Slow Food
We will be tracking “Slow Food” activity this year.  To send a description of your activity please click on the Slow Food form.  Use the form attached.  Make a copy and attach your filled out form as directed on the bottom.  We will be posting the information here on the website for everyone’s enjoyment.

If you enjoy the information that follows about WYCK house, garden, and farm, click on this link to see more

Urban Agriculture

Letter from Wyck’s Farmer

Hello Friends,

Wow!  I can barely believe this is the last market in August. The summer has flown by and, while I’ve been busy preparing the farm for the fall, I still have trouble realizing it’s almost here. This week, I seeded my last transplants of the season, which is always a memorable point in the year. For me, seeding transplants starts in late February and is continuous from that point on, starting with spring and summer crops like kale, tomatoes, and peppers and ending with fall ones like lettuce and pac choi. To realize that this weekly task is over for the next six months definitely marks a turning point in the season!

However, it’s still summer and the weather will likely reflect that for several weeks to come. While certain summer crops, especially the more disease-prone ones like summer squash and cucumbers, are decreasing or nearing their end, others are still coming on strong. Colored peppers, which take a long time to mature, are just hitting their peak now and should continue for some time until temperatures really drop. My favorite of the varieties I am growing is called “Carmen.” They are in the Bull’s Nose family of peppers due to their elongated shape and pointy tip. While these may resemble hot peppers, they are in fact among the sweetest you will find, far sweeter than most bell peppers. Another variety that I have fallen in love with this year is called Antohi Romanian. This pepper is slightly smaller in size than your average pepper. Rather than ripening from green to red as many peppers do, Antohi Romanian peppers start out a pale yellow and turn to a gorgeous sunset-orange and then to red as they mature and sweeten.

Another plant that ranks among my favorites and that has really come into its own on the farm is the herb Sage. I grew up in a household that used herbs very sparingly. When I began to cook on my own as an adult and was introduced to using herbs by friends, it was a life-changing experience. Herbs can quickly take a meal from ordinary to divine, especially fresh herbs whose flavor far outclasses that of their dried counterparts. And among these, Sage is my all-time favorite. I honestly cannot think of a good way to describe its flavor, but it fits in wonderfully with all types of food, especially as fall approaches. I love to add sage to roast potatoes, baked winter squash, and pasta dishes. Sage also goes wonderfully with meat dishes, especially slow-cooked or baked ones. I like to roll the leaves up and cut them into narrow strips before adding them to a dish.

This week, I discovered my new favorite way to eat sage, which I am including as the recipe for this week. This extremely simple recipe for Fried Sage Leaves reminds me of Kale chips, but personally I think it beats them by a mile. If you are intimidated by fresh herbs, I guarantee you the fastest way to get over that is by frying them up in oil! I couldn’t stop myself from eating all of the fried sage leaves immediately, but they could also be used as a garnish in pasta dishes, sandwiches, salads and soups, or chicken dishes.

The sage plants on the farm are growing like crazy, so I’ll be bringing more sage than usual to the market this week. I greatly urge you to try some of this versatile herb in the weeks to come. Additionally, make sure to pick up your favorite summer crops as the shorter days and cooler temperatures of fall will start to decrease their yield in the coming weeks.

See you Friday!
Wyck Home Farm Manager

The beautiful light-green leaves of the sage plant. We also grow a purple-leafed variety at Wyck.

Urban Agriculture Mgt;
Farmers Market

Make:  Fried Sage Leaves
1 bunch fresh sage
1/4 cup olive oil or oil of your choice
Pinch off leaves from sage. Heat oil in a small skillet over medium-high heat until very hot.
Fry 6-8 sage leaves at a time until crisp, 2-3 seconds. Transfer with a fork to paper towels and sprinkle generously with coarse salt.

Stroll through Wyck’s beautiful Home Farm, and see where and how your food is grown.
Ask us questions about growing and using fresh food.

Come inside Wyck House, filled with three centuries’ of artifacts from the fascinating Wistar-Haines family.
On Fridays, the house is open between 1:00-4:00 for free, self-guided tours.

Community Programs >
The Germantown Hunger Network:  launch!

In June 2013, La Salle University invited Wyck to join a conversation about hunger in Germantown as part of the Exploring Nutrition project.  This invitation gave us an opportunity to meet with other local organizations combating the issue-Face to Face Germantown, My Place Germantown, Philabundance, Historic Germantown, Germantown United Community Development Corporation, The Food Trust, local churches, and La Salle staff.  Initial meetings energized all of us to discover how much company and support we have in this fight — and in Germantown particularly.  As project leader Tom Wingert commented, “The civic society is so strong in Germantown, and there are so many people who are committed to revitalizing that community.”  While the “Germantown Hunger Network” is new, it is uniting efforts that numerous organizations and individuals have undertaken for years (even decades), potentially yielding exponential benefit.  “The Germantown community is full of passionate people who want to make a difference, but it’s important that we all show up at the table and unite in our efforts,” notes Wyck’s Programs and Outreach Manager Bob McKee.

History >
Spotlight On  |  Wyck’s Cabinet of Curiosities

Curious about canning the tomatoes you’ll purchase at the Farmers’ Market today? Take this vintage canned tomato tin (long-ago opened, thankfully!) as your inspiration. Until 1809, there were four primary ways to preserve foods — smoking, salting, drying, or sugaring — all of which altered the foods’ flavor and nutritional value. Napoleon offered a 12,000-franc prize to the person who could come up with a way to safely preserve and package foods so that they could be used by armies on campaign, French foodie Nicholas Appert was the first to discover that vegetables, fruits, and meats could be sterilized by heat and preserved by an hermetic seal. Because Appert’s method used breakable glass jars, Englishman Peter Durand’s design for tin-coated iron cans (patented in 1810) made the process of canning much more industrially viable. No one could explain exactly why the method worked, however, until over fifty years later, when Louis Pasteur’s ground-breaking studies on micro-organisms were accepted by the scientific community in 1864. So, get them while they’re fresh, enjoy, and then break out the Bell jars for all you can’t eat!  — Addie Quinn, Wyck’s Museum and Collections Manager

Community Programs >
Meadmaking for the Novice
Part of the Behind the Fence Festival Series and the Annual Philadelphia Honey Festival

2nd Saturday in September  |  11:00 AM  |  Cancelled for 2020!     (The overall festival ran from 10:00 AM to 4:00 PM)

Among the many activities at our last festival, this workshop would cover equipment needed, time needed, and fermentation concepts, as well as give you a mead recipe so you can begin your own brewing adventures.  

Later in the afternoon, around 1:00 PM, sample meads and honey-beers (over 21 only, must show ID) just a few yards from where an early American brewery once stood — right here at Wyck!

In 1794, Wyck resident Caspar Wistar Haines built the Germantauner Brauerrey (Germantown Brewery) behind his house, on land that would become the Wyck Rose Garden and Walnut Lane several decades later.  While Quakers such as the Wistar-Haines family discouraged the production and consumption of spirits, they regarded beer differently.  “The local air was redolent with the smell of fermentation until the 1840s,” writes historian Sandra Mackenzie Lloyd, “when the temperance movement forced the family to close the brewery.”

Thanks to Cardinal Hollow Winery of North Wales, Earth Bread and Brewery of Mount Airy, the Philadelphia Beekeepers Guild, and award-winning homebrewer David Schuetz.

The faded brewery sign in protective storage today.

6026 Germantown Avenue
(at W. Walnut Lane)
Philadelphia, PA 19144
215-848-1690  |

Parking along W. Walnut Lane and Germantown Avenue
SEPTA 23 bus route
Chestnut Hill West Regional Rail line to Tulpehocken station
Map and Directions

From Sylvia Wilson, New York Division we have this interesting article.
A zucchini plant can multiply in the hundreds overnight [at times this seems to be true] however if the plant does not produce well this vegetable sure is missed. I called the zucchini a vegetable and as culinary use it is but botanically the zucchini is an immature fruit. A zucchini is low in calories there are no saturated fats or cholesterol. The peels are a good source of fiber and the skins provide antioxidants, and organically grown the zucchini blossom is an edible delicacy.

The zucchini is served in many different ways; eat it raw in salads or a sandwich   partnered with garlic pesto. Shredded zucchini makes great sweet bread or super moist chocolate brownies. Sauté’

With onions, boiled or steamed for a more formal meal, or slice in an oven dish like lasagna or stewed tomatoes and zucchini with added onions and peppers. Zucchini adds to a vegetable soup and it also freezes very well.

It is a vegetable that is very popular in most gardens, easy to grow and if you have too many, give them away it is always nice to share a good product’ the zucchini is a great plant for any gardener.

BEETS: some are saying this vegetable is right at the top for its nutritional value. It is easy to grow, the whole plant can be eaten, and it can be stored in a root cellar or canned for winter use. Do not overcook the beet when cooking, it can also be chopped and added to a side salad. The greens only need a couple of minutes to steam after they have been washed thoroughly.

At a picnic held recently this summer I offered beets to a two year old grandchild and he asked for more, but I remember also giving my children beets several years ago. Again the Nutritional value of this product is a great reason to be sure and include in your gardens


Onions and Garlic:  A staple in anyone’s garden from making pesto with garlic scapes always ready around the 4th of July and it is a favorite with our grandchildren.

We use onions and garlic on a daily basis and they already have been pulled and are in our barn drying for winter use, hope that we have enough for the year.

Vegetables are so important in anyone’s diet, you can grow easily with organic mulch and pick them fresh or if you buy from a local market you will know the qualities of the farmer.

Shop local and enjoy the fresh produce.

Sylvia Wilson, Agriculture Committee 2013

Here’s a Newsletter that we find very interesting.

The Cultivator

Strawberries, Leeks and Compost The CobraHead Newsletter June 2013

Hello, Friends of CobraHead,
I’m gearing up to plant cucumbers, okra and hot peppers. I’ve been saving my own seeds for two varieties of okra for the past three years and look forward to continuing the stock. The cucumbers will use the same trellis that I used for the spring sugar snap peas. I usually start several varieties of hot peppers indoors from seed, but that didn’t happen this year, so I will have to pick up eight or ten transplants.
I didn’t plant as extensive of a spring garden as I usually do, but volunteer sweet potatoes, basil, kale and cilantro have filled in some of the gaps.  Volunteers have also played a big role in Noel’s garden, as he writes about here.

In this issue, Noel describes how he rotates strawberries through his raised bed system. Judy shares a recipe for braised salmon with mushrooms and rice with leeks. And Noel also shows how he makes massive amounts of compost using only hand tools and a minimal amount of work.
Have you had any unexpected volunteers this year? Drop me a line at
Happy gardening,

Strawberry Transplants
Transplanting Strawberries

Noel incorporates strawberries into his raised bed rotation.  His transplanting system provides a bountiful harvest every year.  Click here to read more.

Braised Salmon with Leeks
Braised Salmon with Mushrooms and Rice with Leeks

Here’s a quick salmon meal using leeks and corn frozen from last year’s harvest.  It’s a great way to use up chopped and frozen leeks, but of course fresh leeks will work just as well.  See Judy’s recipe here.

Noel’s Compost
Plenty of Compost

Compost solves everything!  Well, not quite, but Noel makes piles of it.  See his techniques and his favorites tools here.

If you like our newsletter and our products or if you have some suggestions, we’d love to hear from you.
If you have gardening friends or if you know potential gardeners who might be interested in CobraHead and what we have to say about gardening and eating, please forward this newsletter to them.
It is the mission of CobraHead to help people grow their own food and to provide exceptional products and services to all gardeners.  We try hard to “walk the walk” when it comes to issues of sustainability and in deciding what is best for ourselves and the environment as we grow our little company.  We’ve chosen to make our tools locally, here in Wisconsin, and we think that bigger is not necessarily better.  Gardening might just be earth’s great hope, and in any case it’s a great hobby.
Thank you,
Noel, Judy, Geoff and Anneliese The CobraHead Team

In This Issue
Transplanting Strawberries
Braised Salmon and Rice with Leeks
Plenty of Compost

Old Silo
The silo is on the vacant property behind us. It’s almost like an archaeological find in the jungle, with huge trees grown up all around and difficult to see until you get close. There was an old farmhouse and a small outbuilding on the property when we first moved here, but any barns and other farmyard vestiges were long gone.  The house was poorly maintained and had been relegated to a low cost rental property. It went empty for a while and was finally demolished about 10 years ago.

The silo is all that remains of a farmstead dating back to 1843. We were told the land was a grant given to a veteran for his service in the Blackhawk Indian War of 1832, but I haven’t researched that to a conclusive answer. The 1843 reference is from our title abstract. In that year the property was deeded by the United States to one John Brown. After numerous sales and assignments, our four acres was deeded in 1956. Now our property is one of the largest pieces remaining from the original grant. What was once all farm is now almost all subdivision. In a way it’s too bad because the land around here is exceptionally productive, and if it were used to grow food, a lot could be had.

I’m trying to do my part to make my land give food. We are already eating lots out of the garden and the season is just beginning. But just like all years, I won’t get everything planted that I want to. I can see already that storage squash and beans for drying are not going to make it this year. But unlike 1843, I don’t need to grow everything I need to survive. We’ll still get plenty of home grown food, and supplementing what we can’t grow is easy with the farmer’s markets and other great food options that have exploded in the last few years.

Thanks for reading our newsletter.

Noel and the CobraHead Team