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Wolff's Apple House Blog

Featuring healthy recipes, news & local history

Wolff’s From the Air – 1957

The family who operated a nearby apple orchard had bought a piper cub in the mid 1950’s.  On one occasion in about March 1957, Don Linvill invited my Dad, Kenneth Wolff, to come along for a plane ride. Ken Wolff took several 35mm photos of Wolff’s Sunny Brae Orchards from the air that day.  Because of the airplane vibrations most photos are quite blurry.  Here is one of the best...

Pasta and Spinach with Walnut-Ricotta Sauce

This dish is amazingly creamy and full of flavor! Make sure you remember to save the pasta cooking water. The “sauce” is really more of a paste, and adding the cooking water at the end is what makes it come together as a silky, delicious coating. Print Pasta and Spinach with Walnut-Ricotta Sauce Author: Wolff's Apple House   Ingredients 5 slices baguette (about ¾” thick) ½ cup milk 2 Tbs sour...

Oil-Free Balsamic Vinaigrette & 6 Favorite Salad Recipes

Salads are the healthiest of foods, right? Well, maybe. I'll tell you one thing, though. When I eat a salad every day, I feel really good. Dark leafy greens like spinach are packed with fiber and even contain a decent amount of protein. I know I feel more energized after eating a salad. But sometimes it's easy to overdo the salad dressing and end up consuming way more fat than...

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.  Technically, gnocchi are potato dumplings, but I usually treat them just like pasta, except that...

Mr. Wolff’s Morning Exercise

I acquired my first camera when I was 10 years old and began taking black & white photographs of my Family and Friends. I have many pictures of my Dad [Mr. Wolff] from over the years, but one of my favorites is of him out in the orchard getting his morning exercise. Dad would gather up all of us kids and take us outside with him into the adjoining world...

All About Apple Cider

Even though it's no longer time for apple picking, winter is the prime time to enjoy local apples by eating them... and drinking them. From September to May, Weaver's Orchard in Morgantown, PA presses the apple cider that you enjoy at Wolff's. Then from late spring to early fall, they freeze their preservative-free cider so that they can offer it outside of the cider-pressing season. Weaver's Orchard, established in 1932,...

A Casa Pizza: Bake at Home Pizza and Stromboli from a Local Family Business

It's a classic group project in business school: to create a new hypothetical business from the ground up. When Erin Hagarty was in an MBA program at Georgetown, she told her team about the business she had grown up in: a bake-at-home pizza business. The team decided to capitalize on her first-hand knowledge. They named their hypothetical business A Casa Pizza, using an Italian phrase that means "at home." Erin's...

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 serve them alongside that awesome Cobb salad or Greek salad so you can add even...

Stuffed Cabbage

This is an old Polish recipe for stuffed cabbage. They called them halupkis. Whatever you call them they are scrumptious and quite filling. Print Stuffed Cabbage Recipe type: Main Dish Cuisine: Polish   Ingredients 1 Large Head Cabbage 1 lb. Ground Beef 1 Minced Onion 1 C. Uncooked Minute Rice 1 tsp. Salt 1 tsp. Fresh Black Pepper 1 tsp. Garlic Powder 1 Sliced Onion 2 Tbsp. Olive Oil 1 Jar Tomato...

Our Customers’ Top 10 Recipes in 2018

Have you ever been invited to look through somebody else's recipe collection? Maybe your grandparents'? Or your mom or dad's, or your mother-in-laws'? At times like that, the wrinkled, stained and water-spotted ones always catch my eye, because those are the ones that have been made time and time again. As we reach the end of the year, I wanted to take a look through a different sort of recipe...

Make-ahead Pancake Mix for Holiday Gift-Giving

There's nothing quite like pancakes on a snow day or a lazy Saturday morning. But quite often the thought of whipping up pancakes from scratch first thing in the morning isn't feasible, so I'll stick with an easier breakfast option. However, I decided to overcome this by making my own ready-to-use pancake mix with ingredients I felt good about using. For my own use, I pulse the butter into the...

Cranberry & Brie Cups

Lisa McWaters, our Grocery Manager, says that this popular, easy-to-make recipe is a great nibble for parties! It uses our recipe for Mrs. Wolff’s Cranberry Sauce, but whole berry cranberry sauce in a can will do in a pinch. Mrs. Wolff’s cranberry sauce recipe makes 3 cups, so you’ll have some left over after you make the cups! Print Cranberry & Brie Cups   Ingredients (For Cranberry Sauce) 12 oz...

Spanakopita

Use fresh-picked, locally grown spinach for this classic Greek dish! Print Spanakopita Author: Wolff's Apple House   Ingredients 3 Tbs olive oil, plus more to coat pan 1 bunch leeks, chopped, rinsed, and dried 2 cloves garlic, minced 2 lbs spinach, stems removed, washed and chopped ½ cup fresh parsley, chopped ¼ cup fresh dill, chopped 1 bunch hydro basil, chopped 1 tsp lemon zest 3 eggs, beaten ½ cup ricotta...

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 possible. I quickly realized that buying local produce often meant that I got a little...

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 project that takes about 45 minutes, start to finish, and if you have kids, they...

Simplifying Thanksgiving Meal Prep

When Thanksgiving rolls around, it seems that your kitchen can just never be big enough for all the food prep that needs to happen. Every countertop is filled with appetizers or desserts waiting to be eaten. As the hot foods start coming out, dishes pile up around the sink, and everything gets shuffled around to fit the giant feast. Let alone space in the oven or stove top as you're...

Butternut Sauce

This creamy, silky sauce from the kitchen of Wolff’s chef Chuck Smith makes a great pasta topping—or try it on homemade pizza! Print Butternut Sauce   Ingredients 1 large butternut squash 1 medium onion 2 cloves garlic ¼ cup grated Parmigiano Reggiano ¼ cup milk Extra virgin olive oil 2 Tbs butter salt & pepper Toasted & salted pumpkin seeds (optional) Instructions Peel the squash, cut in half and remove...

Pumpkin Pie Pancakes

Have you ever had this problem? You make a pumpkin pie, but the recipe calls for more filling than will fit inside the pie crust.  If only all of life's problems were so delicious. I decided to freeze the leftover pie filling until I'd figured out just what to do with it. Pumpkin bread? Pancakes? I opted for the latter (but you can find a delicious pumpkin bread recipe here!). These...

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 time to test your knowledge of cranberries! Cranberries grow under water. FALSE! They grow on...

The Easiest Pie, Two Different Ways

The word "galette" sounds fancy, like something that will require new tools and test a baker's skills to the max. But actually a galette reminds me of a person whose reputation is so impressive you're scared to talk with them, but then once you meet them, you realize that they're completely down-to-earth, fun and spontaneous. Not only that, they actually spend their time making you feel smart. That's how galettes...

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 dinner?!!" Whenever my parents resorted to it, the meal always had the air of mischief...

Grilled Peaches with Caribbean Jerk Chicken

 A Treasured Recipe Some recipes are made only once and then forgotten while others become so well-loved that the cookbook pages fall open right to that page and food stains help dogear the edges. The latter description is how this Caribbean chicken recipe is for my family. I cut the recipe out of a magazine after I had fallen in love with Jamaican Jerk Chicken on a trip there years...

Fried Zucchini

This comes from the recipe book of our chef Chuck Smith.  Just in case you were looking for yet another way to use all that summer zucchini!  Try them dipped in ketchup or ranch dressing. Print Fried Zucchini   Ingredients 2 zucchini, cut into thick spears 2 eggs, whisked ½ cup white flour (plus extra for coating zucchini) ½ cup cornmeal 1 tsp salt 1 tsp pepper 2 Tbs Old...

Heirloom Tomato, Cucumber & Chickpea & Salad

Last summer, a friend brought an amazing cucumber, chickpea and heirloom tomato salad to a barbecue picnic. I asked for the recipe and she said she never really follows one - she just throws together a few simple ingredients and it makes for this incredible combination. I've made it a few times since then and decided to make it again since I had an heirloom tomato or two on hand....

Savor Peach Season with These 9 Peach Recipes

One summer about six years ago, I gained a new appreciation for how much work goes into bringing peaches to the market. A friend had invited me to harvest pick-your-own peaches up at Weaver's Orchard in Morgantown, PA, one of the farms that supplies Wolff's with their peaches. I was used to picking strawberries, blueberries and apples, but picking peaches was a new experience. Picking these other fruits had prepared...

Shrimp Tacos with Peach Salsa

Wolff’s Own Peach Salsa goes with so much more than just tortilla chips! Here, use it as both marinade and taco topping for these shrimp tacos! Makes about 8 tacos… depending on how many shrimps you put in each. Print Shrimp Tacos with Peach Salsa   Ingredients 1 lb med-lg shrimp, peeled and de-veined For marinade: 1 cup Wolff’s Own Peach Salsa 1 Tbs honey 1 Tbs Worcestershire sauce 1...

Why Eat Local? Ask Fran!

Why Eat Local? Ask Fran Wolff. As the 4th generation owner of Wolff’s Apple House and someone who grew up in a farming family, Fran is uniquely positioned to talk about this issue in a straightforward, common-sense way.  I recently sat down with him to get his take on this question, “Why Eat Local,” and here’s what I learned. The History of Fresh Produce From ancient times until about 1850,...

Simplified Mexican Street Corn

When I visit my parents during the summer, no meal is complete without corn on the cob. Preparing it is a chance to sit and catch up with siblings or other relatives as we wrench the husks off the corn and then carefully pluck away the remaining silk. It feels like a throwback to yesteryear and the days of shelling peas, or pitting quart upon quart of cherries to "put...

Berry-Berry Pancakes

As soon as the 4th of July rolls around, I start thinking of those delicious red and blue berries that tend to be in season this time of year, like red raspberries, blueberries and sometimes still strawberries. While it's not the most traditional use of these berries for Independence Day, I propose sleeping in and making some delicious berry-berry pancakes this year, or really any day off or weekend this...

Pasta with Spring Veggies

Bursting with the fresh flavors of spring! This dish comes from the recipe book of our chef Chuck Smith.  It’s got new potatoes, asparagus, snap peas, and mint for a deliciously light meal! Print Pasta with Spring Veggies Author: Chuck Smith Recipe type: Main Dish   Ingredients 1 ½ pounds new potatoes, scrubbed and cut into 1” cubes 1 bunch (about ¾ lb) asparagus, cut into ½” slices 1 pint snap peas,...

Weeds! How to Beat Them or Enjoy Them

How to deal with weeds without using harsh chemicals is a question on most gardeners’ minds this time of year. When your plants are blossoming and doing well, so are your weeds. Thankfully, there are a few different weeding strategies you can employ. Companion plants and mulching One way to suppress weeds is to not give them room to grow. You can do this by planting companion plants and mulching....

Springtime Strawberry Syrup

This strawberry syrup is an amazing use for locally grown strawberries in the spring! Super easy to make, and delicious with pancakes, waffles, or flavored cocktails! This recipe makes about 1 ½ cups. Print Springtime Strawberry Syrup Author: Wolff's Apple House Recipe type: Toppings Cook time:  20 mins Total time:  20 mins Serves: 6   Ingredients 2 cups fresh strawberries, hulled and quartered ¾ cup water ¾ cup sugar juice of half a...

Get Your Garden Soil Primed for Growing

Plants are a lot like people: they need a good amount of healthy food to grow. However, plant food looks quite different from ours. One source of food is sunlight. Through the process of photosynthesis, plants are able turn sunlight into sugar. We are not able to do this; the only product humans are able to produce via sunlight is Vitamin D. Beyond sunlight, plants need good, nutritious dirt. Vegetables...

Tofu Burgers with Spring Veggies

A versatile veggie burger! Substitute spinach for the chard, or play around with the addition of other vegetables—mushrooms, carrots, zucchini, whatever! You can adjust the amount of oats to soak up additional moisture if you need to, depending on which veggies you use.  Makes about 8 patties.   Print Tofu Burgers with Spring Veggies Author: Wolff's Apple House Serves: 8   Tofu Burgers with Spring Veggies Author: Wolff's Apple House Ingredients 1...

Enjoy the Abundance of Your Own Apple, Pear and Magnolia Trees

Spring is in the air, finally! After a long winter, the first green on the trees feels well-deserved. Anyone who has pear, apple or magnolia trees in their yard will feel the abundance throughout the season. While all trees provide shade and beauty to a yard, these three in particular provide a lasting richness. After offering the beauty of their delicate pink and white blossoms, apples and pears bear fruit...

Vegan Cream of Asparagus Soup WITH the Woody Ends

"Discard the woody ends." That's the first rule any cook learns about cooking with asparagus. But, as the many kind people who have helped me move six times in the past eleven years can attest, I hate to throw anything away. I darn socks. I even darn yoga pants. If there's still a use for something, I try hard to reuse or repurpose it. But...the woody bits on the end...

Reflections from Fran: “Mr. Wolff”

“Mr Wolff.” …Occasionally, someone calls me that. Whenever that happens, I feel compelled to “correct” them: “Mr Wolff is my FATHER, you can call me Fran.”  When my father passed in April 2016 at 95, it felt to me like everyone called him “Mr Wolff.” You see, he had outlived almost all of his contemporaries. And the odd thing about that is that slowly but surely EVERYONE becomes younger than...

Seasoned Kale Chips

Need a healthy snack that doesn't skimp on flavor? These seasoned kale chips are just the ticket! Print Seasoned Kale Chips Prep time:  10 mins Cook time:  22 mins Total time:  32 mins Serves: 3-4   This recipe will give you one 3-4 serving batch of kale chips, and a HUGE batch of seasoning mix… which also happens to double as an awesome popcorn seasoning! Ingredients 1 bunch kale 1 Tbs...

A “Victory Salad” from a Victory Garden

This year, to commemorate the victory gardens of World War I, the World War One in Delco organization is partnering with the Penn State Master Gardeners to bring back victory gardens throughout Delaware County. A few months ago, I spoke with Master Gardener Kathy Pelczarski about how she and other master gardeners are encouraging victory gardens. Today, I thought I'd explore another piece of the story: what people made with the...

Reflections from Fran: Share YOUR favorite Wolff’s Memory!

One thing’s for sure, things are always changing! New buildings, new roads, etc. So, our memories become a cherished (almost sacred) part of our identity. And the best part is, everyone has their own unique memories – those cherished recollections from days gone by. At Wolff’s, I’ve heard lots of great customer stories. Both about growing up in & around Media as well as coming to Wolff’s over the years....

Reflections from Fran: Farming, Fishing, and Family

I was going through old photos when I came across this one of my grandfather Frank Wolff (left). It immediately caught my eye because I LOVE fishing. (Personally, I call fishing my “yoga”, it’s a release. My body, mind and soul truly rejuvenate with any opportunity to fish.) So, needless to say, I was delighted to come across this picture of my grandfather and another gentleman with a row of...

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 the best times to plant each type of vegetable. SPRING Onion Sets: Amy says that,...

Reflections from Fran: One Last Time

I was talking to my mom recently. She was telling me about a gentleman that worked with us at the orchard several years ago back in the 1940’s. His name was James Hopkins, but she said he always went by Kersey.  It’s an interesting and heartwarming story.  She explained to me how he worked with us while he was in his mid twenties. He just loved picking apples in the...

Reflections from Fran: Goin’ Down the Shore

Everyone born and raised in the Philadelphia area uses or has at least heard the phrase “Goin down the shore.”  Translated for non-natives, it means “Going down TO any of several beach towns along the ocean in Southern New Jersey”.  In going through old photos, I found this picture of my grandfather and his brother in Atlantic City in 1914. I was heartened to know my family’s been goin’ down...

Slow-cooked Pulled Chicken Burritos

This recipe gives you a very basic burrito to build on. Feel free to add fresh corn, sautéed mushrooms, cooked greens, onions, or whatever you like in your burritos! Your favorite salsa and hot sauce are also perfect additions, of course. Total cooking time: about 6 hours, largely unattended. Print Slow-cooked Pulled Chicken Burritos Author: Chuck Smith   Ingredients Ingredients: 1 Tbs vegetable oil 3 lbs boneless chicken breast 2 cloves...

Reflections from Fran: Is it Halloween Yet?

  It’s March 15 and it was William Shakespeare who warned  “Beware the Ides of March”. And, I’m no history buff, but I’m pretty sure he was warning everyone about old Halloween pictures, because that’s what this week’s post is!! A favorite time at Wolff’s among family and staff has always been “Halloween Costume Weekend.” Below are a BUNCH of pictures over the years…see if you can find someone you...

Meet Our Beekeepers and Honey Vendors!

When you're looking for honey at Wolff's, you'll notice that it comes from several different apiaries. But one thing all our honey has in common: it's raw. Customers say that their seasonal allergies have gotten better after using raw honey. Since raw honey contains small amounts of local pollen, it can help people build up a tolerance for it. Noah Gress of Raindance Apiary explains that when honey isn't raw, all the...

Reflections from Fran: What’s in a name?

Being the youngest of 8 kids, especially with 3 older brothers, I grew up answering to practically anything. There were several years as a kid when I thought my name was “Nate, um, Pete, no wait FRAN” because that’s what my mom always called me.  And it’s funny, here at the store, it actually hasn’t been much different…I’ve gotten called “Peter” on a seeming daily basis. The reason I bring...

Reflections from Fran: Whether or Not There’s Weather or Not

Soon after my wife Kim and I first met, she remarked “Wow, your family really talks about the weather a lot!” And she is absolutely right. (See Kim, I CAN admit that.) When you grow up on a farm, your life tends to revolve around the weather. Farmers definitely rely heavily on the weather to provide them with the help they need in a variety of situations. At various times...

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. Gardening the available space took pressure off the food supply. To commemorate the victory gardens...

Reflections from Fran: Tractors and Horsepower

Take a moment and picture a farmer in a field working… What did you picture? …Straw hat? Of course! …Overalls? Probably …Possibly holding a pitchfork, or is the farmer on a tractor? Ah, the tractor! There are few things more emblematic to modern farming than the tractor. It’s right up there with the barn and the silo when it comes to classic images of a farm. And for good reason;...

Reflections from Fran: Thank You, Thank You!

I want to take a moment to say thank you to a great group of people at our market… YOU, our customers! All of us here at Wolff’s feel so blessed to have such incredible customers. It absolutely fills me with pride to be a local business in this wonderful community! Throughout the years we have always received amazing support from you. I particularly feel honored by the personal connection...

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 for a moment at all the activity and socializing going on among the winter birds....

Reflections from Fran: The Legend of Leon’s Pies

What was the name of that older gentleman that made pies for Wolff’s back in the day? That is a question I still get to this day; I actually had a customer just ask me that about two weeks ago. The answer: Leon Garnet. And this usually leads to some fairly standard follow up questions: …Wasn’t that the best apple pie you ever had? …HOW did he do it? …Do...

Philly Cheesesteaks with Chipsteak

A delicious recipe for Philly Cheesesteaks with Lone Star Farm Chipsteak, courtesy of Lone Star Farm.  Print Philly Cheesesteaks with Chipsteak   Philly Cheesesteaks with Chipsteak Prep time: 15 mins Cook time: 12 mins Total time: 27 mins Serves: 4 servings Ingredients 1 Package Lone Star Farm Beef chip steak Salt and pepper to taste 1 t. garlic powder 1 T. olive oil 1 medium cooking onion 1 portobello mushroom*...

Reflections from Fran: Family & Business

Reflections from Fran I’ve always said the two most important things in a family business are family and business, and in that order. Ups and downs in the family can’t help but create ups and downs in the business. The last few years have seen some challenges for the Wolff Family. Most notably, my brother and business partner Peter left this world too soon after losing a battle with cancer...

Chuck’s Citrus Salad

Wolff’s chef Chuck Smith dreamed up this salad while he was on his honeymoon in California, and the lemons and oranges came right off a backyard tree! He says it’s still his go-to recipe when citrus is at its peak. Print Chuck’s Citrus Salad Serves: 4-6   Ingredients 1 head butter lettuce, leaves washed and dried 5 slices prosciutto ½ cup crumbled goat cheese ½ cup toasted pecans 2 blood oranges...

Reflections from Fran: Apples, Bees, Mother Nature & Youth

As a kid growing up on a 50-acre fruit orchard, I had no idea that that was something unique or special. I spent my childhood running up and down rows and rows of fruit trees…McIntosh Apples, Bartlett Pears, Red Haven Peaches, and Stanley Plums. All the while, I simply assumed that’s what every other kid was doing too. If I had only known! I look back on those simpler days...

Classic Fluffy Scones with Spreadable Fruit & Whipped Butter

The first time I ate "real" British scones, I admit I was quite surprised, as they differ from American scones on many levels. Generally, British scones are - Either plain or have dried fruit in them, and serve as an excuse for jam and clotted cream (like a whipped butter) to eat with a cup of tea. Round, not triangular! (We'll get to why that is later!) Not glazed with...