On Saturday, September 14 we are presenting the fifth 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 demonstration will be “a sweet treat” for all as it is given by Sara Jones of the FS Chocolatiers of 836 N. Lexington-Springmill Road, Mansfield, Ohio 44906 (419-747-5898). The owner/operators are Sara, Amy, and Tammy- originally known as some of the Oesch girls.
Richland County Farm to Plate is a program that will occur as part of the Shelby Farmer’s Market. Special thanks to the Richland Community Development Group Local Foods/Ag sector, the Shelby Foundation and Our Ohio for funding this experience! A host of other partners, supporters and volunteers have joined together to provide this exciting program linking the growers of our local foods with local chefs and with us, the consumer. Cooking demonstrations, featuring items that can be found at the Farmer’s 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. 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.
Sara says, “Freshness is important! Whether it is a 10 pound block of chocolate, the nuts, which come from Norton, Ohio, or the fruits for dipping, they must be fresh to make something taste good.” FS Chocolatiers is known for dipped strawberries (milk, dark, or white chocolate). They also dip other fruits like blueberries, grapes, and apples. Sara plans to talk about where chocolate comes from, how to temper chocolate, dip several fresh fruits, and make a chocolate/cherry smoothie.
Sara reports that when you are one of the oldest of 16 children (2 boys and 14 girls) you learn how to cook and do a lot of other things. She said that they just thought that everybody else learned to cook, can produce from the garden, milk cows and all of the other chores they had to do. When Sara graduated from Shelby High School she attended Capital University and became a teacher. She taught school in Columbus for about 1 1/2 years. She then met a “Jones boy” -Chuck Jones of Shelby and moved back to Shelby and get married. Sara worked in a flower shop for 24 years. Sara said that she and her sisters decided to go into a new business and decided that making and selling candy, especially chocolates was a good idea. Her sister found the storefront where they are now located and so FS Chocolatiers began 12 years ago.
In order to better learn how to make chocolates they have gone to seminars, often held at the Chocolate Convention in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. They learned techniques there, from other chocolatiers and by their own experience. One of the areas that they have learned is the tempering of chocolate which is turning a block of chocolate through a heating and cooling process into a smooth, shiny, crystal free material with the best taste. Sara says the most important part of the process is patience. You can’t rush chocolate!
One of the most popular items at the shop is their handmade fudge. They make it practically daily until the Holidays when they make even more. This is the fall season so they were making Pumpkin Fudge today. Delicious! A popular and very unique item is chocolate pizza. The crust is chocolate and the toppings are just about anything from tiny peanut butter cups, pretzels, M&M’s, marshmallows, nuts, more chocolate, and even potato chips. WOW! They have 5 standbys that they typically make and currently 3 rookies which can change since the consumer may help design and/or name the pizza. What a good gift from a business or a friend. The Chocolatiers make at least half of the chocolates you will see in the cases- peanut butter cups, PAWS, Praline pretzels, PMS crunch, nut clusters, Brutus Buckeyes, truffles, butter caramels, and a variety come in diabetic form. The shop also carries a line of wrapped chocolates, 16 flavors of Hershey’s ice creams, 24 flavors of Jelly Belly jelly beans, Jewel Tones, 21 colors of M&M’s, and they can make a great fruit smoothie. FS has a sign on their front door – “A well balanced person has a piece of chocolate in each hand.”
Watch for more details on our Facebook page and come out at 10 a.m. and see how field-fresh can be a sweet treat too!