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Shifting winds, vibrant colors and declining milk

Farm News

We returned home this week to gusty winds, unsettled skies and fall foliage in full regalia. With daylight waning and nights crisp, the green dominance has given way to reds and yellows, burnt orange and ochre. The normally magnificent maple tree at the entrance to the farm is dull yellow-brown instead of flame yellow-orange; it's muted color a reminder of the droughty conditions that persist. The tomatoes are holding their own, but next week's imminent frost is the final call for green tomato harvesting.

The bucks have been busy in the breeding pens; they spend most days now flat out napping, bar for the occasional doe that might come back into heat. Their conception success rate is also measured in the bulk tank; our milk production is plummeting at a rapid clip. The game of giving the milking does a little more grain and some better quality hay has begun. All hands on deck to keep as much milk flowing for as long they will indulge us. We have more cheese to make before our work is done.

Farmers' Market Offerings and Farm Happenings

This Saturday, come see us at the last outdoor farmers' market of the season, Urbana's Market at the Square. Hours are 7 am to 12 noon, rain or shine (just wear a raincoat or bring an umbrella if it's raining folks! ALL the farmers really need your support this time of year). Don't forget that the Farmers' Market moves inside Lincoln Square Mall on Saturday November 4th! We have a new chevre flavor for you: summer berry (featuring dehydrated local blueberries and strawberries). Last chance for tomato chevre and peach-chile too. Don't forget the yogurt, feta and young bloomies. Ukrainian Farmhouse cheese is out until next week. Also, grab a grazing box to enjoy when you get home from the market. We will also have our farm-made seasoned pecans (using Voss Orchard Pecans) and our delicious apple chips (our farm's apples as well as those from Cary's Garden of Eatin').

This week's recipe from Laura features our mixed milk feta, aged in whey brine.

Savory Stuffed Squash with Feta

Yield: Serves 4

2 medium acorn squash, halved and seeded

1 Tbsp. olive oil

1 medium onion, finely chopped

8 oz. mushrooms of choice, finely chopped

1 lb. chicken or turkey breast, cubed

1/2 tsp. smoked paprika

1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper

1 bunch fall greens - kale, swiss chard or spinach washed and rough chopped

salt and pepper to taste

1 container PFFC feta cheese - crumbled (1/3 lb.)

1⁄2 cup toasted chopped pecans

Preheat the oven to 375. Place the acorn squash halves face down on a baking sheet and

roast for 20-25 minutes. While the squash cooks, heat the olive oil in a large skillet over

medium heat. Add the chopped onion and mushrooms and saute for about 5 minutes,

until soft. Add the chicken or turkey and spices and cook, stirring frequently, until the

meat is browned and cooked through. Add the greens and stir it into the mixture until

wilted. Season the mixture with salt and pepper to taste. Remove the squash from the

oven, and flip the halves over to create boats. Distribute the filling evenly among the

squash, and top each half with crumbled PFFC feta cheese. Return the squash to the

oven and bake for another 10 minutes. Sprinkle with pecans before serving. Leftover

filling in a flatbread wrap makes a great next day lunch!

photo by Laura Trovillion

Need some additional cheesy menu ideas for simple eating? You can make a whipped feta and yogurt sauce with fresh herbs to pour over roasted sweet potato wedges. How about smoking or grilling a round of young little bloom or angel food and serving with a warm apple compote? How about a fall mixed-greens salad with chevre, chopped apple and toasted-candied pecans?


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 (last chance)

  • Additional seasonal flavors: peach-chile (very limited) and summer berry

  • Angel Food: mixed milk mini brie or large format wheels--you choose--SUPER YOUNG

  • Little bloom on the prairie-mixed milk camembert-sytle bloomy rind-SUPER YOUNG

  • 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.

Introducing PFFC grazing boxes to the farmers' market!

Check out the latest offerings from the creamery: These grazing boxes feature our cheeses and some delicious accompaniments. This week's box features two kinds of chevre, Publican Quality Multigrain bread, house-made apple chips, farmstead honey, caramelized onion jam and seasoned pecans. They can be enjoyed on the go, at the market with a coffee, at a picnic or at home. Simple and satisfying! Come grab a box this Saturday! Note: components are subject to change each week!

If you want raw goat milk or gelato, you will need to come out to our farm store during open hours. PLEASE NOTE: Our raw milk supply is dwindling as the goats are getting bred and nearing the end of their seasonal lactations. As such, we will only have limited availability of of fresh raw milk in the store. We have frozen a lot throughout the summer and we will be selling frozen once we run out of the fresh. To ensure that you get fresh (not frozen) you can also order from our online store for farm pickup. PLEASE NOTE: Frozen milk has an estimated shelf life of one week once it's thawed. It will last for several months frozen.


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!!

Sunday October 29th, 1-4 pm "Goaty Halloween"

Yes, the tradition lives on at Prairie Fruits Farm! Goats in costumes, guests in costumes, hay rides around the farm, fresh cider, Nieces Pieces Pumpkin Brownie-Gelato Sundaes, pumpkin decorating and so much more. This event is RAIN OR SHINE! The only activity we won't be able to do if it rains is the hayride. Everything else can be enjoyed under cover or inside.

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 several special events, classes and workshops planned for November and December. Here's what we have planned so far:

November 25th Goat Holiday Photo Booth (Goats in holiday attire for family photos, goat milk hot chocolate, Nieces Pieces brownie sundaes and more...details forthcoming-save the date)

December 10th-Goat Holiday Photo Booth, Take Two (in case you missed the first one in November)

Farm Open Hours

Fall is a gorgeous time to visit the farm, especially with the foliage in peak color. 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've have an amazing wine & cheese flight for fall, featuring a buttery Italian white (La Coccinelle) and a rich French red (Hermitage de Pic Saint Loup). Our beer flight has a fantastic sour weiss from Polyanna, an easy-drinking Belgian style ale and a German-style beer. Both flights feature cheeses from Jacobs & Brichford, in memory of Mathew Brichford, their founder/head cheese maker, who was at the forefront of some of the best pasture-based, raw-cow milk cheeses in the US (even internationally). He was a kindred spirit in the very small community of US pasture-based farmstead creameries, and his recent passing is a huge loss to the artisan cheese community overall.

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 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. 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 much come check these beauties out!!

photo and post by Laura Trovillion

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. We plan to offer hikes through October. We may continue into November if the weather remains good.


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.

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 is November 6th, to give us ample time to get all components in stock to fulfill orders. For those of you who want to order holiday gift boxes for individual gift giving, have no fear! We will be posting those options on our website sometime in early November. Stay tuned.

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. Retail Holiday Gift boxes landing in early to mid November!!


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