Author Archives: Fair Oaks Farms

A macro shot of pig in a blanket appetizer on a plate with mustard dipping sauce.  Please see my portfolio for other food and drink images.

It’s National Pigs in a Blanket Day!

You read that right, there’s an official day set aside to celebrate Pigs in a Blanket! We can’t believe it either, but then again we won’t pass up the opportunity to make one of our favorite childhood snacks! Down below we’ve included a recipe for a classic Pig in a Blanket, spiced up with some Fair Oaks Farms fresh ingredients, of course. Whip these up for a delicious, comforting snack for the whole family!

Fair Oaks Farms Pigs in a Blanket

A delicious Fair Oaks Farms take on the simple and tasty classic.

Course Dinner, Lunch, Snack
Cuisine American
Servings 8 Pigs in a Blanket

Ingredients

  • 8 hot dogs
  • 8 ounces Fair Oaks Farms Havarti Pepper cheese thinly sliced
  • 1 can refrigerated crescent rolls

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Slit each hot dog with a sharp knife, being careful not to completely split them in half.

  2. Stuff each hot dog with thinly sliced Fair Oaks Farms Havarti Pepper cheese, or any other Fair Oaks Farms cheese of your choosing.

  3. Roll out the dough, separating into the pre-cut triangles. Rest each hot dog on the widest side of the triangle, then roll towards the opposite corner.

  4. Place wrapped hot dogs on a baking sheet, cheese side up. Bake until dough becomes golden brown and the cheese is melted.

  5. Cut into halves for an afternoon snack or leave whole and whip up an easy dipping sauce for dinner!

Recipe Notes

Any kind of Fair Oaks Farms cheese can be used, Havarti Pepper is suggested above to give your Pigs in a Blanket a kick!

Sweet little boy (5 years) in community garden, holding a seedling in his hands.

Celebrate Earth Day at Fair Oaks Farms!

On Saturday, April 22nd, join us for our Earth Day celebration! Earth Day is an annual event to support and spread awareness about environmental protection and sustainability. At Fair Oaks Farms, part of our mission is to reduce our carbon footprint. Cow manure creates methane, which we convert into usable energy for our farms. You heard that right, we’re powered by poo! We’ll be teaching you all about our sustainability along with other lessons to help the Earth on Earth Day. Read below to find out what you can experience on this special day.

Each Adventure will have their own activities, each teaching you a new way to help the environment. You’ll find out how to reduce your carbon footprint at home, learn about ways to reduce and reuse common household items and see how composting becomes rich fertilizer to feed crops! A passport will be handed out at Admissions on Earth Day and you can travel to each Adventure to get an exclusive sticker when you’ve completed the activities!

At the Dairy Adventure, you’ll learn exactly how we reduce our carbon footprint, and how you can use similar techniques at home to help the environment. You’ll learn all about green energy and how farmers help protect the environment.

At the Pork Education Center, you’ll learn all about bees, colony collapse disorder, and how important these insects are to our environment! Did you know that honey bees are a vital part of our ecosystem? We’ll teach you all about pollination and how to grow plants that will support the life and health of honey bees. 

In our garden, you can learn growing tips from our garden team! Our team members grow beautiful flowers in the middle of campus and keep our orchard and vegetable garden thriving for the Farmhouse Restaurant! You’ll learn how to grow your own sunflower with household items by reusing, reducing and recycling. Learning these basic techniques can help you grow your own plants, vegetables and fruits at home. 

Last but not least, the Crop Adventure will be teaching visitors all about vermiculture. Vermiculture can create a very rich fertilizer. Composting is a great way to reduce waste and creates feed for critters that keep our ground healthy! You’ll learn how to create your own worm farm at home, so you can create fertilizer for your own lush garden.

Make a toast with a beer.

Beer Dinner at The Farmhouse Restaurant

Join us Thursday, April 26th at 6 PM for a beer dinner, hosted by The Farmhouse & St. John Malt Brothers! The menu is set with South American inspired cuisine and each dish is paired with brews from St. John Malt Brothers.

Bartenders will start the evening with a blackberry mojito, but then Chef Jorge will take the reigns for an amuse-bouche course of Leche de Tigre. Fish marinated in citrus, fried calamari, and a sweet potato mousse, make this a course you can’t skip out on. It’s the perfect entrance to an evening of unique tastes from plate to glass. The second course of the evening is a Quinoa and Octopus Salad served with a mixture of roasted corn and poblano pepper that rests on a bed of quinoa and topped with an aioli dressing. The third course is a modern twist on a classic, the Papa Rellena, a potato stuffed with Fair Oaks Farms’ filet mignon, with hard egg and a bell pepper crema. Next up is Arroz con Pollo, a dish full of comforting chicken, beer braised rice, cilantro, English peas, and carrots. The last entree for the night is an extravagant Jales de Mariscos with fried seafood, yucca, tartar sauce, aji aioli, and salsa criolla. To finish the evening, a chocolate cake dessert will be served, topped with Coconut Whip, Chocolate Sauce, and Fair Oaks Farms Vanilla Bean Ice Cream. Each dish is paired with a delicious beer from St. John Malt Brothers.

The Beer Dinner is $55 per person and space is limited. Call The Farmhouse today to reserve your spot, this isn’t an evening you want to miss!

kitchen

A Farmhouse Story

By Victor Reis, an employee at The Farmhouse Restaurant

“Are you always this busy? How do you do it?”

“Oh my gosh, look at that steak! I know what I’m ordering!”

“These desserts! Do you think they’ll mind if I get more than one?”

This is what we hear as we stroll through the aisles between the tables and booths, flanked by the massive fireplace everyone wants to sit by and our windowed kitchen everyone wants to look into. We see hungry families, business colleagues, travelers, students and friends. We hear your laughter, and see your smile and your wide eyes as you see how much food is on your plate, wondering if you can finish it all. This fine-dining experience produces the best, whether ordering a filet or one of our gourmet burgers — and we recommend both! Half of the time, we don’t know what to order ourselves when looking at the menu! There is only so much room in our stomachs, after all, and it is all amazing.

We receive everyone, no matter if they’re wearing a suit or t-shirt. We treat our guests as if they were in our home, and if you ask some of our servers they’ll tell you The Farmhouse may as well be. Please come as you are. Tell us where you’re traveling from, where you’re going, what you saw on your visit to the farm and our many attractions, from the Birthing Barn to the Crop Adventure. We took these tours ourselves and were as impressed as you are. We know the ladies and gentlemen running the natural gas plant, and how driven they are to providing the cleanest and most efficient transformation of raw material to usable energy.

Secretly, while you watch us in the kitchen, we look back and see your community sitting together. Sometimes loud, sometimes quiet, the dining room floor with its many tables and booths warmly invite everyone to sit together and cast aside the worries of the world. Servers delightfully squeal with glee, seeing young visitors stare wide-eyed at the food and big cow and pig decorations, sitting cheerfully together above our spiral staircase. You’ll find the employees are as diverse as you are, and our differences are secondary to working together, to making your experience the best we can. Never saying “no” to a request, the servers will do whatever is needed to make their guests happy and to help one another. If you love our food, which we know you will and work hard to make sure of it, you might notice you’re not the only one. “Oh, I want that! I’m ordering that after work,” is exclaimed more often than you might expect from a server gazing at what our expert cooks and chefs are preparing for you. Our servers love our food and if you ask them what their favorite dish is, they will tell you with full sincerity if it’s the ribeye or the mac & cheese. You need to try both. You also need to try our Brussel sprouts, fried then topped with honey. Our fried cheese curds or freshly cut cheese board showcase what Fair Oaks Farms produces. The chocolate milk is by far the best! Try Fairlife chocolate milk — it has double the protein and half the sugar of regular milk and doesn’t sacrifice taste.

The encouragements given by our servers to the cooks when they studiously craft your dish is what this is all about, and why people come here to work and eat. Our chefs delegate to their team with trust, are always ready and willing to patiently explain how to deliver the finest food and are somehow able to take care of hundreds of people filing in throughout the day. They simultaneously host fantastic banquets, spearheaded by our management staff that is second to none in making our guests happy. You’ll find our management walking around and laughing with guests, making sure their experience is the best because you selected to dine with us. You matter to them, and to us, more than I can accurately convey here in text. You should come by and see for yourself.

This place is different, and that’s why you came to visit instead of stopping by at a run-of-the-mill restaurant. The education on how important farming is and how few feed us all, the peaceful and pleasant settings our animals live in, it all sets us apart from other eateries. We are you, from your communities, and equally inspired by the promise of Fair Oaks Farms’ mission that has servers driving an hour to work here. I have never in my life heard coworkers and colleagues work and push themselves so hard to make the experience of someone passing by as memorable and pleasant as we do.

And if you’re tired from driving all day, spend some time at our hotel that will open soon. Yes, we will have our own hotel. I am as impressed as you are.

Easter Elegant Place Setting, Dining Table with Ham Dinner  and Vase of Tulips

Easy Easter Ham Recipe

A holiday should be about family time, so prep this ham in 20 minutes then roast it in the oven for 3 hours while you hunt for Easter eggs!

Easy Easter Ham

A simple recipe to serve for your Easter celebration.

Course Easter, Main Course
Cuisine American
Prep Time 15 minutes
Cook Time 1 hour 15 minutes
Total Time 1 hour 30 minutes
Servings 25 people
Calories 390 kcal

Ingredients

  • 8 to 10 pound fully cooked bone-in ham
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/2 cup Fair Oaks Farms Butter
  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
  • 4 cloves garlic smashed

Instructions

  1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees, placing a rack in the lower third of the oven. Remove all packaging and netting from the ham before trimming away the rind. Rest the ham at room temperature for about 1 or 2 hours.

  2. If you prefer an easier cleanup, line a baking dish with several sheets of aluminum foil or parchment paper.

  3. Score the ham with a sharp knife, in a 1-inch wide diamond pattern, making sure not to cut more than 1/4-inch deep. Place the ham in the prepared baking dish, then pour 1/3 cup of water into the base of the dish. Cover the ham with another layer of foil or parchment paper, then bake for 30 minutes.

  4. While the ham is baking, heat the butter in a small pot until golden brown. Add the brown sugar, honey, and mustard, and stir well until combined. Reduce heat and add the garlic. Cook until it begins to simmer, then set the sauce aside and cool to room temperature.

  5. After 30 minutes, remove the ham and increase the oven temperature to 425 degrees. Pour 1/3 of the glaze all over the ham, then use a brush to get in between the cuts. Bake uncovered for another 15 minutes.

  6. Remove the ham from the oven, then brush another third of the glaze on top. Use some of the pan juices to brush on as well. Place back in the oven for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, repeat these steps. At this time a dark golden-brown crust should form on the top of the ham. If it does not form, turn on your broiler for about 5 minutes.

  7. Let the ham rest for around 15 minutes, then slice and serve.

Cute 2 years old toddler girl playing with a basket full with Easter eggs and carrots outside under a big tree. She is happy and wearing Easter bunny ears headband

Easter at Our House

Easter is a wonderful time to get your family together and spend some quality time together. This year you can make a reservation at The Farmhouse Restaurant and enjoy one of our two specially curated buffets!

The Farmhouse’s brunch menu includes:

  • Roasted Leg of Lamb
  • Herb-Crusted Pork Loin Carving Station
  • Prime Rib Carving Station
  • Cedar Plank Salmon
  • Fresh Fruit and Fair Oaks Farms Yogurt
  • Freshly Baked Pastries and Muffins
  • Build-Your-Own Omelet Station
  • Scrambled Eggs
  • Bacon
  • Sausage
  • French Toast
  • Country Potatoes
  • Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
  • Farmhouse Mac & Cheese
  • Fresh Green Beans
  • Dessert Table

The Farmhouse’s dinner menu includes:

  • Roasted Leg of Lamb
  • Herb-Crusted Pork Loin Carving Station
  • Prime Rib Carving Station
  • Ced Plank Salmon
  • Build-Your-Own Pasta Station
  • Pork Belly
  • Baby Back Ribs
  • Cajun Chicken with Rice
  • Beer Battered Cod
  • Chicken Fingers
  • Shrimp Ceviche
  • Spinach Dip with Crackers and Pretzels
  • Baked Potatoes
  • Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes
  • Farmhouse Mac & Cheese
  • Fresh Green Beans
  • Dessert Table

Call The Farmhouse today to find out more about pricing and times, and to make your reservation, at (219) 394-3663. The Easter Bunny will be making the rounds through campus and stopping by The Farmhouse at 10:30 am to 1 pm CST and 4:30 to 7 pm.

 

African descent grandmother and grandchild gardening in outdoor vegetable garden in spring or summer season.  Cute little girl enjoys planting new flowers and vegetable plants.

Flower Garden Tips for Spring!

At Fair Oaks Farms, we’re lucky enough to have experienced and practiced farmers that know just how to grow beautiful flowers, plants, crops, and vegetables. If you have ever visited our garden in the middle of the campus, you’ve probably seen daisies of every color, bountiful cotton plants, rows of feed for our animals, and even a corn maze around Cowtoberfest time! But not everyone is a farmer, and for those people beginning and maintaining a garden can be hard work. We’ve compiled some of the most essential tips for starting your flower garden this spring. Stay tuned for tips on growing a beautiful vegetable garden in the coming weeks!

  1. Sun is vital! Flowers get their energy from the sun, using the process called photosynthesis. Some flowers even change the way they grow to gain more sunlight. To make it easy on your flowers and plants, place them somewhere where they’ll get an ample amount of sun throughout the spring and summer. There are several “sun calculators” on the Internet to help you place your garden in a place for optimal sun, but if you can’t access one of those, plot your garden in an area that will get 6 to 8 hours a day of full sunlight.
  2. It’s all in the soil! Sunlight is how flowers and plants get energy, but the soil is where they grow their roots. Before you plant your flowers, make sure you till the soil in your garden. It’s also important to know what the pH level of your garden area is, so you can tell if your plants have a chance at a healthy life. Many garden stores have pH monitors or soil tests to help you in your gardening; we suggest to invest in one of these. Your soil needs to be able to soak and drain water as well.
  3. Know your flowers. It’s incredibly important to know what you’re planting. Picking out the correct flowers can be a complicated process, so it’s important to read all labels and materials and do your research. Flowers typically fall into two groups — annuals and perennials. Annuals bloom only once and must be replanted every year. However, perennials’ root systems stay alive underground even in winter, so these plants do not need to be replanted every spring. It might seem the perennials are low maintenance, but they can sometimes take a year or more to bloom! They do take less maintenance than annuals (as you don’t need to replant every single spring) but they are by no means a plant-it-and-forget-it option.
  4. Make a plan and stick to it. I’m sure you’ve seen beautifully luscious flower gardens, overflowing with colorful petals and leaves at every inch. It isn’t easy to have a beautiful flower garden. Flowers and plants require routine maintenance, watering, and fertilizing. If you commit to planting a flower garden, you must take it seriously and nurture it. Plot your garden to make sure your plants have enough room to grow, create a watering and fertilization schedule based on your research, and write it all down, so you don’t forget. A flower garden is a hands-on experience, and you’ll have to put in hard work and time if you want a picturesque garden!
  5. Start early. It might be late in the season to get this tip into action, but now you’ll know for future years! Many gardeners begin growing their seedlings inside during the colder months, so when the warmer weather comes around, they can be transferred into the prepared garden. Some plants take up to several weeks, to a year for perennials, to bloom, so starting them inside can cut away some of that time. You can buy already blooming plants at a greenhouse, but these plants might have a hard time growing accustomed to a new environment. It’s almost better to start your own seedlings to acclimate them to your soil and sunlight.

If you have any of your own tips and tricks, leave a comment below!

Mature farmer flying a drone over a field. Wears casual clothes.

An Out of this World Adventure!

What’s your favorite part of Fair Oaks Farms? Is it the Birthing Barn, where you can witness the miracle of life right before your eyes? Is it the Dairy Parlor, where you can see exactly where your milk, ice cream and butter, comes from? Or is it the Crop Adventure, where you get to learn how technology and the innovations of tomorrow are impacting farming? If it’s the last one, we’ve got an exclusive experience just for you!

Drones are becoming a vital part of farming in today’s agriculture. Tom Nichol from AgEagle describes the benefit of drones by saying, “The biggest thing we provide to farmers is a chance to have an overall view of their field like they are a personal airplane.” It can be incredibly beneficial to view all of your fields and inspect your crops from a bird’s eye view, especially if you own a lot of land!

For a limited time at Fair Oaks Farms, we’ll be offering a Drone workshop to schools and groups that will explain farmers use drones and satellites to improve their farming efforts! In the workshop, you’ll be able to participate in a range of activities that include flying drones and using satellites to help with communication.

If you’re a group that is interested in booking, contact Lisa Roozee at (219) 394-2025, extension 322, or email at lisar@fofarms.com.

Homemade Reuben Sandwich with Corned Beef and Sauerkraut

Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at The Farmhouse Restaurant!

Deck yourself out in green and swing by The Farmhouse on Saturday, March 17th, for an Irish-American-inspired feature menu! The menu will feature traditional fare, as well as contemporary dishes and Saint Patrick’s Day themed drinks.

Entrees include:

  • Irish Egg Rolls

A contemporary twist on the traditional corned beef meal. Corned beef, Fair Oaks Farms’ Swiss Cheese, and 1000 Island Dressing, wrapped in a delicate egg roll wrap and fried to a flaky-crisp.

  • Traditional Corned Beef Sandwich

For those that want a mix of classic and new, our corned beef sandwich should hit the spot. Housemade corned beef and Fair Oaks Farms’ Swiss make up the traditional taste, but Cowboy Mustards gives this sandwich a complimentary kick!

  • Corned Beef and Cabbage

A dish for those that want to stick to comfort, this corned beef and cabbage recipe is for you. Once again our Housemade Corned Beef is used, married with Cabbage, Carrots, and Red Potatoes.

  • Fish and Chips

If corned beef isn’t your thing, we’ve got a flaky Pale Ale Beer Battered Cod just for you. Served with French Fries and Cole Slaw, this entree could never disappoint.

Libations include:

  • Green Beer (Miller Lite)
  • Guinness
  • Jameson “Caskmates”
  • Irish Mule
  • James and Bushmills Cocktails
  • South Side Smash
  • Irish Maid

Doesn’t this sound like the perfect way to spend an evening? Call in or visit The Farmhouse’s website today to make your reservation!

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South by Southwest Not Your Usual Dairy Destination

By Sue McCloskey

At first glance, South by Southwest (SXSW) might be the last place you think the dairy industry would be. The event is billed as a way to “celebrate the convergence of the interactive, film and music industries.” 

Sounds like miles away from our farms, doesn’t it?

But, the purpose behind SXSW and the people who attend it in droves every year are exactly why we need to keep this event circled on our dairy calendars.

Every March, people from across the globe converge on Austin, Texas, for a 10-day glimpse into the future. This is the second consecutive year the dairy industry has participated in the interactive portion of SXSW, thanks to the vision of the farmer-founded Innovation Center for U.S. Dairy. 

The interactive portion of SXSW has become a breeding ground for new ideas and creative technologies and typically draws nearly 40,000 attendees.

I have known about SXSW for some time, so there was no hesitation on my part when I was asked to be part of a panel discussion hosted by the Innovation Center titled “We Love Technology … Why Not When it Comes to Food?”

Is there anything more relevant than the use of technology – and consumers’ misunderstanding of it — for those of us who farm every day?

The level of innovation in our country and on our farms defines us as Americans. We’re innovators, big thinkers and we challenge the status quo. That’s what has made this country – and farming – great. Yet, that doesn’t always resonate with a skeptical public who feels technology compromises the integrity of the food they consume.

So, our panel’s goal was to explore this complex relationship between food, technology and consumer trust to an audience of people we know are generations removed from farming. Our discussion was open, and it allowed me to address misperceptions in food production and why farm technology matters to them.

My message is one you are familiar with: we farm, so they don’t have to. We are the 2 percent of the nation that rises each day to assure food security. We have the safest, most affordable and most abundant food supply in the world and technology allows this to happen. Farm technology means they don’t have to think about growing their own food and they are free to pursue the careers they choose. Many people nodded in agreement as I shared these words.

The people at SXSW are influencers and early adopters of change. Many also represented a younger generation, and they’re more open-minded than we sometimes give them credit for. In most cases, we were the first farmers they have ever met, and the reception was absolutely positive. They wanted to learn about us and have an exchange of ideas.

What may have been most surprising is I didn’t find people who had a disposition against dairy or the “big ag” claims we sometimes hear. Instead, I met people who were open to talking with me and the other eight dairy farmers in attendance. When people can look a farmer in the eye and have a conversation, there is a level of trust built, and that’s what we need more of.

The vibe at SXSW is contagious. There is such energy through a collaboration of open discussion and thought among some of the brightest people you may ever meet. Our industry opened new doors there.

There is great value of inserting ourselves in unexpected places.

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Sue McCloskey is the founder of Fair Oaks Farms in Indiana and Fairlife milk.