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Full moon over fecundity, Market offerings, Farm Happenings

Full moon over fecundity, market offerings and farm happenings

Farm News

The bucks’ raisôn d’ètre has finally arrived, coinciding with the rise of the full harvest moon. After weeks of fencing and barn clean outs, the boys (Lentil, Rik and Zircon are in the lucky first tier of breeding bucks) made the trek from their summer palace (aka barn) on our “South Farm” to meet their betrothed. There was a determined spring in their steps as they set out on the path to the north. Guided by their noses and the pheromone sensors in their lips, they barely nibbled on the lush alfalfa pasture under foot. They had an uncanny familiarity with the path, even though they had only traveled it once before. With determination and instinct, they knew what they were headed toward.


Each buck has a group of 14-20 does. Lentil’s group has taken over the orchard, Rik’s group has claimed the pasture and Zircon’s group has the restored prairie. The boys wasted no time in finding the does in heat. Within two days, many of the does have the tell-tale colored mark on their backsides left from the crayon attached to a harness on the buck’s chest. The does are excited to browse in their new pastures, while the jealous bucks hover around the latest doe in heat. An old wives tale says that mating under a full moon brings daughters. Erica, our herd manager, can already feel it in the air—2021 is going to be a doeling year!

Fundraiser time is here! We support several regional organizations who do amazing work to protect our environment and grow our local food economy. I’d like to bring your attention to a couple of upcoming virtual fundraisers:


Illinois Stewardship Alliance’s “The Dish” is a “Moth” style story slam event this Sunday, October 4th at 7:00 pm. There will be several farmers (including me!!) telling stories, a goat cam, silent auction and more! Illinois Stewardship Alliance has changed the state policy landscape with regard to support for local foods. Please register (it’s free) for their story slam and support their work.

Prairie Rivers Network (PRN) is Illinois’ premier water quality protection organization. They have been working tirelessly to protect our state’s rivers and water-ways, and their trail of accomplishments is long. They’re hosting their Annual Fundraiser Dinner virtually this year on Friday October 23rd, and PFFC is providing the food! You can buy a PFFC-Blue Moon Farm Grazing Dinner Kit, pick it up on Friday, 1-4 pm at the farm and enjoy with your fellow PRN supporters.


PLEASE Support your artisan and farmstead cheese makers #chooseitorloseit The American Artisan cheese community is NOT out of the woods, as COVID-related traumas continue to impact restaurants and food retailers alike.


GIRLS AND THE GOATS TO VICTORY CHEESE BOX

As the weather gets cooler and the days shorter, we tend to resort to nesting behavior. Why not settle into your comfy chairs and graze on a lovely (and delicious) VICTORY CHEESE BOX.

Our latest Victory Cheese Box collaboration with grass-fed, raw cows’ milk cheeses from Jacobs & Brichford, bloomy rind cheeses from Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery and accompaniments by Chef Stephanie Izard and her “Girl & the Goat-ceries” team. This DELUXE box features two cheeses from each farmstead creamery, house-made crackers, several kinds of pickles, jam and mixed nuts. It is the ONLY box that features accompaniments made by a Celebrity Chef. You can get your box through our online store. You can either pick up your box at the farm on Saturdays OR Sundays, 1-4 pm OR you can have it shipped.

Psst: We still have a few more of the Rick Bayless Victory Cheese Boxes available if you want to order one of those as well, both with and without the signed cookbook. You can start a collection of Victory Cheese Boxes from PFFC!


Urbana’s Market at the Square-Only Four Weeks Left to Outside Market

The outdoor market ends on Saturday October 31st. We will be moving inside Lincoln Square Mall for the Market IN the Square after that, but for the meantime, you have access to some of the BEST local food in the Midwest right here in Urbana. The transition from summer to fall crops is still underway; this means that you get the best of BOTH seasons-summer fruits and veggies abound (tomatoes, cucumbers, eggplants and melons) and fall crops (apples, pears, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots). So many of these veggies and fruits, either sliced raw or simply roasted pair well with ALL of our cheeses. Just ask us for a few simple recommendations when selecting your cheeses this week. We can have you putting together a show-stopping cheese board in no time!

The Urbana Market has COVID-19 related restrictions. They require social distancing, and both patrons and farmers must wear masks at all times. 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:

Fresh Chevre $8/each

--plain

--herbs de Provence

--cracked peppercorn

TWO Seasonal chevre flavors of the week:

Roasted Garlic Last week, we featured garlic from our fellow goat friends in Indiana (Sirocco Ridge Farm). This week, we’re featuring garlic from our long-time veggie friends up the road—Blue Moon Farm. Plentiful this week, so stock up.

Dried tomato chevre It’s that time of year again—dried Juliette and Roma tomatoes from our garden (and sometimes from Blue Moon Farm), chopped up and blended into our chevre. This is my FAVORITE flavor.

Nutty Goat: A lovely, large-format bloomy rind adorned with toasted pecans from Voss Pecan Orchard. This round has been aging for almost two months. The paste is supple and the white-mold rind with toasted pecans tastes like sauteed mushrooms with buttered pecans. Perfect paired with slices of fresh apples or pears $15/each

A little lesson in bloomy rind cheese aging: Bloomy rind cheeses (with edible white mold rinds) age from the rind toward the center. When the cheeses are young, the cheese is firm and the rind and paste are mild (tangy, milky, slightly mushroomy). As they age or ripen, the paste becomes increasingly gooey, especially next to the rind. When they are fully ripe, most of the cheese is gooey, runny and loaded with umami flavors and funk (in a good way). This week, we have bloomies of all ages for you to try. We have a special on super ripe and gooey black goat—buy one, get the 2nd at 50% off!

Little Bloom on the Prairie: our goat milk camembert style round; aging nicely with a lovely tang with slight buttered-mushroom flavor $11/each

Angel Food: our “crottin” style bloomy-petite but loaded with delicious goat tang! Aging beautifully and firm enough to cut into wedges$9/each—SUPER YOUNG (like a very firm log of chevre)

*** Market special: Buy ONE get a 2nd at 50% off--Black Goat-ash-rind bloomy that has a firm tangy paste when young and gets progressively earthy and funky (and gooey) as it ages. $10 each-SUPER RIPE this week—If you love gooey funky cheese, this one’s for YOU!

Fleur du la Prairie: Our delicate bloomy with dried herbs and edible flowers—it’s ripening nicely; some are gooey, some not so much—you can decide how ripe you like it! $11


Goat Milk Feta—aged in whey brine, tangy with a creamy-crumbly texture-PERFECT for salads or crumble over a pizza or a bowl of chili! $7/each


Blushing Goat-washed rind goat milk cheese, washed with bourbon-peach kombucha beer; this batch is aging beautifully, and it’s loaded with great umami flavor $8/triangle, $13 for rounds

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 salad of greens in place of parmesan cheese; grate it over sliced tomatoes and broil them in the oven. Try using in a local corn-meal polenta!

Other Opportunities to Purchase Our Products

It’s not too late to start thinking about holiday gifts. We are working on several curated collections of cheese, charcuterie and accompaniments for holiday gift giving. We’re also stocking up on PFFC merch: t-shirts, sweatshirts, tea towels, aprons and goat milk soap. Not only can you order for shipping or farm pick up, we can even 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

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

Check out some featured items in the online farm store (and in the farm shop “The Real Stand”):

**Raw Milk! Yes, 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).

**”"Damn Kids" Tea Towel is back in stock! A lovely white cotton tea towel with some of our adorable baby goats $10

**Our NEW Chippy the Chef apron is HERE! This gorgeous all-cotton apron features Chippy the Goat (our logo and mascot) with her chef hat and mixing bowl. Fully adjustable straps, big deep pockets and super stylish! $20 each.

** Local fruit leathers-made by Funks Grove Heritage Fruits & Grains, we offer three flavors: petite plum from the Jarrell Family orchard (Forest Grove Oregon), black currant (Midwest Agroforestry Solutions) and apple pie. $4 each or 3 for $12.

Gelato pints are available for farm pick up ONLY- flavors this weekend include: NEW Seasonal Flavors: Pumpkin Spice and Maple Chevre PLUS Vanilla, Chocolate, Espresso, Lemon Verbena, Fresh Mint, Anise Hyssop, and Nectarine Sorbetto (made with Mileur Orchard Nectarines).

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). There are also lots of retail establishments throughout central IL and the Chicagoland area that carry our cheeses.


Farm Open Hours and Offerings

If you can’t make it to the farmers’ market, no worries. The farm is open 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, gelato sundae (with house-made toppings) or order a cheese board with wine/beer/other beverages. You can 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, as well as lots of great PFFC “merch” for sale during open hours.


Stay tuned for details about our Socially-Distanced Farm Fall Fest on Saturday October 31st! Farm tours by hayride, goats dressed up for Halloween, healthy treats for the kids (come in costumes please!), Cider-Gelato Floats, Cheese boards with Wine or Beer and much more!

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