you this year.


You can visit with the goats and or take a walk around the farm. All visitors must wear masks and practice social distancing while visiting the farm.

We feature ALL OF OUR CHEESES as well as some from fellow farmstead creameries, an assortment of accompaniments (jams, pickles, fruit leathers, honey, nuts, crackers, baguette bread), as well as lots of great PFFC “merch” for sale during open hours. Ask about our online store Holiday Gift Box options too! We’d be happy to put one together for you during open hours.

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