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The relief of a killing frost AND other farm news

Farm News

The reprieve from excessive rains finally came this week and the night temperatures dipped into the high 20’s. The early morning patina of shimmering white confirmed the obvious; a killing frost. The most sensitive plants are toast. The tomato vines lie limp along the fence line; a few dangling green tomatoes remain. The pineapple sage stands tall in petrified brown. The potted begonias are shriveled and sad, begging to be pulled and put out of their misery in the compost pile.


For the heartier plants, the frost is but a temporary setback and a signal to produce more sugars to keep themselves from freezing to death. Nature’s “antifreeze;” the frost that vegetable farmers pine for; the frost that makes their carrots sweet, their turnips plump and mild, their kale tender.


For the dairy farmers like us, the frost sweetens the clovers and the cool season grasses in the pasture, luring the goats to devour them like leftover Halloween candy. The killing frost is a marker in time, an obvious delineation of the change of the seasons, an end to summer’s verdant excesses and a beginning of the slower paces. Our goats’ coats are thickening as their milk production wanes. They’re still game for going along with the daily routines, yet they’ll eventually take their cues from the shortening days of browns, beige and yellow.

 

Farm Open Hours—VISIT THE FARM, CHECK OUT OUR “FARM BAR”—ENJOY SOME OF THE BEST LOCAL FOOD AROUND! Indoor and outdoor seating available


Don’t forget that we turn back the clocks this Saturday evening to return to Standard Time.

Our Current Open Hours are now Saturdays and Sundays, 11 am to 5 pm


Celebrate FALL with an outing to the farm! Guests can enjoy artfully crafted cheese and charcuterie boards, small bites highlighting what’s local and in season and weekly specials. We feature artisan breads from Publican Quality Bread (Chicago, IL) and scones from Alchemy Coffee & Bakehouse (Wilmette IL). Sunday brunch “Bloody Mary’s” are made from scratch, using organic tomatoes from Blue Moon Farm (Urbana IL).


We are selling a few pints of gelato in the farm store only; flavor options and supplies are limited due to decreased goat milk production this time of year.


Need more enticing? Come try some amazing organic and/or biodynamic wines that you can’t find anywhere else in Champaign-Urbana! Some of this week’s featured menu items include:

  • Cheese boards featuring cheeses from PFFC, Jacobs & Brichford and Ludwig Creamery

  • Charcuterie Boards featuring Piemonte Sausage Co. and Underground Meats salumi

  • Publican Quality Bread (PQB) Open-Face Sandwich: Melty Cheese, caramelized onion, roasted squash

  • Warm Caramelized onion & roasted poblano pepper cheese dip with Carrot Sticks OR PQB bread

  • Warm Apple Crisp with or without a scoop of gelato

  • Hot spiced Cider!

 

Farm Events

Pasture walks with the goats: Experience the tranquility of walking with the goats in the pasture. This is one of most enjoyable experiences on the farm. We have a few hikes scheduled on Wednesday and Saturday mornings. Reservations required. If you come, please wear warm clothing and waterproof shoes or boots.


Turn Back the Clock” Wine Tasting and Cheese Pairings: Sunday, November 7th. We’ll be featuring a number of wineries whose wines pair well with holiday foods. We’ll also provide guests with some cheese & wine pairing suggestions so you can entertain your holiday guests in style.


Final Farm dinners of the season—We have two unique events in early December: “Winter Cocktails and Nibbles” on Dec. 2nd and “Holiday Whole Hog Dinner" on Dec. 9th (both Thursday evening events). Check out the details and make your reservations now. Please note we are requiring proof of vaccination to attend these dinners, as they will be held indoors.


Holiday events at the farm-we are planning several special events for the holidays, including our “Holiday Goat Photo Booth” for the weekend after Thanksgiving and several special Friday evening “Sip and Shop” events to help you make the most of holiday entertaining and gift giving.

 

Looking for a unique venue to host your business holiday party or a family gathering? Consider our farm! Contact our event planner, Lisa Wells, at prairiefruitsevents@gmail.com

Holiday parties? Let us help with a cheese & charcuterie board. Starting next week, we’ll be taking orders for holiday cheese & charcuterie boards. For Thanksgiving, you can pick up at the farm, Wednesday, November 24th from 2-4 pm. We’ll also be offering cheese & charcuterie boards for entertaining during December. For further details and to get on a sign up list, please email our event planner, Lisa Wells, at prairiefruitsevents@gmail.com.

 

Looking for unique gifts for your business clients? We can put together a customized gift box for any budget. Please email Lisa Wells at prairiefruitsevents@gmail.com to discuss options.


COVID protections on the farm

As the weather gets cooler, we want to remind our patrons that we follow the state guidelines for wearing masks indoors. While visiting our farm store, we require that you wear a mask, unless you are actively eating and/or drinking. If you are engaged in enjoying our food and beverage offerings, and you need to speak with one of our staff, we request that you wear your mask. Our staff wear masks during service, and everyone is vaccinated. We encourage all of our guests to be vaccinated too! Please check our website for up-to-date open hours. Thank you for your cooperation and for helping to keep everyone healthy and safe.


 

Champaign Urbana Winter Market Starts this Saturday, November 6th

NEWS FLASH: Champaign-Urbana has YEAR-ROUND access to some of the best local foods in the state. The Champaign-Urbana Winter Market, run by The Land Connection, ensures year-round access to local food!! We will be there, for sure, inside the south entrance to Lincoln Square Mall, November through December, and maybe once a month in January-April, 2022. Hours are 8 AM to 12 noon.


Can’t make it to the market? No worries! Order from our online store for farm pick up either Saturday or Sunday during farm open hours. Now that the weather is cooler, consider shipping an order: treat yourself or someone special in your life! HOLIDAY GIFT BOX OPTIONS COMING SOON FOR SHIPPING OR FARM PICK UP!

Here’s the line-up of offerings for this weekend:

  • Fresh Mozzarella! We are now making fresh mozzarella with the amazing cow milk from Rocky Road Dairy. Like all of our cheeses, we make this cheese as close to traditional methods as possible. Comes as a perfectly formed ball (approximately 5-6 oz.) in a light brine-perfect for homemade pizza or a melty open-faced sandwich!

  • Artisan Cottage Cheese-grass-fed milk from grazing cows makes an AMAZING cottage cheese. It is both gorgeous (lovely yellow in color-a testament to the grass the cows are eating) and delicious. If you think cottage cheese is boring, you really need to give this a try! It’s a game changer!

  • Pimento cheese dip—so popular, so delicious! -featuring our cottage cheese, organic red peppers from Blue Moon Farm and parmesan like cheese called “Everton Reserve” from our cow-dairy friends at Jacobs & Brichford in Indiana).

  • Merry Cow-introducing our latest cow-milk creation---a washed rind cheese made with 100% organic, grass-fed milk. The rind is bathed weekly a saline wash including local beer and ripening cultures. Texture of the past is firm; flavor is slightly yeasty but mild. Great on a cheese board with roasted veggies and salami.

  • Fresh chevre

  • Plain

  • Herbs de Provence

  • Cracked peppercorn

  • Fleur de la Prairie-a delicate bloomy rind decorated with locally sourced dried edible flowers and herbs. Now available as mixed milk (cow-goat) 2021 GOOD FOOD AWARD WINNER!

  • Black Goat: our ash-ripened bloomy-when young, it has a lovely light yeasty flavor with a dense fudgy paste. As it ages, it gets nice ‘n gooey. Now available as mixed milk (cow-goat) 2021 NY International Cheese Competition Silver Medal Winner

  • Angel Food: our little “crottin” style bloomy, similar in style to a mini-brie. This batch is made with BOTH cow and goat milk-aging nicely, with a lovely tangy buttery flavor

  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: Now available as mixed-milk for the fall-slightly gooey edges with buttered mushroom flavor. Try with rings of roasted delicata squash and a drizzle of pumpkin seed oil (if you can find it!!!).

  • Pelota Roja- raw goat milk Manchego style cheese with a guajillo-olive oil rub—so good for shaving over roasted potatoes or your favorite casserole! 2021 GOOD FOOD AWARD WINNER!

  • Mixed Milk Feta—our first batch of cow-goat feta is ready for your enjoyment; aged in Whey Brine-perfect to crumble over a hearty fall stew or roasted beets, warm out of the oven. Or turn it into a dip and serve with roasted carrot sticks!

  • Goat Milk Yogurt—Rich fall milk makes the yogurt more firm these days; it makes a great smoothie or enjoy with your favorite granola and fresh fruit- available in pints and quarts this week!

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