Wolff’s Apple House has had a history of nourishing the Philadelphia area for over a century. What began as a produce stand is now a flourishing farm market that serves as a familiar landmark to people who live in and around Middletown Township..
How It All Started
In 1908, Anne Wolff and her five children moved from Bermuda and bought 24 acres of farmland in Lima, PA. Two years later, her youngest son, Frank, embarked on his dream of becoming a farmer by planting an apple orchard. He was 18. He named his orchard “Sunnybrae Orchards” after a boarding house his mother had run back in Bermuda. Thus, in 1910, Wolff’s was born.
Soon, Frank had more fruit than he could sell out of his barn, so, in 1930 he built a small produce stand to sell some of his fresh produce to passersby. Two years later, he built the first permanent structure. It still stands today as the base of our expanding farm market. It now houses our prepared foods, dairy items and cash registers along with our bakery and Farmhouse Gift Shop—all right near the original stone fireplace.
Continuing the Tradition
Frank’s son Kenneth Wolff started farming as soon as he could walk. As a young man, he made his father’s orchard his full-time business. The Wolff family purchased parcels of land adjacent to the original 24 acres and the farm grew to its largest size: 52 acres of apples, peaches, pears, plums and more, grown right here on the farm. We even grew vegetables!
In 1972 Frank Wolff passed away, but his son Kenneth proudly continued the family business. The store was then renamed Wolff’s Apple House because apples were always the Wolffs’ main crop. In the early 70s, through circumstances beyond our control, most of the land around the store was sold and eventually became Sunnybrae housing development. Some of the original apple and pear trees are still standing in local residents’ yards!
During the 80s, Ken and his wife Gennie concentrated on selling a wider variety of fruits and vegetables, along with grocery items, nursery plants and more.
In the 90s, their son Peter Wolff took the helm. He was passionate about gardening, and created the Wolff’s nursery as we know it today. He also forged new relationships with local farmers, expanding our selection of locally grown fruits and vegetables. Peter’s wife Kris created the gift shop to round out the store’s offerings.
Wolff’s Apple House Today
Sadly, Peter passed away in the fall of 2015. But his dreams for the store remain alive, with his brother Fran Wolff and niece Ashley Wolff running the store and nephew Jamie Wolff as the Produce Manager. They are the fourth and fifth generations of Wolff’s.
We’ve also hired members of our community who are experts in their fields—Lisa McWaters is our Grocery Manager, Amy Lang is our Plant and Nursery Manager, and all of our team members have become like family. We’re proud to continue our history as a family and community farm market!
As for our land, we always retained a four-acre plot around the orchard, hoping to begin farming it again someday. We have many hopes and dreams for this new era of Wolff’s!