JAM: for what ails you.

In these uncertain times, put your money where your mouth is, and invest in JAM!

One pound of local fruit in every jar, reduced sugar and no pectin added (ever!).

All summer in a jar – from strawberries and rhubarb in May to Damson plums in August, the sweets and sours of summer’s bounty, sealed up and delivered to you! Get your order in by 12/19, and it’ll get out on 12/20, which means USPS says you’ll have it by Christmas!

Buy a case of twelve $9 jars, and save $18!

Buy a partial case of nine $9 jars, and save $9!

**(If you’re in Charlottesville, come down to the last two Farmers Markets, this Saturday (12/16) and next (12/23), from 8 AM – 1 PM, buy jam in person, and save on shipping!!)**

Available flavors (for details see below):

Strawberry Rhubarb

Strawberry + Lavender

Sweet Cherry + Rhubarb

Blueberry Jam

Blueberry + Lemon

Red Raspberry + Rhubarb

Black Raspberry + Rhubarb

Blackberry + Rhubarb

Damson Plum

Plum + Lime

Damson + Rosemary

Details:

Strawberry Rhubarb: Like fresh strawberries, sweet with a bright finish. Classic. “Like springtime in a jar,” I’ve heard.

Strawberry + Lavender: Fresh strawberries have an aromatic flavor, the Lavender accentuates it; together they slide into a mellow floral finish.

Sweet Cherry + Rhubarb: Cherry jam (without pectin) is notoriously runny and sweet, so the rhubarb balances it all out, “almost to pie cherry flavor.”

Blueberry Jam: If blueberries are treated properly, most of them are still whole in the jar, on a spoon, or on your toast. That’s what I’m aiming for, here.

Blueberry + Lemon: Even well-loved blueberries can get a little sweet, so some lemon zest brings them back the bright tangy flavor of a fresh blueberry.

Red Raspberry + Rhubarb: Red raspberries have a bracing tartness, coupled with some inobtrusive rhubarb to camouflage the texture of the seeds.

Black Raspberry + Rhubarb: Black raspberries bring a perfumed, mellow, tangy flavor, unique and not to be missed! Rhubarb does sleight-of-hand with seeds.

Blackberry + Rhubarb: Trying to get back to the flavor of fresh blackberries, with some tangy rhubarb diffusing those seeds.

Damson Plum Jam: The classic preserving plum, similar to a Beach plum or a Sloe berry, the size of a table grape with a giant pit; sweet, tangy, mineral, and rich.

Plum + Lime: Tangy lime lights up plum’s richness and lays on top of the palate luxuriously, like Alice’s caterpillar on his mushroom.

Damson + Rosemary: The tangy sweetness of the plums learns a new dance step from rosemary’s assertive, piney resinousness, like an IPA after a popsicle.

The year in JAM:

Between a mild winter and a few bitterly cold nights in March and April, a big chunk of the tree-fruits were knocked out even before the season began. There’s a vulnerable stage in the fruiting cycle of a fruit tree, where the flower has begun to form, as a bud, but the flower has not yet been pollinated. If that tree flowers, reacting to the normal progression of warmth and light that comes along with the springtime, the frost comes through and nips those little buds right off. If a flower has already been pollinated, or a bud is barely formed, the frost doesn’t have the same effect, but for many of the fruit trees, a badly timed frost can lead to a total loss of harvest of one variety, or a subset of varietals, perhaps composing a total loss. This year, the Sweet and Sour Cherries had been pollinated already, and the Damson Plums had not yet “budded out,” but the frosts wiped out all of the Apricots, as well as of the other plums (Shiro, Santa Rosa, Burbank, Greengage, etc.). Figs in Charlottesville (its own heat island) didn’t take much damage from the late frosts, for the first time in 4 years! Weather is always unstable to a degree, it’s the unexpectedness of the greater climactic systems now that really give me the chills.

Once May came around, strawberries were in full swing, and in came lots of rain! That meant lots of wet & blemished berries were fit for jam and not much else (without any shelf life), and also that lots of rhubarb was going to grow (which was a good thing eventually. The other fruits (canes, trees, bushes, etc), were all showing their projected yields on their sleeves; stems tipped with tight clusters of buds, flowers, immature green fruits, or nothing at all. It is a sad day to find the fruit of one’s labors to be unredeemable, and farmers have to deal with a lot of that.

As we moved into June, it got dry, and insanely hot, the blueberries didn’t seem to mind, nor did the red and black raspberries that followed, they just lost a little mosture and gained a concentrated flavor. The sweet cherries should have come ripe after the sour cherries; however, since I went south for sweet and north for sour, I had them at the same time! Both were moderately plentiful, which was a nice surprise, especially alongside the other stone fruits. I waited in vain for Apricots all month to no avail. Shiro and Santa Rosa plums should have come ripe too, but never did. Peaches began coming in near the end of the month, both yellow and white, which provided a bit of a distraction, but hardly took away much of the sting of missing all those other stone fruits. The late frost is a good example of how a little waver in temperature on one night can have a huge effect, all year long, and beyond, as it dictates what the farmer thinks will happen next year, and the next; which in turn influences whether he or she will cut this tree down and plant something different instead.

July was milder than June, oddly, and I plowed through a bunch more peaches. Blackberries came in during a spell that was cool enough to so that they kept the edge of their sourness, even when ripe, lending a brightness that hot July days don’t usually allow them to keep. Figs came in strong this season, they received just as much frost in April as they could bear, and didn’t die back, so their canopies were full and, with some aggressive pruning, yields were good. Damson plums became ripe in mid July, and stretched into August, making up for some of the other fruits that took too much frost damage.

In early August I was traipsing around central Virginia after Damsons, feeling like I might be able to find enough of them this year, and I got word of an orchard I’d never visited, with a bumper crop, so I called down there and talked to the owner/manager (as a sole proprietor myself, I know there are many different hats to wear). He said they’d just harvested 125 bushels, or 6000 pounds, and I could have as many as I wanted, so I went down and picked up twenty 30 pound boxes (10%), took them home… when I called him back a week later they were all gone. As of right now, I still have plenty of Damsons rolling into 2018, which is great, because there is no guarantee that there will be a Damson season next year. The moral of the story: take as much as you can handle, because the rest will probably disappear quickly, and whatever excess you have will help you through the period of scarcity.

September gets a bit more civilized, we go up to Monticello for the Heritage Harvest Festival (this year was the 11th annual, I’ve been a vendor for 8 years, since the 3rd!), and peaches give way to pears. The mornings at the Farmers Market start to get chillier, the fresh fruits and vegetables start to disappear from the other vendors’ stands, and people start to act like squirrels, shopping for shelf-stable (or frozen) food, to last through the long winter ahead.

This is a bat in my blackberries. He must have been a fruit bat? No bats were harmed in the making of any of our Blackberry jam flavors​. We are a pro-bat business.

Do I even need to say something here about climate change?? I hope the seasons will stabilize year to year, and the fruit availability will stop fluctuating so much, but I feel like we are just at the beginning of being able to see the effects of system imbalances we’ve been ignoring for a long time. We all need to start paying closer attention to whats going on outside of our own windows, and realizing it isn’t the same out there as it was when any of us were kids, and some of us were kids not very long ago. I work outside, and I work directly with farmers, so I have an idea of what it is like out there, in the real world of the climate debate, and it feels unstable.


But farmers are a stoic bunch, and they’ll tell you that, as terrible as it is right now (or anytime), they sure are glad it’s this good and not worse, and they sure aren’t looking to jump ship. At least we’ve got that: nobody is better suited to ignore the additional burden of a changing climate than farmers.


I’m down off of my soapbox, now. Happy Hanukkah!! Celebrate the season in whatever way feels best to you!


Thanks!


Best,

Daniel

JAM according to Daniel

434.825.6651

www.accordingtodaniel.com

As always, the JAM endures

Daniel0019

photo courtesy of our local commons

The weather was weird this year, lots of fruits are missing from the list below; more details will be forthcoming later this week in the annual email, but for now, here are the available flavors, and the links to buy jam for the holidays.

ALL ORDERS IN BY 12/19 (NEXT MONDAY) WILL BE DELIVERED FOR CHRISTMAS, ACCORDING TO THE USPS!

Here are the available flavors:

Strawberry & Rhubarb
Red Raspberry & Rhubarb
Black Raspberry & Rhubarb
Blackberry & Rhubarb
Sweet Cherry & Rhubarb
Strawberry & Lavender
Strawberry & Chocolate Mint
Strawberry & Thai Basil
Strawberry & Lemon Verbena
Plum Jam
Plum & Lime
Plum & Rosemary
Blueberry &Lemon
Yellow Peach & Lavender
Red Raspberry & Yellow Peach
Peach Blackberry & Lemon
Rhubarb & Ginger

Buying JAM through my square storefront:

Using the links below you can shop online with your credit card. Jam usually costs $9 for each 8 oz. jar at the farmers market, unless you buy a case of 12 and save $1.50/jar. The square offerings reflect this: there is a mixed case of 12 jars (for only $7.50/jar) & a partial case of 9 jars (at partial discount $8/jar, an internet-only deal). And if you buy 2 cases, the shipping on the second case is free!

Mixed case (12 jars)

Partial case (9 jars)

Mix and match flavors within a box! Please include your flavor choices in the Square check-out interface! Otherwise it gets really confusing over here.

 Shipping/handling is a flat rate of $20 for any option, to simplify things and to encourage you to buy a whole case. I ship everything via USPS priority mail, in flat rate boxes, so jam usually arrives in 2-3 days.

It’s about JAM time!

Hello and happy holidays! Hanukkah is here, Christmas is almost 2 weeks away, its about to be 2016!

Don’t Panic – JAM ON!

As another fall turns into winter, the summer’s bounty patiently awaits you, preserved under glass for the season to come. Open a jar and let the sunshine out!

As always, I use all local fruit, with lower sugar and no pectin added (ever!), and this year switched over from sugar to organic evaporated cane juice (details below). I had to increase the price, to make up for the difference in cost: for single jars the price is $9, but with the case discount (when you buy 12) they’re only $7.50 apiece.

As a quick aside, I got married this fall to Rachel Williamson, an amazing woman, a farmer, a craftswoman, who works much harder than I do. She grows (and dries & blends) her own herbal teas and spices, and she also makes baskets from tulip poplar bark with grapevine handles. For more information on her fabulous products, check out her website: www.fairweatherfarmers.com

Here are the available jam flavors (links to buy are below):

Apricot: Bright and tangy. Classic and unbeatable. Pure sunshine.

Strawberry Apricot: Sweet and tangy, like strawberry rhubarb but with a little more bite from the apricot.

Sour Cherry & Apricot: Tangy & fabulous. Starts with the apricot and finishes with the cherry.

Strawberry Rhubarb: The taste of springtime. Sweet and light, like fresh strawberries.

Strawberry & Lavender: Lavender brings out the floral side of the strawberries, & helps restrain their sweetness.

Red Raspberry & Rhubarb: Red raspberries have so much flavor that they take over, the rhubarb fills in between and spreads out the seeds.

Black Raspberry & Rhubarb: Similar texturally to the Red version, but with a unique, sweeter flavor.

Blackberry & Rhubarb: Tangy & sweet, with a tannic finish from the blackberries.

Sweet Cherry & Rhubarb: Rhubarb lightens the deep cherry sweetness and helps thicken the texture.

Damson Plum: A supremely balanced tannic tanginess, with minimal sweetness. The quintessential old-fashioned jamming plum.

Plum & Lime: The other plums (Shiro, Santa Rosa, Stark, Red Heart, etc) get a little sweeter than the damson, but lime zest brings the sourness back in line.

Blueberry & Lemon: Lemon zest restores the tanginess of fresh blueberries, and exceeds it.

Pear & Ginger: Pears provide the sweet background, and the warm, candied flavor of Ginger is the star.

Pear & Red Raspberry: Not as sour as the rhubarb version, the pear spreads out the seeds and the raspberry takes over.

Pear Blackberry & Lemon: Pear fades into the background, as the lemon zest restores some tang to the tannic blackberries.

I’ve updated my square storefront; using the links below you can shop online with your credit card. Jam usually costs $9 for each 8 oz. jar at the farmers market, unless you buy a case of 12 and save $1.50/jar. The square offerings reflect this: there is a mixed case of 12 jars (for only $7.50/jar), a partial case of 9 jars (at partial discount $8/jar, an internet-only deal), and 1 individual lonely jar (at the normal price of $9/jar). And if you buy 2 cases, the shipping on the second one is free.

Mixed case (12 jars)

Partial case (9 jars)

1 jar

Mix and match flavors within a box! Please include your flavor choices in the Square check-out interface! Otherwise it gets really confusing over here.
 
Shipping/handling is a flat rate of $20 for any option, to simplify things and to encourage you to buy a whole case. I ship everything via USPS priority mail, in flat rate boxes, so jam usually arrives in 2-3 days. If you’re a Charlottesville local trying to save on shipping, you can still come sample & buy jam at the Holiday City Market, Downtown Charlottesville on Water st. by the parking garage, 8AM-1PM Saturdays (2 more weeks: 12/12 and 12/19).

Here’s the weather report from Central Virginia: It was a mild, wet spring, with a weather switcheroo mid season: late May to early July was supremely hot, great for the rhubarbstrawberries, sweet & sour cherriesred & black raspberriesapricots (best year ever!), and damson plums. That means it was a bumper year for me, for almost all of the fruits (definitely all of my favorites). During late July and August, though, when the peaches and blackberries were waiting for the heat to bulk up, it was mild and even sometimes cool, which meant lower yields. Pears did well; actually the cool summer might have helped pace their ripening, and with the rain and intermittent heat, the insect pests seemed fewer than past years.  Last winter was cold enough that the figs died back to the ground, and without the usual heat in the peak of the summer, they ripened fitfully 2 months behind schedule, with minimal results. I’m still hoping for the right fig climate, but it may be quixotic of me.

Here’s where I get on my soapbox for a second: if you want an informed opinion on climate change, ask someone who makes their living off of the weather. Farmers spend most of their time outside, and the steady normal progression through the seasons, without extreme weather events, is essential to their livelihoods. Extreme weather can be devastating- its not as if the farmer can move the plants indoors to avoid hail, flooding, or extreme temperatures. Be kind to your farmers, they’re experiencing the changing climate daily.

Sugar update: I switched from regular white sugar to organic evaporated cane juice, which is granulated and very light brown, because of a host of reasons, many of them to do with undisclosed, off-label sugar sourcing and additives. Regular white sugar is a composed of a market-dependent ratio of cane sugar and beet sugar, dictated by whichever is currently cheaper on the market; much of the beet sugar is genetically modified. It also contains residual bleaching agents, and anti-clumping agents. Evaporated cane juice contains only cane sugar, in slightly coarser crystals, a half-dozen steps before it has been rendered the familiar snowy white substance, granulated to a specific crystal size. And finally, the difference between white sugar and evaporated cane juice, all of those extra chemicals and extra energy in processing, makes a big difference when making fancy pastry, but not in jam. I’m glad to be able to eliminate some unneeded chemicals from my product, and it makes my product stronger. It’s more expensive than normal sugar, but I think that’s just another way of saying that I’m used to cheap sugar (and cheap commodities in general), and I think its worth paying for quality food.

I think that’s all for this year. Thanks for your support!

Best,

Daniel

flavor update, december 12th

This time of year, with the winter and the holidays approaching, jam tends to move pretty fast. Don’t delay! Order as soon as you can, before your favorite flavors sell out!
Sold out (until 2015):
Yellow Peach + Lavender
Peach + Red Raspberry
Damson Plum Jam
Almost gone:
Peach Blackberry + Lemon
Sweet Cherry
Sweet Cherry Rhubarb
Plum Jam
Plum + Blackberry
Blueberry Jam
Blueberry + Holy Basil
Rhubarb Jam
Still safely in stock:
Strawberry Rhubarb
Blackberry Rhubarb
Blueberry + Lemon
Red Raspberry + Rhubarb
Black Raspberry + Rhubarb
Plum + Lime
Plum + Ginger
See anything interesting? In need of last-minute gifts? According to the USPS all Priority Mail packages mailed by 12/20 will be delivered by Christmas, so any orders placed by noon on 12/19 will get out in time for the deadline. Order a case using this link: squareup.com/market/jam-according-to-daniel/mixed-case-of-jam
See below for descriptions of all the flavors. If you’re in Charlottesville there is still time to buy a case in person; there are 2 more farmers markets, tomorrow and 12/20, from 8-1.
I’ll keep this uncharacteristically short. Happy Holidays!

The Annual JAM Email – Buy online with square and you’ll jam all winter!

It’s that time of year again, with winter a few weeks away, and I’ve got enough jam in stock to get into the mail order season. If you’re in a hurry to get to jam, the square links to purchase jam are below (just skip this next part) and the flavors are below that. Order today and you could have jam in your hands by the end of the week.

I feel like I should give my out-of-town patrons and supporters an update on the season in central Virginia. It was a cool spring, bad for strawberries and good for rhubarb; a hot June, great for cherries, blueberries, and some plums that are ripe at that point. That early height of summer heat was too soon for blackberries, peaches, & pears, though, so those fruits ripened slowly through cool nights in July and August, into underwhelming yields. The most sustained damage came from the unusually late and frequent snow: it snowed every Tuesday in March. As a result: the strawberries were weeks late; the apricots flowered in a snowstorm (so they hardly even fruited); the figs died back and finally fruited fitfully in October, 2 months behind schedule. Even the peaches took a hit, although there are so many growing around here that is hard to believe anything could affect them. All that (we could call it terroir) is reflected in the flavors below.

I’ve reopened my square storefront; using the links below you can shop online with your credit card. Jam usually costs $8 for each 8 oz. jar, at the farmers market, unless you buy a case of 12 and save $1/jar. The square offerings reflect this: there is a mixed case of 12 jars (for only $7/jar), a partial case of 9 jars (at partial discount $7.50/jar, an internet-only deal), and 1 individual lonely jar (at the normal price of $8/jar). And if you buy 2 cases, the shipping on the second one is free.

squareup.com/market/jam-according-to-daniel/mixed-case-of-jam
squareup.com/market/jam-according-to-daniel/nine-jars-of-jam
squareup.com/market/jam-according-to-daniel/one-jar-of-jam

Please include your flavor choices in the Square check-out interface! Otherwise it gets really confusing over here.

Shipping/handling is a flat rate of $20 for any option, to simplify things and to encourage you to buy a whole case. I ship everything via USPS priority mail, in flat rate boxes, so jam usually arrives in 3-4 days.

Act fast, and get your holiday gifts taken care of early! Or give a great gift to yourself. Jam will last a year or more in your pantry, but I’ll be sold out in a couple weeks, so don’t delay! As always, I use less added sugar (5 parts fruit to 2 parts sugar), never any pectin, and squeeze a pound of local fruit in every jar.

Without further ado, here are the available flavors for late fall, 2014:

strawberry + rhubarb: classic. bright and tangy, the strawberry sweetness is offset by the sourness of the rhubarb.
red raspberry + rhubarb: the red raspberry flavor dominates, and the rhubarb hides the raspberry seeds. of all the flavors I make, rhubarb is the least sweet and the most spectacularly tangiest – and it’s actually a vegetable.
black raspberry + rhubarb: black raspberries have a mellower tang than red ones, and they linger on the palate for longer. starting delicately, with an almost floral aroma, and building to a juicy finish. this flavor is rare and one of my favorites.
blackberry + rhubarb: the rhubarb leads with sourness, the blackberry finishes with a deep, tannic sweetness, but the tangy rhubarb stays right below the surface. they somehow combine into a new flavor that wins over doubtful palates (who don’t like rhubarb or blackberry jam).
sweet cherry + rhubarb: cherry has a deeper sweetness than strawberry, with the tangy rhubarb filling in the texture.
sweet cherry jam: sweet, almost cloying, runny, and full of whole cherries. the pits add an almond aroma that helps balance the sweetness. it’s my maternal grandmother’s (Omi’s) favorite.
yellow peach + lavender: peach flavor starts sweet, but the lavender helps cap off the sweetness before it becomes cloying.
yellow peach + red raspberry: the familiar red raspberry flavor, with chunks of peaches to spread out the seeds (sweeter than raspberry + rhubarb).
peach blackberry + lemon: peach hits the palate first like a light, sweet rain; the thundercloud, blackberry rolls in with familiar swagger; lemon zest is the lightning bolt, cutting through the technicolor sweetness for a tangy finish.
damson plum jam: the coveted preserving plum, almost resembling a large, olive-shaped blueberry, with a well rounded flavor and a deep tannic tangyness. not to be missed. viewed as classic & old-fashioned in Europe and Appalachia.
plum jam (with shiro and santa rosa plums; aka “double plum“): bright and sour on the front of the palate, compared to the damson plum. less sweet than peach.
plum + blackberry: that great plummy sourness, balancing the familiar deep sweetness of the blackberries.
plum + ginger: sour (see above) initially, giving way to the emergent heat of ginger. warm for cold mornings.
plum + lime: the sourness of the plum is actually tempered by the addition of lime zest, as the two familiar sour flavors wrestle for dominance on your palate.
blueberry jam: deep blueberry sweetness; dark, tannic, and familiar.
blueberry + lemon: deep and dark, with the zing of lemon zest to bring the blueberry back some of its fresh flavor.
blueberry + holy basil: the familiar blueberry sweetness is offset by the holy basil (aka tulsi), which gives the jam a finish of citrus & clove.

Feel free to pass this email around to anyone you know who needs more great jam in their life. Without any employees, I’m a one-man-band over here (currently taking a break from the plums, cherries and blueberries defrosting in the kitchen to write this, & I need to finish up so I can run to the store for some limes & lemons to zest); there’s no marketing department, so I depend on word of mouth and gift-giving to widen my clientele.

Depending on how fast the jam goes, I may follow this email up with a shortened list of available flavors in a week or so, to reflect whatever sells out first. Let me know if you have any questions or if there is anything else I can do for you. Thanks so much for your interest and support.

available flavors for late fall, 2014:

brief flavor list (ORDER NOW!!! using the links below; full jam flavor descriptions below that):

strawberry + rhubarb
red raspberry + rhubarb
black raspberry + rhubarb
blackberry + rhubarb
sweet cherry + rhubarb
sweet cherry jam
yellow peach + lavender
yellow peach + red raspberry
peach blackberry + lemon
damson plum
plum jam (with shiro and santa rosa plums)
plum + blackberry
plum + ginger
plum + lime
blueberry jam
blueberry + lemon
blueberry + holy basil

Mixed case of JAM on Square Market

Nine jars of JAM on Square Market

One jar of JAM on Square Market

 

———————-

descriptive flavor list:

strawberry + rhubarb:  classic. bright and tangy, the strawberry sweetness is offset by the sourness of the rhubarb.

red raspberry + rhubarb: the red raspberry flavor dominates, and the rhubarb hides the raspberry seeds.

black raspberry + rhubarb: black raspberries have a mellower tang than red ones, and they linger on the palate for longer

blackberry + rhubarb: the rhubarb leads with sourness, the blackberry finishes with sweetness.

sweet cherry + rhubarb: cherry has a deeper sweetness than strawberry, with the tangy rhubarb filling in the texture.

sweet cherry jam: sweet, almost cloying, runny, and full of whole cherries. the pits add an almond aroma that helps balance the sweetness (I do take the pits out eventually, after I’ve cooked the cherries a bit). it’s my maternal grandmother’s (Omi’s) favorite.

yellow peach + lavender: peach flavor starts sweet, but the lavender helps cap off the sweetness of the fruit before it becomes cloying.

yellow peach + red raspberry: the familiar red raspberry flavor, with chunks of peaches to spread out the seeds (sweeter than raspberry + rhubarb).

peach blackberry + lemon: peach hits the palate first like a light, sweet rain; like the thundercloud, blackberry rolls in with familiar swagger; lemon zest is the lightning bolt, cutting through the sweetness for a tangy finish.

damson plum jam: the coveted preserving plum, almost resembling a large, olive-shaped blueberry, with a well rounded flavor and a deep tannic tangyness. not to be missed. viewed as classic & old-fashioned in both Europe and Appalachia.

plum jam (with shiro and santa rosa plums; aka “double plum“): brighter and more sour on the front of the palate, compared to the damson plum.

plum + blackberry: that great plummy sourness, balancing the familiar deep sweetness of the blackberries.

plum + ginger: sour (see above) initially, giving way to the emergent heat of ginger. warming for cold mornings.

plum + lime: the sourness of the plum is actually tempered by the addition of lime zest, as the two familiar sour flavors wrestle for dominance on your palate.

blueberry jam: deep blueberry sweetness; dark, tannic, and familiar.

blueberry + lemon: deep and dark, with the zing of lemon zest to bring the blueberry back some of its fresh flavor.

blueberry + holy basil: the familiar blueberry sweetness is offset by the holy basil (aka tulsi), which gives the jam a finish of citrus & clove.

Buy JAM online via Square

Mixed case of JAM on Square Market

Nine jars of JAM on Square Market

One jar of JAM on Square Market

flavors:
blueberry + rhubarb
peach + raspberry
peach blackberry + lemon
plum
blueberry + lemon
pear + ginger
strawberry + rhubarb
raspberry + rhubarb
blackberry + rhubarb
strawberry + lavender
strawberry + apricot
blueberry + apricot
sweet cherry + rhubarb

2013, year of the blur: did that really all just happen?

what a year it has been! it’s finally gotten to the end, or at least the end of the season, and i’ve got enough time to get into digital media again, so here’s an update for 2013, so far, for everyone who is still out there listening. if you’ve emailed me to attempt mid-season mail-order in the past few months, look for a reply in the next week, and thanks (as always) for your patience and flexibility.

[editors note: i should interrupt myself here before i get derailed into weather and metaphor, with some business details; i’ll be at the farmer’s (holiday) market in charlottesville every saturday before christmas (final market is 12/21). i’m getting my mail order machinery together and think i’m at the point where i can post a final list of flavors, so here it is (all flavors are available until they are sold out, as usual):

blueberry + rhubarb,

peach raspberry,
peach blackberry + lemon,
plum,
blueberry + lemon,
pear + ginger,
strawberry + rhubarb,
raspberry + rhubarb,
blackberry + rhubarb,
strawberry + lavender,
strawberry + apricot,

to buy jam: it is $8/jar, or $7/jar when you buy a case of 12 jars in any flavors (for a total of $84).

it’s easiest to get my jam at the farmers market in charlottesville, but if that’s out of the question, i finally have enough time in the fall to start getting into mail order jam again. shipping is $15, handling is $5, so the grand total for one case by mail is $104. if you want one, email me your choice of flavors so i can set them aside for you, then mail me a check, made out to Daniel Perry to:

Daniel Perry, 1626 st anne’s rd, charlottesville va,  22901

that’s all the institutional stuff i needed to take care of, thank you for your patience, now on with it.]

as a preface, this was just such a weird year! wow! i’ve been making jam in charlottesville for the past 6 years, and i can say that this was the worst year i’ve seen for fruit, especially for the farmers. not to say that any of them complained; there’s a solid and unshakable stoicism that i’ve observed in the farmers around here, and it’s probably a characteristic of farmers everywhere who endure the many disappointments and minor defeats that nature dishes out to them on a regular basis. that seems like the name of the game with farming; the resilience to accept many non-ideal outcomes, and continue pushing forward with faith and confidence. well, that’s enough lionizing farmers, although they all deserve it, it’s time to talk about the weather.

it’s funny; i can tell it was a bad year for fruit because i couldn’t find as much fruit as i expected of the types that i really covet (black raspberries, apricots, damson plums, figs) and instead i got apologies from the farmers that they didn’t have as much for me as they’d had in recent years. it was also telling to see that the fruit that is always available and plentiful in this area (strawberries, peaches) was all kinds of whacky, there was too much fruit, at the wrong time, and with diminished shelf-life because of all the cold march & april, frost in late may, cool wet june and july, barely enough heat to ripen in august. everything was on schedule for 5 years ago, but every year since then was a little warmer than the year before, and we were almost 3 weeks ahead of 2008 in 2012, which made 2013 feel like it was 3 weeks behind.

the weather is really all that matters, i learned that a decade ago when i was a construction worker at the IX building in charlottesville. when you work outside, you lose your thick exoskeleton of walls & roof; shingles, boards, nails, paint, architecture and engineering all work to keep things orderly and peaceful. working construction, once a space is enclosed, it’s time for a subcontractor to come in and do finishing work, and the construction crew is off again to throw some more tarps over a drying concrete slab, doing daily battle with the sun, rain, heat, cold, wind, bugs, anything and everything that is excluded from habitable spaces almost by definition. it’s fun, it feels like camp, but you don’t get to leave.

i guess this construction analogy is serving a deeper metaphor of farming; once a space has been built enough to no longer be considered outdoors, once it deserves that a visitor shed their coat and muddy boots, construction workers depart; they put in the hard work in wildly variable conditions so that the rest of us can curl up warm in bed at night; they cultivate buildings in the fields of cities, so that we can then move in and cultivate our lives & families, and reap the bountiful harvest of love and memories. does the comparison work? construction workers are farmers, buildings are crops; we are all farmers, our lives are our crops; but really farmers are farmers and food is crops.

farmers are out in the sun and the rain (kind of like postmen, but thats a metaphor for another day) and the sleet and the hail (which is really bad for all kinds of produce, really bangs them up) working on building a beautiful empire for the rest of us; long lines of little palaces in green, or red, or any color, little apartment buildings filled with calories, and fiber, and protein, and minerals, for the rest of us to chew, swallow, and offer up to our own tiny universe of internal processes, for the multitude that is contained in our individual “i”, to occupy, consume, and discard, like a sped-up stop-motion film reel about the rise & fall of civilizations. the buildings are there, and a moment later it’s only the dusty plain, waiting for the next wave of life and growth. well, maybe the wheels fell of the wagon by the end of that metaphor, or maybe the blades  of the blender got jammed mixing too many metaphors, but the point is, farming is hard, and it’s a heartbreak. at least in construction the buildings last a little longer than food does, and more people can enjoy them as a result. for farmers growing fresh produce for market, a walk-in cooler is essential, and maybe a refrigerated box truck too, because the produce is insanely perishable, for something that lives it’s whole life outside.  i’ve got the best of both worlds, sealing fruit in little glass enclosures, universes of vermillion or indigo, fruit swirling in it’s own juices, safe enough to get through the winter. little castles, little palaces, little universes; don’t we all deserve to be the ruler of something? jam is such an easy pet to keep.

well, that might be enough for this week. thanks for tuning in. i’ll be at the farmers market for only 5 more saturdays this year, in the same old parking lot on water st in downtown charlottesville, from 8-1. i hope to see you there.

 

Wow, this jam is really movin’!

Well, mail order is moving along and there are some jam shortages to report. Here’s what’s still available. You can see below for the details on ordering and payment. Email your order to accordingtodaniel AT gmail.com.

Strawberry Rhubarb
Strawberry Apricot
Blueberry Lemon
Blueberry Apricot
Raspberry Rhubarb
Blackberry Rhubarb
Apricot
Plum Jam
Plum Lime
Fig Jam

The end of jam, for 2012

It’s almost the end of jam season, and before my stock of flavors disappears entirely, I’m making one last push. It’s been a great year for fruit, which kept me busy all season, and has left me with a great selection of flavors right now, maybe even the best flavors of the whole year.

This will be my last week of jam production until April, so availability will only decrease from this point forward, until fruit comes into season again. I’m finishing up the last of the fruit I froze this year and it’s almost like I have the whole year spread out before me: rhubarb from the Mennonites in the Shenandoah Valley in May with raspberries from Free Union in June; strawberries from Roseland in April with apricots from North Garden in June; plums from June, July, and August, from the same orchard in North Garden, combined together; and figs from my own fig tree.

The way ordering works is: you pick your flavors and the number of jars from the options below, send me an email with your choices so that I can set them aside, mail me a check, and when I receive it, I’ll mail you your jam as per your email.

Here’s the full selection this week (and for the rest of 2012):

Strawberry Rhubarb: a classic combination, the mellow tangyness of the rhubarb cuts through the sweetness of the strawberries.
Strawberry Apricot: like Strawberry Rhubarb, but the apricot contributes a brighter note than the rhubarb, in contrast to the sweet berries.
Blueberry Lemon: since blueberries lose their tangyness when they’re cooked down, a little lemon zest balances them back out.
Blueberry Apricot: using apricots instead of lemon to brighten the berries
Raspberry Rhubarb: the raspberry seeds are hidden by the rhubarb, but the sourness of the berries is the dominant flavor
Blackberry Rhubarb: blackberries can lose their sourness, like blueberries, so the rhubarb picks it back up (and hides the seeds)
Apricot: it’s bright orange, thick, and tangy, like the humid day in June when it was picked
Plum Jam: a blend of Santa Rosa, Methley, and Shiro plums; the sweeter ones lend body to the sourest, and temper their tangyness.
Plum Lime: the tangyness is tempered by the extra zip of the lime
Damson: Damson plums are tiny and almost look like black olives. They’re a famous old time jam making fruit and because they’re so small, the dark skin gives the jam a tangy flavor with tannic notes, similar to the profile of a red wine
Fig Jam: earthy with a delicate sweetness

Once you decide on your flavors, here’s my pricing:
6 jars at $8/jar=$48 + $15 shipping/handling=$63
9 jars at $7.50/jar=$67.50 + $15 shipping/handling=$82.50
12 jars at $7/jar=$84 + $20 shipping/handling= $104

As of now, I’m a small business and still don’t take credit cards, so to get my jam you have to mail me an old-fashioned check, made out to Daniel Perry, at 1626 St. Annes Rd. Charlottesville, VA 22901. On receipt of your check, I’ll mail your jam.

Thanks and I’ll see you in 2013!