Walt Churchill's Market, Simply Jess, Toledo Ohio, Food, Market, Fresh, Local , Organic, housemade, Produce, Desserts, Meat, Cheese, Craft Beer, Chef, Farm Fresh

Walt Churchill’s Markets – Local, Fresh, & Community

Be Local is the philosophy of Walt Churchill’s Market. This month in particular Walt Churchill’s is highlighting all of the local produce they carry in addition to unmatched number of local goods they offer throughout the store. Here at Simply Jess we teamed up with Walt Churchill’s to show you all of the awesome local shopping these stores offer.

Walt Churchill's Market, Simply Jess, Toledo Ohio, Food, Market, Fresh, Local , Organic, housemade, Produce, Desserts, Meat, Cheese, Craft Beer, Chef, Farm Fresh

I talk a lot about shopping at the farmer’s markets mostly because: it’s wonderful, you can get the large majority of your shopping done there, and the money you spend in groceries goes directly to the source, the farmer who grew it. For many people though, getting to the farmer’s market between 8a-2p Saturday can be a challenge. It’s not feasible for everyone. This is one reason why I appreciate Walt Churchill’s (WCM). With more flexible hours, and the fact that they are open 7 days a week, WCM offers shoppers a way to buy local produce and goods at a locally owned store. Personally, the Maumee location can be on my way home from work, and with the compact market style store, it makes it easy to pick up things I need on my way home.

Since 1917 the Churchill’s traditions of quality, value, and customer service has never changed. The locations of Churchill stores around town have been very fluid, but the family has never stopped serving its country, its region, or the people who live here. Today, these core values are alive and well in Perrysburg and Maumee, Ohio with the Walt Churchill’s Market stores. I was recently given the opportunity to find out more about WCM, way more than I ever thought. All of the employees are so welcoming and helpful every-time I visit one of their locations as a customer, but this time was above and beyond. I was impressed by the amount of autonomy and growth opportunities employees are given, in turn you can see their investment in the company just by how they serve their customers. From a chef who is a 40+ year veteran of the industry who will assist you in what you are making and walk you around the store to find all you need, to the pastry artists who work in the bakery; a guest can have full trust in what they are buying.

Walt Churchill's Market, Simply Jess, Toledo Ohio, Food, Market, Fresh, Local , Organic, housemade, Produce, Desserts, Meat, Cheese, Craft Beer, Chef, Farm Fresh

Before the chefs, and the cakes, Churchill’s has been focused on selling locally grown produce since the 1930’s. Today, Walt Churchill’s Markets work directly with four trusted, local farms to supply a large portion of the seasonal produce. These farms, while not the only local produce they offer, have shown exceptional quality and reliability giving consumers the chance to buy local, seasonally fresh foods in the convenience of a fully stocked grocery store. Steven’s Gardens, Riehm Farms, Ryans Farm, and MacQueen’s orchard keep the produce department bursting with brightly colored foods picked from their fields as recently as 24 hours ago. The farms share many of the family values and longstanding history that the Churchill’s stores have cultivated over the past 100 years. Established farms are well known and reputable amongst their community, sharing the same customer service practices as the Churchill’s family.

Walt Churchill's Market, Simply Jess, Toledo Ohio, Food, Market, Fresh, Local , Organic, housemade, Produce, Desserts, Meat, Cheese, Craft Beer, Chef, Farm Fresh

This season you can find Steven’s Gardens providing WCM ripe summer zucchini, roma tomatoes, cucumbers, bell peppers, and eggplant. Riehm Farms has brought their delightful, colorful cherry and grape tomatoes, kale, and some of the best cantaloupe I’ve had in years. Ryans Farm has some picturesque sweet corn and MacQueens Orchard brings peaches, and (soon) early apples.

Walt Churchill's Market, Simply Jess, Toledo Ohio, Food, Market, Fresh, Local , Organic, housemade, Produce, Desserts, Meat, Cheese, Craft Beer, Chef, Farm Fresh Through the relationships with these farms, Walt Churchill’s Market is able to provide customers with numerous other fresh options. Gourmet in-house made: smoothies, juices, and salads can be found in the produce department as an excellent option for those looking for fresh, easy, healthy options. It gives Chef Bill the ability to cook and prepare natural food meals, fresh each day for customers to pick up without sacrificing taste or nutritional value. Access to these local foods means Mr. Rick Warziniak of Warzy’s Subs and Grinders can make his well know sandwiches right in store utilizing bread baked fresh each day by Churchill’s, and Thumann’s all natural, nitrate free deli meats.

Walt Churchill's Market, Simply Jess, Toledo Ohio, Food, Market, Fresh, Local , Organic, housemade, Produce, Desserts, Meat, Cheese, Craft Beer, Chef, Farm Fresh

Every aisle has a local option; coffee, tortilla chips and salsa, organic grass-fed dairy, Killer Brownies, cheese, and chicken to name a few (the list is very long). WCM also makes many items within the market stores themselves. Fresh baked bread, cakes and pastries, juices, peanut and almond butter, salad dressings, and brats all made in store. Beyond these, WCM prides themselves in top quality meats, cheeses, and conventional shelf products. This list is far from exhaustive, I guess you’ll just have to check out a store and see for yourself. Not sure what is local, housemade, or meets special dietary needs? Just ask.

From how community art decorates the stores, to the small start-up business that is able to get their product on the shelf, and the farm that can now share their family pride with a wider audience, the Churchill’s tradition of living with your community lives strong still today. I get excited walking through the store finding my favorite flowers that I can only find at the farmer’s market right here in a store. Or all of the small-batch businesses who have a place to grow, introducing their work to more customers. It was a tasty, and refreshing experience to see a store in this manner. It really makes me appreciate the local food market here in Toledo.

Be Local

CSAs: Choose Local, Eat Healthy

A Comprehensive Guide to Toledo Area CSAs

Some 66% of Americans who make New Year’s resolutions aim for some form of health and fitness goal. But why is it that we predominantly think about this at the new year, only to have 73% give up before meeting the goal they set? Well, you can probably tell I am not a new years resolutioner, but I did once set a fitness goal for myself that eventually morphed into my lifestyle change to eat locally sourced, seasonally grown food, that used as little chemically derived ingredients as possible. I am in no way saying I have reached any sort of dietary perfection, I am saying though, it changed my lifestyle in a great way.

CSA | Simply Jess |Toledo Ohio

I have been told by people much smarter than myself, and I truly believe that eating locally grown produce is one of the very best things you can do for your health. We didn’t always have the means to bring food in from other states and countries, people had to eat local. The vitamins and nutrients indigenous to your community have numerous health benefits. Plus, you are directly putting the money you would be spending on groceries anyway directly back into your community. It’s not going to corporate, it’s going to more seed for the fields, new farm equipment, or even to the child of that farmer’s education. These are real people, hand planting seed, cultivating crops, and caring for the community they serve. They genuinely want to bring you the best product they can grow, meet the people they are selling it to, and shake their hand.


But as for you: do you have a New Year’s Resolution to eat better and improve your health? Well, I have an idea that will help to re-kickstart your resolution all the way through the fall. It is said, it takes 21-days to make/break a habit, how about if you had guaranteed fresh vegetables, fruits, and eggs hand picked at the proper season, ready for you to pick up each week for 21 weeks? I promise you, it’s a great way to encourage yourself to eat healthier, and chances are, you will find some new things you never knew you liked along the way. It’s call a CSA.

CSA | Simply Jess |Toledo Ohio

CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture; it is where members of the surrounding community invest in a farm by buying a “share” of the crop. Typically, you receive your weekly share of vegetables (fruit, eggs, meat, etc.) at a predesignated pick up site along with the other shareholders. You product has been picked within the past day unlike food shipped from all over the world it has time to grow, ripen, soak up all of the nutrients, and it is delivered by the farmer themselves. They are there to be accountable for their product and share valuable information on how to prepare, store, or preserve the food you on which you invested. The produce has unmatched taste and freshness, probably unlike anything you have purchased at the store. The farm can then continue to support itself and its surrounding community with nutrient dense foods and many times, supply food or jobs to those who may not otherwise have such opportunity. Many farms contribute to local food banks, a place that rarely sees fresh produce. Others, such as Bittersweet Farms in Whitehouse, Ohio hire adults with disabilities such as autism.


In the summer of 2015, we purchased our first CSA share. I chose a farm that used organic practices, had a pick up location that was convenient to my home and work, had a variety of vegetables that were reasonably within my comfort zone, and one that welcomed you onto the farm with shareholder events (this was really just a perk to me but they were fun). I signed up in March having no real idea that we would be moving as our CSA season began the first of June. I dreamed of the fun, culinary queen I would become, creating new dishes for my table. Yeah… it was the best food decision we ever made because in reality it ensured that we had food every week while we were attempting to work full time, renovate a house, move, and still maintain some sort of decent dietary standard. The bottom line: our CSA ensured we had food at all. Not only did we have food, but we had recipes that came in our news letter a week ahead, so I knew if I did have to go to the grocery store. We had food, and we ate well in all of the chaos.

CSA | Simply Jess |Toledo Ohio

So, this brings me to one of the top reasons I ever started this blog: I have pulled together a list of the major CSAs in the Toledo area. I had a chance to correspond with these farms and gather the general story of each farm, and information about their CSA. Most offer a larger and a smaller vegetable share. The smaller of the two very adequately feeds two adults for a week (we pretty much lived off of it), whereas a larger share can feed a family. Different parts of the season results in different produce, and different quantities.  For specific information, and possible new member promotions please contact the farm directly.

*We are very lucky that all of the farms I spoke with use naturally grown, organic based practices. USDA organic certification is a very extensive and expensive process and many small farms do not pursue this based on those reasons. Again, if you have questions on the individual farming practices please contact the farm directly, or I can ask and forward you the information.

CSA | Simply Jess |Toledo Ohio

Riehm Farms – based in Tiffin, Ohio

Four generations of farmers have built and influenced where they are today. Largely the farm has picked up in the past 30 years, with the persistence and passion of the current generation of Riehm farmers. They have offered CSA shares for 9 years now and they are one of the farms with one of the largest number of share offerings giving them options for a variety of pick-up locations and produce offerings. The Riehms believe strongly in providing the highest nutritional value in the produce they grow. With this CSA you will also have the opportunity to participate in events on the farm from fall activities for the family, to nice dinners and brunches.

Season: June – October (20 weeks)

Share Options: Vegetable-Full Share or Half Share; Fruit-Large share or Small share; Egg Shares, Meat Shares

Approximate Cost per Week for Vegetable Shares: $18-36/wk

Produce Varieties Historically Include: arugula, asparagus, beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, collard greens, corn, cucumber, daikon, eggplant, garlic, green beans, green onions, hot peppers, kale, kohlrabi, leeks, lettuce, onions, peas, potatoes, pumpkins, radishes, spinach, summer squash, sweet peppers, sweet potatoes, swiss chard, tomatoes, tomatillos, turnips, winter squash, zucchini

Pick-Up Locations: Arrowhead Park (Maumee), University of Toledo, Toledo Hospital, Levis Commons (Perrysburg), Bowling Green Farmers Market, Findlay, Norwalk, Tiffin, Riehm Farms

Contact Info: riehmfarms@gmail.com funacres.net


Shared Legacy Farms – based in Elmore, Ohio

In 2008 Kurt Bench and his wife Corinna took a leap of faith and decided to make Kurt’s dream a reality by establishing a small CSA farm. With a long standing history of family farming, Kurt used his skill, knowledge, and drive to build a farm centered around sharing their story and truly getting to know his CSA members. In 8 years Shared Legacy has also become one of the largest CSA farms in the area. They are working to gain organic certification* and also offer a variety of pick-up locations and events to encourage members to visit the farm.

Season: June – October (18 weeks)

Share Options: Vegetable – Full and Half Share; Fruit Share; Eggs – Full and Half Share; Coffee (Maddie and Bella) – Full and Half Share; Artisan Cheese Share

Approximate Cost per Week for Vegetable Shares: $20-38/wk

Produce Varieties Historically Include: Arugula, Beets, Broccoli, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Collard Greens, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Garlic, Green Beans, Green Onions, Hot Peppers, Kale, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Lettuce, Onions, Peas, Potatoes, Pumpkins, Radishes, Salad Greens, Shallots, Spinach, Summer Squash, Sweet Peppers, Sweet Potatoes, Swiss Chard, Tomatillos, Tomatoes, Turnips, Winter Squash, Zucchini

Pick-Up Locations: Toledo Farmers Market, Perrysburg Farmers Market, Jewish Family Service Center (Sylvania, OH), Sutton Center (Port Clinton, OH), Shared Legacy Farms (Elmore, OH)

Contact Info: slfarms2@gmail.com www.sharedlegacyfarms.com

CSA | Simply Jess |Toledo Ohio

Friendship Farms – based in Waterville, OH

Back in 2007 while looking for a CSA to join Jamie Minch realized there was only one option in the Toledo area, so they decided to start one the following year. A small operation but you will find they put most of their energy into growing fantastic veggies. At Friendship Farms they too believe healthy soil = healthy plants = healthy food, “Our long term goal is to provide local, fresh, organic vegetables for as many weeks out of the year as we can”. 2016 will be the 9th year operating their CSA program.

Season: Mid-May – October (25 weeks)

Share Options: Vegetable – Large and Small Share; Fruit Share; Coffee: Large and Small Share

Approximate Cost per Week for Vegetable Shares: $18-29/wk

Produce Varieties Historically Include: arugula, asparagus, beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, chinese greens, collard greens, corn, cucumber, daikon, edamame soybeans, eggplant, garlic, green onions, kohlrabi, lettuce, mustard greens, onions, radishes, rutabagas, parsnips, peas, peppers, potatoes, squash, shallots, summer squash, sweet peppers, swiss chard, tomatoes, tomatillos, turnips, winter squash, zucchini

Pick-Up Locations: Toledo Farmers Market, Holland/Sylvania Location, Friendship Farms

Contact Info: Friendship.farms@yahoo.com www.localharvest.org/friendship-farms


Goetz Family Farm – based in Riga, MI

Three generations now provide the energy and expertise for the century-old Goetz Family Farm “including our parents, my three brothers, myself [Jake Goetz], my wife and  sister-in-law, and the youngsters are learning the ropes.” With what started as a large garden, now the 25 acre farm prides themselves in working hard to take care of the soil and nurture the ecosystem. 2016 will be the sixth year with their CSA offerings, which became a great addition to their farm, offering a direct connection with customers.

Season: June – October

Share Options: Vegetable: Full and Half Share

Approximate Cost per Week for Vegetable Shares: $10 – $20/wk

Produce Varieties Historically Include: Asparagus, Basil, Beans, Beets, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Corn, Cucumber, Eggplant, Garlic, Kale, Leeks, Lettuce, Muskmelon, Onion, Peas, Peppers, Potatoes, Pumpkins, Salad Mix, Shallots, Spinach, Summer squash, Sweet Potatoes, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, Watermelon, Winter squash, Zucchini

Pick-Up Locations: Ohio: Flower Hospital and Curves in Sylvania, Michigan: Adrian, Riga, The Erie Bread Company (Monroe), The Ann Arbor, Farmington, and Chelsea Farmers Markets

Contact Info: goetzCSA@yahoo.com www.facebook.com/GoetzCSA


Bittersweet Farms – based in Whitehouse, OH

Bittersweet Farms’ CSA program is more than a relationship.  Supporting Bittersweet’s CSA provides employment opportunities for adults with autism. Through the CSA, employees learn and engage in agriculture-related activities such as readying the soil, planting the seeds, harvesting the crops, cleaning the produce, and packaging the product in the CSA boxes. In addition to their CSAs, they provide shelf-stable products sold locally and on Etsy. The production and sale of these items also provide employment and vocational opportunities.

Season: April – June (10 weeks); June – August (9 weeks); August – October (9 weeks)**

Share Options: Vegetable – Standard Share, Petite Share **Three Seasons

Approximate Cost per Week for Vegetable Shares: $20-30/wk

Produce Varieties Historically Include: Beets, Broccoli, Brussel Sprouts, Cabbage, Carrots, Cauliflower, Celery, Chinese Greens, Collard greens, Cucumber, Daikon, Eggplant, Garlic, Green Beans, Green Onions, Hot Peppers, Kohlrabi, Leeks, Lettuce, Melons, Mustard Greens, Okra, Onions, Potatoes, Pumpkins, Radishes, Salad mix, Spinach, Sweet Peppers, Sweet Potatoes, Swiss Chard, Tomatoes, Turnips, Winter squash,  Zucchini

Pick-Up Locations: Walt Churchill’s Market (Maumee), Bittersweet Farms (Whitehouse, OH)

Contact Info: ssolt@bittersweetfarms.org www.bittersweetfarms.org


Jentzen Farms – based in Monroe, MI

A fourth generation family farm, Jentzen Farms is now in their fifth year offering CSA options. They too practice sustainable agriculture. They reach a wide variety of locations in Ohio and Michigan. CSA members have been pleasantly surprised that their vegetable shares have also included fruit, and other local goods. Jentzen also supplies a weekly newsletter with plenty of recipes to use all of the items in your weekly share.

Season: July – October (16 weeks)

Share Options: Vegetable – Full and Half Share

Approximate Cost per Week for Vegetable Shares: $16-25/wk

Produce Varieties Historically Include: Arugula, beets, broccoli, brussel sprouts, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, celery, cucumber, eggplant, garlic, green onions, hot peppers, leeks, lettuce, mushrooms, onions, pumpkins, salad greens, shallots, spinach, sweet peppers, swiss chard, tomatoes, summer squash, winter squash, zucchini

Pick-Up Locations: Ohio: Toledo Farmers Market, Perrysburg Farmers Market, Sylvania, Michigan: Dundee Farmers Market, Monroe Farmers Market, Eastern Market (Detroit), Jentzen Farms (Monroe)

Contact Info: jentzenfarms@charter.net www.localharvest.org/jentzen-farms


My goal was to provide a fully comprehensive list, but there are way too many details to share about each of these farms. Please feel free to reach out to the farm directly or to me, and we will work to provide you any additional info you may need. Also, there are other farms creating CSA programs in the area each year! How cool is that? 

Please share your great CSA experiences below for other readers to gain insight from as they are thinking of which program may suit their household.

Be Local.



CSA | Simply Jess |Toledo Ohio

Small Business Saturday – Toledo

This is my call to you to remember to shop small today. The Saturday after Thanksgiving is small business Saturday, a reminder to seek out your local operations for your Christmas shopping. In Toledo, we have so many opportunities to shop small and find better gifts and goods than at larger cooperations. I think, there is most definitely a place for all of the larger cooperations, but when you have the chance to shop small (which is far more often than you think), you impact your community in huge way. Check out the infographic (not mine) at the bottom, but for your help I have made a very (non-comprehensive) list of businesses that are a small-business alternatives to your holiday season shopping. The company name is a link to more info.

Maddie & Bella | Simply Jess

Toledo Spirits | Simply Jess | Toledo Ohio

Great Black Swamp Brewing Co | Simply Jess

Fowl & Fodder | Simply Jess

How about more unique but great, unforgettable gifts and party offerings:

Rachel's Handmade Ice Cream | Simply Jess | Toledo Ohio

This doesn’t even begin to cover all of the companies we have in the area, but hopefully it will begin to spark thoughts of looking in your own area before you go shopping. It is a great experience to support your local economy, and meet the person who is passionate about the product or good you are purchasing.

And PLEASE if you are excited about other area small businesses share them in the comments below or on the Facebook page (Simply Jess Blog).

Happy Small Business Saturday!

Be Local.



Click to Enlarge Image

CustomMade Buying Local Infographic

Why Buying Local is Worth Every Cent Infographic by CustomMade