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Family Time at Holiday Farm Frenzy!

October was a busy month for us at Fair Oaks Farms, between Cowtoberfest, the Masquerade 5K hosted by the North Central Rural Indiana Crisis Center, and our official hotel groundbreaking, there was barely any time to breathe! But never worry, we’d never leave our visitors and community out to dry around the holidays! This November we’re hard at work, planning, building, and tinkering away on our fourth annual Holiday Farm Frenzy!

There’s no better way to spend time with your family than planning a trip to Fair Oaks Farms on Saturday, December 16th. You can get all of your holiday shopping done early by visiting our vendors in the Crop Adventure, checking out our gift shop for souvenirs, or stopping by the cheese counter for gourmet cheese for the finest foodie! A holiday wagon ride will take you around our campus and light displays will be brightening up the FeedBarn. Also in the FeedBarn will be a station to make holiday crafts and an iceless skating rink (wristband required)!

The guest of honor, Santa Claus, will also make an appearance at The Farmhouse Restaurant for Breakfast with Santa! Tickets can be purchased through The Farmhouse by calling (219) 394-3663. Enjoy a full breakfast of eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes, fruit, French toast, pastries, coffee, iced tea, and Coke products, while visiting with Mr. Claus! Reserve your spot as soon as possible due to limited seating.

The best gift of all? On December 16th, you can get the Whole Adventure (including Dairy, Pig, and Crop Adventure) for only $15 a person! It’s the perfect time to see our Adventures and spread some holiday cheer at the same time. This price does NOT include Breakfast with Santa.

If you need more information before you plan your visit, check out the Holiday Farm Frenzy page here. Make sure to watch our Facebook for special announcements leading up to the event.

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Give the Gift of Cheese!

Gift shopping just got a whole lot easier! It can be a pain to find the perfect gift for someone. Traveling to different stores and dealing with the holiday crowds are enough to make some people stay inside and do all their shopping online. We understand that struggle, so we’ve created the perfect solution – our Fair Oaks Farms’ gourmet gift collections!

Each collection holds a variety of cheeses in 8-ounce servings. Our Heritage Collection boasts ten different cheeses including our award-winning Gouda and the fan-favorite Havarti Pepper. If you’re looking for a more classic selection, try our Prairie Collection, which includes Mild Cheddar, Calico, Muenster, and Havarti. Want something smoky and spicy? Check out the Heartland Collection containing Havarti Pepper, Havarti Habanero, Smoked Sweet Swiss, and Smoked Gouda. We have six collections to choose from, ranging in size and flavor profile. The prices of our gift collections range from $34.95 to $94.95. You can also order a wooden hat box, entertainment crackers, or summer sausage to complete your gift! Our summer sausages come in Premium Beef or Premium Beef Jalapeno to pair perfectly with your cheeses.

Of course, it’s totally understandable if you want to keep some of this delicious cheese for yourself! Purchase a collection for a holiday party, a family get together, or for game day. Every occasion is the perfect time for gourmet Fair Oaks Farms cheese!

It gets better – now until November 7th you can easily get 15% off of your order using code EARLYBIRD17! The holidays are quickly approaching, don’t miss your chance to get a great deal! If you’d like to come in and sample our cheese, you can always do so at our Cowfé!

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Unmasking Domestic Violence

On October 28th, Fair Oaks Farms is happy to host the second annual 5K Walk/Run Masquerade in partnership with the North Central Indiana Rural Crisis Center. On this day, people will join together at our campus to fight against domestic violence and sexual assault. Funds gathered from registration for the walk will go to benefit the Crisis Center and the victims of domestic violence and sexual assault that they help.

October is Domestic Violence Awareness Month. It began as a “Day of Unity,” that was first held in October 1981 by the National Coalition Against Domestic Violence. The Day of Unity evolved into a week, but by 1987 October was named Domestic Violence Awareness Month. According to the National Resource Center on Domestic Violence, the original events were focused on three specific goals:

  • Mourning those who have died because of domestic violence
  • Celebrating those who have survived
  • Connecting those who work to end violence

The North Central Indiana Rural Crisis Center is continuing these goals, working to help and serve those directly affected by domestic violence. Their facility is always open, providing temporary shelter and services to victims and children of domestic violence and/or sexual assault. They offer education, advocacy, and community intervention services as well. Their slogan is simple; “Turning victims into survivors, helplessness into hope.” Fair Oaks Farms is happy to support them and give them a venue to raise funds for their essential efforts.

The Masquerade 5K will take place 9am to 1pm, CST. Participants are encouraged to wear masks and/or costumes, and children under 12 are free. You can find all the information for our event at fofarms.com/masquerade, but if you want to skip straight to registration you can find it here. Registration is $25 per person and includes a t-shirt.

Please join us in assisting important efforts in our community, lead by the North Central Indiana Rural Crisis Center.

If you’d like to read more about how Domestic Violence Awareness Month began or facts on domestic violence, go here.

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Fall in Love with Cowtoberfest!

The countdown is on, only a little over a week until Cowtoberfest 2017! This year the festival takes places on October 7th, from 10am to 5pm CST, and October 8th, from 10am to 4pm. Bring your families, your friends, your neighbors! The more the merrier and admission is free!

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Kid-Friendly Activities

Cowtoberfest is a GREAT place to bring your children and families! Make sure you come dressed up this year, as there will be a costume parade to all of the Adventure buildings on campus and trick-or-treating with the festival vendors. Children can also win prizes during the costume contest! There will also be tons of attractions for kids, such as inflatable moon bounces, a corn maze, wagon rides, carnival games, pumpkin bowling, a FREE craft tent* and ballon artist*! The first 100 kids to arrive will also receive a FREE souvenir bag! Bring the whole family and take advantage of our FREE photo booth as well! The Adventures will be open regular hours all weekend, along with Mooville, wristbands will be at normal price in the Admissions building.

* While supplies last

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Entertainment

The main stage at Cowtoberfest will host incredible talent over the weekend! Bring a blanket or a lawn chair and catch the concerts from Chad Lehr, Justin Sumler, Graceful Closure, and the Hunter Smith Band! You don’t want to miss a performance by the Circus Boy either — we guarantee you won’t be able to stop laughing! Near the back of our campus we will host our celebrity pumpkin carvers, Jon Neill and David Smith, who have both starred on Food Network’s Halloween Wars. They’ll be showing visitors all kinds of tricks and techniques to carve masterpieces! The Indiana Pumpkin Growers’ Association will also be attending and holding their weigh-in competition right on campus!

Performance times are as follows:

Saturday, October 7:
2:00PM Chad Lehr
3:30PM Hunter Smith Band

Sunday, October 8:
10:00AM Justin Sumler
1:00PM Graceful Closure
2:30PM MG Bailey One Man Band

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Shopping & Food

Of course, there’s something for everyone at Cowtoberfest! You’ll want to take your time looking through over 30 vendors, selling an array of items from clothing, spices, crafts, and books! Moon’s Kettle Corn will have their homemade popcorn and Sprigati’s will have samples of their pasta sauce! Our own Cowfé will be selling yummy pies, pumpkin rolls, and more baked goods from Vendor Row as well – but our campus location will also be open to serve you all your grilled cheese and ice cream dreams! Stop by our Farmhouse Restaurant as well to get into the fall mood with our farm-to-table comfort foods.

Still have questions? Head over to our website to catch all the details on Cowtoberfest 2017!

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Farm-to-Table Talk with Richard Arthur

We recently sat down with Richard Arthur, the Restaurant Manager at the Farmhouse Restaurant here at Fair Oaks Farms. We spoke about the importance of farm-to-table food and the unique culinary experience that is offered at the restaurant.

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What’s your favorite dish on the menu and why?
Rich: There are quite a few favorites. If I had to name one, it would be the Espresso Crusted Pork Ribeye. First of all, it’s the best quality pork chop I have ever experienced. I know exactly where the pig was raised. We use a ground espresso/spice blend rub, grill it to order, then drizzle with honey. Mouthwatering for certain.

What is the most popular dish with guests and why?
Rich: Dishes that showcase our Fair Oaks Farms dairy products, local pork and beef are the most popular. Our Bacon Sampler, cheese curds, pork chops, ribs and burgers are very popular. We also serve a “world class” pizza here! In addition, we feature many craft beers and spirits that are produced locally. Our guests are very interested in things they can’t get back home.

Are there any new & exciting dishes coming soon? What are they?
Rich: We’re reviewing a menu change and update for the fall that should be in place by October 1. We have featured “Pig Wings” several times this summer on our Weekly Specials menu. It’s a very popular item with our guests, and we should see that on the new menu. They are pork shanks, marinated and smoked, then lightly breaded and fried. Delicious!

What’s your favorite thing about working at Fair Oaks Farms?
Rich: Well, there are two things.. I get the opportunity to meet people from all over the globe. It’s amazing how our guests travel from very, very far away to visit Fair Oaks Farms and The Farmhouse. Once they’re in the restaurant, it’s a privilege to have the chance to show them what we do here. Secondly, I’m lucky to work with some very passionate people that have a sincere interest in the dairies, other venues, and Fair Oaks Farms in general.

Are there any secret ingredients in any of the foods? Can you give us a hint as to what they are?
Rich: We’re happy to share recipes with any guest that’s interested. We get requests all the time for our mac & cheese, meatloaf, espresso rub, rib seasoning and many other recipes. So, no secrets here.

Who has been your favorite guest over the years?
Rich: That’s a tough one. Our job here is to make people happy. I enjoy meeting our hardworking local farmers just as much as the many guests we have from Chicago, California, Indianapolis and all over the world.

Why do you think farm to fork food is important?
Rich: It’s all tied in with the transparency concept here at Fair Oaks Farms. We know where our food comes from. That allows us to produce high quality food seven days a week. For example, the pork we serve in the restaurant is raised two minutes from here. We work closely with local producers, and know the care they give their animals.

How has using local, fresh ingredients changed the way you cook/work?
Rich: It gives myself and all our staff a very high level of confidence about what we serve here. We know where our food comes from. That’s very important. Our staff is very passionate about educating our guests and enhancing their experience here.

What do you think sets The Farmhouse apart from other restaurants that use local, fresh ingredients?
Rich: We all share the belief that knowing where your products are raised or grown offers a higher level of confidence about the quality of food served in a restaurant. Most “farm to table” restaurants are fairly small. At the Farmhouse, we can accommodate 300 guests! Because of our very talented staff, we are able to deliver the same quality as a 50-seat restaurant — that gives us the opportunity to give many guests a great experience.

Have you ever been on an Adventure? What’s your favorite part?
Rich: Yes, I’ve visited all the venues here at Fair Oaks Farms. I’ve also gotten to know many of the dairy operators and am extremely impressed with the sincere care they give their animals. On the “fun” side, the milking carousel at Prairie’s Edge Dairy is always very entertaining.

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You can find menus, hours of operation, and all about the Farmhouse Restaurant’s special events, by accessing the website here.

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Fair Oaks Rocks!

We’re sure by now you’ve heard about the fun trend that’s working its way across Indiana, where people of all ages can paint and decorate rocks, hide them, and hunt for them. If you haven’t, take a stroll around your local park or playground and you could probably find a few of these creatively decorated rocks yourself!

We wanted to get in on the fun, too, so we decided to decorate a few rocks of our own. We started out by collecting some rocks from around campus and painting them our favorite colors, then we Mod Podged on some of our Fair Oaks Farms symbols like our logo, brandmark, and cartoons of our animals and products. We also sealed the rocks to protect them from the elements like sun, heat, and rain!

Now comes the most exciting part — the hunt! We’ve hidden the rocks all over our outdoor campus and we want you to find them. You’re welcome to rehide them in your own town, somewhere far away, or keep them for your collection! Be on the lookout for a few special rocks that include coupons such as a discount off admission for the Whole Adventure and a free appetizer with the purchase of an entrée at The Farmhouse!

When you find a rock, shout us out on Facebook or Instagram by tagging us in the photo and using the hashtag #FairOaksRocks! Happy hunting!

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July 4th on the Farm

In 2012, two-fifths of all American soil was claimed as farmland. That equates to 915 million acres and boils down to 2.1 million farms and ranches, according to the 2012 Census of Agriculture. This means just over 40 percent of the United States was farmland – almost half!

Farming is a huge part of American culture and even though those numbers above seem big, the number of farms in the USA has been in decline since the early 1900s. Here at Fair Oaks Farms our mission is to teach every generation about the importance of agriculture through our interactive Dairy, Pig, and Crop Adventures. America was built on farming and agriculture, and we know it’s important for every visitor to learn just how much it affects our everyday lives!

So what better way is there to celebrate July 4th and America’s independence than exploring one of our most important industries? On July 4th, we will be open during our normal business hours to all visitors who want to attend our Adventures. Come with your family; learn all about where your food comes from, what products are made from crops, and which careers fall into the agriculture field. Take our bus tours to our pig and dairy barns to learn about gestation, birth, and so much more! Stop by our Cowfe for lunch and enjoy classic menu items such as our quarter-pound all beef hot dog or our perfectly toasted grilled cheese, made with Fair Oaks Farms Fine Cheddar, Sweet Swiss, or Havarti Pepper. The Farmhouse porch will also be open for lunch and dinner, serving fresh beef and pork items produced on our farms such as The Ribeye Burger, our famous Fair Oaks Farms Pork Porthouse, Bacon Wrapped Meatloaf, and the Farmhouse Bacon Sampler.

You can find out about our ticket prices, hours of operation, and all other information here. We can’t wait to spend Independence Day with you!

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Free Admission Days for Jasper & Newton County Residents

For thirteen years, Fair Oaks Farms has been a part of a small area of farmers, business owners, educators, factory workers and so much more. Being part of Newton and Jasper Counties in Indiana has given us a real sense of community. We have been welcomed and given a home where we can blossom as a business and hopefully leave them (our neighbors) with a business that they can be proud of.

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For thirteen years we have continued to grow. We have welcomed new animals as part of our destination, new restaurants, new services and new experiences. We have been innovators in sustainability, we have been creators of delicious cuisine and we have been entertainers to both young and old. We have been educators in agriculture, bridging the gap between farmers and consumers and continue to strive to make those connections.

Visitors check out all of the new and exciting exhibits at The Pig Adventure at Fair Oaks Farms.

Visitors check out all of the new and exciting exhibits at The Pig Adventure at Fair Oaks Farms.

As a thank you to our two home counties, we will be offering two free admission days this summer (July 3 and August 7) to all residents of Jasper and Newton Counties in Indiana. We invite them in to experience the Dairy Adventure, the Pig Adventure and the WinField Crop Adventure at no cost, with a form of ID proving their residency.

 

We encourage these residents to bring their families and their neighbors and enjoy time together at our farms sharing and creating new memories this summer. We hope that these two days will bring joy to those who have supported us for so many years and hopefully for years to come.

 

We hope that this summer, all of our neighbors and friends have the opportunity to Start Your Adventure and Feed Your Curiosity.

 

Thank you for all of your support,

 

Fair Oaks Farms

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Grillin’ Tips for Father’s Day

Father’s Day is coming up quick and with the weather as beautiful as ever, we wanted to bring you some grilling tips to give Dad the best meal ever!

All products mentioned below can be found at our Dairycatessen, open Monday to Sunday, from 4 AM to 11 PM CST. Our cheeses can also be found in our online store — use code DAD20 to receive 20% off all online purchases until Father’s Day!

  1. To keep your burgers nice and level for all your favorite toppings, use a spoon or your thumb to push a small indentation into the top middle of each raw burger. Then you can add a staple like our Farmstead Fresh Bacon and Cheddar Mild, keep it smooth with our Provolone, or give it a kick with some Havarti Habanero.
  2. Don’t add your toppings too soon! You don’t want our Smoked Sweet Swiss stuck to your grill, you want it stacked on top of a juicy patty and some sautéed mushrooms! Add your toppings when your burger has only a minute left to cook, so your cheese can melt perfectly. The same goes for adding sauces to ribs, because sauces can easily burn. Steak sauce should only be added after the steak is cooked. Need some recommendations? Try out our Sweet Bourbon Glaze, Spicy Cajun Steak Sauce, or Portobello Mushroom Finishing Sauce.
  3. Get creative and make your food your own! It’s going to taste best if it’s the way you like it, so make sure your meat is cooked to the desired temperature and topped or mixed with whatever condiments you choose! Some people aren’t afraid to get bold and add peanut butter, spices, or some of our handcrafted Smoked Gouda cheese straight into their patties!
  4. Never put your raw food on a cool surface. Make sure your grill is hot by preheating it 15 to 25 minutes before you start cooking to prevent sticking and to lock in moisture.
  5. Always season your meat before you cook it. The simplest way to season is with simple salt and pepper, but you can also try our All Purpose Seasoning. If you’re looking for a rub for your ribs, give our Cinnamon Chipotle Rub and Original Pork Rub a try. Maybe you want to go for a marinade? Our Robust Ribeye Marinade is right up your alley.
  6. Cooking ribs can be delicate work! Keep the heat low and slow for the perfect set of tender ribs.
  7. Certain foods may need cooked on direct heat, while others cook better on indirect heat. For instance, boneless chicken breasts will be perfect grilled quickly over direct heat, but bone-in thighs take longer so direct heat alone would burn them.
  8. Knowing if your beef is done can be tricky and you don’t want to cut into the meat while it’s still cooking or you’ll lose its natural juices. Instead, use this hand trick if you don’t have an instant-read thermometer around.
    1. Hold your hand out with your palm up and touch the base of your hand, by the base of the thumb. This is how a steak will feel if it is raw.
    2. Keep your hand in the same position but make an “OK” sign by touching the tip of your thumb and pointer finger together. Now touch the same spot on your hand. You’ll notice it’s a bit firmer. This is how a steak will feel if it is rare.
    3. Now touch the tip of your thumb to your middle finger and press into the same spot on your hand. This is how a steak will feel if it is medium-rare.
    4. Touch the tip of your thumb to your ring finger and press into the same spot on your hand. This is how a steak will feel if it is medium.
    5. Lastly, touch the tip of you thumb to your pinky finger and press into the same spot on your hand. This is how a well-done steak will feel.
  9. On a similar note, making sure you give your meat time to rest is key to keeping the juices locked inside. Preferably, it is best to rest your meat for up to ten minutes after it’s done cooking – the longer it rests, the more juice it holds in, which means more flavor!
  10. Flare-ups can happen, to prevent them make sure to trim your meat and remove poultry skin. You can also keep a squirt bottle of water near your grill for any out of the blue flames.

If grilling isn’t your idea of a good time, don’t worry! The Farmhouse has an extra special Father’s Day menu that you can check out here — and don’t forget to make your reservation!

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Pawesome Way to Start off Summer — Dog-A-Palooza 2017!

Are you and your dog going absolutely mutts inside? Fair Oaks Farms has the cure! On June 10th, from 4 to 9 PM, we’ll be hosting our fourth annual Dog-A-Palooza festival!

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It’s the perfect opportunity to spend some quality time with your pup. You can shop some of the best dog-gone vendors that will offer dog-specific items and services, or watch some of our live dog performances. In the evening, we will hold a 2K Dog Glow Walk, because we know how much man’s best friend loves walks. This year’s proceeds from the Dog Glow Walk will go to the Shelter of the Year, to be announced May 30th.

The most exciting part of this year’s Dog-A-Palooza is the grand opening of our dog park, Central Bark! The park is currently open to the public and your four-legged friends. Here at Fair Oaks we’re happy to be a dog-friendly campus, and with the addition of our dog park we hope your furry companions will feel much more welcome! And on June 10th there will be plenty of time for your pooch to grow acquainted with their new favorite dog park.

This all sounds great, doesn’t it? To register for the Dog Glow Walk, check out our rules and guidelines for the event, and get all the in-fur-mation you could ever need, visit the event page at www.fofarms.com/dogapalooza. We can’t wait to see you all there!