The Birth and Growth of Black Walnut Winery

When Lance and Valerie Castle bought a quaint Kimberton home in In Chester Pennsylvania they had little idea of how valuable the purchase would turn out to be.  The couple bought the home in land covered with several dozens of black walnut trees.  Armed with fermenting business idea, they started to destem pounds of vineyard grapes by hand in the sprawling country land.

They started preparing wine at home during fall. As family and friends continued asking for “black walnut wine”, the name stuck and Black walnut winery as born. Initially, they were producing about 300 gallons of wines.  As the demand grew, they started producing the wine as full time business.

Black walnut winery was opened officially in July 2009 in a newly and thoroughly renovated bank barn. The 200 years old fantastically charming building is located on Lincoln Highway, Sadsburyille Chester County. The winery has received accolades and won awards, one after the other over the years.


In 2010 Pennsylvania Wine competition, the winery received a bronze medal for Chardonnay 2007. At Pennsylvania wine competition in 2010, the winery received another bronze medal for Merlot 2007. The winery has established itself in the industry.

Every winery has its own style of producing wine. According to Lance, their personal preference is making dry wines. They, however, appreciate that diversification is also important.  So, while they majorly deal with dry wine, they also produce a handful of off dry sweet wines.

Tasting Room

Currently, the couple and their business partners jack and Karen Kuhn have expanded their business to include a Tasting Room in Phoenixville. Connoisseurs and wine novices can sample any of their 17 wine varieties. The tasting room was opened in 2010 at a grand party. It is located in an exquisite, renovated property in downtown Phoenixville. You can book the tasting room for private events. Sometimes they host live music and wine, and chocolate pairing.

The partners were pivotal in establishing an array of wine varieties with great taste. It has grown to be one of the most successful wineries in Chester County and extending the growth to the tasting room in Phoenixville.

Birth of the Winery Idea

Lance and Jack met while they were both working in corporate jobs.  Coincidentally, Karen and Valerie also worked in the same company at some point. Fate and love for wine connected then to start a winery.

With a land covered with over 40 mature walnut trees, they started making wine as a hobby.  The walnuts kept falling from the trees during autumn. As a result, they kept moving during the winemaking process. The couples even had to make wine in a driveway at some point. These entrepreneurs even involved a consultant before opening the gallery. He advises them to get a name that has a story behind it. Eventually, they came back to Black Walnut Winery.

The winery is located in a well-traveled rod which has significantly helped in its success. However, the first days were not a walk in the park. Trying making people know and find them was quite exacting.

The black walnut winery produces a variety of wines. One of the best performing wine is Pinot Gris. While it is hardy, it boasts of great soft flavors and does very well in the region. Similarly, apple wines are unique.

The process of making wine at Black Walnut Winery

Harvesting starts in the fall at the beginning of September. Between September and October, the company spends time destemming and crushing the grapes, separating the skin from the juice, fermentation process initiation and racking. They break from cellar activities after putting everything tanks at the beginning of November.

Black nut winery focuses its attention tasting room and winery holiday activities.  Winter activities include raking oak, filter and pampering wines waiting to bottle in summer and spring. The winery stores their wine in 28 tanks which are usually full. In fact, they have to empty some to prepare for the fall harvest.  They have to fill about 30000 bottles to loosen up space for processing new wines before crush at the start of fall. The whole process takes place in over two-decade building in Sadburyville, Pennsylvania. The building measures 10000 square feet.

Lance and Val Castle friendship with Jack and Karen Kuhn has given birth to a winery with tip-top sip. It has also created an experience where people bond, laugh, share memories, relax and enjoy music as they enjoy local wine.

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How to Prepare Stuffed summer squash

We all love palatable, well-prepared food. It lifts your spirits, unlike some poorly concocted food. Stuffed summer squash is deceiving sumptuous dish. When in season, the yellow squash do not only taste good but also adds a good look in your plate. It is one of my favorite meals.

At first you will be forgiven to think that you are eating fat and calories filled food. This delicious meal has about 130 calories per serving.

Stuffed summer squash is best cooked with olive oil instead of butter. Add some mushroom for meaty feel. It has lower carbs than stuffed potatoes and a great flavor too. The good things is that you can feel the squash with anything you like. If Italian food awakens yours taste bud then Italian sausage might give you an awesome Italian experience.

After mixing the squash with stuffing mixture, you may have some leftovers. Simply take the leftovers and bake with the remaining squash. It will reheat quite well the following day. You can choose to have stuffed squash as the main dish or side vegetable dish. The best part is that if you are vegetarian or vegan, you simply omit bacon and animal products you will have yourself a vegetarian meal. Consider substituting the bacon with mushrooms or sundried tomatoes.

Stuffed summer squash is one of the easiest weeknight meals. Summer squash comes in an array of sizes, shapes, and colors. It is advisable to interchange them in recipes although the taste may vary a little. While some people love them very soft, others prefer when they have a little bite left of on them. So if you prefer to have your squash very soft, just increase the cooking time.

You can prepare squash up to the baking stage and store to in a fridge. Bake the squash one hour before serving according to the instructions. Keep it warm until serving.

There are numerous ways you can prepare stuffed summer squash. Simply tweak the recipe according to your preference. Their recipes vary slightly. Below are some of the various stuffed summer squash.

·         Wild Rice Stuffed Summer Squash

·         Lentil stuffed summer squash

·         Italian sausage Stuffed summer squash

·         Rice Stuffed summer squash

·         Ground beef Stuffed summer

·         Stuffed summer squash boats

·         Bacon Stuffed summer squash with bacon

·         Tuscan stuffed summer squash

·         Cheesy stuffed summer squash

Recipes for sausage stuffed summer squash


1.      4 – 6 yellow squash

2.      Chopped onions

3.      Salt and pepper for seasoning

4.      Fresh sausage

5.      Seasoned salt

6.      Paprika

7.      Three tablespoons of parmesan cheese

8.      Two slices of bread crumbs


·         Cut squash into two lengthwise.

·         Fill a bowl with ice water and set it aside

·         Bowl the water and place the squash in the boil

·         Bring the water back to a boil

·         Allow the squash to cook for 5 minutes until soft

·         Remove the squash and place in ice water for two minutes

·         Remove it and pat dry

·         Place it on a paper towel and allow it to drain on a paper towel

·         Remove the pulp and seed from the squash to create room for stuffing


·         Sauté onions in two tablespoons of melted butter

·         Mix onion, melted butter, salt cheese and pepper with scraped squash

·         Fill the squash with the mixture

·         Arrange the stuffed squash in a baking dish

·         Bake for 30 minutes until golden

Bacon stuffed summer squash

·         5 yellow squash

·         4 slices of bacon

·         2 tablespoon of grated onion

·         Shredded Mozzarella and Parmesan cheese

·         Fresh, well chopped Parsley

·         Melted Butter

·         2 tablespoons of olive oil or any mild oil


·         Cut the squash in half lengthwise

·         Scoop out the seeds and unwanted part of the pulp

·         Parboil the squash until tender

·         REMOVE THEM FROM THE boiling water

·         Allow the squash to Cool

·         Cook bacon

·         Crumble the bacon into small pieces. You can also crumble the beacon before cooking

·         Place the squash halves in a lightly greased baking dish

·         Mix bacon, breadcrumbs, onions, and chess thoroughly to make the stuffing mixture

·         Coat panko crumbs with a mixture of parsley, bread crumbs, and enough oil

·         Fill the squash with crumb mixture

·         You can place extra stuffing in a greased baking dish and top with remaining breadcrumbs

·         Bake for 20-25 minutes until golden brown


Stuffed summer squash cooking process is almost similar regardless of the stuffing mixture. You only need to tweak the preparation process of the stuffing mixture. For instance, if you wish to prepare Italian sausage stuffed summer squash, cook sausage until brown. Sauté with spinach. Put the mixture in mixing bowl and add cubed bread and cheese. Fill the squash with mixture. For wild rice stuffed summer squash cook the rice with garlic, onions, and vegetables. Fill the squash with the cooked rice.

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Our Recommendation: Bullfrog Brewery’s Blue Condition Sour Ale

Where: Station Taproom, 207 West Lancaster Ave., Downingtown, PA

It has been a while since I’ve stopped into the Station Taproom in Downingtown, so I texted owner Sean McGettigan to see what was recently tapped. This cozy neighborhood bar consistently carries unique ales, and it’s a delight to peruse the giant ever-changing chalkboard.  They typically carry 12 beers on tap, and one on cask. On this day, such famed small breweries as Devils Backbone (Va), Ithaca (NY), Troeg’s (PA) and Alesmith  (CA), were among those featured.

Sean recommended Bullfrog Brewery’s Blue Condition, an American Wild Ale that is brewed up in Williamsport, PA. I’d only recently heard of this brewery at the Brandywine Craft Brewers Festival, and I was interested in sampling something more from PA brewery. Sean explained why he chose to tap this. “It’s a perfectly refreshing slightly sour ale to beat the heat.” He told me Bullfrog is a recent addition to his tap list.  “It’s on the newer side. I’ve poured a couple of kegs. All recently.”

Served in a 10 ounce chalice, this sour ale poured a an orangey golden color with a small foamy head. The aroma reminded me of apples and the taste was one of an immediate tartness, with a slightly sour follow through that lingered on the tongue. This ale could be dangerous, since it could easily be quaffed quickly on a hot summer day, but at 8% ABV, one needs to pace themselves. This sour ale reportedly gets the name Blue Condition because it is steeped in blueberries.

Since I was driving, I didn’t sample Sean’s second recommendation, the De Dolle Dulle Teve, a Triple Belgian Ale that comes in at 9% ABV and runs $8 for 10 ounces.

Station Taproom celebrates Happy Hour Monday through Friday from 4:30 to 6:30 with $3 pints and $5 pulled pork sandwiches. Oh, and they have a Goose Island Beer Dinner scheduled for Sun., June 30th at 6 p.m.

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My Three Sons Introduces Extra Hot Dog Length, New Sides, Kiddie Options, Music and More

The restaurant is now giving you the option to choose between a 5″ or 10″ hot dog, and you can also substitute Southern fried chicken for a hot dog on any one of its sandwiches. (We’re thinking that sounds like a mighty delicious swap for the Madone, with baby spinach sauteed with garlic and white wine and topped with provolone cheese …) Snackers can now nosh on onion rings, tater tots, mozzarella sticks, zucchini spears, chicken fingers, jalapeno poppers, broccoli bites and dill pickles. Don’t forget the kids! My Three Sons has expanded its kids meal to include a juice box and apple sauce and the option to substitute mozzarella sticks or chicken tenders for a hot dog.

Diners at My Three Sons can also enjoy live music every Wednesday night during Dining Under the Stars. Wednesday nights will also feature a beer tasting featuring a different brewer each week. Many new summer beers have been added to the restaurant’s brew inventory, which now stands at more than 200 bottles, in addition to the ever-rotating five beers on draft and draft birch beer.

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Swarthmore Food Cooperative Announces First Home Brew Challenge, Contestants Welcome

Swarthmore Food Co-op is putting out a call for all brewers & beer geeks to join in on its first-ever homebrew competition!

Whether you’re a brew master or just starting out, all are encouraged to compete in the homebrew competition and celebrate local brewing (and drinking). Prizes will be awarded to winners in the following categories:

  • People’s Choice Award
  • Judge’s Choice Award (to be awarded by local celebrity judges)
  • Most Unique Brew Award
  • Best Of Swarthmore Award

Just a few rules:

  • Teams are welcome, but limit reps to 3 people.
  • One brew per person/team.
  • Please brew 4-6 growlers to be sampled.
  • Two bottles should be set aside for judging.
  • Sale of beer is not permitted at this event.
  • ALL participants must be 21 or older.
  • BYO table & accessories—get creative!
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Head to Havertown for the Ultimate Italian Market Experience

Fast lifestyles intersect with old world traditions and slow foods in Havertown at Pepperoncini Italian Market and Catering.

Owners Paul DiBona and Tom Defruscio and their partner Dan Duffy added another delicious ingredient to their culinary trifecta in October, a traditional Italian market in Havertown, halfway between their Pepperoncini restaurants in Conshohocken and Phoenixville. Whether it’s a quick bite at lunch or a feast for the whole family, this intimate market adds Italian tradition to every meal.

The sandwich: many offer it, few perfect it and the team behind the Pepperoncini brand make one memorable sandwich. From the staple sandwiches like the classic Italian piled with imported, thinly sliced meats to their original “Mick Meatloaf” with meatloaf, cooper sharp and garlic mayo, each of the market’s 33 sandwiches starts with the best bread in the business—Sarcone’s bread.

First time visitors should start with the Roast Pork or Our Way Sandwiches. The pork is slow cooked with the bone in for 6–8 hours, resulting in a moist, savory sammy topped with freshly roasted broccoli rabe and sharp provolone. After one bite of the Our Way sandwich, thin slices of chicken cutlets breaded with Sarcone’s bread crumbs, roasted red peppers, fontina cheese and sweet garlic mayo, you’ll never crave a sandwich any other way.

Half sandwiches are 12 inches, ranging from $6.50 to $9, and their whole sandwiches are two feet and run between $16.75 and $19. The real steal is their 4 4 6 Classic Havertown Exchange, where any of their four classics—the Roast Pork, Roast Beef, Meatball Parm and Sausage Scallopini—comes with a bag of chips for $6, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays.

“One of the things we hear all the time is that Havertown needed a place like this,” said Pepperoncini team member Albert Defruscio. “We just did a delivery to the Lawrence Park Industrial Center and the following day the girl called back, ordered again and said, ‘I just want to let you guys know that we’ve been here in business for 20 years, ordering lunch every day. I’m used to pizza shops and hoagies that are just thrown together. Your place is like having South Philly brought to Havertown.”

Pepperoncini’s enormous menu goes beyond soups, salads and sandwiches: the market also offers a variety of strombolis, pasta entrees and pizzas made with homemade marinara sauces that always come out thin, well done and crispy. The market’s shelves and cases are stocked with Springfield Pasta Company, homemade veal, pork, and beef meatballs, red sauce, soups, pasta salads, olive oil, cannolis, biscotti, baked goods, chunks of cheeses, rolls, and imported deli meat available by the pound.

Families with busy schedules shouldn’t have to sacrifice flavor for convenience. Pepperoncini’s family style meals of roasted chicken, meatloaf and ravioli feed four to six and are available for $33 after 3 p.m. during the week. Pepperoncini Italian Market offers catering for your next gathering, whether you require a sandwich tray for a Phillies game gathering or full service catering for your wedding, communion, or graduation party.

All day call-ahead ordering and delivery after 4 p.m. can be placed by calling (484) 454-5995.Pepperoncini Italian Market is located at 101 W. Eagle Road in Havertown; store hours are Tuesday through Thursday from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m., Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

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