Catering and cooking had always been a side gig for Tim Wolfe.
When he was laid off from his job at Cintas Uniform Services during the COVID-19 pandemic, he and his wife made it a full-time job by founding a produce delivery, catering and food truck business.
Wolfe, 41, launched Dandelion Thyme and with his wife Kristie Wolf, 40, started delivering produce from their half-acre personal garden in Lower Windsor Township, York County and grew the service into something that could benefit the larger community.
“Giving back to the community is our main objective,” Tim Wolfe said.
Dandelion Thyme’s weekly produce delivery started in June and ran until late September. As the harvest season slowed in October, the couple supplemented their business by opening a food truck. The couple wanted to start a food truck for years but they couldn’t make time for it.
“With Tim’s full time job, it was hard to take that plunge,” Kristie Wolfe said.
But, with a new paint job and a bit of internal work, Dandelion Thyme is on the road and has steadily gained traction. The food truck has been solidly booked through the end of the year, and has even been booked by businesses to camp out outside their establishments for employees.
Tim Wolfe constantly brainstorms and creates new meals from fresh, seasonal ingredients. Although he worked for six years at a uniform company, his degree and expertise is in culinary arts. Most recently the menu included butternut tacos, a cauliflower chowder and loaded crab fries.
All of the ingredients they use are sourced from farms and local businesses in York County.
“I love (working full-time in food),” Tim Wolfe said. “It doesn’t get old… It’s a never-ending job - you got prep, you got your event and you got clean-up.”
The food delivery portion of the business will continue in early June when the summer produce season begins. Kristie Wolfe said sign-ups will open on the Dandelion Thyme website in early January.
In their first season, the couple had about 30 customers for weekly delivery over the span of 20 weeks. Though they would like to grow in numbers in the next year, they said they prioritize quality over quantity. Most of what they deliver is picked the day before or the same day as delivery.
"You can set goals as you want 100 customers but I don't think we want 100 customers because we knew all of our customers and we built that relationship with them,” Tim Wolfe said. “Our main thing is we want fresh (produce)."
The slogan for Dandelion Thyme is “fresh, local, convenient.” Kristie Wolfe said what sets their produce delivery apart from other community-supported agriculture businesses is that they deliver directly to customers’ doors rather than arranging a specific pick-up location.
Also, the type of produce coming in the delivery varies from week to week, aside from core vegetables like lettuce and tomatoes.
“It’s York County so there’s a lot of meat and potatoes,” Tim Wolfe said. “We try to get them to try some unique stuff.”
For vegetables that are a bit more unusual like eggplant or Jerusalem Artichokes, the couple includes recipes. That’s the bonus of having culinary arts experience in the mix, said Kristie Wolfe.
As customers await the return of the fresh produce season, Tim and Kristie Wolfe are getting creative with holiday bundles. Recently they delivered a decorative Fall bundle including straw bales, cornstalks, mums and pumpkins for one set price.
Now, they’re advertising a decorative Christmas bundle.
Though it can be time-consuming, the two have kept the business in the family. They often enlist the assistance of their two children: Lillian, 16, and Clayton, 14.
In the future, they hope to pass the business on to their children but for now they’re just happy to be pursuing their dream.
“We just feel very blessed that God gave us the opportunity to do this and that we had that push to try it, to step out and faith and try that,” Kristie Wolfe said. “We’re very thankful and we’re looking forward to seeing where it goes.”