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

Riehm Farms Simply Jess Blog Local Ohio Farming Organic Farm CSA

Riehm Produce Farm – Sustaining Generations

Multigeneratonal Family Owned Organic Farm

You know your doctor [by name], you know your dentist, why don’t you know your farmer?” Even as a locavore, this statement by John Riehm struck me. This is true! We build relationships with the people we entrust with our health needs: our doctor, dentist, pharmacist; so then why do we not know who is behind one of the most vital elements of your health? Our food and its nutritional value has one of the greatest impacts on our overall health. At the Riehm Family Produce Farm, nutrition and integrity are the reasons behind why they want you to know who grows what you feed your family.

Riehm Farms Simply Jess Blog Local Ohio Farming Organic Farm CSA

I was first introduced to Riehm Farms last year while trying to pick a CSA to invest in. I was having lunch at one of my favorite stops and they had two pamphlets on the counter near the register about local CSA options. The restaurant owner had such wonderful things to say about both farms, it made the decision tough, but in the end the story of Riehm Farms is what really resonated with me. The Riehm family has more than just a produce farm, they have created a multigenerational legacy in Tiffin, Ohio, sharing quality organic food and continually growing towards the future.

Riehm Farms Simply Jess Blog Local Ohio Farming Organic Farm CSA
A little up-close-and-personal introduction to my future tomatoes

Growing food for fine 419 restaurants and loyal CSA members is nothing new for this century old farm. The Riehm family welcomed 5th generation farmer, Phil Riehm, back in 2014 to continue to agriculturally develop the land. His father John has been farming the land since 1978 when he graduated high school, continuing on the legacy of his father who passed away many years prior when John was very young. Through this time the sales center has progressed from a roadside cart, to a lean-to, to a tent and now the farm proudly welcomes guests into its lovely market.

Riehm Farms Simply Jess Blog Local Ohio Farming Organic Farm CSA

The Riehm’s farm focus is on the nutritional value, which is why they choose to undertake the risks and challenges of organic farming practices. At one time, Diane Riehm was a health instructor, and was able to spark John’s interest in changing the conventionally farmed land to less harmful methods. Nutritional tests were later done comparing the nutritional value of their tomatoes vs a neighboring farms’ and hydroponic tomatoes. The results were much higher with the Riehm farms variety. This became their motivation and their focus: Healthy Soils = Healthy Crops = Healthy People

Riehm Farms Simply Jess Blog Local Ohio Farming Organic Farm CSA
Fresh cucumbers? Sure!
Phil Riehm tells me about organic fertilization.

Phil’s return to the family farm brought extended knowledge from his crop science and agricultural business education from The Ohio State University. Together, Phil and John lead the team into their 14th CSA season! In 2002, as CSAs were just beginning to gain popularity in the midwest, Riehm Farms started offering CSA shares to a small community of people in Sandusky Ohio. The first season started with just 12 shares, and has continued to double ever since. Currently, they offer close to 400 shares delivered to 12 different pick-up sites across NW Ohio.

Riehm Farms Simply Jess Blog Local Ohio Farming Organic Farm CSA
Strawberries

So many pick-up sites for their CSA members is just one example of how the Riehm Family serve the people they feed. They don’t just want to grow a mass amount food, hand it over and be done with it. For one, they greatly care about what each CSA member gets in their bag; how you like it, how it lasts, how to cook or preserve it, they even give recipes in their weekly newsletters. It could almost be looked at like they are your seasonally selected, picked at the peak of ripeness, nutritionally balanced food coaches. This past year I included my parents in the Farm-to-Fork dinner event held on the farm. At this dinner, all of the food served was picked directly from the field, cleaned, cooked and served over four courses by professional chefs. At the dinner, they gave us the whole story of how our food was prepared: from Farm to Fork. Guests enjoyed foods that they had maybe never tried before, my parents were quite impressed. I know personally, I am a self proclaimed beet-hater, but the roasted beet, kale, bleu cheese salad was fantastic! Not that I now LOVE beets, but I do enjoy them roasted, and mixed with other ingredients. This also gave me confidence to experiment and create a recipe that included beets (recipe coming your way this root vegetable season). They truly taught me how to use my CSA.

The influence a farm can bring to its community is huge. This job is not cheap, it’s not going to make you rich, it’s hard, and requires tremendous amounts of time and discipline. So I as the Riehms: “Why do you keep farming?”

Phil: “It’s in our blood, it’s built into our family”
Diane: “It’s helping the next generation to make them successful.”
John: “You know your doctor, you know your dentist, why don’t you know your farmer?”

Riehm Farms Simply Jess Blog Local Ohio Farming Organic Farm CSA
Early May Onions

It takes passion to seed, then transplant 40,000 onions by hand. Building the relationship with your CSA customers, and restaurant owners, to tell them your story, and learn about theirs; this is where it’s at. It’s more than feeding people. It’s being local.

A half CSA share of organic, locally grown food was more than adequate for our family of two, and could have easily fed a small child as well. It greatly impacted our weekly grocery budget and the value of what we picked up from week to week was worth every penny. Please take a moment to check out Riehm Produce Farm at funacres.net or on Facebook. They have full and half share spots open for the 2016 season that will start in about 3 weeks! That’s not much time, so sign up soon!! Please feel free to contact me or riehmfarms@gmail.com for more information as well.

Be Local.
Simply,
Jess

Fowl and Fodder: Local Fare, Locally Sourced

When I think of eating local in Toledo, I think of Fowl and Fodder. It’s that straightforward. I know this is the place I can go for a good meal, but the “local” part does not start with a quality sandwich spot on Central Avenue. At Fowl and Fodder, “local” doesn’t even start with the fresh lettuce and the cheese in your salad, the duck in your tacos, the coffee you drink, the carrots in your soup, the fruits and vegetables in the juices, or the bread served with your meal. Local: it starts with the relationships you’ve built.

Fowl & Fodder | SimplyJess

Scott Bowman, the founder and owner of Fowl and Fodder, knows this first hand. With a past college student mindset that there is not much Toledo has to offer, Scott has become one of the key go-to people when it comes to food in the 419.

Scott is no stranger to handcrafted food, never having had mass produced sandwich bread until the age of seven. His grandparents owned a 72 acre farm and his mom cooked homemade meals for her family. To this day, both Scott and his sister enjoy the adventurous side of their home-cooked background. Creating his early career in the chain restaurant business, Scott has worked in the food industry since the age of 16. But it was his passion to create things by hand and his appreciation of quality cooking, that Scott realized he could craft better dishes than many of those he tried elsewhere.

Fowl & Fodder | SimplyJess

He and his wife created a plan to make the move: owning a restaurant despite the opportunities available through the restaurant industry he was already working in. Scott decided to construct something different than anything else Toledo had to offer. He designed three different concepts of restaurants, landing on the idea of a sandwich shop centered around making local food accessible, using the best ingredients possible so anyone can walk in and be able to afford a meal.

Fowl & Fodder | Simply Jess

Two years ago the Bowman’s realized the time was right, and entered into what would be the most stressful time in his life, thus far. Finally, a $20k Kickstarter was developed and Scott hit the pavement, engaging the community in which Fowl and Fodder currently resides. Facebook campaigns, health and wellness food events, support from the Sylvania and Toledo community, hours upon hours of talking with local business owners brought Fowl and Fodder close to fruition, but with days left in the Kickstarter push, they were still short. Just 24 hours before the campaign was to close, a big donor came through and they hit their goal with just 12 hours to spare. With help from family and friends, a good portion of the labor invested in the atmosphere was DIY. The barnwood, barn tin, and chalkboards were found locally, tieing in with the overall theme of the location. Scott’s dad assisted in handcrafting the bucharboard table tops, creating a handsome eating surface for guests. Even a special, drop in guest with strong ties to the original Chipotle locations in Denver, lent an instrumental hand in creating the atmosphere of the dining room by strongly encouraging contemporary drop lights instead of the pre-installed forurescents.

Fowl & Fodder | SimplyJess

Scott spent the first three-plus months trying food from all across the region, looking for collaborators to create the modest but unique menu that the restaurant would offer when they opened. Now, a year and a half later and six menu changes, Scott is proud to say this fall is the best menu offerings they have had thus far.

Fowl & Fodder | SimplyJess

It takes the relationship with the vendors, collaboration, and loyalty to succeed. With approximately 90% of the food supplies coming from Riehm Farms and Shared Legacy Farms, there is a lot of communication that occurs throughout the seasons in order to procure adequate supply for a restaurant and to plan ahead for future menus.  Working together, sharing opinions, and recognizing the passion behind each business creates a network of buy local, grown local focused individuals giving Toledo an identity of community partnership that has tons of potential for growth.

Fowl & Fodder | SimplyJess

Scott also invests a lot of time into food shows and events around the area. If he can give Fowl and Fodder a presence, he does. From trade shows to University Basketball events, the investment is in time and face-to-face contact with people. A new adventure for the business has been working with Churchills, a locally owned grocery store, to create cooking videos to show viewers ways to use local, better quality products. The goal is about working together as a community.

Fowl & Fodder | Simply Jess

This style of restaurant also means that change is inevitable. Change with what can be sourced locally each season, and adaptability to change from the customers too. It pushes Scott, his team, and the patrons to try something new, create something better, and to even just roll with it sometimes. This could be why the clientele is dynamic. Fowl and Fodder sees a lot of regular patrons. “It seems that people either come in three times a week, or have never been here before”, say Scott.  Many people come from out of town to eat here, especially those who are supporters of the eat-local, buy-local movement. With a staff of employees that are just as passionate about the business and what they do, guests are in for a great experience.  

Fowl & Fodder | SimplyJess

I love how this is a place where you can not only feel confident in the quality of the food you are eating, but you are supporting your local community at the same time. The vegetables, the poultry, beef, and fowl are all sourced from farms in our area. This, and the family friendly menu is valuable to many such as frequent flyer, Breena Holt: “Typically I feel very guilty, as a mom, when it comes time to have dinner and I haven’t had enough time, or I simply didn’t plan well. My kids are very hungry and I am at a point where I have to admit that we have to go out. Once Fowl and Fodder opened up, they were my go to! Not only because every meal is full of so many amazing flavors but because they care about the ingredients they cook with. It is such a blessing to take my kids out and truly feel good about what they are eating! Mommy guilt gone and that’s a wonderful feeling!” The passion and pride behind this business is something to stand behind.

Fowl & Fodder | Simply Jess

Fowl and Fodder has so much room for growth. They have expanded their menu and hours several times already, and although Scott is very satisfied and pleased with the direction things are going, he continues to imagine the possibilities for the future.

I truly hope you find Fowl and Fodder as wonderful and truly local as I do.

Be Local.

~Jess