Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Q&A with Jim Petro

1.      Talk a little bit about the history of Triple Fresh
Triple Fresh is one of the oldest continually operated food establishments in the country.  The original building was constructed as a store to serve the needs of the growing village of Ercildoun in 1818, so almost 200 years ago.

The Websters purchased it around 1863 when their family came here from the Lancaster area.  This building has not only served as the local market, but was also the post office for a while.

I have been told that there is a tunnel from the basement of our building to the People’s Hall across the street.  The tunnel served as a hiding place and escape route for passengers of the Underground Railroad.  I have seen the entrance at the People’s Hall, but no one knows anymore where it comes into our building.

A few years ago, we were moving things around in the basement and we found, carved in the wall, Louis S King and Sons 1893, they had done some masonry here and left a “signature”. 

Throughout the Webster’s tenure the building changed to meet the needs of the people of the surrounding area.  The Websters sold everything from paint and nails to buggy parts, model T parts, gas, and groceries, school books and clothing.

The Websters took special care of their neighbors.  We have heard that Mr. Webster would take IOUs during the Depression, knowing that he may never collect on them.

The market had rocking chairs out front so that the Websters could sit with their neighbors.  When the Steel Mill was at its height, Websters served as the local grocery store for this area.

My family purchased the store from Lloyd Webster in 1987.  Lloyd was the fourth generation owner of Websters Market.

We continued the traditions the Websters had established, serving our community, treating our customers as friends and neighbors, getting to know them and doing everything we can to be an integral part of our community.

We doubled the size of the Market in 2000, so we could add more groceries, expand the deli and meat department. And we are in the planning phases of a remodel that will further expand our capabilities.

2.       What makes Triple Fresh Catering special?
What we offer the couple and their guests, besides great food, is customization.

Triple Fresh Catering grew up as an off-site Caterer.  We learned the business by doing all of our work in other peoples’ spaces.  We work with many different Event Locations in the area – Faunbrook Bed and Breakfast, Beale Manor, Brandywine Manor House, and others as well as working in our client’s homes, or farms, or wherever they choose to have their event.

We can also work with the couple’s tastes, we can customize our menu to fit their needs and wants.  As an example – Heidi’s Mushroom tartlet.  It is an item that appears on our appetizer menu.  It was requested by a bride, whose family made a similar item and she really wanted it on her menu.  We worked with her to create it, and have been serving it since.

To us, it is more about meeting the needs and expectations of the couple and their guests, rather than trying to make them fit into a certain space or pre-determined menu.

We take the customer service we learned from the community store where we started and bring that to our catering events.  Elegance with small town friendliness. 

3.      You offer a lot of Prepared Foods at Triple Fresh Market, what can we look for there?
One item we are offering every day now, that we are very proud of is our Hog Wild Chili, which took second place at the West Chester Chili Cook-Off.  It’s a pulled pork chili made with our Sweet and Spicy Texas Sauce.

Our chef’s create great food for the Heat and Eat convenience of our customers.  WE offer a wide variety of options – that now includes sushi from Zing’s Asian Cuisine that is delivered fresh daily. 

4.      We hear a lot about the Barbecue- what can you tell us?
I think I look forward to the start of BBQ season as much as anyone.  I enjoy those weekends – getting outside after the winter.  And of course, the socializing. 

I have found in my years of cooking that everyone likes to talk BBQ.  It’s just a thing, if you make chicken parmesan or chicken Marsala and serve it at a function, you may get one or two people who ask about how you did it. 

If you barbecue chicken or serve ribs, everyone will ask about your method, share how they do it, how their dad taught them.  Everyone has something to say about BBQ, and usually a very strong opinion about it, and it is great to get out and talk to people about it.

5.      Do you have a favorite local product that you carry in the Market?
I don’t know if this counts – but our Triple Fresh New Orleans BBQ Sauce.  It was the first BBQ recipe I created, I worked hard on that one to get it right, and it is still my favorite.  We bottle it onsite and sell it in the store. 

As far as other items – it’s hard to pick one.  I find a new favorite every so often.  Since we started with the Artisan Exchange in West Chester, we carry a wide selection from the vendors associated with them – I’m rather partial to the iSwich Gourmet Bananas Foster Ice Cream Sandwiches.

 My wife swears by the Swambustin’ honey as a cough remedy.

We carry a lot of different products from local companies like Lamont and Twin Valley Coffee, Doe Run Farms Cheese in East Fallowfield, Baily’s Dairy in West Chester that provides us with Organic Milk and Eggs and many other small, local producers.

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