Category Archives: Uncategorized

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.

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.

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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.

female farmer looking for eggs

Happy International Women’s Day to Women in Ag!

The UN reported in 2011 that women make up an average of about 43% of the agricultural labor force in developing countries. According to the 2012 Census of Agriculture, there are 969,672 women farmers in the United States, meaning 31% of American farmers are women. Of those women, a combined 301 million acres are being farmed, and a $12.9 billion economic impact. In Indiana alone there are 23,989 women farmers, farming just over 4 million acres and making a $294.6 million impact. And those are just the statistics from 2011 and 2012 – imagine how those numbers have grown! The numbers speak for themselves; women hold their own in agriculture.

Agriculture helps feed people from all over the world, and women are playing a crucial role to get the job done. From on and off the farm, the impact women have in agriculture is undeniable. One of our owners, Sue McCloskey, has been featured in Food & Wine and Good Housekeeping magazines, detailing her crucial position in the agriculture world. Not only does she own Fair Oaks Farms with her husband, Michael, where we strive to educate and inform others on the present and future of farming. She also is a founder of Fairlife, a company that produces top-quality milk that is unfiltered, free of lactose and rBST, and contains 50% more proteins, 30% more calcium, and half the sugars found in other brands of milk. We’re proud to be a product of Sue McCloskey’s great mind and to be a part of her story in ag.

Agriculture has come such a long way, and even though it is still mainly dominated by male farmers, women are making names for themselves and making their farming passions known across the world! So on this International Women’s Day, we want to give a big thank you to all the women that are supporting agriculture, educating others, and pushing the industry forward. We appreciate all that you do, no matter what part you play!

Beautiful grandmother and adult granddaugter taking selfies together eating ice-cream and having fun outdoors

You Could Win an Adventure Pass!

Do you consider yourself a total foodie? Does trying a new dish excite you? Do you photograph your meal before ever taking a bite? Do you scour Instagram for new foodies and food trends to follow? We need you!

Throughout the whole month of March, we’re hosting a Foodie Photo Contest! One lucky winner will be awarded a FREE Adventure Pass! All you have to do is:

  1. Follow @fairoaksfarms on Instagram.
  2. Upload your Cowfé foodie photo to Instagram.
  3. Tag @fairoaksfarms.
  4. Include #cowfefoodie in caption.

Adventure Passes are essential for any lover of Fair Oaks Farms! With your Adventure Pass, you’ll get free admission ALL YEAR! You’ll also enjoy the benefits of 10% off food and drinks at the Cowfê, 10% off any retail purchases at the gift shop, select free ticket days, birthday surprises, and free access to the Ropes Course! Plus, we offer special discounts and offers for all Adventure Pass holders from July to August. If that’s not enough, you’ll also have the chance of being featured on the Fair Oaks Farms official Instagram!

We love to see your photos when you visit Fair Oaks Farms, so we can’t wait to see all of your cheese pulls and milk mustaches!

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Happy National Pig Day!

National Pig Day is celebrated annually on March 1st, in the United States. It’s a great day to come to Fair Oaks Farms and take a Pig Adventure, which includes the Pork Education Center and Pig Adventure bus tour.

In our Pork Education Center, you can learn all about how pigs are changing the world, from food to medical advances. Did you know that some people can elect to get a pig valve when getting a heart valve transplant? Pigs are literally saving lives! You can find our Pigterest kiosk, which allows visitors to scroll through pork recipes and email them so you can cook up something delicious at home! There are tons of photo opportunities, like our pig pop culture wall and the custom treehouse! If you’re brave, on select weekends you can pay an additional fee to experience our Ropes Course!

On our Pig Adventure bus tour, you’ll learn all about the past and present of pig farming in our Welcome Center. Read about biosecurity and find out why all of our farmers and technicians must shower at the facility before and after work every day! You’ll get a birds-eye view of how we raise our pigs to prepare for breeding, and see the step-by-step process of how we inseminate our pigs. Try your hand at the pig sonogram to see how many piglets you can find! Step through the birthing hall to see families of piglets being born, and to get up close and personal with a special piglet!

The Pig Adventure is truly a once in a lifetime experience. On Thursday, March 1st, we’ll be open from 9 am to 5 pm CST, so come by to appreciate pigs in the best way!

Bride to be and bride tribe at bachelorette party

Bridal Show Preview

If you somehow haven’t heard, Fair Oaks Farms is hosting our Annual Spring Bridal Show on March 4th! Compete with giveaways, vendors, and a fashion show, it’s sure to be an afternoon to remember. We sat down with Megan Rogers, the coordinator of events at the Farmhouse Restaurant, to learn a bit more about the Bridal Show.

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How many years has the bridal show been running?
Megan: This is our 3rd Spring Bridal Show. I started this show when I began working here.

What can guests expect from the bridal show?
Megan: We are anticipating at least 125 brides with approximately 500 guests in attendance total.

What kind of vendors/businesses will be present?
Megan: We have a variety of vendors that could be useful to brides. From photographers to DJs, to florists, we even have a realtor if couples are looking to purchase their first home together!

What is the schedule for the day?
Megan: The show begins at 1 PM CST, and we will have a fashion show throughout the day, presented by Elegance Wedding and Evening Wear, that will spotlight wedding dresses and tuxes. We will also have three different raffle drawings throughout the day. We are expecting some pretty fabulous prizes!

What kind of giveaways will take place? How can guests sign up for them/participate?
Megan: Each bride and groom will receive a ticket upon arrival. They will be able to pick the time slot they would like to enter in for the raffle. There will be a lot of gift cards from vendors, and the Farmhouse is giving away a $1000 grand prize gift card!

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Is the event space for the bridal show available for weddings and receptions?
Megan: Yes! We are excited to be booking for 2018, 2019, and 2020 at this point. We still have multiple dates available at this time. We can accommodate up to 200 guests in our beautiful ballroom, and beginning in the spring of 2019 we hope to have our hotel available to our guests as well!

How can guests inquire about booking the ballrooms for a wedding or reception?
Megan: They can set up a private tour or visit us at our booth at the show. Just email meganrogers@fofarms.com for more information. We will have complimentary discounts and items for booking your wedding the day of our show. Please stop by our booth for more details!

In past years, what has been the most popular/fun part of the bridal show?
Megan: Personally, it would be seeing the excitement all of these brides have for one of the most special days of their life. They are so excited, and it is an honor to help them plan their special day! For the show itself, our guests love the fashion show and all of the fun giveaways and such.

Can guests still register for the bridal show?
Megan: We do not have a limit on the number of brides that we are taking. We want all that we can get. We will be accepting walk-ins as well. Even if they do not pre-register, they are more than welcome to join! The more, the merrier.

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The Fair Oaks Farms Spring Bridal Show takes place March 4th, 1 PM CST to 4 PM. To register and for all other details, please visit the Farmhouse’s website.

Shot of a multi generational family cooking together at home

Family Chili!

Don’t let this gloomy weather get you down. If you’re stuck inside with your family, put your heads together to come up with the best chili recipe ever! Below we’ve given you some suggestions, instructions, tips, and tricks. The best part about chili is it’s a dump recipe — meaning you dump all the ingredients in a pot and let it cook! It’s the perfect time to teach children about tastes, textures, and cooking.

Best Chili Ever

We've given you a make-shift recipe below, but don't be afraid to get creative and add your best ideas!

Course Main Course
Cuisine American
Cook Time 1 hour
Total Time 1 hour
Servings 5 people

Ingredients

  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 1 can light red kidney beans
  • 1 can dark red kidney beans
  • 1 large onion
  • 28 oz crushed tomatoes
  • 46 oz tomato juice
  • chili powder & other seasonings (to taste)

Instructions

  1. Brown the ground beef in a large pot, then set off to the side and drain.

  2. Chop the onion.

  3. Combine ground beef, onion, light & dark red kidney beans, crushed tomatoes, and tomato juice, in the pot. Add chili powder and other seasonings.

  4. Bring to a boil, stir occasionally. Then drop the temperature to low and simmer until beans and onion are tender.

  5. Continue to season until you've reached the desired taste.

Recipe Notes

  • If you'd like to add pasta to your chili, add a cup of two of dry pasta ten minutes before serving.
  • Serve with peanut butter sandwiches, saltines, and a Fair Oaks Farms' shredded cheese of your choice!
  • Feel free to get creative with your ingredients, adding different kinds of beans and vegetables is encouraged!
Closeup side view of group mixed age adults tasting different types of wine at a winery. They are seated by a long table with wines in front of each person and wine evaluation charts. Focus on the closest person to the camera.

Join Us for Italian Wine Tasting!

Have you ever attended an event at the Farmhouse Restaurant℠? Every once in a while, our staff puts together a special evening for guests to taste unique spirits and a specially-curated menu. Coming up on March 1st, we’ll be holding an Italian wine tasting with the guest of honor, Annalaura Tili!

Annalaura Tili is an owner and operator of Tili Vini Winery, located in Assisi, Italy. She will be guiding guests through a tasting of seven different Tili Vini wines and their award-winning olive oil. The Farmhouse’s Chef Jorge Sullon has created a menu to complement the imported wines as well, ensuring for a delicious evening!

The wine tasting begins at 6 pm CST on March 1st. Reservations must be made by calling (219) 394-3663. Tickets are $35 per person and include wine tasting and appetizers.

Wine list includes:

  • Assisi Grechetto
  • Marilu Umbria Roso Passito
  • Assisi Young
  • Sacreterre Umbria Rosso
  • Assisi Rosso
  • Assisi Pinot Nero
  • Assisi Rosato

Appetizers by Chef Jorge Sullon:

  • Caprese Crostini
  • Arancini
  • Fair Oaks Farms’® Cheese Board, Assorted Bread, and Charcuterie
  • Prosciutto e Melone
  • Caesar Salad Bites
  • Stuffed Mushrooms
  • Antipasto Skewers