Tag Archives: Fair Oaks Farms


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.


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

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
Cropped shot of a woman wearing an engagement after getting proposed to

Top 6 Places to Propose at Fair Oaks Farms

Some people might not think about a farm as a romantic setting, but what’s more romantic than making memories with that one special person in your life? Thousands of people propose marriage at tourist destinations across the world, such as Walt Disney World and theme parks like Kings Island. We’ve even been the host to a promposal! Fair Oaks Farms® would be the perfect spot to propose, as we have naturally beautiful landscapes, intimate settings and places for you to celebrate afterward with family and friends! Below we’ve listed the Top 6 places to propose on Fair Oaks Farms campus. Happy Valentine’s Day!


Farmhouse Restaurant℠ Dining Room

Perhaps the most obvious place to propose to your soul mate is our Farmhouse Restaurant. The Farmhouse boasts a large dining room, complete with unique lighting, glass walls along the kitchen to get a clear view inside, a pub area, fireplace and a private dining room. Request a seat by the fire to warm up to the big question! Or speak to a member of staff to place the perfect ring on top of a bowl of Fair Oaks Farms’ Ice Cream, a slice of Brûléed Vanilla Bean Cheesecake, or a dish of Belgian Chocolate & Raspberry Bread Pudding. Dessert isn’t your thing? We have a full menu of sparkling, white, and red wines that might please your spouse-to-be. Our staff at the Farmhouse would love to help you make this an unforgettable moment for all!


Farmhouse Restaurant Porch at Sunset

Now, this might seem specific, but it’s only because it might be the most beautiful view we’ve ever seen! During the warmer months, guests are welcome to dine on the porch of the Farmhouse – and even bring along man’s best friend! There’s no better view on Fair Oaks Farms’ campus than a gorgeous sunset from the porch, right as the sun hits the tree line and turns the sky a gorgeous mix of purples, oranges and yellows. Tables are even offered around the back of the restaurant to provide privacy, but you can also reserve a group of tables if you’d like to make it a family & friend affair! Again, you can speak to the staff to discuss the ring’s special placement on one of our dishes, or get down on one knee with your back to the sun, giving your partner a beautiful view to go along with their most cherished memory.

Hands and paws together round an engagement ring

A Special Event

If you’re looking for something public and exciting, you might consider one of our special events! Four times a year we bring in thousands of guests to visit campus and partake in some of the most fun festivals northwest Indiana has to offer! Fair in the Air™ is our kite-flying festival, and how neat would it be if you requested a kite team to fly an improvised and synchronized routine to you and your partner’s favorite song! Are you and your special someone dog lovers? Bring your pups to Dog-a-Palooza™ and tie the ring to your dog’s collar – we’d be happy to help and turn attention to you for this special moment! Cowtoberfest® is our most popular event of the year, and if you and your significant other love Halloween and fall, this is the place to slip on your couple’s costume and pop the question! Lastly is Holiday Farm Frenzy™, and there are plenty of opportunities to make them yours, like on our holiday wagon ride or during the acapella choir’s rendition of “All I Want for Christmas is You.” Whichever event fits you and your partner perfectly, our staff would love to help. Speak to one of our Adventure Guides or a member of our marketing team to make your dream proposal come true!


Pork Education Center™ Ropes Course

This spot is definitely for our adventure seekers! We’re known for adventures, but those that are seeking a thrill always gravitate towards our Ropes Course! This could be the perfect place to excite your sweetheart as you two are climbing through ropes and pedestals up in the air. You can work together, enjoy each other’s laughter, and bring your friends and family along to snap tons of photos! Whether you decide to propose up in the air or when you’re both safely back on the ground, you’ll have a story to tell in the future.


Crop Adventure™

Do you come from a farming family? Has your present been impacted by the long history of farming in the United States? Do you and your loved one intend to carry on the tradition? We have the perfect place for you. Our Crop Adventure takes you through the history of farming from the very beginning, leading up to modern advances and how we all use crops today to make everyday items. If you come from a long line of farmers and plan on carrying agriculture through your family, the Crop Adventure might be the perfect place to make the next big step towards your future! As you go through the exhibits, remind your significant other of the history that you two have together, where you are now, and dreams you have for your future. The last room in our Crop Adventure is outlined with walls of glass, providing a great view of our event field and Green Gate Garden®. Remind your loved one what brought you together, what you enjoy, and how you intend to carry your future through agriculture.

Man taking a selfie after proposing to his girlfriend.

Green Gate Garden in Bloom

There’s nothing more picturesque than our Green Gate Garden in full bloom. Our gardening team strives to create a unique experience with different kinds of grains, crops, and flowers to amuse our guests. You’ll always see a few people meandering through when it’s in full bloom, admiring our well-tended garden. It’s the perfect place to remind your partner how beautiful and unique they are to you! We have multiple benches throughout the garden, making it easy for you to take a breather from our Adventures, pluck a flower, and proclaim your love. Afterwards, you’re in the perfect setting to take a hundred selfies to send to your family and friends, and post on your social media – just don’t forget to tag us!


Of course, these aren’t the only places you could propose on our campus, after all, we’re a pretty big deal! Keep in mind that after you propose, you can come back and host your wedding or reception at the Farmhouse Restaurant! We offer multiple dining and party packages to fit your vision of the perfect, fairytale wedding. For information on packages, photos, and ways to contact our wedding team, visit our website. You can also attend our Annual Bridal Show by registering here!


Cheese Counter Exclusive!

Have you had the chance to visit our cheese counter at the Cowfé? At the counter, you can sample as many Fair Oaks Farms cheeses as you please! The cheese counter attendants are there to answer your questions and help you select your new favorite cheese. This week we have an exclusive interview with our cheese counter manager, Kim! (Keep in mind, Valentine’s Day is right around the corner, and who doesn’t love cheese?!)

What is the most popular cheese purchased at the cheese counter?
Kim: Sweet Swiss is the most popular purchased cheese.

What cheese do people sample the most?
Kim: The three top kinds of cheese that are sampled are Sweet Swiss, Batterkase, Aged Gouda.

What is the most popular gift collection purchased at the cheese counter?
This year the box that sold the most in the Cowfé was the Heartland.

Have you tried all of the cheeses?
Kim: Yes, when you train in cheese you get to try all of the cheeses to help you with learning the descriptions.

What is your favorite cheese?
Kim: My favorite cheese is our 9-Year Cheddar, it has the most aged crystallization and a citric after-flavor.

Are visitors allowed to create their own collection with a branded hat box?
Kim: Most definitely, our hat boxes are $10, and you can put anything you would like in them.

What are the most frequently asked questions at the cheese counter?
Kim: The most frequently asked question is, what cheese are you known for here at Fair Oaks?

Approximately how many people sample cheese per day?
Kim: We sample to about 250 people on a slow day!

How can visitors improve their sampling experience?
Kim: Try all different kinds of cheese — you never know what you will like!

What is the spiciest cheese we have?
Kim: Our spiciest cheese is Havarti Habanero, it has a little kick right at the end.

What is the mildest cheese we have?
Kim: The mildest has to be our Butterkase, it’s a Danish cheese that pairs well with apples and grapes.

What is the smokiest cheese we have?
Kim: Our Smoked Gouda is our smokiest, it’s been smoked in a smokehouse with hickory smoke. It actually won first place at the World Dairy Expo in 2017!

How does the taste of the cheddars change from year to year?
Kim: Each year our cheddar is aged it gets more age crystallization and a citric after flavor.

Are all of the cheeses made from Fair Oaks Farms milk?
Kim: Yes, all of our cheeses are made with our products, Fair Oaks Farms milk and cream.

Where are the cheeses made?
Kim: Our Fair oaks cheese is made at one of our off-site facilities in Verona, Wisconsin.


Our Cowfé is currently open 8 am to 4 pm CST, stop by anytime to sample your new favorite cheese! For 24-hour access to purchase our cheese, check out our online store!


Top 3 Cheesy Items from the Farmhouse!

In case you’ve been in hibernation, hiding away from this cold weather, Saturday is National Cheese Lovers Day! And if there’s anything we love here at Fair Oaks Farms, it’s cheese! You can taste that love when you bite into any of our award-winning cheeses, and one of the best ways to try our cheeses is at the Farmhouse Restaurant! Not only is our menu packed with meat options that come straight from our farms, but there are plenty of dishes that showcase our creamy, perfected cheeses as well! Below we’ve chosen the top 3 cheesiest items you MUST try the next time you make a stop at the Farmhouse!


Fair Oaks Farms’ Cheese Curds

Our grilled cheese is almost famous, but our cheese curds have also made a name for themselves in Northwest Indiana. They’re the perfect starter — but we wouldn’t judge if you wanted to make a meal out of them! Fair Oaks Farms’ cheddar cheese curds are battered and deep-fried to perfection until they’re crunchy on the outside and gooey in the middle. Curds are piled high in a small basket, then sprinkled with parmesan cheese. These curds are terrific on their own, but we serve them with jalapeño ranch and marinara just in case you want a flavorful touch. Share them with your table or keep them to yourself, either way, you’ll be happy you indulged in one of our best recipes!


Ribeye Burger

It’s the most popular burger on our menu, leading the pack with a half-pound of dry aged ribeye, chipotle mayo, baby arugula, tomato, and Fair Oaks Farms Havarti Pepper cheese. It’s hard to pick a frontrunner-ingredient that takes the sandwich over the top, but many claim it to be the Havarti Pepper cheese. The smooth taste of beef mixes perfectly with the spicy tang of chipotle mayo and Havarti Pepper cheese, giving it the ideal level of heat for anyone who desires a bit of a punch on their burger. Havarti, in general, is the most popular cheese to use on burgers because of how perfectly it melts. Adding the kick of the pepper only heightens this burger’s flavor profile, making it one of the most popular cheesy items on our menu.

Ultimate Grilled Cheese

It wasn’t until this fall that the Farmhouse decided to try their hand at the best grilled cheese. Our Cowfé has always held it down with the simple classics, but the Farmhouse took it to the next level when they premiered the Ultimate Grilled Cheese this fall. It’s made up of buttery Texas Toast, bacon, tomato, pesto aioli, and three different kinds of Fair Oaks Farms cheeses: our award-winning Muenster, fan-favorite Cheddar, and the spicy Havarti Pepper. Three types of cheese team up to take this grilled cheese to the top, adding a mix of smooth, sharp, and spicy flavors to compliment the salt of the bacon, juiciness of the tomato, and fresh taste of the pesto aioli. All the ingredients come together to form the apex comfort food, the grilled cheese of our dreams.


Honorable Mentions

We couldn’t leave these foods out of our tops choices either, it all just tastes so good!

  • Onion Soup (using Emmentaler cheese)
  • Fair Oaks Farms Mac ‘N’ Cheese (using a mix of Fair Oaks Farms cheese)
  • Fried Chicken Salad (using Cheddar curds)
  • Smokehouse Pizza (using Farmers cheese)
  • Fair Oaks Farms Cheese Board (using a mix of Fair Oaks Farms cheese)

2018 Bucket List!

We’ve had a hard time coming up with a single 2018 Near Year’s resolution. Have you? It’s hard to come up with something that’s fun, rewarding, and could teach you something new! Then it came to us, what better resolution is there than to go on an Adventure? We’ve come up with a New Year’s resolution that will satisfy an entire family, from young to old, first-time visitor to experienced Adventurer. We didn’t come up with just one resolution, but a whole list— a bucket list of activities to make sure you complete to have the best 2018 ever! Read on below and keep us updated on Instagram and Facebook by tagging us in your posts!

  • Climb the milk jug climbing wall in Mooville
  • Bounce on the jumping pillow in Mooville
  • Witness a live calf birth in our Birthing Barn


  • Eat a classic cheddar grilled cheese out on the lawn
  • Try a new flavor of Fair Oaks Farms ice cream
  • Take home a jug of Fair Oaks Farms milk
  • Challenge your family to a Fair Oaks Farms Cheese Curd eating contest at the Farmhouse
  • Fly a kite at Fair in the Air
  • Bring your dog to Central Bark
  • Watch the professional trick dogs at Dog-a-Palooza
  • Dress up in a costume for Cowtoberfest

Screen Shot 2017-11-30 at 12.44.15 PM

  • Bring your Christmas list to Santa at Holiday Farm Frenzy
  • Ride the carousel in the Dairy Adventure
  • Watch the IMAX movie in the Crop Adventure
  • Learn all about biosecurity at the Pig Adventure
  • Complete the ropes course in the Pork Education Center


  • Celebrate a birthday or special occasion on campus
  • Listen to live music at Live! At the Farmhouse
  • Try at least five different kinds of cheese at our cheese counter
  • Take home at least five different types of chocolates at our chocolate counter
  • Take pictures with your family and friends in Golden Gate Garden while it’s in full bloom
  • Take photos with every faux cow on campus
  • Follow Fair Oaks Farms on Snapchat and Instagram to stay up to date on more fun activities throughout the year
  • Try at least three different dishes at the Farmhouse that originate from our farms (indicated by a cow or pig icon on the menu)


  • Post a photo of your trip on Instagram and tag @fairoaksfarms with the hashtags #startyouradventure or #feedyourcuriosity

Our Cowfé is the Cow-Finest!


If you are listening to your stomach growl or just out on the road and need to stretch your legs then there’s no better place on the long stretch of I65 between Indianapolis and Chicago than the Cowfé at Fair Oaks Farms.


Tucked into the cornfields of northwest Indiana, you will find a farm that is unlike any other of its kind.   The first business to occupy the campus of Fair Oaks Farms was the Cowfé, which was erected in 2003.


Originally the Cowfé was a place where people could grab a bite to eat and also learn about the different cheeses that we produce here fresh from the farm. Since then, it has evolved into its own unique experience that keeps people talking.


The Cowfé is now home to our Greek yogurt plant, ice cream and cheese production. You can watch the production through glass windows as you taste your Mint Chocolate Chip ice cream, bite into a melted and crispy grilled cheese sandwich or sip a hot cup of Starbucks coffee.


The Cowfé is normally open from 7:30a until 6:00p CST (currently open winter hours: 8a-5p CST) and offers breakfast, lunch and early dinner options.


If you’re looking to remember your experience here on the farm, the Cowfé is also home to the destinations souvenir shop, which has plenty of sweatshirt, t-shirt and other great souvenir options.


To top everything off and to satisfy your sweet tooth, the Cowfé became the home of our Farmstead Chocolates in 2015. Try a variety of different chews, nougats and candy bars that will melt on your taste buds.


Employee Spotlight

You get all of the news about what’s happening with Fair Oaks Farms, but how about the inside scoop from the people that make it all happen?

When you work at Fair Oaks Farms, you’re not a staff member-you’re a herd member. Our herd is a large group of people whose individual talents really make what Fair Oaks Farms is, they’re family!

We thought that this time around, we would look at a couple employees from different parts of Fair Oaks Farms to pick their brains on what they thought about their workplace.


Sarah Hoek

Where are you from?

Wheatfield, IN

What is your title?

Assistant Manager of The Pig Adventure

What is your favorite part of working at Fair Oaks Farms?

I love seeing all of the families come in, enjoying themselves and learning about the farm.

What are you excited for in Fair Oaks Farms’ future?

I’m excited about the new Pork Education Center. It’s going to be a great addition to The Pig Adventure.




Jenna Lewandowski

Where are you from?

Demotte, IN

What is your title?

Marketing & Events Assistant

What is your favorite part of working at Fair Oaks Farms?

I love the fun atmosphere that you are constantly surrounded with. There’s always so much going on.

What are you excited for in Fair Oaks Farms’ future?

I’m excited for all of the new Adventures and getting my own desk!




Lisa Roozee

Where are you from?

Rensselaer, IN

What is your title?

Adventure Coordinator

What is your favorite part of working at Fair Oaks Farms?

I love booking all of the groups for the Adventures. It’s both challenging and rewarding.

What are you excited for in Fair Oaks Farms’ future?

I’m excited for new Adventures, more groups and seeing the development of Fair Oaks Farms in years to come.


New Year, New Attractions!

2014 was a big year for us here at Fair Oaks Farms. We opened our new farm-to-table restaurant, The Farmhouse in early July, our new Market & Bakery in October and added two new events to our calendar: Dog-A-Palooza and The Holiday Farm Frenzy which proved to be a success in their initial year.

With 2014 behind us, what will be in store for 2015?

We are about to go hog wild!

Hog Wild at Fair Oaks Farms

The Pork Education Center will be opening its doors this spring. This new addition to our Pig Adventure will feature a custom indoor tree house, and a highflying rope maze that will test your knowledge on pork production. This new building will also be the new bus depot to take you out to The Pig Adventure.

The Crop Adventure is also scheduled to open its doors in late 2015. This Adventure will teach you all there is to know about modern farming practices. You will learn about intricate root systems, how weather affects our crops and indulge in amazing and interesting facts about Indiana plants.


Fair in the Air is scheduled to happen in early May. This new event will take you back to your childhood. The event is all about kites. Yes, you heard that right. Kites of all shapes and sizes will be featured along with synchronized kites, kite making and kites the size of school buses!


HogustFest will take place during the birthday month of our Pig Adventure, August! While this event is still in its early stages of planning, you can bet by the title, that it’ll be an event not to be missed!

To keep up with everything that is happening, be sure to like our Facebook page or visit our website, fofarms.com.

Classic Burger at The Farmhouse

Hungry? Eat at Our House

Fair Oaks Farms opened our first family-style restaurant in July of 2014. Many people have already heard about it and some have not, but soon will. This beautiful restaurant is simply hard to miss. You can see it standing stoically from I65 and can smell the aroma of food from the parking lots throughout the campus.


Why should you try The Farmhouse Restaurant? Did you know that most of the food is grown right here on our farms? The food that is not grown on our farms is harvested locally…and we work with some of the best local partners around! You may even know some of them.


You step into this gorgeous restaurant and you’re in complete “wow”. The high ceilings, the rustic flair, the warmth of the colors and the enormous fireplace bring charm to this great new addition to Northwest IN.


The happy and welcoming staff will lead the way to your seat. Note; their adorable farm style uniforms. If you’re of age, choose to sit in the pub because you will get to see Craig if you’re dining throughout the day and he is a wonderful conversationalist. He always has a smile on his face and makes you feel at home. I noticed while I was eating my delicious Classic Burger (with Fair Oaks Farms Mild Cheddar) that he was telling some travelers about how much he loves the Fair Oaks Farms products, especially the chocolate FairLife milk. He even let them sample some. The customers absolutely loved sharing the experience with Craig and with each other and immediately asked where they could purchase some. (Of course, everything is available next door in our Market & Bakery). That’s the kind of atmosphere you’ll find at The Farmhouse. Everyone there makes you feel like part of the family.


If the food isn’t enough to get you to come back for more, you need to try one of the signature drinks. I tried the Lemonade B and it was just amazing! It was refreshing, delicious and with just the right amount of tang to it. There are several signature drinks to try from and their bartenders are all fully trained to give you the best experience possible.

If you have time, you HAVE to check out the unique bathrooms. I know, I’m talking about the BATHROOMS! But they are absolutely adorable. Each one is unique in its own way. And there have been several accounts where they have become conversation starters at the tables in the dining rooms.


To top off your experience (and if you have a warm coat during these colder months) walk around the wrap-around porch to the backside of the restaurant. There you will see this beautiful landscaping complete with a custom waterfall. I can picture some lucky couple getting married right there and what a beautiful picture opportunity.