Smile Politely

Five things to eat or drink in C-U: April 2020

Things are weird right now. I had to cross out many of my April plans in my calendar. During all this, I’ve been honing my cooking skills at home — as I’m sure many of you are as well. Since I’ve already shared some great carryout options, this month’s Five Things will highlight local producers in C-U from which you can get fresh produce or baked goods right now. 

Several bunches of bright red radishes with wispy roots and bright green leaves lay on a table. The photo is two thirds red radish and the rest leaves. Photo from Blue Moon Facebook Page.

Photo from Blue Moon’s Facebook page.  

Blue Moon Farm 

Blue Moon Farm has a goal to produce the best tasting produce possible using only organic methods. They have a 20 acre vegetable farm just 10 miles north of Champaign-Urbana, and they grow produce for grocery stores, their CSA, Urbana’s farmer’s market, and local restaurants. You can sign up for different amounts of veggies: a weekly share or a one-time share. The vegetables you might find in your box include salad mix, tomatoes, beets, spinach, squash, onions, eggplant, kale, broccoli, carrots, potatoes, peppers, turnips, and herbs. 

Blue Moon Farm’s CSA also offers a bunch of customizable add-ons including flowers, meat, eggs, and mushrooms. 

Blue Moon Farm is offering weekly boxes from May 27th through November 4th. You can order a weekly small share for $350, a weekly full share for $480, and a weekly veggie lover share for $805 for the 24 weeks of produce. You can sign up here

Blue Moon Farm
2184 County Road 1700 East

A haul of produce lays on a wooden table: a small basket of raspberries, a small bundle of chives, a small basket of strawberries, a bundle of rhubarb, a large pile of spinach leaves, and a large salad mix. Photo from Brackett Farm's website.

Photo from Brackett Farm website.

Bob Brackett Tuesday Farm Stand

Brackett has been farming since 1985, starting with a hobby of backyard gardening. In 2000, he started his own CSA which is still producing today. Before the CSA season, Bob Brackett hosts a farm stand in Champaign on Tuesdays from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. His farm stand offers onions, garlic, leeks, apples, turnips, rutabagas, carrots, potatoes, sweet potatoes, and beets in addition to fresh salad greens. In the last three weeks, he’s had fresh spinach which he says is “especially sweet this time of year, growing during cool weather.” Stop by his garage in Champaign any Tuesday with $20 for a share of his produce.

If you want weekly veggies, you can sign up for Bob Brackett’s 24 week CSA by downloading the 2020 contract here and mailing it with your check. Shares are $20 per week plus a $20 administrative fee which totals to $500 for the 24 week season.

Bob Brackett Farm
611 W. Union St

Stacked plastic circular containers of Chevre cheese are lined up on a black table. There are three flavors of different colors: red, blue, and green labels on clear plastic containers containing white cheese. Photo from Prairie Fruit Farms Facebook page.

Photo from Prairie Fruits Farm Facebook page. 

Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery cheeses 

Cheese is a staple in my house. We love it on toast for breakfast, on sandwiches for lunch, assembled on a charcuterie board, and in pastas or on pizza for dinner. Local producer of goat cheese, Prairie Fruits Farm makes their own chevre right here in Champaign. Their fresh goat milk is pasteurized, cooled, and then cultured with a starter culture. The cultured milk ferments and the curd (solids that become cheese) separates from the whey, the liquid that drains off. The curd is ladled by hand into cheese-cloth lined baskets to drain overnight. The next day, the cheese is salted and packaged for sale. 

You can order online from Prairie Fruits Farm here. Orders can be picked up at the Farm on Saturday afternoons from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. Orders can also be shipped to you via FedEx or UPS ground. You can also find Prairie Fruits Farm cheeses at Common Ground Food Co-Op and at Harvest Market.

Prairie Fruits Farm and Creamery
4410 N. Lincoln Ave
F 4 p.m. to 7 p.m.
Sa + Su 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.


Rick Bakery's lemon mousse cake has a lemon curd on top of a cake with brown decorative flakes on the outside. Photo by Jessica Hammie.

Photo by Jessica Hammie.

Treats from Rick’s Bakery

Rick’s Bakery in Urbana is a local treasure for sweet treats. The Rick of Rick’s Bakery, Rick Carrillo, started working in a bakery 24 years ago, and later, he attended culinary school in Los Angeles. One of Carrillo’s goals is to offer locals a great selection of freshly baked goods. My husband always requests a tiramisu cake from Rick’s Bakery every year on his birthday. Other family favorites include chocolate finger cookies, almond bear claws, and alligator pastries. 

Right now, Rick’s Bakery is open Thursday through Saturday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. You can get cakes, slices of cake, bread, pastries, fruit tarts, cookies by the pound, and more. The bakery is located in downtown Urbana at 124 W Main Street, and you can walk in or call 217-344-9383 to place your order.

Rick’s Bakery
124 W Main St
T-Sa 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Freshly baked baguettes are stacked haphazardly on top of each other, and the crisp, crunchy outsides of the baguettes are brown with bits of flour. Photo from Central Illinois Produce's Facebook page.

Photo from Central Illinois Produce Facebook page. 

Central Illinois Produce/Bakehouse

Central Illinois Produce is one of the state’s largest wholesale produce distributors south of Chicago. They offer bulk and processed fruits and vegetables, specality produce items, and dairy products. A speciality division of Central Illinois Produce is Central Illinois Bakehouse, an artisan bakery. They bake up breads, croissants, fine pastries and more, fresh daily and made by hand using all natural ingredients.

Right now, Central Illinois Produce and Bakehouse are offering drive-up curbside service every other week for fresh produce, dairy, and baked goods. Orders can be placed online. Additionally, follow their Facebook page for the next event.*

Central Illinois Produce and Bakehouse
500 S Glover

*Editor’s Note: A previous version of this article included erroneous information regarding ordering and pick up.

Food + Drink Editor

Related Articles