ELIDA — Golden comet chickens stroll through the yard, good smells waft from the kitchen, and the lush maples shading Mervin and Beverly Shirk’s place belie the fact that it sits just off busy state Route 309.
The Shirks operate Log Home Traditions, between Elida and Delphos, out of their log cabin home. They open their home to groups of diners daily except for Thursdays and Sundays. Reservations must be made at 419-339-2697.
They’ve been offering home-cooked meals at their home almost four years. They also bake bread, pies, cinnamon rolls and other goodies for sale Fridays and Saturdays at Olde Thyme Pantry. You can also catch them at the Delphos farmers market from 9 a.m. to noon the second and fourth Saturdays.
And when they cook, they cook. Meals have a minimum reservation of eight people. Last week, the Mennonite couple took more than 80 pies to the Elida shop to sell. Thursday is their big baking day, Mervin Shirk explained.
“We know what we’re going to bake,” he said, as two of their four children walked through the room with a stack of ready-to-go pie crusts for the next morning. “You just have to organize, or you’re not going to get it done.”
The Shirks feel strongly about scratch cooking, and they raise a large garden to support that. Their honey comes from a neighbor, and the maple syrup they offer is made from their stand of maple trees, and the chickens supply the eggs. They don’t yet raise any livestock for meat, but it’s a goal.
Mervin Shirk formerly worked as a mechanic at a local car dealership until taking the plunge into the at-home business. They’ll celebrate their 30th wedding anniversary in November and clearly still enjoy each other’s company. It was a match made when Mervin Shirk, who is from West Liberty, was attending college locally. Beverly was his neighbor, and she often stuck baked goods in his mailbox. Dream Bars were a frequent gift, she remembers.
“I never did move back home,” he said, both laughing.
Mervin Shirk’s mother was a school cook, and he has many good memories of helping her in the kitchen. Because he’s familiar and willing to help, Beverly Shirk is grateful they can offer Log Home Traditions together.
And when customers report a dish tastes like dishes their mothers used to make, the Shirks take it as the highest compliment.
“You know you scored,” Mervin Shirk said. “It’s very exhausting work but yet it’s rewarding. And it’s not all about food. It’s about experience.”
Mervin and Beverly Shirk