Cowboy approved recipes used by our favorite country cooks.
In the kitchen with Ardel Quam, Marda Angus of Lodi, Wis.
Tell us about yourself.
"I grew up on a dairy and hog farm in southern Wisconsin but quickly adapted to the Angus world after meeting my husband at the Wisconsin State Fair. My husband, Terry, and I own Marda Angus Farms, LLC. It is his family farm that was founded in the 1890s. Angus was introduced here as a 4-H project for my father-in-law in 1941 and we still have cow families dating back to those original females.
My mother-in-law is still a part of the operation, and checks pasture every day at 92 years old. Terry and I have three children who are all still active with the farm. Cody farms full time with us. His wife, Tracy, is our nutritionist and together they have two children, Levi and Paisley. Our middle son, Brady, works off the farm but is here helping every day after work and on the weekends, with his specialty being machinery. He is married to Carrie, and they have one son, Lane. Our daughter, Bailey, and husband Dave, have a daughter Sterling. Bailey manages our direct beef sales and marketing.
We run 275 Angus cows, and we recently took over my mothers-in-law’s family’s Shorthorn herd, Miller Farms, which originates to 1908. We raise corn, soybeans, alfalfa, and sweet corn on 750 acres and 500 acres of pasture. Two years ago, I retired from the Wisconsin Beef Council and today I am the jack-of-all-trades for the farm. I manage the financials and fill in wherever needed as the farm uber driver or I operate the “Naughty Nanna Daycare” when needed for the grandchildren."
What is your favorite thing to make?
"One of my most popular desserts is Apple Dapple Cake. There are a few friends and family who claim this as their favorite dessert. One person even packed a whole cake in their carry-on and took it home with them on the plane."
What is your least favorite job in the kitchen?
"Probably the after effect. The cleanup and putting everything back."
What is your favorite cooking tip/trick?
"When cooking I am known for adjusting as I go. When I don’t have the exact thing that is called for, I will improvise. My thought is a recipe is mine to tweak if necessary and that all recipes were started as an “experiment”. When I am baking, I try to stay in “the lines” as much as possible."
Where did you learn to cook?
"Growing up, I watched my mom prepare meals for the help on our farm. I also participated in the 4-H foods unit. Earlier in our marriage the farm also raised tobacco and would sometimes have a crew of 10 to 15 people. I also wanted to provide our help with a good meal to keep them fueled for the full day. At that time, my husband’s grandmother was living in the upstairs of our house. She lived until she was 102 and was active to the end. She loved to make the desserts for the day, and said it reminded her of her threshing days. She always commented about how she was amazed that I didn’t always follow recipes but would get the results I wanted. My family is pretty basic meat and potatoes eaters, so it seems that we gravitate towards the basics."
November 18, 2023 - 1:00 pm
At the farm near Lodi, Wis.
Photos courtesy Ardel Quam
learn more www.mardaangus.com