It is mid-July yet the morning air and the landscape feel more like the end of August. The tall prairie grasses have gone to seed and the chicory and asters are in full bloom. The remnant prairie at the edge of the silvopasture is ablaze with purples and yellows. The early morning air is still, cool and damp. Last week's rains gave reprieve to thirsty plants, but the effects of prolonged drought no doubt have caused some plants to mature prematurely. I sense a cognitive dissonance-summer is fleeting, yet stagnant.
We are busy trying to keep ahead of managing the pasture for optimal foraging quality. The older, drier and nutrient depauperate grasses must be mowed to make way for the tender new growth underfoot. The goats manage to find the tasty plants and take advantage of cottonwood leaves that fall from the trees.
Farmers' Market and Farm Happenings
This Saturday, come see us at the outdoor farmers' market, Urbana's Market at the Square. Our location is the same as last year: on the south end of the market at the south end of aisle two. Hours are 7 am to 12 noon. Their is a slight chance of rain, but the market is flush with summer produce like sweet corn, tomatoes, beans, squash, berries and peaches! Please support your farmers rain or shine!
As usual, we have a LOT of cheese for you this weekend, as well as goat milk yogurt. We have a couple of cheese specials for you this weekend including a smoked paprika dusted fleur de la prairie Kato has named "Prairie Fire" (somewhat in "honor" of the Canadian wildfires whose smoke adorned our skies last week. We have a very special seasonal chevre flavor: chevre with sweet elderberry flower. Check out this recipe for blueberry tart with elderberry chevre by our friend Laura Trovillion
Blueberry and Elderflower Chevre Tart
1 pint fresh blueberries - washed, dried and any stems removed
1 container PFFC Elderflower chevre (6 oz.)
Make the tart crust and allow it to completely cool. In a small bowl, stir the Elderflower chevre, adding a small amount of either yogurt or milk if it feels too thick. It should be the consistency of frosting. Spoon this filling to the cooled tart crust and top with fresh dry blueberries! It would also be lovely with freshly sliced peaches. Enjoy! Should there be any leftovers, wrap tightly in plastic wrap and store in the refrigerator.
Need some cheesy menu ideas for simple summer entertaining? How about a slice of little bloom melted on a burger? How about a Greek-style summer salad of cucumbers and tomatoes with our feta? What about Ukrainian Farmhouse cheese with pan-seared green beans and fresh mint? How about our yogurt with fresh berries or early season peaches?? What about black goat with potato chips??? Pelota Roja shaved over grilled sweetcorn anyone???
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 winner!
Fresh chevre with elderberry flower (simple syrup infused with elderberry flowers mixed into the plain chevre-subtle but divine!)
Angel Food mini-brie-perfectly ripe!! 20% off with any additional cheese purchase!
Little Bloom on the Prairie-mixed milk camembert-all goat batch! Aging beautifully and burger worthy! 20% off with any additional cheese purchase!
Black goat-ash-ripened goat bloomy rind-younger batch that is more mild and firm.
Fleur de la Prairie-all-goat bloomy rind with dried herbs and edible flowers-beautiful and delicious! 2022 American Cheese Society Gold Medal winner! NOTE: This batch has some cosmetic spots of blue mold on the rounds. Please don't be afraid of eating and enjoying this batch!
NEW Cheese ALERT: Prairie Fire: our fleur dusted with smoked paprika and topped with dried marigolds
Ukrainian Farmhouse Cheese-all cow milk, fresh cheese-great for sweet or savory applications-we are doing our former Ukrainian cheese maker, Tetyana, proud by continuing to make this popular fresh cheese.
Moonglo: raw goat milk tomme style semi-hard cheese--slightly nutty and fruity--perfect for slicing or melting
Pelota Roja: raw goat milk "Spanish-style" hard cheese with guajillo chile-olive oil rub--sharp, slightly spicy and just plain scrumptious-slice it, shave it! Serve it with your favorite summer red wine!
Feta in whey brine: crumble on a summer salad! Use the whey brine to marinate chicken or lamb! Put it on a pizza!
Goat milk yogurt (pints and quarts)-all natural, no thickening agents
Farm Open Hours
Come visit us summer. 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. We're continuing to offer our patriotic themed wine & cheese flight- a white, red (rose) and blue (well, deep red) with three cheeses. 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!
Please note: on Saturdays, we offer cheese boards and flights starting at 12:30 pm until closing. On Sundays, they are available from 11-5.
Celebrate National Ice Cream Day (July 16th) all weekend long at Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery. Summer is all about fruit flavors and we are going crazy with local blueberries (from Indiana) and nectarines (from southern IL)
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.
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.