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The weather as lead actor, farm bar and farm dinners, employment opportunities, market offerings

Farm News

The weather is frequently upstaging the weekly goings on at the farm. Yes, we’re in the proverbial “dog days” of august; yes, we should expect hot and steamy this time of year, yes, we should be used to goats crowding around fans. Yet, somehow, we seem to be making more and more accommodations to compensate for the weather’s volatile nature. We are bending to her moods, her radical swings in temperature and wind speed. We are rushing to create more shade in more of our pasture paddocks, so that the goats can remain outside and eat. We are letting older does hang out in the orchard, even though we have some fruit that needs to be harvested. We now routinely add electrolytes to their water, so they stay hydrated and balanced.


Early this morning, the dark clouds gathered low on the lightening horizon, creating conditions akin to midnight. Soon, the skies opened up to release the concentrated humidity, lightning bolts flashing, thunder rumbling and winds whipping. Thankfully, we didn’t lose power. Milking during thunderstorms is never fun for the goats and the human milker alike. They refuse to leave the barn, lest they expose themselves to a few seconds of rain drops. Once inside the covered holding pen and eventually, inside the milking parlor, they are reluctant to leave after milking; again, for fear of a few raindrops hitting their backs.

Over the course of the morning and into early afternoon, the storms came in surges and the temperature plummeted. The goats’ attempts to graze have been fleeting today. Tomorrow, the air will be crisp and the temperature fall-like; most likely the abrupt change will trigger breeding hormones and they’ll come into heat again. Our previous run-ins with radical temperature swings have already provoked three premature heat cycles this summer. The morning moisture will dry off, and the goats will venture into their grazing paddock for the day. While we will enjoy this reprieve from the heat and humidity, we know that we are not done with this temperamental actor.


Farm Open Hours—CHECK OUT OUR NEW “FARM BAR”--YOU GOTTA COME SEE ALL THE CHANGES!

Guests can enjoy artfully crafted cheese and charcuterie boards, small bites highlighting what’s local and in season and weekly specials. Breads from Publican Quality Bread (Chicago, IL), goat-milk yogurt parfaits and scones from Alchemy Coffee & Bakehouse (Wilmette IL) round out the menu. Sunday brunch “Bloody Mary’s” will feature organic tomatoes from Blue Moon Farm (Urbana IL). Need more enticing? Come try some amazing wines that you can’t find anywhere else in Champaign-Urbana! This week’s featured menu items include:

  • Cheese boards

  • Charcuterie Boards

  • Publican Quality Bread crostini with chevre, roasted PFFC peaches, Grove Stone peach vinegar and fresh mint

  • Piemonte Sausage Co. culatelo (style of prosciutto) with local melon

  • Watermelon and Cucumber wedges with honey-yogurt dipping sauce

We’ve started a NEW tradition of wine flights! We’ll feature three wines from our Organic & Biodynamic Portfolio for a set price.

Hours are:

Fridays, 4-8 pm

Saturdays, 11-8 pm—NOTE; WE’RE CLOSING AT 3PM THIS SATURDAY TO GET READY FOR OUR FARM DINNER

Sundays, 11-5 pm


Farm Dinner Tickets are FINALLY AVAILABLE! We have a few dates and themes set, so check them out and book your reservations. These are going fast so don’t delay. The dinner with Chef Paul Virant is now SOLD OUT! BUT…We still have some tickets left for this Saturday’s Farm Dinner “Summer Vegetarian” with Chef-Farmer Ann Swanson Book your reservations NOW! More dates and other events coming!

Urbana’s Market at the Square: Featured Items Going to Market This Saturday-7 am to 12 noon

SO MUCH CHEESE! So hard to choose (so get a few). The weather is cooling off, perfect for loading up on cheese, gelato and all the summer bounty the farmers’ market has to offer.


NEW NEWS FLASH: We now have a third award winning cheese to add to our accolades—our ash-ripened “black goat” won a silver medal in the inaugural New York International Cheese Competition. We are so proud!

Don’t forget too: OUR RAW MILK “PELOTA ROJA” IS BACK IN THE CHEESE LINEUP! Come grab a wedge of this 2021 Good Food Award winning cheese, inspired by Spanish style raw

goat milk cheeses. Early spring milk makes these early batches taste AMAZING!


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.


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

  • Gidget’s Grilling Cheese-made with rich, grassfed cow’s milk from Rocky Road Farm. Grill or pan fry to get some nice caramelization on the outside. Drizzle with local honey and a squeeze of lemon juice and fresh herbs. Enjoy with crusty baguette or some grilled summer squash.

  • Artisan Cottage Cheese-summer 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!

  • Fresh chevre

    • Plain

    • Herbs de Provence

    • Cracked peppercorn

    • Dried Tomato!! YES It’s BACK!!

  • Little Bloom on the Prairie our goat milk camembert-style; this batch is young but still worth enjoying, especially with sliced heirloom tomatoes, extra virgin olive oil and fresh basil!

  • Black goat-ash-ripened bloomy-rich “fudgy” texture that I love so much AWARD WINNING!

  • Fleur de la prairie-our goat milk bloomy with dried garden herbs and edible flowers-A 2021 Good Food Award Winner! Try with slices of early season apples.

  • Pelota Roja-FIRST OF THE SEASON! raw goat milk Manchego style cheese with a guajillo-olive oil rub—so good for shaving over a tomato and basil salad or grilled eggplant! 2021 GOOD FOOD AWARD WINNER!

  • Goat Milk Feta aged in Whey Brine-try with grilled peaches and a drizzle of honey (sweet and salty and sublime). Watermelon season is HERE for your feta-watermelon salads!

  • Goat Milk Yogurt—it makes a great smoothie or enjoy with your favorite granola and fresh berries-now available in both pints and quarts! We are featuring our yogurt in our farm kitchen’s parfaits this weekend.

  • Goat Milk Gelato by Pint (4-5 flavors at the market; many more at the farm)

If you’re interested in buying fresh raw goat milk, you can either order from our online store for farm pick up on the weekends, or just visit our farm store during open hours—now offering both quarts and half gallons in our refrigerated display case.


Looking for a fun shopping activity on Saturday?

Come see us at Harvest Market's "Big Feed" on Saturday, August 14th from 2-5 pm (south Neil St. Champaign location). Our cheese maker, Mark Shoemaker, will be there sampling some of our cheeses and talking all things cheese! It's a great opportunity to meet Mark and ask him lots of questions about our cheeses. Harvest Market now carries a great selection of our cheeses.

We are seeking an experienced Part-Time Kitchen-Farm Store & Events Staff Member. The ideal candidate will have an interest in learning how to execute our new weekend “small bites” menu while also assisting with service from our “farm bar” and helping to execute our bi-monthly Farm to Table Dinners and private events. Experience in a commercial kitchen and proof of Illinois Food Handler’s License required. Additional qualifications include:


· Passion for food and cooking, especially using locally sourced and seasonal ingredients

· Cheese lover a big plus (we are a farmstead cheese producer after all and our menu is very cheese-centric)!

· Excellent hygiene and attention to maintain safe food conditions in the kitchen

· Reliable, punctual, honest

· Ability to work in a seasonally hot kitchen

· Ability to multi-task (e.g., prepare simple foods, wash dishes, wait on customers, serve alcoholic beverages)

· Ability to work in a small team setting


Hours of availability needed are subject to change based on events, but candidate will primarily be scheduled Fridays-Sundays ( approx. 25 hours/week)


We value our employees and offer a competitive fair wage to all who work here. If you or someone you know is interested in this position, please contact…

Lisa Wells, Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery Event Planner at prairiefruitsevents@gmail.com Please send a cover letter explaining your interest in the position (and why you think you’re a good fit) along with a current resume.


Goats for Sale

Looking for a family milking goat or a 4-H project for your kids? Looking to build a small herd to make some goat milk soaps and skin care products? Looking to expand your commercial dairy goat herd? Want some goats to keep your invasive plants at bay? How about a few goats to take on hikes? We have what you’re looking for! Our goats are certified “Animal Welfare Approved,” registered through the American Dairy Goat Association AND super happy and healthy. Send us an email (prairiefruitsinfo@gmail.com) and we’ll let you know what we have available.

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