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Meet Chef Susan at Farm to Plate

Published Aug. 28, 2013 | Discuss this article on Facebook

Saturday, Aug. 31 we are presenting the fourth demonstration for the Farm to Plate Project which is put on by the Hazel Grove Farm Bureau Council and the Richland County Farm Bureau. This week we are proud to present Ms. Susan Vander Maas of Doc's Deli, 424 Glessner Avenue, Mansfield, Ohio 44903 (419-775-7775). Doc's Deli is open M-F from 10:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., Saturday from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. and is located across the street from Med Central Hospital.

Doc's is known for its excellent soups, sandwiches, salads and desserts. An interesting service is that you can design your own sandwich and name it. When you come in the next time, your sandwich has been recorded and you will get the same ingredients and the same sandwich.You can look at the complete list of customer-named sandwiches on Doc's website in the Archive section. Doc's also has what Susan calls "casual catering"- pre-wedding luncheons, bridal and baby showers, business meetings, graduations, etc.

Susan reports that, especially in the summer, “Fresh is the best.” Most of her fresh produce comes through David Ernst, who has his own organic produce business as well as managing the Shelby Farmers’ Market, Mansfield Farm Market, and the Farm Market located in the Aldi's parking lot on Lexington Springmill Road. Susan will be making Gazpacho (cold vegetable soup) and a Greek chicken wrap with Tzatziki Sauce. When asked why she chose these two recipes, she said, “because of the fresh ingredients that are used. The ingredients can be easily obtained at a local farm market, a local producer, or even grown at home in your own garden." This goes along with Susan's philosophy of “support your local businesses before you go to a major chain."

Susan’s first job was in high school at the Clancy's fast food restaurant in Galion. After high school Ms. Vander Maas went to college at the OSU’s Agriculture Technical Institute (ATI) in Wooster. Her degree was in floral design. She worked at Bellville Floral before moving to Tennessee and becoming a mom. Family and local ties drew her back to the area. She then had a business of her own in software and telecommunications. This is where life changes - some friends had an investment proposition in 2007. They had found a building and made the plans for what has become Doc's Deli. Susan became an investor and a cook/manager.

Susan says that her practice and skills in cooking come from the past where she learned from her mother and an Italian grandmother. Susan says that she loves to cook and to feed people and also give them the pleasure of good food. This transfers into her business. 

Doc's Deli does not have a large kitchen or storage so it is important to have fresh produce, to know what your inventory is, and to keep the food moving - thisprevents chaos. You have to keep it simple, organized and fresh. This is Doc's Deli - the variety of the sandwiches is up to your imagination- name one after yourself! The soups are great (love that roasted red pepper soup). Fresh salads and oh, yes! carrot cake or cheesecake, and now featuring baked goods from local bakers. Fresh, local, friendly, and YUM - that is Doc's Deli.

Richland County Farm to Plate is a program that will occur as part of the Farmers’ Market in Shelby. A host of partners, supporters and volunteers have joined together to provide this exciting program to link the growers of our local foods with local chefs and with us, the consumer. Cooking demonstrations, featuring items that can be found at the Farmers’ Market or through local sources, will occur on six occasions this summer. Taste testing, recipes and starter kits will be available. There will be healthy activities for the kids too. Special thanks to the Richland Community Development Group Local foods/Ag sector, the Shelby Foundation and Our Ohio for funding this experience! This is a great opportunity to learn about and support our local food economy, and to be newly inspired to eat healthy and to eat fresh.

Stay tuned for farm and chef information on our Facebook page or contact: Fred Cooke, Richland County Farm to Plate, (419) 295-6583

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