Wes Jarrell and Leslie Cooperband are the proud owners of Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery, LLC. In 2003, we moved from an urban and academic life in Madison, Wisconsin to Champaign-Urbana Illinois. Through great friends and serendipity, we found our home and small farm just outside of town. That first year, we planted all of the land previously in cash grain (about 5 acres) with a lush cover crop of buckwheat to begin restoring our prairie soil. In 2004, we planted over 350 fruit trees and 600 berry plants AND purchased our first four Nubian goats (three does and one buck).
In August of 2005, we received our licenses for our Grade A goat dairy and farmstead creamery. Since then, we have expanded our herd to 70 milkers, put in a brand new milking parlor with a 14-doe stanchion and a pipeline that carries the milk directly from the udder to the refrigerated bulk tank. Our good fortune has extended to renting an additional 15 acres adjacent to our seven-acre farm so that we could grow more pastures, plant a 2-acre prairie and produce some of our own hay. All of these changes move us along the path to greater sustainability.
Leslie & Wes dressed as "prairie pioneers" for a fall "dinner on the farm."