While our main cheese maker Kato is away in Vermont attending an intensive cheese making course, I am back in the creamery full time. The muscle memory of ladling, flipping, and endless dishwashing springs back like a fresh rubber band. The late lactation milk solids--butterfat and protein-are sky high, and it never ceases to amaze me how late fall milk behaves. After its overnight fermentation, the curd awaits ladling. Typically, there is a thin layer of cream and whey atop the curd. These days, the whey layer is barely perceptible, making it difficult to prime the cheese cloth with liquid. The curd is dense and heavy. Small volumes of milk produce so much curd that more baskets are needed for the ladle. The chevre yield is now close to 35% compared with barely 20% in the summer. The flavor of late lactation chevre is rich, creamy with muted notes of tanginess. The abundance of curd makes the declining volume in milk production a little easier to swallow. Nonetheless, the goats are telling us in their apathy and milk volume that the season's end is near.
All the Happenings Here and Yonder
Saturday Farmers' Market Champaign-Urbana Winter Market
We are back in our regular spot inside Lincoln Square Mall this Saturday, December 9th from 8 am to 12 noon. We have a LOT of great cheese for you, as well as some special gift items and PFFC Merch!! Come out and support your local food farmers. We all need your support this time of year.
We'll be bringing the following cheeses to market:
Moonglo: Our raw goat milk tomme style cheese is BACK!! Fall milk makes this batch super flavorful--nutty, fruity, supple in texture. Grab a wedge!
Pelota Roja: Our raw goat milk Spanish style hard cheese-guajillo chile-olive oil rub on the rind--sharp, piquant, great for grating, shaving or slicing!
Fresh chevre--plain, herbs de Provence, cracked pepper 2022 American Cheese Society Gold Medal and 2023 Bronze Medal winner!
NEW cheese ALERT: Garlic & Herb Gournay--a fresh cow-milk cheese, similar to Boursin--perfect for your holiday spread with a some crackers and smoked salmon!
An assortment of seasonal chevre flavors, too numerous to mention
Angel Food: mixed milk mini brie aging nicely
Little bloom on the prairie-mixed milk camembert-sytle bloomy rind- nice and gooey and DELICIOUS!!
Ukrainian Farmhouse cheese-all cow milk fresh cheese, similar to a cross between cottage cheese and ricotta
Feta in whey brine: crumble on hearty stew or chili! Use the whey brine to marinate chicken or lamb! Put it on a pizza! 2023 ACS Bronze Medal
Goat milk yogurt (last batch of the season)-all natural, no thickening agents-use it as the base of a marinade, a salad dressing or just eat it with fresh fruit
But wait, there's MORE!
December 9th-Goat Holiday Photo Booth, 1-4 pm, Take Two
If you missed the November 25th Holiday Photo Booth, have no fear. Our tradition of dressing up our goats in holiday attire and having folks take their family holiday pictures with our "Santa Goats" is back on Saturday, December 9th The farm is open 11-5 that day, but picture taking happens from 1-4 pm. We also have our goat milk hot chocolate, Nieces Pieces brownie-gelato sundaes, savory and sweet cheesy snacks and more! While you're here, check out all the beautiful things we have for sale in the farm store. We have some unique gifts!
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!!
Cheesy Holiday Gifts
Our retail holiday gift collection is NOW LIVE and ready for you to make your selections. 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.
Holiday Cheese Platters
If you are entertaining this holiday season, consider ordering a holiday cheese platters for pick up at the farm. We are offering two sizes-medium rectangle platter and large round. Please include a note in your order indicating the date and time you would like to pick up your order. We request 48 hours notice for these platters so we can have adequate time to make them beautiful.
Farm Open Hours
We are open Saturdays and Sundays, 11 am to 5 pm through the end of December. You can visit with the goats, taste our cheeses, shop our farm store for cheeses, accompaniments and unique gifts, enjoy a cheese board or grab a scoop of gelato.
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. Our goat teenage girls are usually hanging around close to the barns and fences, waiting for your adoration. We have some unique gifts for the foodies in your life. We offer 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 all the goodies in the farm store. From Divina fruit spreads, to Great Lakes Potato Chips, 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.
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 must come check these beauties out!!
photo and post by Laura Trovillion
Goat Hikes and Pasture Walks
Looking for something fun and unique to do outside? Want to commune with nature AND take a walk with some adorable goats? If the weather is good, we will continue to offer the goat hikes into December. Saturdays at 11 am. No reservations required. Just check in with a staff member when you arrive at the farm. Cost is $18 per person and includes the hike/walk, a tour of the dairy and a scoop of gelato at the end.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org if you would like to check out our offerings and place an order. The deadline for placing orders for businesses is extended to December 12th.