red berries 2

Greenery known so well in December is ready to become cozily arranged local decor in your home. Wolff’s Apple House can help with that, especially if you’re looking for Christmas trees with the best quality and Pennsylvania-growing in the history of their trunks and needles.

Christmas trees at Wolff’s are sourced from Hill Farms in Lehighton, Carbon County and Hill View Farm in Middleburg, Snyder County. These trees are known for delayed cutting so that customers get the freshest possible stock. And the trees continue to arrive at Wolff’s throughout the season.

Hill Farms’ Christmas tree-growing dates back to 1938, and in 2001, the White House’s Christmas tree took its old roots at Hill View Farm. The year before, Hill View Farm’s trees had even been named grand champions in the National Christmas Tree Contest.

Wolff’s offers Concolor Fir, Grand Fir, Colorado Blue Spruce, Alpine Blue Fir and Mediterranean Silver Fir trees, with each having their own great lure for the senses, sturdy branches and gloriously evergreen sheen.

Concolor Firs grow elegantly long needles and carry a citrusy aroma to them.

Colorado Blue Spruce of course give a silvery pale blue hue away from the norm of the more green evergreens. They keep their needles well after trunk-cutting, and their branches are especially sturdy for holding heavier ornaments. But they’re best for homes without children because of their prickly needles.

Grand Fir trees have excellent needle retention, boast of a dark green shade that suits the holidays well and take their name from Meriwether Lewis of the 1803 Lewis and Clark Expedition, noting it as “the grandest of all the firs.”

Rachel VanDuzer, Wolff’s marketing consultant, gives some suggestions on best tips with taking care of your tree well into December.

Make a fresh cut an inch from the trunk’s base right away once you arrive home, VanDuzer says. Then submerge it in water, boiling, if possible. Doing this allows the tree’s pores to better absorb the water and any preserving blend you may want to use.

“Your tree will drink one half to two gallons of water the first day you bring it inside,” VanDuzer says.

And she points out that Wolff’s gives complimentary hot mulled apple cider from Weaver’s Orchard in Morgantown, Berks County while you peruse the Christmas trees until you find the one you want to take home. Free cider is a nice perk!

VanDuzer reflects on cozy memories when thinking of the selection of fresh, premium, locally grown and made wreaths, pine roping, boughs, cemetery sprays, and window swags available at Wolff’s: “One of my favorite things about fresh cut garland, wreaths and boughs is that they offer such a soothing, refreshing aroma that just begs
you to breathe deeply. I love scent memories, and the smell of evergreens instantly brings me back to hiking in pine forests with my family.”

Branches of evergreens are a reliable option for décor to bring a bit of the outdoors inside your home.

“They will last all season long – you’ll grow tired of them before they turn brown!” VanDuzer says. “Also, it saves storage space to not have to keep artificial decorations from year to year. The other thing to keep in mind is that Christmas trees are a crop which is grown to be harvested for this purpose, just like other semiannual crops.”

More memories of her own childhood days offer a nice design appeal for decorating.

“I always loved how my mom would drape garland along the stairwell in their living room with a cathedral ceiling,” she says. “It nicely accented their oversized Christmas tree (salvaged from our neighbor’s overgrown Christmas tree farm) and led the way up to our stockings which were located on the landing above the stairwell and above the wood stove. Pine boughs adorned their actual mantel and wreaths accented the doors.”

And then there are poinsettias to consider.

“Poinsettias add a bright splash of color to a room, brightening it up in the midst of our rather overcast winters,” she notes.

Roasting chestnuts for the aromatic lure of all things wintry and nutty (in a good way, of course) are something to help keep nostalgia going, too. VanDuzer instructs, “Cut an X on one side and roast at 425 degrees for 30 to 40 minutes, stirring the pan every 10 minutes or so.”

VanDuzer has a rosemary anecdote as well as a rosemary-related recipe that each go fittingly in wintertime, too. Although Wolff’s doesn’t stock rosemary plants this time of year, this recipe is great with dried rosemary and brings a bit of that evergreen aroma right onto your plate.

“One year, our place was too small to have a Christmas tree, so I bought a tiny rosemary bush and covered it with Christmas lights,” VanDuzer explains. “Unfortunately, it only lasted a few days because I literally watered it to death. At that time, I had no idea that rosemary is really a dessert weed and thrives without water. It grows wild in sunny Mediterranean climates and does just fine without much water. It does, however like some fresh air. If you plan to keep your rosemary bush all winter long, leave it outside during warmer winter days to let it breathe.”

Here is her rosemary-rich recipe.

Beet Clementine Salad_V600

Beet Clementine Salad
 
Ingredients
Ingredients for the salad:
  • 1 bunch (about 5) beets
  • 5 clementines
  • ¼ medium red onion
    Ingredients for the dressing:
  • ¾ cup olive oil
  • ¼ cup apple cider vinegar
  • 2 teaspoons water
  • 1 tablespoon rosemary
  • 1 teaspoon thyme
  • 1 teaspoon. garlic
  • Freshly cracked salt and pepper, to taste
Instructions
  1. Bring a large pot of water to a boil; add beets and boil 45 minutes for medium beets, 1 hour for large beets.
  2. Drain water and transfer beets to a bowl of ice water to cool. Once they have cooled, peel them either by rubbing them or with a peeler.
  3. Slice beets as desired (wedges or bite-size chunks are best). Add to a large serving bowl.
  4. Peel clementines and add to bowl.
  5. Peel onion and slice thinly. Add to bowl.
  6. Combine dressing ingredients in a separate cruet. Pour as much of dressing over salad as desired.
  7. Serve salad at room temperature.