Updated: Oct 21
Dateline: rural champaign county, late september. Farm aromas: pure bucks in rut. The seasonal smell of bucks ready to breed is at full intensity. The breeding males have been on holiday all summer long, gorging themselves on alfalfa-rich pastures. Their girth and shiny coats are a testament to their life of leisure. Today, the dairy crew sat down to pour over milk production and health records and goat pedigrees to make the selections of who to breed to whom. The process is iterative. We set our goals for the 2024 kids--how many Nubians, how many La Manchas, whose kids will we keep as replacements, who is too closely related to each potential suitor (in the livestock world, this is not as taboo as in humans; it's called "line breeding") and so on. We work our way from top producers to the middle ground girls and end with the lowest producers (these are does from whom we are not likely to keep kids as replacements). This year, we are purchasing a new Nubian buck (we have named him Gaston, in keeping with the Disney theme). He comes out of a herd near Springfield with ties to a production herd in eastern Oregon. We are excited about the new genetics he will bring to the future milking herd of Prairie Fruits Farm. Within a couple of weeks, we will set up the breeding pens and escort the breeding bucks from their summer pasture to their betrothed. The renewal of new life is about to begin.
Farmers' Market and Farm Happenings
This Saturday, come see us at the outdoor farmers' market, Urbana's Market at the Square. Our location is at the south end of the market in aisle two. Hours are 7 am to 12 noon. We have some amazing seasonal chevre flavors and bloomy rind cheeses for you this weekend. Last few wheels of Moonglo are up for grabs too!
Check out the latest recipe from our rock star volunteer-Laura Trovillion, using the Ukrainian Farmhouse cheese
PFFC Sunday Morning Ukrainian Farmhouse Pancakes
● 1 cup all-purpose flour, spooned into measuring cup and leveled off
● ¼ cup granulated sugar
● 1½ teaspoons baking powder
● ¾ teaspoon salt
● 3 large eggs
● ¾ cup PFFC Ukrainian Farmhouse Cheese (substituted for ricotta)
● ¼ cup milk
● 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
● 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
● Vegetable oil, for cooking
Heat a large nonstick pan or griddle over medium-low heat. In a small bowl, whisk
together the flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. In a large bowl, whisk the eggs
vigorously until foamy, about 30 seconds. Add the ricotta, milk, vanilla and melted butter
and whisk until evenly combined. Add the flour mixture and gently whisk just until evenly
Generously oil the pan/griddle. Once the oil is hot and shimmering, drop ¼-cup portions
of batter onto the pan/griddle. Repeat, spacing the rounds at least an inch apart. Cook
until the bottoms are golden brown and the tops are bubbling, about 3 minutes. Flip and
cook until the other sides are golden brown, 30 seconds to 1 minute more. (It's important
that the pancakes don't cook too slowly or too quickly, so adjust the heat according to
the timing specified.) Repeat with more oil and the remaining batter. Serve warm with
Apple Pie Compote or your favorite pancake topping.
Apple Pie Compote
2 cups sliced or chunked apples
¼ cup sugar
1t ground cinnamon
Pinch of ground cloves
½ cup pecan pieces - optional
In a saucepan combine everything except pecans. Cook covered over low heat until the
apples are soft. Spoon warm compote over pancakes and Enjoy!
For optional pecan yumminess- after apples have cooked, remove them from the pan
with a slotted spoon and toss pecans in the apple syrup left behind. cook over low heat
until pecans begin to color. Use to top Apple Compote
Need some additional cheesy menu ideas for simple eating? With the cooler weather, how about baked feta with olive oil, fresh herbs and spiced honey? What about eggplant lasagna with Ukrainian Farmhouse cheese in place of ricotta? How about an open-faced melted cheese sandwich with Moonglo and sliced tomato?
If you want raw goat milk or gelato, you will need to come out to our farm store during open hours. You can also order from our online store for farm pickup. 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!
Fresh chevre with dried tomato
Fresh chevre with everything bagel seasoning
Angel Food: mixed milk mini brie or large format wheels--you choose--super young this weekend
Black goat: our ash-ripened bloomy with lovely earthy notes and a little bit o' funk-Last batch of the season
Fleur de la Prairie-all-goat bloomy rind with dried herbs and edible flowers-beautiful and delicious! 2022 American Cheese Society Gold Medal winner! Last batch of the season!
Ukrainian Farmhouse Cheese-all cow milk, fresh cheese-it's like a cross between cottage cheese & ricotta-great for sweet or savory applications
Moonglo: raw goat milk tomme style semi-hard cheese--slightly nutty and fruity--perfect for slicing or melting 2023 ACS Silver Medal-limited availability this week and next
Feta in whey brine: crumble on a summer salad! Use the whey brine to marinate chicken or lamb! Put it on a pizza! 2023 ACS Bronze Medal
Goat milk yogurt (pints and quarts)-all natural, no thickening agents-use it as the base of a marinade, a salad dressing or just eat it with fresh fruit.
Save the Dates: September 30th, 1 to 5 pm Pride Fest C-U in Downtown Champaign. We are excited to participate in this year's Pride Fest Fair. We'll be selling PFFC grazing boxes, fresh cider and even gelato. We are making one of a kind t-shirts with our rainbow "Chippy the Goat" too!
Sunday October 1st, 1-4 pm: Goats and Drag
The Pride continues on the farm! Come out to see our goats in rainbow tutus, meet and greet with local drag queens and kings and a very special dance demonstration by Kato (our main cheese maker) and his husband Alex. Cheese specials (savory and sweet) will be on offer all day that day, as well as gelato!
Farm Open Hours
Fall is a gorgeous time to visit the farm. We are open Saturdays and Sundays, 11 am to 5 pm. You can visit with the goats, taste our raw milk (and buy some to take home), shop our farm store for cheeses, accompaniments and unique gifts, enjoy a cheese board under our pavilion or grab a scoop of gelato. We are also offering wine/beer & cheese flights featuring three cheeses with three wines or micro-brews. Our wine & cheese flight features the three 2023 ACS winners-chevre frais, feta and moonglo! Our beer and cheese flight highlights some unusual regional microbrews alongside our cheeses and Great Lakes Potato Chips as the eating vessel--fun and delicious!
The farm experience is laid-back and relaxing--a very different vibe from the hustle and bustle of downtown. Come out to unwind and enjoy being in nature!
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.
Gelato is wonderful for every season, even as the cooler weather of fall takes hold. Satisfy your sweet tooth cravings with our delicious and refreshing goat milk gelato and local fruit sorbettos! We usually offer four flavors to choose for scoops, and several flavors in pints for you to take home.
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 have raw goat milk for sale as well as 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. We just got a new set of t-shirts in with some new colors, so come check them out!!
In general, we plan to offer hikes every Saturday at 11 am. If it is too hot or if it's raining, we will postpone until Sunday at 11AM. Not sure if it's happening? Just check in with our staff when you arrive on Saturdays.
When hikes happen, join Wes or one of our rock star volunteers on a stroll along the eastern edge of our farm. It's a gorgeous part of the farm. The hike lasts for about 30-40 minutes and then we take you on a brief tour of the dairy. It ends with a scoop of gelato. $18/person includes the hike, a farm tour and a scoop of gelato at the end.
NO RESERVATIONS REQUIRED. HIKE STARTS PROMPTLY AT 11:00 am. SUITABLE FOR AGES 8 AND OLDER. WEAR STURDY SHOES FOR UNEVEN TERRAIN AND APPROPRIATE CLOTHING/HATS FOR THE WEATHER. WE ENCOURAGE YOU TO BRING A WATER BOTTLE AND SUNSCREEN TOO.
Want to order for farm pick up during the weekend? Need some raw goat milk? Eggs from Joyful Wren? Cheese? Just order from our Online Store for Farm Pick-Up. It's super easy!! Not local? You can still support us! You can 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.