Baked Gnocchi with Mozzarella, Spinach and Cherry Tomato

It’s a problem. I see a package of gnocchi in a store, and I must buy it. My hand reaches for it and it’s in my shopping basket before I even know what’s happening. I immediately envision a dinner that is everything a weeknight meal should be: easy, delicious, filling, and at least moderately healthy. …

Lavender Honey Carrots & Easy Veggie Sides That Aren’t Salad

Nothing against salad. It’s just that when thinking of a veggie side, it’s often the first thing that comes to mind, and sometimes breaking out of the routine is just what you need to get inspired to eat more veggies. So try these three easy veggie sides to freshen up your dinner table, and maybe…

Yes, You Can Eat Beet Greens (Try Them in This Pasta)

“What can you do with the carrot tops?” I asked a farmer who was standing behind her farm’s table at a farmers market. I held up a bouquet of carrots with lacy greens attached. This was about nine years ago, when I had just made a commitment to buy my food from local farmers whenever…

Three Instant Upgrades for Your Thanksgiving Feast

Unless you’re feeling like a superhero, or getting a little antsy with some extra time off of work, the time for major Thanksgiving DIY projects and menu overhauls has probably passed. But here are three easy upgrades to make your guests feel extra special. Upgrade Your Decor with Potato Stamp Cards This is a fun…

In New Jersey, October Is Cranberry Season

During October, most of us are dreaming about apples and pumpkins, but there’s another big crop being harvested locally this month. Cranberries! Even though consumers might not start thinking about cranberries until it’s time to pass them around the table at Thanksgiving, New Jersey growers are already harvesting them in October.  In honor of that, it’s…

Sweet Potato Pancakes with Apple Compote

I can picture it now: the bright yellow box of pancake mix, the tall, translucent pitcher filled with lumpy batter, the squeezable plastic bottle of something vaguely resembling maple syrup (already sticky with congealed sugar). These were the ingredients of a special treat. Pancakes for dinner! This meal was so surprising. “Wait… pancakes for WHAT?! For…

What to Plant When: A Fruit & Vegetable Planting Guide from Our Garden Center

It’s been a cold, snowy March in southeastern Pennsylvania. For some, this means we’re daydreaming even more about warm, sunny days and the vegetable gardens that come along with that.  While you’re waiting to get your garden started, check out what Amy Lang, plant manager in the Wolff’s Apple House garden center, says about choosing…

Penn State Master Gardeners Are Helping to Bring Back Victory Gardens

A hundred years ago, Europe was facing a severe food shortage as World War I turned farmers into soldiers and their farmland into battlegrounds. The United States began to encourage civilians to start “Victory Gardens” wherever they could: schools, parks, backyards, vacant lots, or even unused land that private businesses would allow them to use….

4 Ways to Attract More Birds to Your Backyard This Winter

When I visited my parents’ home in rural Berks County last month, all I wanted to do was look out the windows. I was plugging away at various writing projects in the upstairs bedroom that doubled as my office, but a cheerful flutter outside the picture windows kept attracting my notice. It was so peaceful to stare…

Our 20+ Best Holiday Party Recipes!

Throwing a holiday party this year? Check out our favorite recipes for appetizers, drinks and desserts! If you don’t have a party scheduled already, you’ll want to start inviting friends now! Appetizers Buffalo Cauliflower This recipe packs in all the flavor of buffalo chicken tenders or buffalo wings and, like these classic pub appetizers, can…

Coco Coir Makes an Earth-Friendly Alternative to Peat Moss

Avid gardeners know this problem well. We can’t leave for summer vacation without making sure we have a dedicated friend, neighbor or family member who will promise to come over every couple of days to water the garden. But, as you look ahead to your summer planting (and vacation planning), a new product at Wolff’s…

Quiz Time! What Do You Know About Bees & Other Pollinators?

Love seeing bees and other pollinators in your garden? Then you’ll want to make sure you know as much as possible about these incredible creatures! We’ve got lots of questions for you about how bees see the world, what their lifespan and activities are like, and how you can protect pollinators in your vegetable garden….

Loving Those Leaves: 20 Recipes for Leafy Greens

  954. That’s how many farms harvested kale to sell in 2007… across the entire United States. That sounds a little low compared to the current demand, doesn’t it? By 2012, that number more than doubled as 2,500 farms grew the superfood commercially. Today, kale farmers sometimes have difficulty finding enough kale seeds to plant! And kale isn’t…

Modifying Recipes to Cook with the Seasons

Summer in Pennsylvania, for me, means swimming in my parents’ pond. Or at least hanging out on the dock with the adults and drinking iced tea while the kids swim. A few of my friends’ and relatives’ kids have waded into the pond sporting inflatable “swimmies” on their arms. Remember those things? The way they…

Wolff’s vs. Grocery Store: The Big Three

Last summer, I visited a grocery store in Chicago that was selling boatloads of peaches labeled “southern peaches.” They were tiny, mealy, flavorless little waifs. Lack of local produce at supermarkets frustrates me in general, but I found the lack of local peaches especially odd considering that Paul Friday (of “Flamin’ Fury” fame) lived close enough to Chicago…

True or False? Test Your Garden Know-How!

If you’re gardening this summer, your garden is probably keeping you busy! Take a break from weeding, watering and preserving your harvest and have some fun testing your garden know-how with this quiz fresh-picked from our growing collection of blog articles! True or False: “Hens and Chicks” is the name of a plant that requires constant maintenance. Some plants are more…

Spanakopita & Festive Veggie Recipes

Holidays are a time of feasting. But that doesn’t have to mean we forget about vegetables for the whole month of December. With other holiday meals, there’s much more leeway than with Thanksgiving meals, which, let’s face it, just wouldn’t be complete without the buttery rolls, stuffing, and pie. As you’re planning your holiday menu, here are some…

Recipe Roundup: Our Favorite Thanksgiving Recipes

Earlier this month, Fair Food Philly‘s blog featured a detailed preparation timeline to help hosts spare themselves the last-minute scrambling. In the article, Peggy Paul Casella advised hosts  to plan out the menu two to three weeks ahead of time. “Oh sure, two to three weeks ahead of time. No problem,” I thought to myself. Then I…

Freshen Up! Add Natural Fragrance to Your Home This Fall

As a Wolff’s Apple House customer, you take care to make healthy, conscientious choices. You know where your food comes from, and that it usually comes from within 50 miles of our store. You know that if you ask, someone at Wolff’s will be able to tell you about the farmer. But as you think about…

Wolff’s vs. Grocery Store: How Do The Products Compare?

When I moved from Chicago to rural Pennsylvania, shopping in a traditional grocery store became my most depressing and frustrating errand.  So many options surrounded me, all of them choices between lesser evils. Organic and local products eluded me. And ethnic or specialty food? I have cried over the lack of hummus. I will admit it. Today, when I…

Plant with Soil in Hand

Want to Reduce Waste and Improve Soil Structure? Compost!

“Landfills are full of things that don’t have to be there,” says Beth Finlay, Master Gardener Coordinator at the Penn State Extension in Berks County.  The issue of reducing garbage is close to home for Beth.  In scenic Berks County, there are four large landfills, one of which receives an average of over 5,000 tons of garbage…

Protecting Pollinators in Your Vegetable Garden

My heart always lifts when I see a honeybee in my vegetable garden.  Like many people, I’ve known for several years that honeybees are in trouble.  In 2011, my sister showed me the documentary “Vanishing of the Bees,” which explained how honeybees had been disappearing across the globe due to colony collapse disorder and emphasized the…

Harvest Fresh Strawberries from Your Backyard

Every year, the garden center at Wolff’s Apple House features an abundance of strawberry plants for home gardens, and every year that I hear about this it still sounds magical.  Really?  You can harvest strawberries from your backyard?  And not just those tiny, gritty wild strawberries, but lush, flavorful homegrown strawberries? I shouldn’t be too…

Pavlova with Strawberries & Mint for St. Patrick’s Day

In 2007, my husband and I found ourselves wandering through Boston.  We were honeymooning there, and although we had each visited the city before, separately, we didn’t know it well.  We wandered between the wharf and Newbury Comics, visited Paul Revere’s Old North Church and hopped the train to Cambridge, and every suppertime we found our way back to…

Savoring Southern Collard Greens

  I keep a mental map with pins that mark favorite restaurants.  The Collegeville, PA deli where I first introduced my husband to Philly-style hoagies.  The ice cream stand by Lake Wallenpaupack that churns the creamiest ice cream this side of heaven.  The tiny Filipino restaurant in Chicago’s Albany Park neighborhood that bakes soft, savory-sweet empanadas….

Brambleberry Almond Pie for the Holidays

Have you had some culinary breakthroughs lately?  Was there some process you couldn’t bring yourself to abandon, but couldn’t quite perfect, either?  Last week I wrote about how I kept toting dried beans home from the grocery store, even though I wasn’t very good at cooking them, and then finally, I read a cookbook that…

Two Easy Bean Soups for Busy December Evenings

  Last October, the Onion published an article that began, “Immediately after sitting down on the living room couch and covering herself in a large cotton blanket, area girlfriend Amanda Bettman, 28, announced her intentions Monday to remain in this state for the next five calendar months.” This satirical article captured my exact plan.  How did they know?!  Winter…

Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Maple-Bacon Vinaigrette

I don’t remember liking sweet potatoes until one year when I was in middle school.  Middle school is all about reinventing yourself, right?  It’s about wearing layers of friendship bracelets, trying on your friends’ glasses to see how you look in them, getting that atrocious haircut you’d hoped would rocket you to popularity.  And so…

Pumpkin Pasta with Sausage and Sage

Autumn collects synonyms.  It’s already the only season with two interchangeable names, and from there, its monikers multiply.  It’s also known as pumpkin season, apple season, cider season and more.  But how long has autumn been known as the season for all kinds of pumpkin-spiced food and beverages, from pumpkin lattes to pumpkin ravioli to…

Canter Hill Farm: Starting a ‘Beyond Organic’ Farm from Scratch

Some farmers have farming in their blood.  Knowledge of agriculture and of the joys, hardships and value of farming have been passed down through generations, and the family tradition continues.  Increasingly, however, people who have not grown up on farms are learning to homestead, raise livestock and grow produce for their communities.  They want to…

15 Easy In-Season Recipes for Labor Day

How wonderful are Labor Day vacations?  They snag the last bits of summer, salvaging time with family and friends before the rush of fall schedules pulls us in different directions.  They celebrate cooler weather and golden sunlit evenings.  They offer rest. When I was growing up, Labor Day was our favorite family vacation time.  We…

Grilled Spanish Corn from Wolff’s Own Chef

If you’ve visited the prepared foods section at Wolff’s Apple House and seen delicacies like Apple BBQ Pulled Pork, Roasted Chicken Romaine Salad, Best Broccoli Salad and hummus in all kinds of flavors, then you know that we have an innovative, committed chef.  Chuck Smith, the chef at Wolff’s, has developed our mouth-watering, nutritious prepared…

Chicken Cacciatore: The “Hunter’s Meal”

When my sister mentioned earlier this week that chicken cacciatore means “The Hunter’s Meal,” I knew I had to try making it again.  I’d first tried my hand at it when I was 22, a grad student freshly uprooted from family, cooking my way through the one cookbook I trusted.  Sometimes good things in life…

Dessert for Dinner: Brie Quesadillas with Peach Compote and Basil

In elementary school, I had a friend whose mom would make waffles for lunch.  Ricotta-cheese-stuffed waffles, topped with strawberries and maple syrup. I loved going to this friend’s house.  It was a magical world.  Outside, in the corner of their yard, you ducked under some wild rosebushes to reach a trail that led over a…

Getting Creative with Local Produce: In the Kitchen with Marie Connell of MyHouse Cookies

This morning, Marie Connell of MyHouse Cookies stood in her kitchen surrounded by tomatoes as she prepared to make quiches. “I know the farmer,” she told me about the tomatoes, “I know she picked them this morning.  I know they haven’t been sitting in a truck or a railway car for a week.”  If Marie…

Homemade Sodas with Fruit and Herbs

During the summer, refreshing beverages call to us.  Whether it’s during a picnic, after yard work or at a sporting event, eventually we start to crave a cold, flavorful beverage.  Preferably a fizzy one. But we know how bad sugary sodas are for us.  They’ve been linked to obesity, Type 2 diabetes and heart disease…

Making All-Natural Choices: Lone Star Farm Beef

With Father’s Day just around the corner, many people start to think about treating their dads to meat cooked on the grill.  This time of year, the weather is just right for gathering the family for a picnic and grilling tender, flavorful burgers, with the smell of a barbeque wafting on the breeze.  Just over…

Top 10 Reasons to Bring Leek Dishes to a Memorial Day Picnic

10. Leeks are versatile and can easily swap with onions in any recipe, but their flavor is mild, earthy and unique.  Leeks are in the same family as garlic and onions (and, for that matter, lilies!), so they have a bulb shape that might look familiar, even if you’ve never prepared leeks before. 9.  Leeks…

Set the Table for Spring with Cucumber Dill Salad & Black Bean Wraps

Whenever I have a chance to teach English courses, I like to talk about cliches.  “What are some of your favorite cliches?” I ask.  “Or some of the most bewildering?”  We write them down.  “Now, how can we freshen them up?  Make them more unexpected?” Cliches got their start because someone came up with a…

Savory Crepes for Mother’s Day Brunch

I have a lot of memories of bringing my mom breakfast in bed on Mother’s Day.  Those childhood memories tell me that my siblings and I must have accomplished this every single year, arranging a tray with an orange juice glass, a mug of coffee, a plate of scrambled eggs and toast, and a bowl…

Frittata Time

I first discovered frittatas a few years ago when I needed to use up some fresh sage.  Sage, with its leaves like Lamb’s-Ear, seemed fancy enough for Martha Stewart, so I turned to Martha Stewart’s Healthy Quick Cook, a treasure my  aunt had given me for Christmas years earlier, and discovered a lovely sage-mushroom frittata. …

Herbs

Putting a Full Herb Garden to Full Use

Some people grow up surrounded by fresh herbs.  They watch, or help, as their parents grow herbs, chop herbs and garnish dishes with soft handfuls of basil, oregano, parsley or sage. Other people discover the magic of fresh herbs later in life, and meals are never the same afterward.  Discovering fresh herbs marks a turning…

Tomato Spinach Pasta: Making it On My Own

Meals that I made when I moved into my first apartment stay in my memory and remain my favorites.   Frying up an omelet and adding anything I had on hand– caramelized onions, tomatoes, sometimes even corn or black beans– was a sign not just of creativity but of independence.  Being resourceful meant that I was…

Oatmeal with Fruit Compot

Comforting Winter Breakfasts

My house feels chilly when I wake up on winter mornings.  The radiators huff and grumble and squeal, but they can’t quite keep up with the frigid temperatures outside. This calls for a good cup of coffee and a hearty, comforting breakfast.  I want something warm and soothing but healthy.  Oatmeal answers to this description,…

Make Room for Mushrooms: Mushroom-Swiss Sandwich

I have to admit, it’s been a long while since I’ve felt like sunbathing, and I feel like I’m running low on Vitamin D, that vitamin so renowned for strengthening bones as it helps the body absorb calcium.  If you haven’t felt much like picnicking in the snow and soaking up sunshine, there’s good news…

Splendid Thanksgiving Sides: New Twists and Old Traditions

Thanksgiving is a day when many pots are bubbling on the stove, cutting boards are strewn across counter tops, the fragrance of herbs lingers on the cook’s hands, and a tasting spoon always produces delicious samples.  This creative chaos itself is an occasion for gratitude.  As we boil, chop, grate, and mash, we partake in…

Bring Your Gardening Dreams to Life at Wolff’s Plant & Garden Center

  Imagine your ideal garden.  Perhaps it’s lush with lilies, phlox, pansies, trillium, black-eyed-Susans and herbs.  Or maybe it’s a vegetable garden with all the tomatoes, zucchini, chard, peppers and cucumbers your family and friends can eat. Now, picture the space where you’ll plant your garden.  What is its contour, soil type and shape?  How…

Authenticity in What We Do: MyHouse Cookies

Step into a time when heirloom apples were peeled by hand.  Colorful peels swirl onto the counter-top, laughter and conversation rise like flecks of flour in the air, and tender apples get tucked into handmade pastry made with real butter. This might sound like a snippet from another generation, yet it describes the way Marie…

A Tribute to the Stayman-Winesap

The Stayman-Winesap crosses the Stayman and Winesap apples and has become a local favorite here in the Delaware Valley.  It’s an apple with firm roots in the soil of American history.  Even though people distinguish the Winesap apple from the Stayman-Winesap by calling it the “old fashioned Winesap,” the Stayman apple has its share of…

What Exactly Is a Seckel Pear?

Never heard of Seckel Pears?  Well, you’re not alone.  The Seckel Pear is relatively unknown across the country, but it’s one of the Delaware Valley’s hidden treasures. It was developed here in the Southeastern Pennsylvania in the early 1800’s by a farmer named Mr. Seckel, and it’s had a following here ever since. Seckel pears are small in size–almost bite-sized– but…

Now That’s a Good Sign

Look for this sign around Wolff’s Apple House to see the many varieties of heirloom tomatoes we have during the season!  Heirloom tomatoes are a sign of the season here at Wolff’s.  We’re well-known for them!   Yellow, green, red, purple, in all different stripes and hues, in all kinds of flavors: rich, succulent, creamy, layered,…

Sharing the Abundance

Looking over past Wolff’s Apple House newsletters and the Wolff’s Facebook page, I’ve noticed that some of our favorite words are “abundant” and “abundance.”  Our farm market really does stock pounds upon pounds of fresh produce, and this only increases during the local growing season.  To maintain the high level of quality we always want…

Local Produce Makes a Big Difference with the “Big Three”!

Fran Wolff calls corn, peaches and tomatoes “the Big Three,” because when it comes to local produce, these are the fruits and vegetables that everyone around loves and looks forward to.  And there is just no denying it: local varieties of “the Big Three” are vastly superior to any non-local versions. Right now, Wolff’s has…

Thai Pizza with Sweet Chili Sauce: A New Twist on a Pizza Tradition

I was probably about six the first time I can remember my mom baking her own pizza dough.  After that, it became a family tradition: Friday nights were pizza nights, and her homemade dough, stretched to the corners of a cookie sheet, formed the basis of creations the family sometimes helped to make. This week,…

Wolff’s Winter Colors

Winter came early to the east coast this year, painting over October’s vibrant palette and turning everything white.  That’s the thing about winter that can really start to get to me: the way that color drains out of the landscape when the sun is shut behind clouds or the ground is hidden in a few-days-old…

Please Pass the Cranberry Sauce

I sat across from my cousin’s nine-year-old son this Thanksgiving.  A big platter of cranberry sauce gleamed on the table between us.  Greedily, we both stared at it. “Well, my friend,” I said.  “Looks like there’s half for you and half for me.” “Not if I get it first,” he said. Cranberry sauce is one…

Soup’s On: 4 Soup Recipes

In my apartment’s tiny kitchen, the whole room warms up when a pot simmers on the stove top.   This is one reason I love to simmer soup and stew this time of year.  The other reasons are more universal:  the chance to load a bowl full of vegetables, the frugality of re-purposing odds and ends…

Corn on the Cob, Fresh off the Grill

Fireflies.  Volleyball.  Sandy toes.  Lemonade.  Grass poking through a picnic blanket.  Campfires.  Corn on the cob.  All of these bring summer vividly to mind, and fresh, locally-grown corn on the cob, with its buttery-sweet crisp crunch, is one of the perfect tastes of summer.  Summer may be coming to a close, but all the way…

Celebrate Pennsylvania Produce with Us

Did you know Pennsylvania produce has its own month?  At Wolff’s Apple House every month is a month to celebrate produce, but in August it’s official!  This year is the sixth year running that the Commonwealth has designated August as Pennsylvania Produce Month. It makes sense—the quality and availability of locally grown produce is at…

Celebrate Peach Season with Local Peach Salsa & Local Peaches

It’s peach season right now at Wolff’s Apple House!  Beginning in early July, our store manager, Brian Bednarz, begins to hand-select the best New Jersey peaches available from local farms.  New Jersey is famous for its peach orchards, and since it’s warmer earlier there, the earliest peaches you’ll find in our produce bins come from…

Welcome to Wolff’s Apple House’s New Website!

If you’ve visited wolfsapplehouse.com in the past, no doubt you’ve noticed our new look!  On July 15, 2011 we launched our new website, which reflects the authentic beauty of our century old store, makes it easy to find quality information about our products and vendors and in-season fruits, vegetables, food and plants.  It brings the…