Q&A: Linvilla Orchard’s Judi Novak

She shares some of her favorite things about the season.



Fall is synonymous with golden leaves, pumpkins and hayrides. From the many eponymous treats—lattes, breads, cookies, soups—to those just associated with the season—candy corn, apple pies, chilis—there are plenty of options to sate the appetite. Whether looking to pick up some gourds to decorate or carve, some treats to sweeten the season, or some family-friendly activities, there’s no shortage of options to celebrate this colorful season and Halloween around the Main Line.

Media’s Linvilla Orchards is a longtime favorite for picking apples and pumpkins, and enjoying fun activities. For over 10 years, Judi Novak has worked at the orchard and is currently the director of tours. She also teaches cooking classes and has a role as a witch for some of the seasonal hayrides. Here, she shares some of her favorite seasonal delights, including one of her favorite recipes.

donuts apples

MLT: What’s popular right now in your cooking classes?

JN: Pumpkin and squash is abundant right now. In November I will teach a cooking class just about pumpkins and squash. Right now, a lot of people buy squash to make soup or other dishes. Also, there are so many varieties of apples.

MLT: Do you have any tips for decorating during the season?

JN: Nothing decorates better than a chrysanthemum, except maybe a bale of hay or some fresh pumpkins or gourds because they come in every shape, size and color. Scarecrows, sitting or standing, scary skeletons, Halloween lights and lanterns, too.

MLT: What’s one of your favorite fall activities?

JN: We have two different hayrides, an evening one called Autumn Moon Hayride and, then we have Hayrides to the Witch’s House. We only have friendly witches, nothing scary. The witch tells a story and gives out cookies, tells jokes. It’s kind of like stand up for five-year olds. It’s the greatest thing ever.

MLT: Do you have a favorite recipe this time of year?

JN: Applesauce. It’s a great time to pick apples on the farm. I pick a variety, both sweet and sour—I like to see the variety because it’s different every time. I sometimes peel them and sometimes don’t, but I always core them. I put them in a slow cooker and let them cook for eight hours and then just hit them with a handheld potato masher, not a mixer. Mash them down with a spoon or a fork or a potato masher. It’s the best applesauce you’ll ever eat. No butter, sugar or anything—just apples. Put in a little granola on the top and add some whipped cream or ice cream and you immediately have the perfect dessert.

MLT: What’s one of the more unique bakery items at Linvilla?

JN: They make one called s’mores. If caramel wasn’t enough sugar for you, we’re adding marshmallow and graham crackers to it.

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