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Sharing their dairy lifestyle

By Staff | Jun 6, 2014

SARA WILCOX prepares to make the almond bars among her recipe favorites. She said she enjoys her frequent use of dairy products in the kitchen.



MARCUS – Iowa’s family-owned dairies are known as families doing things together for the good of their industry.

Sara and Mark Wilcox, operators of the Wilcox Dairy, near Marcus, are no exception.

Hosting an annual fall visit to the dairy for Marcus-Meriden-Cleghorn fifth-graders, the Wilcoxes share their milk production story. They said they welcome every opportunity to visit with others about dairy and dairy food.

SARA AND MARK WILCOX look over calves on their dairy farm exemplifying the togetherness of the family operation in promoting their industry.

There’s a good feeling that comes from promoting the dairy industry, Mark Wilcox said, “not just during June Dairy Month events, but throughout the year.

“When we host our students, it’s amazing to discover that even in a rural area like ours how many have not had the opportunities to learn about the agricultural products eventually being on their table at home.”

Sara Wilcox has her own way of letting others know about dairy products listing butter, sour cream and cream cheese, in addition to milk, as favorites on family menus.

From the kitchen of their Century Farm, she prepares home-baked, made-from-scratch meals, she said, as often as possible.

Produce from Wilcoxes’ large garden is a staple feature in their meals.

Wilcox said her interest in baking has it roots growing up with a mother who liked to cook and garden.

She assists with early-morning milking at times before taking on periodic substitute teaching responsibilities.

Raising four active children on a dairy farm, Wilcox said, required a structured kitchen schedule. Each of the children were helpful in the kitchen, she said.

Wilcox said her daughter, Emily, assists with “fun canning” of garden foods, including jars of multi-colored tomatoes, salsa or candied jalapeno peppers.

“She’ll ask now and then why we never do this,” Wilcox said. “I remind her that it was a different time back then.

“When I learned to can, it was hard work for us, and we didn’t have time to think of making just a little jar of something.”

Wilcox said the use of dairy-product-based recipes have served not only to provide nutritious meals but often prompt good family memories.

Mark Wilcox agreed as he recalled the frequent runs in and out of the kitchen during their childhood for a share of their mother’s warm home made cookies.

He said another generation – 11-month-old Liam Wilcox – looks forward his grandmother’s homemade custard, another Wilcox family favorite.

Mark Wilcox’s father, Ernie, and his uncle, Les, started the dairy.

In 1976, following graduation from Iowa State University, Mark joined his father in the business.

Following his father’s death the same year Mark partnered with his uncle until his uncle’s death in 1993.

“It worked well for the two of us,” Mark Wilcox said. “I’ve always said he treated me more like a son than a nephew. This was meaningful to me after my dad’s death.”

The dairy operation has since continued to grow with 70 cows being milked twice a day.

Almond bars


1 cup butter

2 cups of flour

1/2 cup of powdered sugar

Mix until crumbly, then pat into a 9-by-13-inch pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 25 minutes.


18 ounces cream cheese

2 eggs

1/2 cup of sugar

1 teaspoon almond extract

Beat ingredients together and pour over crust.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10 to 20 minutes or until set.

For frosting combine:

1 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/4 cup of butter

1 1/2 tablespoons milk or cream

1 teaspoon almond extract

Slivered almonds

Frost cooled bars

Pioneer woman’s

iced coffee

1 pound of ground coffee

8 quarts of cold water

Half and half (or flavored coffee creamer)

Sweetened condensed milk (2 to 3 tablespoons per serving)

In a large container mix the coffee and water. Cover and allow to sit at room temperature for 8 hours or overnight.

Line a fine mesh strainer with cheese cloth and set over a pitcher or other container.

Pour coffee/water mixture through the strainer, allowing all liquid to run through.

Discard grounds.

Place coffee in the refrigerate and allow to chill. Use as needed.

To make iced coffee, pack a glass with ice cubes. Fill glass 2/3 full with coffee liquid.

Add splash of half and half or flavored coffee creamer.

Add sweetened condensed milk to taste.

Chocolate cheesecake


1 1/2 cups Oreo crumbs

1/4 cup of butter, melted

4 tablespoons sugar

Mix and put into a 9-inch springform pan

Chocolate filling

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips

1/4 cup of rum

2 8-ounce packages of cream cheese

3/4 cup of sugar

1/2 cup of sour cream

1 tablespoon vanilla

5 eggs

Melt chips with rum.

Beat cream cheese and add sugar and sour cream and vanilla.

Add eggs one at a time and beat hard after each.

Add chocolate mixture.

Bake at 350 degrees for 50 minutes or until set.

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