Between February and mid-December, monks at the Assumption Abbey in Ava, Mo., produce about 25,000 fruitcakes. The monks have gained a national reputation for carefully controlling the production. They marinate the fruit, age the cakes and even package and ship the product from their foothills monastery.
Before each two-pound cake leaves the abbey, it gets a special prayer from the monks aimed at all those who eat the cake.
At $31 apiece, the cakes allow the monks to live out solitary lives of work and prayer on their compound southeast of Springfield.