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‚Äč. 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

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