Co-owner of Local D'lish (208 N. 1st St.), Ann Yin, is standing by the dairy case in her North Loop shop. There are local sausages and chickens in a cooler on one side of her and fresh eggs and milk on the other. "I feel like I run an old time general store," she says, before pointing out the squeaky cheese curds her Wisconsin-native customers go gaga over. She's able to get to know her customers and their food needs, and often custom orders products -- for instance, getting a very small chicken from Callister Farms for someone who requests it, or getting fresh half and half for someone who craves it.
Local D'lish prides itself on customer service, getting customers the quality products they need.
Ann and her husband Yulin opened the store because they wanted to support small foodmakers, the Slow Food movement, and they wanted something that had a "farmer's market feeling all the time." Ann Yin explains, that everything in the store is grown either in Minnesota or in the Midwest. She thought Local D'lish would be a service just for the North Loop neighborhood around it, but has been amazed by the reaction from people. Suburban residents drive to her store for particular products and people who work in the area love to buy the store's prepared meals for lunch. These meals include sandwiches from local vegetarian caterer, Black Cat, as well as meals from ChinDian Cafe, which fuses Chinese and Indian cooking methods.
Bottles of jams, vinegars and oils are all locally created.
Other products include shortbread from Bramblewood Cottage, Star Prairie Farms smoked trout, pasta sauce from Jakeeno's, and a variety of breads, jams, cheeses, chocolates, and spreads. One of Local D'Lish's greatest draws is the fresh milk from Castle Rock Organic Dairy in Wisconsin. "It's like a party in here every Wednesday!" she says. Yin clarifies that the cows are milked on Monday, the milk is processed on Tuesday, and is delivered to her shop on Wednesday. She says her customers can taste that freshness.
But could I? I went home with a glass bottle of Castle Rock chocolate milk. The difference from grocery store-bought gallons was exponential. It was ice cold, creamy, and well worth the $3.00 price tag.
Castle Rock Dairy delivers fresh milk and squeaky cheese curds to Local D'lish, but the Yins can also custom order cream for you, if you prefer.
If you are in serious farmers' market withdrawal, there is something you can look forward to other than spring. D'Lish hosts winter farmers' markets throughout the season. The next one will be held on Dec. 20 from 10:00 am to 2:00 pm. Twenty-five local vendors will be there.