If you can’t make a dinner at Prairie Fruits Farm in rural C-U, head to Zionsville, Ind., just north of Indianapolis for a meal at Traders Point Creamery.
The 100 percent organic, family-owned artisanal creamery has The Loft and Dairy Bar on the second floor of a barn-like building. The Loft is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, serving "Taste of the Farm" dinners six nights a week, a Sunday brunch, Family Style Comfort Food dinners on Sundays, etc.
Through the windows in the Loft you can see the grass-fed Brown Swiss cows that provide the milk for Traders Point cheese and yogurt, a drinkable full-fat yogurt that is as smooth as and way thicker than cream. Inside the Loft is a large cheese-aging room; through its floor-to-ceiling a window you see large rounds of the creamery’s signature cheese, Fleur de la Terre
The gently aged cheese has a firm yet creamy texture and a wash-rind flavor that’s a cross between cheddar, Gouda and Swiss.
Traders Point makes three fresh cheeses as well — Fromage Blanc, Fromage Garden Herb and Fromage Spicy — and a European-style cultured cottage cheese that is tangy and fresh, unlike anything you would buy in a supermarket, of course.
The creamery also sells its own milk, including chocolate, and ice cream in three flavors: chocolate, raspberry and vanilla.
The Dairy Bar also offers the seasonal ice-cream flavors caramel, strawberry, mango, blackberry and banana.
My family had I had lunch this past Saturday in the Loft while visiting my nephew and his wife, Tony and Katie Merlie, and their son Joseph Anthony, just 6 weeks old. They live in Zionsville and they brought the sleeping Joey with us to the Loft.
There we started with a cheese plate featuring all four of the cheeses and crackers, and moved onto hamburgers and wraps — I had the Puttin’ on the Fritz chicken whole-wheat wrap with plenty of greens, chicken and a generous dollop of Traders Point Fromage inside.
We also shared a plate of the ultimate comfort food, mac and cheese. While my sisters really liked it, I prefer the cheese in my mac to be a little sharper.
We finished by sharing strawberry frozen yogurt, a chocolate-pecan pie with vanilla ice cream, and caramel and chocolate ice cream. The chocolate ice cream was darker than most chocolate ice cream, and all of the ice cream was rich in butterfat to make it udderly delectable.
While more expensive than most restaurants that don't serve organic and farm-fresh foods, the meals are reasonably priced. The wrap with a side of sauteed vegetables was $11; two scoops of ice cream, $6.
Though close to the north edge of Indy, Traders Point is in a rural setting, where there are trails for visitors and a Red Barn in which live-music concerts take place. Musicians also perform inside the Loft, usually during Friday dinners.
You can pick up a newsletter at the Loft that tells of all the happenings there and the vendors who will be at the Green Market there from 4 to 8 p.m. Fridays. The newsletter also offers a Recipe of the Week: The one I picked up had one for Mother’s Day Double Ginger Pancakes with Orange Vanilla Yogurt.
I’m a big fan of Prairie Fruits Farm and appreciate that Leslie Cooperbrand (the goat lady!) and her associate cheesemakers experiment with the goat and sheep cheeses they produce. I love all their products and believe Prairie Fruits is one of the best things to have happened to the C-U area foodscape in a long time.
Traders Point cheese is excellent too but has nothing over Prairie Fruits Farm cheese. And I happen to prefer goat and sheep cheeses over the often more bland moo-cow products.
But if you go to Indy, check out Traders Point. My nephew believes it’s the only artisanal creamery serving farm-fresh meals in the Indianapolis area. My family and I certainly will visit the creamery again on our next trip to Indy.