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December 1, 2023

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Historic Fruitcake Picture Celebrating 90 year tradition of making fruitcakes

POINT LOOKOUT, MO. — College of the Ozarks is celebrating 90 years of student-made products this year. In addition to the fruitcake tradition, which began in 1933, a plethora of new student-made products have made their way into the College of the Ozarks inventory of household favorites.

When Dr. R. M. Good was president of School of the Ozarks, Anabell McMaster and her home economics students made six fruitcakes for generous friends of the College in 1933. Dr. Good promised that if the fruitcakes brought in any money, he would buy a brand-new electric stove for McMaster’s home economics class. Donations came in and the electric stove was purchased. The following year, Dr. Good asked for more fruitcakes to send to friends of the College. The cakes became so popular that people began to ask for them as Christmas presents. As the fruitcakes became more important, the College would close the canning factory for a time and turn it into a packaging plant during the “fruitcake season.”

The College now makes over 13,000 fruitcakes each year, sending 7,000 of the cakes to donors of the College. Instead of having “fruitcake season,” students at the fruitcake and jelly kitchen make fruitcake year-round. The cakes are stored in a freezer for about six months before being sold or shipped. This allows all the flavors to meld together, creating the desired blend of festive flavors that people expect of the College fruitcakes. Students decorate the fruitcake by hand each morning, with pecans, red and green pineapple, and cherries, creating a festive holiday flower design. The recipe remains true to the original recipe used by Anabelle McMaster.

Come visit College of the Ozarks to see student industries where students handcraft baskets at Edwards Mill, create beautiful stained-glass pieces at the Stained Glass & Candle Shop, and experience farm-to-table dining and homemade ice cream at The Keeter Center. At The Keeter Center, view the gingerbread house modeled after the Williams Memorial Chapel, a spectacular confection made by a team of students.

To make a reservation at The Keeter Center visit, https://www.keetercenter.edu/

To view the College holiday event calendar visit, http://www.cofo.edu/About/Events-Community-Programs

All student-made products are available for online purchase at https://store.cofo.edu/

To ensure fruitcakes and other student-made products are delivered by Christmas, order your products online by Dec. 15. Products ordered past Dec. 22 will be shipped starting Dec. 28. Student industries are open to the public Monday-Saturday, 9 a.m.-5 p.m. They will be closed Dec. 23, 2023-Jan.16, 2024.