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

Actual Coffee, Simply Jess Blog, Be Local, coffee, artisan coffee roaster, Toledo Coffee

Toledo’s Own Actual Coffee

Actual Coffee is Both Sustainable and Exceptional

While the flavor and quality of Toledo’s own Actual Coffee speaks for itself, the one thing that stands out to me most about the company are the words of the owner himself: “I wanted to be a healthy cog in the coffee roasting business.” Lance, chief coffee roaster and founder of Actual Coffee, has a passion for ethically sourced, finely roasted coffee and the stories behind his hometown venture. His business mirrors his coffee, a labor of love, not born overnight, cultivated, handcrafted, and worth every bean.

Actual Coffee, Simply Jess Blog, Be Local, coffee, artisan coffee roaster, Toledo Coffee

Four months ago I declared that if I am to only have one cup of coffee a day, it was going to be darn good coffee. Freshly ground, locally roasted coffee only. High maintenance? … I like to call it high standards, and let me just say – my one and only pregnancy demand. We have been long supporters of fresh, locally roasted coffee. It was always in the house, and to Starbucks dismay, our preferred way to buy coffee. It was our evening/weekend coffee, not our morning jolt to functionality. Well, not anymore. One good cup, still to be enjoyed; savored during my few minutes of morning peace before work. On the weekends, it’s the quiet morning pour over, that starts with opening that bag of beans and taking in the sweet smell of coffee roasted this week, right here in Toledo. Ahh, the little things I expect to come to a screeching halt come late January. Not the coffee, just the peace and quiet of solitude.

Actual Coffee, Simply Jess Blog, Be Local, coffee, artisan coffee roaster, Toledo Coffee

For this Simply Jess 1 year anniversary post (woohoo!!) I wanted to bring back coffee. Darn good coffee! The Toledo coffee roasting movement  has grown tremendously over the past few years, and one of the major players has been Actual Coffee. Roasting beans since 2012 as a business, Lance Roper found his niche in the third wave, ethically sourced, coffee movement that had finally made its way to Toledo, Ohio. Upon reading a book of coffee history, Uncommon Grounds, Lance found himself challenged by the social and environmental consequences that come from big corporation coffee consumption. This luxury product so vastly consumed by first world countries, created modern-day slaves to the coffee industry at the root, the farms in which the coffee berries are grown and harvested. But he also found that consciously sourcing coffee distributors worked with old farms that cared as much for their workers, as the product they were growing. Actual Coffee was born, out of an effort to make a positive contribution to the coffee buying industry. Lance wanted to sell coffee that was sustainable, both environmentally and socially, but was a hands down superior, top quality product. “If you put our coffee next to a big brand’s take on coffee, you’d know which one was Actual Coffee.” Awesome.

Actual Coffee, Simply Jess Blog, Be Local, coffee, artisan coffee roaster, Toledo Coffee

Actual Coffee has seen the largest growth through word of mouth. Starting with Bleak House Coffee, Lance would practically volunteer hours at the coffee shop in order to get his roasts out to the public. Not too long later Becky Ohm, from the Flying Joe, approached Actual Coffee about distribution in their store. This has been a great, long standing relationship that has encouraged creativity though both business. Next, came an urgent request from DaCapo Coffee in Temperance, MI. DaCappo became a milestone for Actual Coffee, as this is the only coffee they serve to their customers. It has not only resulted in major growth, but new ideas as well. Element 112 became the first fine restaurant to serve Actual Coffee, and Walt Churchill’s the first grocer. Most recently Lance also had the opportunity to bring his coffee back to the downtown area with distribution to Rustbelt Coffee and Creamery. Each a new business relationship, and each a new way to get the people of Toledo familiar to where there coffee dollar is going.

Actual Coffee, Simply Jess Blog, Be Local, coffee, artisan coffee roaster, Toledo Coffee

The picture I see is that conscious coffee is part of a larger practice of conscious spending. When you shop at a local business, who buys from a local vendor, who buys from an ethical sourcer, who buys from a sustainable farm, and each business along the chain has employees that have a face, a name, a family, a story who are taken care of through good business practices. Have you ever thought your hard earned dollars could impact a world of people just by buying good coffee?

Actual Coffee, Simply Jess Blog, Be Local, coffee, artisan coffee roaster, Toledo Coffee

So, why Toledo? Why grow slow and organically in Northwest Ohio as opposed to moving to a place much larger where people are used to paying more for goods or a place where craft coffee is expected? At Actual Coffee headquarters, this passionate one man operation and his 20-pound an hour roaster sees the value in Toledo. “I love downtown and we’ve come so far.” Although, Lance takes a very calculated, and scientific approach to roasting coffee, he also takes pride in sharing the flavors that interest him with the community. Toledoians seem to favor fruity, Ethiopian roasts, but what most may not realize is this is a competition level coffee that we get to enjoy. Each roast is so unique, and the single origin roasts have been so well received that with input from coffee shops and consumers Lance recently stepped out of the box to created a truly unique espresso blend. While blend used to be a bit of a dirty word to a single origin roaster, this espresso has the ability to encompass the best Brazil, Ethiopian, and Central American flavors in one tiny cup. This espresso can stand alone, and doesn’t need to be masked by steamed milk and flavors; but if that is your preference, it will make your drink even better.

Actual Coffee, Simply Jess Blog, Be Local, coffee, artisan coffee roaster, Toledo Coffee

While Lance continues to pursue growth and development to expand capacity for Actual Coffee, he is also continually working to be a well trained, educated, and multi service coffee expert. He works hard to constantly learn and improve techniques, and offer full services to the coffee chops in the area to help them grow through better equipment as well. Lance put great importance on the equipment you use to make your coffee. The quality of your water, grinder, and your brewing method are what make a great cup of coffee.

Actual Coffee, Simply Jess Blog, Be Local, coffee, artisan coffee roaster, Toledo Coffee

The coffee you buy isn’t about the label, claims, or certification that a company has slapped on the front. It’s about where it started. Do you know where your coffee truly originates from? Buying from a small batch, artisan coffee roaster means you not only have the opportunity to know where it comes from, but you can also trust in the supply chain. That hard earned money you spend on coffee makes a much greater impact than you would believe, and it starts here at home. Be Local.

Actual Coffee, Simply Jess Blog Coffee Giveaway
Giveaway time! Like Actual Coffee, and Simply Jess on Facebook. Then share this picture! #BeLocal #ToledoCoffee

Surprise!! Happy Anniversary Actual Coffee Giveaway!!! Actual Coffee believes so much in their beans they want you to have the opportunity to try a bag of hand crafted, specialty Toledo roasted coffee! It’s roasters choice; Lance is going to roast the winner a fresh bag of Actual Coffee and it will be mailed straight to your house! What you have to do is (1) Like BOTH Actual Coffee’s Facebook page and The Simply Jess Blog Facebook page. (2) Share the post we have on both of our pages to your Facebook page. The caption must have the #BeLocal #ToledoCoffee. Shares must be made by 5pm Friday (8/19/2016). We will contact you via Facebook by Sunday 8/21/2016 to let you know if you won. Enjoy!

Simply,
Jess

Kombucha {Gesundheit!}

Boochy Mama’s Probiotic Tonic – Locally Made Kombucha

Kombucha? Well, this sounds interesting? That was my thought the first time I came across Boochy Mama’s kombucha beverages at Zingo’s restaurant in Perrysburg. I’m adventurous when it comes to trying new foods and beverages, but I began hearing about kombucha in conversations usually followed by something like: “Oh yea…. my wife drinks that stuff.” Well, doesn’t that make you want to give it a sip? None-the-less, curiosity got the best of me and one evening while out to dinner with a friend I decided to give it a go. Woah! Not the “stuff” I was imagining! This was fruity, fizzy very good “stuff”! Kombucha is a pleasantly unique beverage usually served cold, made of tea, sugar, and water. Never tried kombucha, or a little unsure about it? May I suggest introducing it to your tastebuds at the sure to be fun and festive Grand Opening of Boochy Mama’s new location Friday May 6th? 130 10th Street, Toledo, Ohio beginning at 7pm there will be music and tastings, plus some highly recommended cocktails and beer on tap.

Boochy Mama’s is Toledo’s first commercially available kombucha maker, that is quickly spreading distribution across Ohio, Ann Arbor, and through Detroit. Stacy Jurich is the lovely mastermind and tonic maker of Boochy Mama. Her passion for teas, kombucha, and tonics is expressed by the quality product she makes. Creating a truly green company, Stacy uses organic ingredients, and cares for the environment she draws her business from through composting, transporting goods using biodiesel, even delivering bottles of kombucha to retailers by bike when at all possible. Each bottle of Boochy Mama Kombucha sold provides 5¢ to a local charity. Currently Boochy Mama directs these funds to Toledo Bikes!

A native of the Toledo area, Stacy moved about the country several times in her young adult life. Making kombucha was a hobby, turned into a small business as friends continued to enjoy her drink. As the process became more consistent, and the product became more desireable her Toledo roots took hold as she began to feel the pull our city has to offer. Connections, and affordability, as well as the populations growing awareness on health made the choice to stay in the area clear.

Boochy Mama Kombucha | Simply Jess | Toledo Ohio

As stated previously, Kombucha is a fermented tea beverage usually served cold. Simply put, sweet tea is brewed, combined with a SCOBY, and some starter kombucha to sit and ferment over a two week period. Once the two weeks is complete the SCOBY is removed and the kombucha is bottled. Fermentation is a process that turns sugar to acids, gases or alcohol. It needs yeast and bacteria (the SCOBY); the SCOBY bacteria “eat” the sugar to release gases. When combined with the tea the result is a fizzy, slightly sweet drink with very little residual sugar. Kombucha is not an alcoholic beverage, and is not a “sugary” beverage like pop/soda. In fact, 16 oz of kombucha only has about 60 calories and only 1-2 grams of sugar. This makes a great alternative to pop/soda, sweetened lemonade, or sweet tea, while still giving its drinker a fruity sweet drink.

Many like the heath benefits of kombucha, most notably the benefits to the digestive system. Like yogurt, kombucha has live probiotic cultures that give the body good bacteria aiding in nutrient absorption. It has been said that diets that include fermented foods can help in regulate blood sugars and bad bacterias in the body, and can good for protein digestion relating to muscle health. One of the great things about Boochy Mama’s kombucha is that it is raw and fermented in open air. Unpasteurized kombucha has not been through the high heat process that kills many of the bacterial cultures, some of which contain the benefits noted above. Fermentation in open air allows the product to use environment to its benefit. Boochy Mama kombucha also creates such wonderfully unique flavors not found in the national, grocery store varieties. The blends of organic tea and juice are seasonally changing and evolving allowing for great variety in a growing kombucha market.

Boochy Mama Kombucha | Simply Jess

One thing I found fascinating about Stacy and her building of Great Lakes Tonics – the mother of Boochy Mama- was her continued individuality in growth. Whether it involves SCOBY, tea, or eventually indoor mushroom growth, Stacy is working steady with other entrepreneurs in the area to make Toledo more diverse. Local artists have lent their hand to the Boochy Mama bear artwork, and the lettering on her labels and storefront. She has even worked to extend the kombucha market into taprooms such as Black Cloister and the Attic. Having kombucha taps allows for growler fill up of kombucha, as well as the development of cocktails involving kombucha. Some alcoholic and other cocktails providing non-alcohol drinkers some options other than pop/soda.

Locally you can find Boochy Mama’s Kombucha at the new kombucha store and kitchen located at 130 10th Street, Toledo, Ohio, and many of the local grocers (Market on the Green, Health Foods by Claudia, Bassett’s, Kazmaier’s, the Phoenix Co-Op, Churchill’s Market, and soon The Andersons). Quite a few local restaurants also carry the Kombucha (this is a great way to give it a try): Fowl and Fodder, Zingo’s Mediterranean, Balance Pan Asian Grille, Grumpy’s, The Original Sub Shop, Plate 21, Bleak House Coffee, Black Kite Coffee, and on tap Black Cloister brewing company and The Attic. If you are in Ann Arbor you can find bottles at Katoi, and the Mighty Good Coffee Roasting Co. As well as Phoebe’s At 138 – Tiffin. The storefront will also offer growler fill-ups and merchandise. Soon to follow will be teas and other kombucha making products.

Go visit Stacy and the Boochy Mama team at their new location! Check out the Facebook page for updates, events, and store hours.

Be Local.

Simply,
Jess