CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WAND): It's known for goats, cheese and made-from-scratch ice cream. It's Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery.
The creamery is the first farmstead Cheeserie in Illinois. It's a one-stop shop for all things dairy and friendly four-legged friends. It all started 16 years ago when Leslie Cooperband and her husband bought the farm with only 25 goats.
"We were just making fresh cheese and milking 25 goats," Cooperband said. But now, that number has grown exponentially. "We have expanded to milking over 100 goats and we make cheese and ice cream, goat milk gelato, specifically,"
Now. the farm has expanded to all you can think of. Cooperband said.
"We host farm-to-table events, we have a farm store, and we offer small bites and wine and beer and people can just come out and enjoy the rural scenery and pet the goats," Cooperband said.
They even offer goat yoga.
Their farm-to-table events are almost always sold out by their popularity, she said.”
"We do a theme for each dinner and a guest chef typically coming from Chicago or other areas, either locally or from Central Illinois," she said.
The farm is certified sustainable and their herds of goats are animal welfare approved, 10 years in a row. With national award winning cheese, they work hand-to-hoof with their goats.
”We milk our goats twice a day just like a regular dairy, and their milk goes right into cheese,” Cooperband said.
The herd manager, Erica Peters, told WAND News visiting the goats is a whole experience in itself.
”I think having that connection to the farm is very important for people, and goats themselves have such personality, they're very enjoyable to meet and to just hang out with and see," Peters said.
The farm is in the outskirts of Champaign - the perfect location between rural and city. Cooperband said the peace and tranquility of the farm is hard to beat.
"Just sitting under our pavilion, it's just a really unique experience," she said.
You can also find their products at the weekly Urbana farmer's market on Saturdays. Leaders are working on adding more guided tours, pairings, and even some workshops.