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Silvopasture is our super-power

Farm News

The Midwest is in a heat dome, and the summer solstice is barely upon us. With temperatures in the mid to high '90's and heat indices over 100 degrees F, these are the times that stress most livestock, not to mention the humans who care for them. Our barns are not air conditioned or climate controlled. We do have some powerful livestock fans, and the goats have buckets full of goat "Gatorade," aka electrolytes. But, our not-so-secret "super-power" for mitigating heat stress is our silvopasture. The silvopasture is far from aesthetic window dressing; it is not merely a lovely pastoral landscape on our pasture-based goat dairy. The cottonwood trees planted in pasture provide nutritious browse for the goats. In times of extreme heat, they provide shade and create a cooler microclimate under which the goats get natural relief.

Allowing the goats to spend time in the silvopasture has tangible benefits beyond goat comfort. The typical precipitous drop in milk production during heat waves is muted, resulting in more stable milk volumes in the bulk tank. The less that the goats are heat stressed, the lower the concentrations of stress-related hormones in their milk. The drops in milk solids (butterfat and protein) are also mitigated. Historically, we have found that stress hormones interfere with cheese making, especially acidification and coagulation. Climate change is upon us. Our strategies keeping our goats happy and healthy are rooted (literally) in ecosystem modifications. We work with nature, and nature gives back.

The garden planting and grounds beautification around the farm is ongoing, despite the heat. We now have a lovely lawn adjacent to the pavilion on which guests can hang out and play games. There's a nice breeze under the shade of the pavilion OR you can enjoy the farm's fare in our air-conditioned dining room/café. Our small bites and bar snacks menus are happening, and folks are beginning to discover the amazing food that our chefs are crafting. Sunday brunch specials change weekly-the word on the "street" is that we have the best brunch in town! Read about all the happenings below and come visit us!

Happenings at the Farm & Beyond

We are attending BOTH the "Urbana's Market at the Square" AND "Downtown Bloomington Market." The Urbana Market runs 7 AM to 12 noon and the Bloomington Farmers' Market runs 7:30 AM to 12 noon. Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery is in the same location in Urbana as last year (the south end of the market in line with aisle two) but with an expanded footprint (and more offerings). We are sharing space with Central Illinois Bakehouse at the Bloomington Market. Here are this week's offerings:

Pelota Roja: our Spanish-style raw goat milk hard cheese is BACK!! LIMITED offering--sharp, nutty, spicy--shave it, grate it, slice it and bask in its deliciousness

Mixed-milk feta in whey brine ! Tangy, creamy yet crumbly--just as you remember it!! Crumble it on everything, summer greens salads and whatever is good for grilling!

Chevre frais: plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper and everything bagel seasoning--so fresh and lemony, it screams spring is here!!

Seasonal chevre: chevre with peach-cobanero chile compote: made with peaches from Cary's Garden of Eatin' and cobanero (a Mayan mountain chile with a lovely smoky heat) chile flakes, this new flavor is really special! Better to come early to get yours!

Goat milk yogurt!!! Both pints and quarts available this week! Buy your yogurt and then pop over to CIB's stand to grab some of there house-made granola!!

Angel Food: mixed milk petite brie--super young and firm this week-try it sliced over sauteed green beans and mushrooms!

"Archangel:" our all-goat milk mini-brie style cheese-fudgy and toothsome, perfect for slicing and serving on a picnic cheese board

Little bloom on the prairie: our mixed milk camembert style beauty-aging beautifully-serve with sliced peaches and hot honey!

Prairie Fire: Our all-goat bloomy rind dusted with smoked paprika-loads of umami in this stunner!

Black goat: our all-goat milk ash-ripened bloomy; aging nicely-tart, earthy, gooey and delicious! Aging nicely this week, with the perfect amount of funk!

Fleur de la Prairie: our all-goat milk bloomy adorned with dried edible flowers and herbs--ACS gold medal in 2022! Aging beautifully--serve with slices of early season peach!!

NEW: BAKED GOODS ADD ONS: Come to our market stand to grab some cheese, but add on a sweet or savory baked good to go with it! This week's baked goods include a tart cherry muffin (made with the farm's own orchard cherries) OR feta & chive scone!!!

Our weekly CSA share offers you unique pairings with ultimate flexibility. Every week, you'll get cheese, bread and house-made accompaniments. We will have these for sale at both the Urbana and Bloomington farmers' markets, but please sign up for shares. This week's share features our gorgeous and perfectly ripe mixed-milk camembert, Little bloom on the prairie:

  • wheel of little bloom on the prairie

  • CIB Ciabatta bread

  • house-made preserves

  • seasoned Voss Orchard pecans

Farm Open Hours

The farm is OPEN TO THE PUBLIC! We are excited to welcome visitors to see all the changes, visit with the goats, check out the amazing locally-sourced food our chefs are crafting and take in fun activities like goat pilates/yoga and goat hikes. We welcome visitors during the following hours:

  1. Tuesdays: Happy Hour! 5-7. Goat Yoga (Pilates) available. Buy tickets online in advance or at the farm before class starts. Bar will be open along with small bites and bar snacks.

  2. Wednesdays: Closed to the public. Farm to Table dinner night, reservations and tickets required (see themes and link to reservations below). 

  3. Thursdays 11-9. Lunch and dinner counter service available from our newly remodeled restaurant. Find a seat inside or enjoy open seating around the farm. Order at your table or at the bar and pick up inside. Menu items feature local produce and proteins and will change seasonally. Accessible, upscale modern-American farm-to-table dining. Salads, sandwiches, cheese plates and small bites. 

  4. Fridays. 11-9. Same as Thursdays

  5. Saturdays 9-9. Farm opens earlier on the weekend. Coffee and pastries available 9-11. Same service 11-9.

  6. Sundays 9-4. Coffee and pastries 9-11. Seasonal brunch menu available. Lunch service (same menu) 11-4. 

  7. CLOSED MONDAYS. Please respect our staff's needed time to complete farm work and only plan to visit us during open hours. 

TAKE A HIKE!! Reserve your spot for a hike with the goats! Now offering two time options:

Thursday Happy Hour Hike with The Goats-5 pm (includes a beverage at the end of the hike)

Saturday morning Hike-11 am (includes cheese and/or gelato sampling). NOTE: TONIGHT'S HIKE (6/20) IS CANCELLED DUE TO EXTREME HEAT--WE DON'T WANT TO STRESS THE GOATS OR THE GUESTS.

During all open hours guests can enjoy walking around the farm grounds on marked trails, visiting with the goats and enjoying a meal or beverage sitting under the pavilion or on the lawns. Staff and volunteers will be on hand to answer any questions about the goats and to chat about the farm. Please no outside food and no pets. 

Thank you!

Please follow us on Facebook and/or Instagram and check your inboxes for future updates.

Goat Yoga-Pilates enjoy some movement & relaxation, featuring our adorable baby goats and certified Pilates instructor Lisa Staples of Living Legacy Pilates. Sign up now for this light-hearted workout.

BACK IN STOCK: GOAT MILK SOAPS HANDCRAFTED BY THE WRIGHT SOAPERY!! Made with our farm's goat milk and garden herbs, these beauties are available at the farm and at the Bloomington Farmers' Market farm stand.

Farm to Table Dinners: Chefs Garron and Cody will be offering pre-fixe multi-course meals featuring locally grown foods and our cheeses, of course. Dinner tickets include non-alcoholic beverages, taxes and gratuity. Wine, beer and cocktails are available for purchase at the farm, or you can pre-purchase a beverage add-on to your meal that includes a welcome cocktail and two full pours of paired wines with dinner. Tickets are selling fast! June dates are NOW SOLD OUT! July themes just launched! Go on our website NOW to make reservations.

Themes for July

July 3rd

Feast and Fire Celebrate Independence Day with elevated American classics prepared over an open fire.

July 10th 

Basque Regional Cuisine Embark on a culinary journey to the Spanish Basque Country, known for its rich culinary traditions.

July 17th 

Farmers Market Basket Savor the bounty of the season with a vegetarian feast featuring the freshest produce from our farm and local farmers markets.

July 24th 

East Coast Seafood and Wine Dinner Indulge in a 5-course Atlantic pescatarian meal paired with exquisite wines. Tickets for this special event are $150.00.

July 31st

Yucatan Regional Cuisine Explore the vibrant flavors of the Yucatan Peninsula, known for its unique blend of Mayan and Spanish influences.


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