Dan Marquis won the job of chef at Quay in the River East Arts Center on a TV show. But maybe it would be more appropriate to say that Quay won Dan Marquis on Food Network’s Chef Hunter, because he’s turning out to have a pretty interesting side benefit: a family farm. Marquis’ family has owned Mill Road Farms near Sheffield, Illinois (a half hour east of Davenport and Bettendorf) for four generations. Now Marquis has taken the 20-acre farm over and started growing organic produce and herbs which is being put to use on Quay’s new spring menus.
Ingredients he’s grown that are on the new lunch and dinner menus include purple basil and rosemary, but will grow to include vegetables like lettuce, beets, squash and Thai eggplant, fruits like apples, figs, peaches and pears, and other ingredients like honey. Down the road he plans to start raising livestock as well. “We are in the process of building housing for Berkshire Hogs, Sheep, Rabbit, Chicken, and a few game birds. We have created pastures for grazing on grass, alfalfa, along with the natural vegetation. We will also be introducing various herbs for them to graze on as well as organic grains. This will be introduced next year and [we] look forward to making a variety of charcuteries and cheese along with the meat cuts for the menu at Quay.”