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
Simply,
Jess

Balance Pan Asian Grille, Simply Jess, Toledo, Ohio, Fresh, Local, Healthy, Clean, Fast, Causal, Dining

Balance Pan Asian Grille

A Fresh Take on Toledo

Balance Pan-Asian Grille – you’ve heard of them, driven past a store, or even stopped in. You see them around town at events like Zoo-To-Do, Barefoot at the Beach, and Jam City. Maybe you’ve seen the Bubble Tea cart at food truck congregations in Toledo. But do you know Balance? Natural, handmade, ethical, clean, fresh, and local. That is Balance.

Balance Pan Asian Grille, Simply Jess, Toledo, Ohio, Fresh, Local, Healthy, Clean, Fast, Causal, Dining

Balance was born in 2010 as a creative restaurant concept formed by two University of Toledo grads. Both PK and HoChan were raised here in NW Ohio, and started their college education at Bowling Green State University. As college was wrapping up for these two entrepreneurs, they took a friendship and formulated a business partnership. They very much liked the idea and convenience of fast-casual dining, but not the guilt-ridden, poor quality side you usually get with said convenience. They wanted to open the type of place where good quality food tastes great and gives the customer choices; to create food that adds a personal aspect of what you would want to eat yourself and food you can feel confident serving your family.

Balance Pan Asian Grille, Simply Jess, Toledo, Ohio, Fresh, Local, Healthy, Clean, Fast, Causal, Dining

This is how “Balance” came into play. Proteins, fats, carbohydrates forming proper nutrition and options for great tasting, nutrient dense foods. PK and HoChan felt that healthy-Asian food was a bit of an untapped market here in the Toledo area. HoChan comes from a family of restaurant owners, and grew up learning many of the ins and outs of the industry. But developing a place that would need to carry such a large amount of fresh produce and free range, ethically sourced foods was going to be a challenge. The guys studied food trends of the West Coast and took into account age-focused beverage trends, like bubble tea. After much searching, the they were able to find a reasonable location for their new venture. You can only imagine how easy this was: two twenty-something college graduates, facing the business real estate market of a near-fatally wounded, post-ICU economy in 2010….. Oh yeah, no problem.

Balance Pan Asian Grille, Simply Jess, Toledo, Ohio, Fresh, Local, Healthy, Clean, Fast, Causal, Dining

Maumee, Ohio would be the first home to Balance Pan Asian Grille. With knowledge that the Arrowhead Park-Premier Business Park area would be more of a lunch stop, PK and HoChan built a menu that was based on whole foods. Although this requires a lot of preparation to take unprepared meats, grains, and produce and create them into desirable dishes by lunchtime, they were up for the challenge. As popularity grew for the new restaurant thanks mostly to word of mouth, and partially to PKs social media/IT genius, Balance underwent a major evolutionary period thanks to feedback from customers and the business perceptions of PK and HoChan. This is when Balance introduced the signature menu of today the Build-a-Bowl and Snack menu. They found what worked!

Balance Pan Asian Grille, Simply Jess, Toledo, Ohio, Fresh, Local, Healthy, Clean, Fast, Causal, Dining

Through the Build-a-Bowl and Snack menu, Balance was able to have signature meal options, involving the whole food practices they valued, and also created options and flexibility for their customers. Whether you want a whole meal, or a quick healthy snack to tide you over, or if you wanted both, the new concept also gave HoChan the option to play with seasonal options in order to keep things interesting and creative. With a very loosely similar concept to Chipotle, Balance now gives patrons the option to pick your protein, starch, and sauce, as well as pick and choose what veggies they want, or do not want included. Because every dish is made to order and sauce is always served on the side, customers can be sure that they are getting the exact meal they want. There are plenty of customer-favorite ideas as well if so many choices is an overwhelming concept, but the customer service at Balance allows new visitors to be walked through the menu.

Balance Pan Asian Grille, Simply Jess, Toledo, Ohio, Fresh, Local, Healthy, Clean, Fast, Causal, Dining

The very flexible, interchangeable menu, and the impeccable quality gave Balance the boost they needed to continue to grow. Now with three locations Maumee (at Dussel and Ford), Sylvania/Toledo (at Central and Holland-Sylvania), and the newest in Perrysburg (N. Dixie Highway and Eckel Junction) Balance now has the options to serve most of the Toledo area population. This growth has also provided new creative opportunities for their menu. I must say, I was pretty blown away by their new seasonal taco menu for summer 2016! From refreshing to a flavorful, spicy kick these west-coast taco truck style tacos are the makings of a perfect summer dinner (or lunch, your choice). HoChan was also very proud to say that all of their Balance-made sauces are vegan friendly and many are gluten-free (all of their sauces are made from scratch, within the company). Because meals are made as soon as you order, Balance is able to accommodate most food allergies, and dietary restrictions with ease. Ordering is easy too – In store or Online here.

Balance Pan Asian Grille, Simply Jess, Toledo, Ohio, Fresh, Local, Healthy, Clean, Fast, Causal, Dining, Food

One aspect I love about Balance is the community involvement. From participating in many charitable events, to sourcing as much seasonally fresh, local produce as they possibly can, it’s important for a business to be a invested into their community as they want their community investing in them. Together, PK and HoChan are working with other chefs, farms, and organizations to “make it delicious in Toledo.” It was so cool to me to see pictures from one of the CSA farms in Toledo showing PK and HoChan around the fields in which their food is coming from. It’s a mutual investment. These guys are showing us another aspect of “It Matters Where You Make It,” and they are making it in Toledo!

Check out Balance Pan Asian Grille on Facebook, live Tweet in restaurant (@Balancegrille), and follow the Simply Jess Blog (Facebook, @JCiesler on Instagram and Twitter) for more food pictures and updates on events!

Be Local.
Simply Jess

The Flying Joe, Simply Jess Blog, Toledo, Ohio, Perrysburg, Coffee Shop, Small Business, Local, Natural, Vegan , Vegetarian, Specialty, Organic, John and Becky Ohm

The Flying Joe: Serving Coffee, Community, and Country

I was strolling out of The Flying Joe at Levis Commons last week thinking: Welcome summer! Hot days, and cold drinks. I think about visiting my favorite coffee shops more when I need to take refuge from the frigid Ohio winters; visiting with friends over something nice and hot. But what about brunch on a beautiful sunny Saturday morning? Or an ice-cold treat made just for me? Those are just two of the reasons I made the stop by The Flying Joe that morning. From the very best locally sourced ingredients to the friendly, kind baristas The Flying Joe is the perfect place to stop when you want to sip hot chocolate while looking at christmas lights, and the perfect place to enjoy a sunny brunch and a Frozen Joe.

The Flying Joe, Simply Jess Blog, Toledo, Ohio, Perrysburg, Coffee Shop, Small Business, Local, Natural, Vegan , Vegetarian, Specialty, Organic, John and Becky Ohm

Becky and John Ohm, both United States Air Force pilots who pine for the dreamy-romantic 1940s culture of air travel, opened The Flying Joe (FJ) during the initial expansion of Levis Commons in order to put their love of service to country and community into new life. The shop opened in 2007 and was well received by the people of Perrysburg. The drinks were good and the prices competed with the nearby Starbucks. Yes, they built small business coffee shop near one of the busiest Starbucks in the area. To me, that screams volumes about the passion and commitment the Ohms’ have to their venture. Now, nearly ten years later The Flying Joe continues to serve the people of Perrysburg, caring for the customer with a newfound care for what they are eating and drinking.

The Flying Joe, Simply Jess Blog, Toledo, Ohio, Perrysburg, Coffee Shop, Small Business, Local, Natural, Vegan , Vegetarian, Specialty, Organic, John and Becky Ohm

While sitting down with the lovely manager of the FJ, Bri, gave me the full scope of the tremendous changes made in how they care for and serve their customers. While offering many of the beloved favorites, the FJ turned their focus to the ingredients going into their food and drinks. The FJ uses as many locally sourced, organic, and simple ingredients they can reasonably obtain. Coffee at the FJ is from regional coffee roasters such as Actual Coffee (roasted right in Toledo), and Populace Coffee (roasted in Bay City, MI). Serving all locally made or housemade baked goods was a natural move for the shop; from Holey Toledo Doughnuts, and All Crumbs Bakery to local raw honey and Toledo-made apparel. The dairy products served are sourced from the Hartzier Family Dairy Farm in Wooster Ohio, where milk is taken from all grass-fed cows, who have not been exposed to harmful chemicals and pesticides. After Restaurant Week Toledo 2015, the FJ began offering lunch to patrons, making all of their own sauces for the sandwiches they serve.

The Flying Joe, Simply Jess Blog, Toledo, Ohio, Perrysburg, Coffee Shop, Small Business, Local, Natural, Vegan , Vegetarian, Specialty, Organic, John and Becky Ohm

Serving brunch gave the Flying Joe a way to meet the needs of their customers in a whole new way. Upon the decision to offer brunch, the Joe needed a proper cook to prepare the type of food they wanted to serve. They placed a want ad stating they were looking for someone to fulfill this role and along comes a letter from Debbie. A food lover, a world traveler, a dabbling (but never professional) cook, Debbie’s letter expressed her desire to cook for the Flying Joe. Her personality and passion were so evident in her correspondence that it became an easy decision to bring Debbie into the FJ family.

The Flying Joe, Simply Jess Blog, Toledo, Ohio, Perrysburg, Coffee Shop, Small Business, Local, Natural, Vegan , Vegetarian, Specialty, Organic, John and Becky Ohm
Seasonally Fresh Brunch Parfait – Vegetarian and Vegan Option

The presentation is a good as the taste. With traditional choices such as a variety of quiche, baked oatmeal, salads, and a weekly parfait, brunch also incorporates an elegant and rustic flare offering vegetarian/vegan options as well. Every week the most seasonally available choices are used to build the brunch menu. Hand selected produce from the Perrysburg Farmers Market, fresh local dairy, and fine, imported spices and goods from around the globe are fused together to bring an unmatched meal. This past week I had the chance to order the special menu item of the week: Farmer Mark’s French Radish Breakfast-Gone-Wild. [Now let me just say, I do not like radishes, I trade them out every time I get them in my CSA bag, I olive oil roast the heck out of them if i have to keep them, or I just give them away! Anyway, back to Farmer Mark’s Wild Radishes:] Debbie took a traditional French breakfast made with fresh local radishes, a ball of Burrata Mozzarella drizzled with good extra virgin olive oil, part of whole grain baguette, a side of French butter, Marcona almonds, and flakes of Sal de Mer (French Mediterranean sea salt). Honest to Betsy, It Was Delicious! I kid you not! This dish was full of great flavor, so smooth, not bitter. The combination of the lettuce, olive oil, salt, and yes, the radish, made a simple set of ingredients come to life and was full of flavor. And that Burrata Mozzarella. Fantastic! It spread on the baguette like butter. A vegetarian option on the brunch menu that pleases all palates.

The Flying Joe, Simply Jess Blog, Toledo, Ohio, Perrysburg, Coffee Shop, Small Business, Local, Natural, Vegan , Vegetarian, Specialty, Organic, John and Becky Ohm

We also ordered the parfait, and with rhubarb and strawberries in season, they happened to be the ideal choice. Now was my husband’s turn: despises yogurt and nuts (in the homemade granola). Well, he too was very pleasantly surprised! And ate the whole thing. Sweet, tart, fresh, and filling. The toasty, crunchy homemade granola, the creamy Greek yogurt, layered with the completely local strawberry-rhubarb compote, drizzled with Turkish honey, made for the perfect combination for this gourmet parfait. I don’t expect him to start eating yogurt at home, but it’s quite a compliment when he says he would order it again and practically licks the glass clean. Every dish that came out of the FJ kitchen was lovely, had a beautiful presentation; from quiche to baked oatmeal, the portions were generous.

The Flying Joe, Simply Jess Blog, Toledo, Ohio, Perrysburg, Coffee Shop, Small Business, Local, Natural, Vegan , Vegetarian, Specialty, Organic, John and Becky Ohm

One thing I always appreciate when I walk into the Flying Joe is the unpretentious, unassuming, welcoming atmosphere the baristas cultivate. While sitting down with Bri, it was immediately like talking to a friend I had know for years. Whether you are stumbling in for the first time hunting down some Holey Toledough Doughnuts, or just want to try something new, the staff is very warm and friendly and work with you to build you your ideal drink. Their focus is to serve you well both with kindness, and what’s going into your body. The coffee connoisseur has a good variety of coffees and brewing methods to choose from. The Nitro Cold Brew is great for the hot summer weather. With an impressive assortment of teas and non coffee beverages, the FJ is not just for the coffee lover. Fresh, local juices, and organic smoothies, plus one fan-TASTIC hot chocolate! Stop in. Eat brunch. Try a new drink. Know that you are being cared for body and tastebuds. Be Local.

Simply,

Jess

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