GOATs of Chèvre

Appears in the September 2021 issue.

Prairie Fruit Farms and Creamery in Champaign, Illinois, is a Midwestern mecca for goat lovers. Owners Leslie Copperband and Wes Jarrell sell every gourmet goat-milk product you can imagine. Yogurts. Cheeses. Gelato. Plus … actual goats. 

Five hundred bucks buys you a Nubian or LaMancha breeding buck. That’s a steal, given they’re raised on diverse greens and legumes. Their au natural diet—supplemented with hay—produces a chèvre whose flavor changes with the seasons: lemony in the spring, herbal come summer, and complex as crème fraîche in the fall. 

Chefs love their cheeses. Rick Bayless commissioned a guajillo-coated pelota roja. “Early on, we had people who’d had bad goat-cheese experiences,” says Copperband. “I had to walk them off the ledge; then our cheeses took care of the rest.”

Earthy Fleur de la Prairie, with dried herbs and edible flowers

Photos courtesy Prairie Fruit Farms