The Fruits of CO-OPeration

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For members of the Doylestown Food Co-Op, March 22nd was a special day. That was the day of their Grand Opening, the culmination of many years hard work and planning. Their first Grand Opening had been delayed by power outages caused by the February 6th ice storm, making it that much more special.

“So many people put so much effort into our re-scheduled Grand Opening,” says the co-op’s Vice President and Product Manager, Neal Carson. “I’m sure there was some trepidation, but we were confident in our preparation. The outcome exceeded all of our expectations. It was a record-breaking day of sales for us, and 10 new members joined the co-op.”

The co-op’s roots trace back to September 2009 when residents first opened a food club to provide access to locally-raised and -produced goods. It was such a popular idea that a few short months later they started planning a bricks and mortar location. Though it was not until spring of 2013 that they had enough vested membership to make the move into their current home on 29 West State Street.

“The amount of member volunteer hours that went into starting our store is incalculable,” Neal says. “When we took occupancy in September 2013, the real work began, including the design of the store, literally hundreds of hours of demo and construction, the equipment research/purchase/installation, the product planning and establishment of accounts and delivery schedules, the staff interviews and hiring, and the procurement and setup of our POS system. I guess you could say it was hard, but I think I could speak for everyone when I say that the reward for all who contributed was well worth it.”

With over 430 members, the co-op is off to a great start. Members and non members alike can choose from an array of delicious, local purveyors: Dale’s Raw Bars, Eat This, Giggling Goat, Applegate, Castle Valley, Seven Stars, Fanciful Fox, Solebury Orchards, and, of course, Blue Moon Acres. Members enjoy daily discounts and specials, quarterly member appreciation shopping discounts, and great deals on goods and services at over 40 local shops and restaurants.

“Events like our recent Local Live concert and our August Farm-to-Table Dinner bring people together to celebrate our shared values,” Neal says. “Educational events, such as our Farm Fresh Film Series at the County Theater and our Food For Thought Book Club at the Doylestown Bookshop, help to involve and educate our greater community. We feel that we are all working together to begin a store that will influence and affect our Doylestown and Bucks County area in positive ways for many years to come.”

The Co-Op is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 to 7, Saturday 10 to 6, and Sunday 11 to 5.


By |April 25th, 2014|News|Comments Off on The Fruits of CO-OPeration

How ‘Bout Them Apples!

Amy showing off a Mutsu apple

Amy showing off a Mutsu apple

An apple a day keeps the doctor away”, the old saying goes.

But what if that apple is local, recently-picked, and grown with love? Could it do more than just keep the doctor away? Could it spark a revolution?

Amy Manoff of Manoff Market Gardens thinks so.

“A well-grown apple is the most basic thing,” she says. “It doesn’t need to be cooked, sauced—it doesn’t need to be anything. It’s easy nutrition. All you have to do is eat it. And if it’s been grown right, it’ll surprise you.”

Nestled amid the rolling farmland of Bucks County’s Solebury Township, Manoff Market Gardens is one of those sleepy rustic stores that call to mind a simpler era, an era before supermarkets, blinking coupon dispensers, and automated checkouts. Fruit stacked in wooden crates, mason jars on modest shelving, hand-written signs, and a yellow lab dozing by the register. The customers all know Amy, and know each other too. It’s the kind of market that makes you want to open your own.

“I have amazing customers who drive all the way out here,” Amy reflects. “I’m not on some major road, so people have to put me on their list; they have to make a point of coming here. It’s pretty special.”

Though MMG is known for their mouthwatering strawberries, raspberries, cherries, blackberries, and over 2 dozen varieties of peaches and nectarines, what really struck me—lover of all things autumnal that I am—was their apples.

As of this writing, they have 11 unique varieties for sale: Northern Spy, Jonathan, Staymen, Cortland, Macoun, SunCrisp, Jonagold, Mutsu, Cameo, Manoff Golden, Fuji, and Gala.

And there are five more soon to come online: Keepsake, Braeburn, Pink Lady, Granny Smith, and Gold Rush.

“And with the Fuji,” Amy says, “we actually have two kinds—early and late, and the late Fuji is a super sweet, very crunchy apple that’ll last all winter. I’ve had late Fujis the following March that were still crunchy and delicious.”


Having gotten by on supermarket-bought apples for most of my life, I was amazed how tasty Manoff’s were. There were all these subtle flavors, all these nuanced notes I’ve never experienced before. The apples were crisp, firm, and intoxicatingly aromatic. It was like biting into a fresh fig for the first time: you never want to go back.

“I would never eat a Granny Smith from a supermarket,” Amy says. “They’re picked before they’re ready, so they end up kind of flat. Ours have an amazing flavor, nice and tart, a go-to apple for chefs. We can let them hang to the right moment and then just bring them into the store.”

Quality isn’t the only reason Amy eschews the supermarket scene; supporting the local economy holds equal sway.

“People understand that when they buy locally, they support the farmer. But the other side of it is that the money’s staying here: the farmer shops locally, hires local people, and so on.”

In the end, though, it all comes back to the apple.

“My favorite eating apple,” Amy reveals, “is the SunCrisp. It looks like a sunset, tastes like a pear; it’s crispy and juicy. For baking, my favorite is the Jonagold. It makes a great pie, it’s neither too sweet nor too tart, it doesn’t disintegrate, and it’s really easy to work with.”

The apple revolution may not be televised, but you can experience it firsthand at Manoff Market Gardens. Join the uprising against bland, generic apples and help keep markets like Amy’s fortified for generations to come.





By |November 8th, 2013|News, Uncategorized|Comments Off on How ‘Bout Them Apples!

Relocalization’s Triumph

1003801_10151897491604579_1738258731_nPick up a menu at Triumph Brewery New Hope and you’ll notice something special: it’s all local.

That’s right.

For just under a year now, the upscale brew-pub has been committed to sourcing exclusively from local farms, wholesalers, distilleries, and vineyards. It’s the kind of quixotic experiment you privately shake your head at—until it succeeds.

“When we first began,” General Manager Paul Foglia says, “we were unsure about availability, so we only did half the menu local. Once we realized the simplicity of it, and that it was doable, we moved forward.”

A big part of this transition was Zone 7, a natural foods wholesaler based in Lawerenceville, New Jersey. Zone 7’s vast purchasing power and enormous inventory enabled Triumph to consolidate their orders, expand their menus, and keep from pulling their hair out in the process. It certainly didn’t hurt that the product was of markedly better quality—shorter traveling distances and more conscientious growing practices, after all, make for more appealing dishes.

And ultimately it was the quality that sealed the deal for Foglia et al.

“It was never our intention to jump on a bandwagon; we wanted to separate ourselves from other restaurants in Bucks County and New Hope, to showcase what these great farmers and purveyors have in the area.”

River and Glen, Rushland Ridge, Alba Vineyard, Dad’s Hat, and Blue Moon Acres are just a few of these purveyors. River and Glen supplies meat and seafood; Dad’s Hat provides rye whiskey; Alba and Rushland Ridge, local wine. (Dad’s Hat also donates spent barrels, in which Triumph ages select beers, the barrels lending overtones of smoke and caramel to the brews.) Moreover, Buck’s County-based Freedom Fuel uses Triumph’s spent fryer oil to make soaps and degreasers which Triumph then uses to keep its kitchen spic and span. (Freedom also uses fryer oil to make biodiesel which we at Blue Moon use to power our farm equipment!)

Virtuous though all this may sound, relocalization is not without downsides. The wintertime can be especially problematic: with produce limited to root vegetables, chefs’ creativities’ are put to the test. Even at the height of summer, menus must be updated daily to reflect an ever-changing availability.

Says Executive Chef Tony Sauppe, “The biggest challenge is guessing how much product I’m going to go through in a week for an entire menu. You don’t want to waste product, but you need enough to get you through the following week.”

Despite the challenges, both Sauppe and Paul agree that relocalization is the way to go.

“I never ever want to go back to a regular menu,” Sauppe says. “Never want to not do a local-style menu. It just makes so much sense.”

Bucks County, it seems, agrees.


By |September 13th, 2013|News|Comments Off on Relocalization’s Triumph