What's the Beef? MBC Board Director: Tom Olson

Makenna Winkelmann | July 30, 2020

This week I traveled far north. In fact, so far north I could see Canada. I met with Minnesota Beef Council board director, Tom Olson, of Williams, Minnesota. 

Tom is a third-generation farmer and has lived in this part of the state his whole life. There has always been cattle on the Olson farm. Tom was partnered with his dad until he passed away in 2009. Since 2009, Tom has been in partnership with his son. 

Tom raises 200 head of Angus-based cows and breeds them to Balancer/Angus x Simmental bulls. 

You can tell when talking with Tom that he is a true caretaker of his animals and the land. In fact, the Olson farm practices rotational grazing in their pastures. The cows are moved every other day to graze new pastures. This helps maintain healthy, nutritious forage availability. 

In talking about the land and our product, Tom wants consumers to know, "Well managed agriculture land is the healthiest land there is and adding livestock to it increases soil health and productivity. People need to understand we love what we do. It's more than a job. It's a way of life." 

He also adds, "Caring for our livestock and the land is our living and hopefully, we are improving it for those who take care of it after us." 

I don't think it could've been said any better. It's important to understand that producers like Tom make this their lifestyle and not just another job. 

"It's more than a job. It's a way of life." - Tom Olson

Tom is also good in the kitchen and I wanted to share his favorite beef recipe. It's just too good to not share! 

Tom's favorite beef recipe is Philly Cheesesteak Stuffed Shells. Two of my favorite things, pasta and steak! 

Tom ended the conversation with why he is proud to be a Minnesota beef farmer. Tom says, "I'm proud to be a Minnesota beef farmer because of the quality of meat we raise here." 

"I'm proud to be a Minnesota beef farmer because of the quality of meat we raise here." - Tom Olson


I got to feel like a true vacationer as we went to a favorite resort in the area for lunch. We headed to "Ballard's Resort" in Baudette, Minnesota. It happens to sit right on the Rainy River, so the view is as great as the food! 

We started off with an appetizer called "Black and Bleu". It is hand cut tender beef, seasoned with their house rub, delivered with bleu cheese. 

I can't even begin to tell you how good these were. In fact, they were so good I got about half way through eating them when I remembered to take a picture! They were full of flavor and tender. The bleu cheese toned down the rub on the bites and complimented them well. 

For the main meal, I ordered a sandwich called the "Kamikazed Beef." It is a roast, hand-sliced, rubbed, and stacked with Swiss and BBQ on grilled Texas toast. 

I was very impressed by this sandwich. Some would think it would be "too plain." However, the simplicity of this sandwich was perfect and delicious. 

If you happen to find yourself in the far north, you'll want to make sure you venture to "Ballard's Resort" to check out the views and the food! 

Another week in the books on "What's the Beef?" Join me next week as I travel to the Northwest part of the state. You'll meet another face behind the MBC Board of Directors and a smokehouse you won't want to miss you on! 

Need to catch up on the past few weeks? Check them out here