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