Wes Jarrell and Leslie Cooperband are the proud owners of Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. In 2003, they moved from an urban and academic life in Madison, Wisconsin to rural Champaign-Urbana Illinois. That first season, they began to transform their land from cash grain agriculture to perennial production with a lush cover crop of buckwheat. In 2004, they planted over 350 fruit trees and 600 berry plants AND purchased their first four Nubian goats (three does and one buck).
In August of 2005, they were licensed as a Grade A goat dairy and farmstead creamery. Since then, they have expanded their herd to 70+ milkers. They also have also expanded their working acreage to include an 8-acre pasture, a 5-acre hay field and a 2-acre restored prairie to the east of our original 7 acres. Little by little, they have transformed their landscape to diversified perennial crops and livestock.
Their farm embodies core principles of sustainability including environmental stewardship, economic viability and social responsibility. They strive to educate the community about organic and sustainable agriculture and the connections between food production and consumption. They also hope to serve as a model for others interested in small-scale diversified farming systems.