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Mixed case of JAM on Square Market

Nine jars of JAM on Square Market

One jar of JAM on Square Market

blueberry + rhubarb
peach + raspberry
peach blackberry + lemon
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,
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

Strawberry Rhubarb
Strawberry Apricot
Blueberry Lemon
Blueberry Apricot
Raspberry Rhubarb
Blackberry Rhubarb
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!

jam season 2012 is ending, long live mail-order season!

Greetings from Planet Jam!

Fruit has finally given me a break, so I’m ready for mail-order season! Flavor availability fluctuates widely, so let me know your choice of flavors as soon as you can (substitutions may be made if necessary).  Available Flavors:

Plum Jam (Damson, Shiro, and Santa Rosa plums)
Plum + Lime Jam
Damson Jam
Fig Jam
Peach, Blackberry + Lemon
Yellow Peach + Red Raspberry
Red Raspberry + Rhubarb
Black Raspberry + Rhubarb
Strawberry + Rhubarb
Blackberry + Rhubarb
Pear + Ginger
Pear + Hibiscus
Pear, Blackberry + Lemon
Pear, Strawberry + Lime
Pear, Strawberry + Lavender
Strawberry + Apricot
Blueberry + Lemon
Kiwi + Rhubarb

(I know that’s a lot of flavors and it might seem a daunting choice. But really, get your choices in before the good ones are sold out!!)

Email me with your orders, and for payment information, at accordingtodaniel AT
Jam usually costs $8 per jar, but (my recommendation for jam by mail) for a case of 12 jars the discounted price is $84 (at $7 per jar), plus S+H for a total of $104.  For a case of 9 jars, I am now testing out a partially-discounted partial-case price of $67.50 (at $7.50 each), plus S+H for a total of $83.50.

If you’re in Charlottesville, you can pick your flavors now and pick them up at the farmer’s market (Saturdays 8AM-1PM).  If you can’t make it into the farmer’s market, I’m planning a Jam pick-up at my Jam kitchen Sunday December 16, from 2-4PM. Let me know if you’re interested in the pickup at the market, or at the kitchen, and I’ll keep you posted with details.

I’d like to take this opportunity to thank the food community of Charlottesville (and Greenwood) and the greater world of Jam lovers for 5 seasons of support, enthusiasm and patronage, with all the patience and flexibility that entails! I hope to continue making jam and sending it off into the world, 10,000 jars a season, for many years to come. Thanks!

jam time 2012

i’m just back from picking strawberries on an overcast morning, so i’m simultaneously blissful and unrushed, so it seemed like a good time to get back around to my website. there was a technical issue last season, some hackers from eastern europe hacked my website and it became less than useful for a while, but now it is back. the strawberries came in 3 weeks ago, and the rhubarb too, so jam season is rolling into high gear before it’s usually started.

last season was a week or 10 days early, strawberries were in around April 22 instead of May 1, but the warm spring seems like it’s another week earlier this year, with berries coming in April 14th at Chiles in Greenwood. this means we could see blueberries, raspberries, cherries and apricots, which are usually the first half of June, trickling in during the second half of May, which is only 2 or 3 weeks away. i guess we could see peaches in early to mid june, figs in late june, plums around then early season is fabulous for me, since i’m obsessed enough about the fruit to be right on top of it; i can’t afford to let the early appearance of a fruit catch me by surprise, and the farmers are always happy to see me come picking early and often.

i’m working on my jam photography this year, and looking forward to a beautiful season. i’ve taken some time to be thankful this winter, for this community, this chance to do what i love, having the days outside and the nights in the steamy kitchen, packing a season’s worth of Virginia sunshine into identical glass jars, and then bringing it to whoever shows up at the farmers market. it validates an important human urge, to find food outside of a refrigerated case or an air-conditioned aisle, and it lets me and my fellow producers create food of an uncommon quality and variety, and interact face-to-face with the people who eat it. we are so blessed.

also, for those of you who haven’t yet heard about it, there’s a great series of table-to-farm dinners going on in central Virginia right now, by the name of Hill and Holler, curated by Tracey Love, and unless you were there with us last night, you just missed a great winemaker’s dinner at Blenheim Vineyard with chef Tucker Yoder of the Clifton Inn, 5 courses with wine pairings; 42 people at one long table on a hilltop as the sun set. i saw Sarah and Andrea of Beyond the Flavor at the table with other guests and producers, snapping away with their cameras, so there’ll probably be mention of the while thing on their website soon enough, with some beautiful pictures.

as a final thought from jam land, lets all hope the strawberries don’t burn up in the end of May the way they did last year, or even earlier than that. weather instability is scary, especially since food can’t go inside and turn on the air conditioner when it is growing in a field, the way we can when we’re tired of being out there. so, for the time being, i’m picking in Roseland and Greenwood almost daily, and trying to keep up with the season before it gets weird.

I’ll be at the market this week, and for the next 34 weeks, or until i run out of fruit. flavors are: strawberry + thai basil, rhubarb, raspberry rhubarb, strawberry rhubarb, strawberry jam, strawberry lavender, strawberry chocolate mint, strawberry lime, and rhubarb lime… maybe some rhubarb ginger.


the end of strawberries, as raspberies begin

we can’t forget about blueberries or cherries, which are both about to reach the end of a 2 week run. i have some strawberry rhubarb from last week, but not much else strawberry flavors, a few cherry and blueberry varieties, and raspberries have returned.

i don’t know what this heat will do to the fruit, especially the cherries, but i was expecting to see them go soon anyway, and the rain is really what can end their season (on a bad year) but that has been rare these past 2 weeks, to the fruit’s benefit. the raspberries will dry out as they ripen if it stays too dry and hot, but that just means the pickers must exert more vigilance and effort to find the berries before it is too late.

this week (tomorrow) at the market: strawberry rhubarb, strawberry chocolate mint, blueberry, blueberry lemon, sweet cherry + blueberry, sweet cherry, sweet cherry + lemon, and whatever else i can think up today.

are you hungry for out-of-season jams? pear flavors in june and peaches in may? maybe even strawberries in september? look no further than the Greenwood Gourmet Grocery, in nearby Crozet VA. enter their treasure trove of preserves, not to mention their amazing wine, cheese, produce, prepared food, catering, etc, and be amazed.

also for jam fans in DC; i made a delivery on wednesday to the Cowgirl Creamery (at their DC location) and the Arganica Farm Club is carrying my jam as well.

memorial day jam

i’m pleased to announce that strawberries are still bountiful, although they won’t last too much longer in this heat, unfortunately. cherries and blueberries are coming in over the next few days, so i should have plenty of both at the market next weekend, and i’m looking forward to more rhubarb – i’ve started picking it up at the Mennonite auction in Dayton VA, the SVPA, and it has been fabulous.

here are this weeks (only) flavors: strawberry jam, strawberry + rhubarb, strawberry + raspberry, strawberry + lavender, strawberry + thai basil, strawberry + lime, strawberry + chocolate mint, and rhubarb + lime.

for other flavors, check out the Greenwood Gourmet Grocery, who has kept a lot of out of season flavors from last year. there is still a bit more at Revolutionary Soup, on the downtown mall, too. i make 150 flavors of jam (or thereabouts), but only sell what i am actively producing, which is about 8-12 flavors at any one time, using whatever fruit is ripe and available in Charlottesville or the surrounding 50 miles.

i’ll be at the farmers market tomorrow morning; i hope to see you there!

more strawberries!

strawberry jam, strawberry + rhubarb, strawberry + raspberry, strawberry + lavender, strawberry + thai basil, strawberry + lime, yellow peach + raspberry, strawberry + chocolate mint!


i’m overjoyed to announce that strawberries are back! (actually they were already back last week, but i was so busy with them that i couldn’t make time for a blog post.) the berries are in at Seamans in Roseland (who are a little further along) and at Critzers in Afton (who are starting to pick on monday, and will have berries further into the season), so get out there before it gets too hot and get your hands on some bright, fragrant fruit.

there is nothing that can compare with eating warm strawberries in the field on a spring morning, pulling the fruit off the stem and up to your mouth in one motion… although strawberry jam comes in a close second, especially in October, when local strawberries are either preserved in jam or are only memories. come get some for yourself, at the city market, tomorrow!


strawberry jam, strawberry + rhubarb, strawberry + raspberry, strawberry + lavender, strawberry + thai basil, strawberry + lime, yellow peach + raspberry, double plum + lime, and whatever else i think up later tonight!