Ukrainian Couple Are Nuts For South Philly

On every continent and for thousands of years, nuts have been an important food for humans. Since they are not animal products, you don’t have to worry about cholesterol. In fact, the unsaturated fats that nuts contain help to lower the risk of heart disease.

I’ve been on a health-food kick this year. And nutrition doesn’t have to be boring when you include your favorite nuts and combine them with sweetly natural dried fruits in your diet. It’s a tasty way to stay fit. So you can imagine how thrilled I was when six months ago I found a gem of a little store called Nuts About You.

“Philadelphia reminds us of Brooklyn!” exclaims Ukrainian- born Olga Tsisyk when I ask her why she and her husband Igor opened up their shop on Broad Street. “We never knew about South Philly. Our friends moved down here from New York and we followed. Philadelphia is a beautiful city.” After selling their mini-mart in the Ukraine, the Tsisyks arrived in the United States eight years ago.

“We wanted to stay with the food business but didn’t want to open a hoagie shop because we don’t know anything about hoagies,” says Olga.”But a lot of people like to eat healthy and since there was no other competition we decided on specializing in the dried fruits and nuts.”

Walking in the store is like walking into a fine wine shop.

Wooden shelves hold row after row of neatly packaged products from around the world. Brazil, Turkey, Poland and the good old U S of A are represented. The variety of nuts, seeds beans, and peas are staggering. You can get them salted, unsalted, raw, roasted, shelled, unshelled, chopped, glazed, and flavored with honey, chili, lemon, wasabi and jalapeno. There are filberts, almonds, walnuts, pistachios, cashews, pecans, squash seeds, watermelon seeds, sunflower seeds, soy nuts, corn nuts... well, you get my drift, and whatever you want in a nut or seed is there. The dried fruit selection is equally impressive with dried cherries, cranberries, peaches, apricots, cantaloupe, strawberries, apples, mango, papaya, bananas, dates and figs.

Olga is an expert in the nutritional value of her products. For instance, why should we eat flax seeds? “Flax contains Omega-3 fatty acid. It’s necessary for good heart health. Nuts contain no cholesterol because they are not animal products. They have protein, fiber, calcium and other minerals. The dried fruits also have much to offer the body. Dried ginger is good for the stomach. Our vegetable chips are good for Weight Watchers because they are baked with just a spritz of canola oil and lightly salted. And if you want to give a gift basket, dried fruits last a lot longer than fresh. ” In fact the only animal product you’ll find in the store is the rescue kitty named Candy. “She thinks she’s a dog,” whispers Olga.

There is much more than just the nuts and fruits. You’ll find all types of granola, grains and exotic rice. You can satisfy your sweet tooth with dozens of contemporary and hard to find traditional candies, chocolates, taffies, chews, rocks, Turkish delight, marzipan and halvah. There is a popcorn machine. Artfully decorated boxes of chocolate are displayed on the walls. Stock up on the beautiful boxes of teas and jars of honey and jams. “Many people come here before the game to buy a bag of goodies to take with them,” Olga tells me. The shiny filled cellophane bags with the twist- tie closures are gift-worthy in my opinion.

Customer Mary Masino is a regular. ”They have the good stuff! Look what I just bought: candies for the kids, seed brittle, low-fat cookies and peanuts. I’m here all the time.”

The prices are excellent here, too. Glass bottled, imported juices and nectars containing 35% juice compared to the 10% American brands, is a bargain at $2.09.

All the fruits and nuts most of the candies are sold in bulk pound or half-pound packages for your best deals.

Maybe a tree grew in Brooklyn, but you’ll never go out on a limb at Nuts About You.

Nuts About You
2110 S. Broad Street
Philadelphia, PA 19145