FARMSTEAD & ARTISAN CHEESES
Goat Cheese galore! At Prairie Fruits Farm & Creamery we offer a variety of farmstead and artisan cheeses!
OUR GOATS & THEIR MILK
A few general comments about our goats and their milk: The goats are seasonal breeders and lactators. They are all bred in the fall (October/November) and kid (have babies) in the spring (March/April). They lactate (produce milk) for 9-10 months and are dry (not lactating) from late December through February.
Since their milk is seasonal, and their diet also affects flavor and components (butterfat and protein), the flavors and textures of our cheeses vary with the seasons. This is part of the beauty of seasonal, farmstead (using the milk from our own herd to make our dairy products) and artisanal cheeses. In fact, our dairy farming methods emphasing pasture and woody browse (silvopasture) represent less than 1% of typical commercial goat dairy husbandry practices. Come taste the difference for yourselves!
GOAT and MIXED MILK CHEESES
Using the milk from our pastured herd of Nubian and La Mancha goats, we produce mostly French inspired cheeses that have their roots in our deep dark prairie soils. Our herd has been certified “Animal Welfare Approved” by “A Greener World” since 2010. Our goats graze and browse seasonally in rotational pasture setting that includes browse trees (silvopasture). Our season runs from March through mid-December.
We are making several mixed milk (cow-goat) cheeses from our dairy friends at Kilgus Farmstead in Fairbury, IL. Their Jersey cow herd is seasonally pastured. The golden color of their milk is a testament to the pastures on which their cows graze in season.
2022 ACS Gold Medal 2023 ACS Bronze Medal
Available Year Round
Our fresh chevre is as fresh as it gets—we make several batches each week, so what you're eating is usually one to three days old! After a long, slow fermentation process of the milk, we gently hand ladle the curd and then hand mix the sea salt, resulting in a creamy, fluffy cheese. Taste the hints of lemon and savor the luscious mouth feel. Available year-round.
LITTLE BLOOM ON THE PRAIRIE
Available Year-Round as Mixed Milk or All Cow
Little Bloom on the Prairie is a cut-curd, camembert-style cheese with a dense core and gooey exterior. It reaches peak ripeness around 4 weeks of age, and just gets more gooey as it continues to ripen. You can taste the mushroomy rind and slightly tangy yet buttery interior. Both Angel Food and Little Bloom on the Prairie pair well with tart berry preserves and honey. They can be warmed and used like baked brie or “brie en croute” (brie baked in puff pastry). Made with our goat milk and pastured cow milk (March-November); all cow milk (December-February)
Pairs well with most whites and roses as well as lighter reds.
Available year-round (mixed milk or all cow)
Angel Food is a ladled curd cheese with a thin bloomy rind and a dense, creamy paste. It ripens over 4-6 weeks and most closely resembles a "crottin" or variant on firm brie. When young, the paste is dense and tart; as the cheese ages, it becomes gooey. Made with both goat and pastured cow milk (March-November) and all cow milk (December-February)
Pairs well with most whites, roses and some light-bodied reds.
2021 Silver Medal Winner-NY International Cheese Competition
April through Early November
Black goat is a Geotrichum candidum (a delicate, yeast-like white mold) rinded goat round, dusted with a vegetable ash once the cheese is brined. The ash neutralizes the acidity of the cheese, resulting in a slightly more mellow and buttery finish on the pallet. This cheese evokes earthy notes with a hint of yeasty bread dough. When young, this cheese has a firm paste and mild flavor; as it ages, it becomes gooey on the edges and stronger in flavor. Peak ripeness occurs 3-4 weeks of age. Available April through early November.
Excellent served with grapes, sliced apples and fruit mostardas. Pairs well with light to medium bodied red wines: cabernet franc, pinot noir and sangeovese
2021 Good Food Award Winner AND 2022 ACS Gold Medal
FLEUR DE LA PRAIRIE
April through Early November
This delicate bloomy has the same type of white mold species as black goat, minus the ash. It is inspired by a Corsican sheep milk cheese called “brin d’amour.” Once the white mold starts to bloom, we adorn the cheeses with a mixture of dried herbs (thyme, fennel, oregano, etc.) and edible flowers (nastursium, hyssop flowers, geum marigolds, calendula, etc.). This cheese ages for at least three weeks before it develops a mild-earthy flavor. The herbs and edible flowers grown in our farm's herb garden impart their flavor to the cheese as well. Available April-October.
It’s perfect with a dry white or rose or even a sparkling wine. It would also go very nicely with an IPA, Belgian ale or pilsner beer.
2023 ACS Bronze Medal
MIXED-MILK FETA IN WHEY BRINE
Our feta is made “Greek style" and aged in a whey brine for at one month. It is crumbly yet creamy, tangy and simply delicious. We sell it as a It can be used in many recipes calling for good quality feta OR dress it up with some extra virgin olive oil, fresh herbs and edible flowers, serve with warm crusty bread and you a have a light summer meal. Made year-round either as a blend of goat and cow milk or all cow (December-February)
2023 ACS Silver Medal
Raw goat milk tomme style cheese. Firm, pliable texture. Nutty, fruity taste. The rind is washed with a cultured brew of Moonglow pear tea, IL pear wine and pear liqueur. The wheels are aged for about three months to develop the natural rind and complex flavor. Made with spring and fall milk. Pairs well with light reds, Saison style ales and fresh stone fruit. Available almost year-round.
2021 Good Food Award Winner
Available mid June-December
This raw (unpasteurized) goat milk hard cheese is inspired by Spanish cheeses like Manchego and Majorero. The rind is rubbed with a guajillo chile powder-olive oil paste. The cheese wheels age for 2-3 months, creating a sharp, nutty and slightly fruity flavor. This cheese is perfect for grating, shaving or slicing. Shave over your favorite grilled or roasted veggies. Enjoy a slice with a slice of apple or pear or dry-cured salami. Pairs well with medium to full-bodied red wines and stronger ales.
WHERE TO GET OUR PRODUCTS
We sell our products through local markets in Central Illinois including Urbana’s Market at the Square, as well as several restaurant and retail locations in Champaign-Urbana - Common Ground Food Cooperative, Strawberry Fields-World Harvest Foods and Harvest Market.
Not in C-U? Look for our products in Bloomington-Normal at Common Ground Grocery and Greentop Grocery. Our cheeses are also available in select Chicago and Chicagoland locations, including numerous restaurants, and small retail specialty food and grocery shops such as sweetgreen (five locations) , Potash Markets, Dom's Kitchen and Market, and select Whole Foods stores in Chicago. Fresh Picks, a Chicagoland Home delivery business, also carries our cheeses.
We also offer Online and On-Farm Sales throughout the season, where you can come out to the farm! Gelato pints and scoops are available as well as our cheese. Check out our newsletter or the main page of our website for the most current store hours.