Wesler Orchards

Just a few miles east of the Indiana border, the hilly splendor of New Paris, Ohio, gives way to the paradise that is Wesler Orchards. Around 7,000 apple trees stretch across the horizon, representing about 25 different varieties. Ron Wesler surveys the orchards with his hands on his hips, eyes squinting as the sun peers down. “This is three generations of work here,” he says. “It’s taken a long time to get what we’ve got and we don’t take that for granted.”

AN APPLE A DAY FOR THREE GENERATIONS

Wesler Orchards got its start in 1930 with Ron’s grandfather Frank, a Purdue University graduate who joined forces with an existing farmer to form Martin & Wesler. After the Depression hit, Frank became the sole proprietor and the farm was renamed Wesler Orchards. Ron’s father Meredith, 89, then oversaw the farm for many years, with the production of apples flourishing.

“He’s down here at 8:30 a.m. every day,” says Ron, who purchased the farm from his father in 2000. Meredith lives in a farmhouse just about 200 yards away from Ron. If you ask him what keeps him in such good physical condition, a wide smile spreads across his face. “An apple a day,” he recites.

PRESSING TOWARD THE FUTURE

It wasn’t until 2012 that apple cider became the main focus of Wesler Orchards—a direction that has quenched the thirst for many, including DLM patrons (Wesler makes all of our DLM Apple Cider, after all).

If you pay attention, you’ll notice subtle taste nuances from one batch of cider to the next. When talking to Ron, this inconsistency is actually a big part of the magic that is Wesler Cider, as each batch is a blend of at least four different apple varieties, making the cider a true reflection of the apples that are at their peak. It’s that blend of tart and sweet that Wesler is looking for with its cider.

While driving alongside Ron through the Orchards, he points toward the Jonathon apples that are currently being harvested, with ladders set up alongside. We move toward the Red Delicious trees, and he quickly adds that when they’re ready, they’ll add just the right amount of sweetness. Next, we roll past Gold Rush, which will likely be used to make some of the cider produced in mid-October. He carefully puts a finger alongside the stem before he picks it from the tree with a roll of the hand. “Next year’s buds are already in,” he says, noting that great care needs to be taken when picking.

CIDER HOUSE

Just a few hundred yards from the edge of the orchard are the storage coolers as well as the machinery where the cider is freshly pressed. “We try to do it right,” says Ron, noting that although their cider is flash pasteurized, it contains no preservatives and is 100% pure apples. This results in a darker cider overall, he points out, but he thinks that’s where the real flavor is. “It would make our lives a lot easier if we add preservatives … but the flavor just isn’t there like it is with a fresh cider,” he says. With a common mission of Flavor First, it’s a good reminder why we partner with Wesler for our DLM Apple Cider.

7 Ideas for a Fish Dish Meal

Remember, your fishmonger is your friend and here at DLM. They are knowledgeable and passionate about sourcing the best and the freshest! But what does that word “fresh” really mean? It’s often overused because everyone says their seafood is “fresh” to the point that the word has almost lost its meaning. Our definition of the word is one we stand behind and is one of the building blocks that has elevated our Seafood department over the years. It comes down to “time spent out of water,” says Jack Gridley, DLM VP of Meat & Seafood, and there are several ways that we keep that time to a minimum. We do so by buying it direct from fishing co-ops that practice sustainable techniques. We also choose air freight instead of having it travel by truck, resulting in drastically less time out of water.

The constant stream of new fish in our seafood case is a true reflection of what’s in season. So as the Lenten season begins, check with us often as we’ll be featuring a vast selection of seasonal catches as they are available as well as a variety of shellfish. Here are 7 recipes so you can cook up a fish dish for your table, whether it’s for Fish Friday or any day.

 

Fish Friday Find

When it comes to the farm-raised salmon we carry, we seek the very best. So many providers raise their salmon in densely packed waters with antibiotics so that they grow as fast as possible. We take it upon ourselves to source farm-raised salmon that’s antibiotic free, fed an organic diet, and given plenty of room. The farms also practice rotation to allow sites to redevelop naturally. “They’re raised the right way,” says Jack Gridley, VP of Meat & Seafood.

The Shetland Farm Organic Salmon we carry is raised in floating ocean pens about 100 miles off the coast of Scotland. The fast-moving currents of the cool water are perfect for raising salmon, which are certified organic by the UK.

Farm-Raised King Salmon from Creative Salmon Co. is certified organic by Canada. “The Farm Raised King Salmon is raised in Tofino Bay, British Columbia … the cold, clean, fast-moving water provides the fish with the same environment as its wild counterparts with plenty of room to swim and develop muscle,” says Jon Lemaster, DLM Springboro Seafood manager. “Both of these farm-raised salmon are from two of the best farms in the world and we’re very proud to have them in our cases.”

Warm Your Soul with Soup

It’s 11:24 a.m. on a Wednesday and the DLM Homemade Soup Station at DLM Washington Square alone has already replenished two of the six 11-quart soup wells located at the Deli’s Soup Station. Fast-forward 32 minutes and that number jumps to four. On a typical day, our Deli serves approximately 225 quarts of soup. Factor in the Soup Station also located near our Meat & Seafood department and that number jumps even more.

When it comes to DLM Homemade Soups, we’re often asked “what’s your secret?” Truth is, sometimes the best secret is the one that is painstakingly obvious—the soups are made from scratch daily using chef-driven recipes and the very same meats and vegetables you’ll find in our stores. Unlike the soups found on most “hot soup bars” that come from a bag or can, ours are Made Right Here in each store’s Kitchen, and that’s something we’re pretty proud of.

“Terms like ‘homemade’ and ‘made from scratch’ have kind of lost their worth in today’s marketplace. Most people see it as an advertising gimmick that doesn’t mean what it used to. At DLM, it means exacly what it says—no gimmicks, no false promises,” says Rick Mosholder, Kitchen manager at DLM Washington Square. “The ingredients used in our soups are the exact same items our customers can buy. There is no ‘secret’ or unobtainable items that we use. Just good quality products from start to finish.”

Jessica Prior, who manages the Kitchen at DLM Springboro agrees. “Made Right Here—it’s what puts DLM on the map and we take great pride in that,” she says. The Kitchen at DLM Springboro is bustling with activity. She walks from the Kitchen and heads over to the Produce department to grab some fresh cilantro, which she chops once back in the Kitchen and adds to a pot of chili simmering on the stove. Each store offers about 5-6 different types of soup each day, ranging from the ever-popular Mom’s Chicken Noodle and Tomato Bisque to the more exotic, like Pork Posole and Tom Yum Gai. “We try to make sure that each day’s selection offers something cream-based, broth-based as well as an option with chicken, beef, and a vegetarian choice,” Jessica says.

DLM Homemade Soups are so popular, there is a dedicated soup chef for each store’s Kitchen—speaking volumes to Made Right Here in action. “It makes us all feel good to know people enjoy it … knowing that puts a smile on our faces,” Jessica says.

Check out what soups we have available today at your favorite location!

Raising the Chocolate Bar—Maverick Chocolate & 6 More Chocolatiers to Adore

You don’t have to look far to find chocolate makers who see their work as equal parts passion and craft—a science to be explored, continuously perfected. Cincinnati-based Maverick Chocolate Co. has attracted national attention for their bean-to-bar approach, gaining quick accolades from the International Chocolate Awards.

Albeit impressive, that’s not the most interesting thing about Maverick. Hints of the story behind the bar can be gleaned from the packaging of their chocolate. You’ll note illustrations of revolutionary flying contraptions throughout aviation history—mavericks in their own time. As you move your fingers across the fastener on the packaging, the words “remove before flight” appear across the pull tab.

Founder Paul Picton spent the lion’s share of his career working as a mechanical engineer in the aviation industry for GE, Delta, and Mercedes-Benz. He traveled often and found a sweet way to connect with his family upon returning—with chocolate. About 5 years ago, he decided that it was time to reinvent his career and dreams of chocolate making surfaced. “I knew it was time for a change,” he says. “I quickly learned that not all craft chocolate is equal … It’s relatively simple to make [chocolate], but it’s very hard to perfect.” As an engineer, it’s clear that the quest for perfection is a big part of the fun for Paul. His evolution to a food entrepreneur has offered the opportunity to draw upon the talents of his family, like his son Ben Picton, who heads up sales and marketing at Maverick. Together, they are adding a new spin to the classic comfort of chocolate. “It’s not just candy,” tells Paul, calling attention to the devil in the detail.

Maverick’s stunning new chocolate-making facility located in Cincinnati’s Rookwood Commons area is an off-shoot from its original Findlay Market shop. Cocoa beans are roasted, ground, and then tempered on impressive brushed steel equipment from Italy. Paul describes how tempering the chocolate just right brings about changes to its innate crystal structure, resulting in that beautiful shine and snap by natural means—no artificial additives and the ingredients are kept simple.

“We are mavericks in chocolate-making,” Paul says. With that said, we are excited that such chocolate makers are locally based in our own backyard.

6 More Chocolatiers to Adore, by Todd Templin

Dorothy Lane Market Chocolate Bars by Ghyslain

Union City, IN • ghyslain.com

Here at DLM, we love great food and sometimes a collaboration is just natural as it is with our dear friend, Master Chef Ghyslain Maurais … who also loves great food! Together, we’ve created a line of chocolate bars that are beautifully made, affordable, and the perfect accompaniment to nearly any occasion. Available in Dark, Milk, Sea Salt Almond, Artisan Dark Milk, Hazelnut, and Sea Salt Caramel, these are meant to be nibbled at your desk mid-day, post meal for a decadent dessert, or paired with the perfect wine for a tasty treat.

Le chocolate des Français

France • lechocolatdesfrancais.fr/en/

We love this French company that brings to life a whimsical fun side with their vibrant packaging. They’re dedicated to making super high quality chocolates from pure cocoa butter, sustainably farmed beans from Ecuador and Peru, and French ingredients that are 100% natural, without palm oil or preservatives! With labels that remind one slightly of an Andy Warhol collection, these chocolates are delicious, fun, and make one simply smile.

MilkBoy Swiss Chocolates

Switzerland • milkboy.com

The milk from the famed herds that graze high in the Alps each summer is the base for these bars. High quality ingredients, including top-notch cocoa beans from some of the world’s best sustainable sources, make these chocolate bars some of our favorites!

Olive & Sinclair

Nashville, TN • oliveandsinclair.com

Working within an old grocery store turned chocolate factory, Olive & Sinclair is Tennessee’s first and only bean-to-bar chocolate company. They begin their chocolate making process by stone-grinding cacao, using melangeurs (stone mills) from the early 1900s, then adding only pure cane brown sugar. They call it Southern Artisan Chocolate™. From Buttermilk White Chocolate to 75% Cacao, their chocolates are nothing short of exquisite.

Charles Chocolates

San Francisco, CA • charleschocolates.com

Charles Chocolates’ founder Chuck Siegel is self-taught in the art of chocolate making. His passion has driven the dedication of the company to create some of the best handmade chocolate, all crafted with the finest ingredients. This attention to detail has given Charles Chocolates a glowing reputation in the world of small batch artisan chocolates.

K + M Chocolate

Napa, CA • kellermannichocolate.com

If there was ever a superstar duo to team up to make decadent tasting chocolate, it is this team: Thomas Keller, the famed chef and owner of Napa Valley’s The French Laundry, and Armando Manni, the owner of Manni Organic Extra-Virgin Olive Oil. Chi Bui, the chocolatier who oversees production of the chocolate, helps with the unique production methodology where a small amount of heart-healthy Manni Extra-Virgin Olive Oil infuses the bean-to-bar chocolate with its signature texture while boosting antioxidant properties.

Equal Exchange Fairly Traded Co-op

Cleveland, OH and other locations • equalexchange.coop

Since their start, Equal Exchange’s mission has been to empower small farmer co-ops that use sustainable agriculture. Using that same vision, they source the organic cocoa and sugar used in their chocolate bars directly from small farmer co-ops in Latin America. Each blissful bite is silky, smooth decadence.

4 Chocolate Bark Recipes To Gift This Season

‘Tis the season to create something sweet for those you love! One of our favorite things about Chocolate Bark is that not only is delicious to have on hand for your festive gatherings, but it’s a great gift idea if you are looking to add a homemade touch. So, without further ado, here are four chocolate bark recipes to keep you and yours holly jolly this season!

 

Minty White Chocolate Bark

Ingredients needed: White chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, peppermint extract, green food coloring.

Almond + Sea Salt Chocolate Bark

Ingredients needed: Dark chocolate, slivered almonds, shredded unsweetened coconut, sea salt.

Pistachio + Dried Cranberry Chocolate Bark

Ingredients needed: bittersweet chocolate, pistachios, dried cranberries, orange zest.

Dried Fruit + Walnut Chocolate Bark

Ingredients needed: Bittersweet chocolate, semi-sweet chocolate, walnuts, dried apricots, dried cherries, golden raisins.

Turkey Red Wheat – Ohio to Holland

Some stories, the good ones, have a way of taking on a life of their own in the best of ways. This one is as golden as the wild heads of the turkey red wheat that we’ve baked bread from, now for three years, thanks to three unlikely local collaborators who have made it all possible—Danny Jones, Dale Friesen, and Ed Hill.

You see, the story was as rich as honey before, as turkey red wheat is a hard winter wheat that’s predominately grown in the Plains States and naysayers didn’t think it was possible to grow it in Ohio, but thanks to Danny, Dale, and Ed, it flourishes in our corner of the world. We shared the story online and word of our wheat field in Xenia spread to a museum in the Netherlands that sought to spotlight the life of Menno Simons, whose ideals set the foundation of the Mennonite faith. The exhibit curators were drawn to the purity of the strain of turkey red wheat that we grow—it’s never been hybridized—and the family history of Dale, who shares a rich connection to the seeds through his heritage. As Mennonites fled Russia in the late 1800s to the United States, they took with them their prized turkey red wheat seeds to build a new future. Dale’s grandparents were among those Mennonites who settled in the Plains States. Menno de Vries, a curator of the exhibit, is also a farmer. He knew how important turkey red wheat was to the livelihood of the Mennonite people and sought to connect it to the exhibit. The exhibit “Menno Simons Groen” opened at the Groencentrum in Witmarsum, a small village in the Netherlands, in early June. Dale and Ed sent both flour and nearly two bushels of turkey red wheat seeds to De Vries. At the opening of the exhibit, some of the seeds were scattered in ceremonial fashion on bits of earth running down the floor of the museum. They would later sprout and become a part of the exhibit, which remained open through August. “When they sprinkled the seeds, it was a symbolic blessing of the soil by planting the seed that finally had a resting place,” Ed says.

With the remaining seeds, De Vries intends to return them to the soil of Witmarsum to bring these seeds full circle. “This is wheat that left Crimea and went to the Plains States and then later to Ohio. And because of Dale Friesen, it went back home. Home being the birthplace of the man who is responsible for establishing the Mennonite faith,” Ed says. Although these seeds have now been shared with our new friends afar, we’ve kept plenty to grow wheat from and bake bread with here in Dayton, Ohio. Look for Turkey Red Wheat Sourdough at the DLM Bakery now.

Meet Ray Brentlinger: A Sweet Corn Sensation

The local food movement is a powerful, beautiful thing. So much that it has elevated New Carlisle, Ohio-based farmer Ray Brentlinger and his non-GMO sweet corn to star status here in Dayton. We barely have to whisper the name “Brentlinger” and mouths start to water as it’s synonymous with the summer staple that Ray brings to our stores. So what makes Brentlinger sweet corn so good?

Let’s start with the deep roots of the farm, established by Ray’s father in 1952. “He put out a tent … they couldn’t afford paper bags so they wrapped it in newspaper,” Ray says of his family’s first corn stand. The sweet corn sold itself, and from there the business took off and the rest is history. Now, the Brentlinger family operates two farm stands in addition to bringing sweet corn to Dorothy Lane Market seven days a week once the season is in full swing.

Ray attributes the land itself as a big contributor to growing such a high quality of sweet corn, as the soil is moist yet drains well, leaving it rich and ideal for the shallow-rooted crop. The farm is bordered by the Mad River, providing natural irrigation. Plus, hidden beneath the soil you’ll find an underground irrigation system that’s been in place since 1970. “You have to have plenty of water for sweet corn,” Ray says, something that can be quite a challenge for many crops in the sweltering heat of the summer. Ideal growing conditions are just one piece to the puzzle though when it comes to ensuring a sweet corn sensation year after year from the crop at Brentlinger’s Farm Market.

The Right Conditions & A Dose of Personality

When you meet Ray, he greets you with a hug and leaves you with a Brentlinger’s Farm T-shirt. He’s smiling and spry and loves to share a knee-slapping kind of laugh with his company. He’s someone you’d want to enjoy a cold glass of iced tea with, but don’t sit down, because Ray’s on his feet (or driving in his Gator) and ready to share with you his passion for his farm, machinery, and his smart methodologies for always making sure Brentlinger is the best sweet corn around.

He’s pretty much grown corn for his whole life, learning the ins and outs as a child from his father. He went on to The Ohio State University to further that education receiving his bachelor’s degree in horticulture. In 1971, he immersed himself in the family business once again, and it truly is a family affair today with his son Andrew, his wife Terri, his brother Tom, sister Linda, and sister-in-law Kathi all taking part.

Besides a healthy dose of enthusiasm, Ray’s expertise shines, as he’s always planting test plots of sweet corn each year. He does this so he can experiment with growing new varieties available—a sure bet that his next crop of sweet corn for the following year will lead the pack in flavor.

HEY, HEY! Rosé: And Everything Else Pink That We Love

You just have to stop and listen to really know what’s abuzz in the food world. What’s in season? What’s tickling the curiosity of chefs? And what’s delicious right now? I had the pleasure of being involved with a conversation like that with all of the brilliant directors here at DLM, whom I greatly admire and respect. They make DLM shine in so many ways, including forming valuable relationships with passionate food and drink purveyors near and far. They aren’t afraid to stop and smell the roses (or taste that latest French cheese, in some cases).

We were thinking about this time of year and the food, drink, and even flowers that are surrounding us. As we spoke about the local strawberry bounty, wild Copper River King Salmon (yes, it’s here), and brilliant blooms, our minds swirled with the color pink—also the color of rosé—and all its glory.

Local Strawberry Sensation
“There’s something about local strawberries that just makes me smile,” says Michelle Mayhew, Produce director at Dorothy Lane Market. We’re excited this year to feature the bounty of new Love Local friends, the VanMeter family. Their strawberry farm is located on 100 rolling acres in Clarkson, KY, and is a labor of love for the whole family. “Danny and Trish want to teach their children values of hard work, so they are all involved with collecting the fruit of their labor,” says Michelle, noting that Danny is a member of the Strawberry Grower’s Association of Kentucky and the Ohio Valley.

Alaska Copper River Wild King Salmon Makes its Splash
Alaska Copper River Wild King Salmon is one of the most sought-after salmons and it’s finally here, coming to us fresh from Alaska. ‘”I’m Coming Home’ is the tune played by Mother Nature beckoning the return of the fish to the headwaters of their birth,” says Jack Gridley, VP of Meat & Seafood. Its prized flavor is attributed to the high Omega-3 oil content as the fish builds up fat to give them energy to travel the long spawning journey up the Copper River.

Fleur to Adore
May started strong with Italian Heather, and with each week, even more splashy blooms have continued to fill our stores. And then, just when we thought it couldn’t get much better, our locally grown bouquet season really kicked into gear. It’s easy to see why there’s so much fleur to adore!

Rosé all May
“It’s like springtime in a bottle,” Todd Templin, VP of Beer, Wine, & The Cheese Shop, has been known to say of the sure as the sun arrival of rosé to our stores each spring. We look forward to its bright fruits, crisp acids, and generally dry finish. The mere mention of rosé, aka the pink wine, elicits many smiles.

Drizzle Liberally: How to Make Pesto with Novello

Wondering how to make pesto from scratch? Vera Jane’s Novello Extra-Virgin Olive Oil is just the Earthy taste of spring you need and will help you in your pesto pursuits (keep reading for our perfect pesto recipe). In Tuscany, Italy, sits the Zanetti family’s farm, where the olives are grown that are used to make our very own Vera Jane’s Extra-Virgin Olive Oil.

The fruit of their labor is harvested once a year during a small window. Most of the oil will be stored and bottled as needed, but a select amount is sent to us as the first harvest for you to enjoy. We consider this the most exciting oil of the year with its grassy taste that explodes with freshness as it hits your mouth. It’s a special treat, indeed, and only distinguished as Novello for a limited time. What to do with it? Drizzle liberally. Here are a few ideas, including our recipe for perfect pesto.

  1. Drizzle on top of steamed vegetables, pasta, pizza, steak, or DLM Gelato.
  2. Use to lightly fry meats and seafood.
  3. Finish with a little sea salt, freshly ground pepper, or dried herbs and use as a dip for DLM Artisan Bread.
  4. Make bruschetta, a simple vinaigrette, or pesto!

HOW TO MAKE CHEF CARRIE’S PERFECT PESTO RECIPE

3 garlic cloves
½ tsp sea salt, or more to taste
3 oz basil leaves ( about 1 cup packed )
2 Tbsp pine nuts
2 oz Parmigiano-Reggiano, grated
½ cup Vera Jane’s Novello Extra-Virgin Olive Oil

USING YOUR FOOD PROCESSOR
Pulse the garlic, salt, and pine nuts until finely minced. Add the basil and pulse until finely minced. Stir in the olive oil and cheese, and adjust seasoning according to taste if needed.

For more of an authentic pesto, use a mortar and pestle for a finer texture.

MORTAR AND PESTLE
Step 1: Combine the garlic salt and grind into a paste.

Step 2: Add the basil a handful at a time and grind in a circular motion; continue until all the basil is crushed.

Step 3: Add the pine nuts and crush into the paste, then grind in the cheese.

Step 4: Slowly drizzle in the olive oil until well incorporated. Ready to eat right away, or place in a covered jar with a small amount of additional olive oil.

PESTO USES

  • Toss with freshly cooked veggies
  • Mix into mayo
  • Drizzle over eggs
  • Smear on bruschetta
  • Dollop on soup