URBANA — WILL-TV will broadcast at 7 p.m. Monday the WILL-made documentary, "Course Work: Dinner Season at Prairie Fruits Farm," which focuses on the activities on the farm that lead to the night of one of its farm-to-table dinners.
From June to October, WILL-TV followed the arc of a farm-to-table meal that began and ended at the farm in rural Champaign.
Tim Meyers, WILL-TV director of photography for the project, and producer Lisa Bralts aimed to show how the fruit orchard, at one time lush with blackberries, peaches, pears and apples, dwindled with each weekly U-pick.
The vegetable gardens also were transformed as the deep greens and bright reds of basil and tomatoes gave way to the hardierfall crops. And the hogs, growing noticeably fatter every week, began to disappear one by one as they headed off to become part of the dinners on the farm.
Prairie Fruits Farm chef Alisa DeMarco and her kitchen team are shown cooking succotash, plating cheese, brushing oil onto crostini and scooping homemade ice cream onto apple pie during the Sept. 15 dinner, which raised funds for Illinois Public Media, aka WILL.
Footage also captured guests enjoying wine and hors d'oeuvres, walking around the vegetable garden and touring the milking room.
"One of the goals of this project was to show viewers what life is really like on small, diversified family farms as the seasons move forward," Bralts said. "We're so lucky to have a farm just outside Urbana-Champaign where farmers are willing to share their experiences — not just with us, but with the patrons who visit them for dinners, breakfasts, and U-pick. They're an amazing community resource."
For more information about the making of the documentary, visit will.illinois.edu/farmtotable.