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When an icon visits the farm

Farm News

Temple Grandin visited our farm this week. She’s a revolutionary and a visionary in the world of animal welfare, especially livestock. She also happens to be a high functioning autistic person, and our local CU Autism Network invited her to be their keynote speaker at their annual conference. She’s an alum of the University of Illinois, so she has personal connections to our community as well. We hosted a farm dinner for the CU Autism Network in honor of her visit. For our dairy crew, she’s a rock star. Her keen observational skills and deep empathy for animals led her to design humane slaughter facilities and animal housing systems. They were giddy and awestruck to be in her presence.


When she arrived at the farm, we took her on a tour of our milking parlor and our goat dairy barns. Having greater familiarity with dairy cattle, she was impressed with our goats’ hygienic habits, particularly their ability to refrain from urinating and defecating on the milk stand. Inside the barn, she marveled at their desire for attention and affection, pushing each other out of the way along the fence line to get a coveted head scratch.


When we sat down to dinner featuring local salad greens & chevre, a shepherd’s pie (made with local potatoes, carrots, celeriac and ground beef) and a chocolate gelato dessert with local raspberry sauce, the conversations around the table reflected the two worlds colliding. The Autism Network folks revere Temple for her work in support of the autism community; the dairy folks respect her for her ground-breaking work in animal welfare. She talked without inhibition about the gory details of raising broiler chickens in confinement and extolled the virtues of livestock grazing as the future for combating climate change. She unabashedly asked for seconds of the dessert (the ultimate compliment to our chef/cheese maker, Mark).


As the dinner wound down, we asked for her advice about to grow our dairy with high animal welfare and silvopasture (browse trees planted in pasture) at the core. She patiently indulged everyone’s questions and encouraged our crew to visit lots of goat dairies to determine what we like and don’t like. In her simple and unfiltered manner, she distilled it down to a simple sentence: “Keep the good **it; leave the bull**it. “ Pictures all around to mark the momentous occasion and then she left; her mark firmly etched in the hearts and minds of those graced by her presence.

Our regular Open Hours are now Saturdays and Sundays, 11 am to 5 pm through December 19th

Although the weather is chilly and the days shorter, we still have some great reasons to visit the farm. Visiting the goats is usually at the top of everyone’s list, but our farm bar and small plates menu is pretty compelling. Our farm store “The Real Stand” is decked out for the holidays, and we have some amazing items that make the perfect gift-whether it’s just for you to enjoy at home or for that special someone in your life who appreciates good food. Weather permitting, you might get a visit from our roaming santa goats!

We have jams, pickles, salamis, honey, flavored vinegars, maple syrup, coffee, flour, crackers and bread from an array of amazing artisan producers from the Midwest. We have t -shirts and sweatshirts and onesies for the PFFC fan in your life. We have incredible goat-centric jewelry, local pottery and beautiful wooden ornaments as well as local-wood cheese boards by the Root to Roof organization at the University of IL. But wait; there’s more: we have some of the best organic & biodynamic wines you can find in Central Illinois and a first-class selection of local microbrews and ciders.

If you can’t make it out to the farm, we have you covered. Our online store is now featuring some cheesy and not-so-cheesy gift baskets. There’s something for almost everyone at a variety of budgets. You can order for farm pick up during open hours OR have your order shipped. We even include hand-written notes with your holiday messages if you like. Just let us know!

This weekend’s menu items include:

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

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

  • Crostini du Jour (let us surprise you!)

  • Blue Moon Farm roasted carrot bisque with whipped pepper chevre and toast

  • Apple Pie Bar with honey chevre

  • Alchemy Scone (available all day on Saturdays & Sundays) served with honey-chevre

  • Hot spiced Cider!

Holiday Cheese Platters

Let us take the stress out of your holiday entertaining. We have gorgeous and unique cheese platters available for pick up at the farm on Friday, Dec. 24th-two sizes to accommodate the size and appetites of your crowd. Reserve yours now!

Holiday parties? Let us help with a cheese & charcuterie board. Email Leslie at prairiefruits@gmail.com and we can customize a gorgeous board for any group size.

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


COVID protections on the farm

Now that the weather is colder and we are hosting more guests indoors, 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 December 9th

This Saturday, come to the Champaign-Urbana Winter Market, run by The Land Connection. Our stand is located just inside the south entrance to Lincoln Square Mall. Hours are 8 AM to 12 noon. Please support your local farmers!

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

  • 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). This is an instant appetizer for your hungry holiday guests—serve warm with crackers.

  • 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 and supple; flavor is slightly yeasty but mild. Great on a cheese board with roasted veggies, tart jam or whole-grain mustard 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 lovely as white snow “crottin-style” bloomy; now available as mixed-milk -this batch is young and firm with buttered mushroom flavor. Try with toasted nuts and a drizzle of local honey

  • Little Bloom on the Prairie: mixed milk camembert style bloomy rind-super young this week.

  • 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!

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.


HOLIDAY GIFT OPTIONS ARE HERE FOR SHIPPING OR FARM PICK UP!-Check out the newest offerings on our website! We have something for everyone.

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