“JAM according to Daniel” is fueled by my passion for old-fashioned fruit preserves (with some new twists), made with local fruit, low sugar, and no pectin. My job, as I see it, is to make fresh fruit last, rather than produce the fruit-flavored jello that usually passes for jams and jellies. By adding less sugar, and avoiding pectin altogether, I can cook off most of the water and concentrate the flavor; as a result I am able to fit a pound of local fruit into every 8 ounce jar. My jam will last for up to a year in a cool dark place; once it has been opened, a jar can sit in the refrigerator for a very, very long time.

I am a Charlottesville-based jam maker, working exclusively with local fruit in season. I learned the value of local ingredients while making jam at a local winery under managers who were looking out for the bottom line, rather than the quality of the product. I was forced to use the cheapest fruit available, all sourced through local produce companies but originating in far-off places like Florida, California, and Oregon. After the fruit had traveled for days, from the fields to my pot, in the back of a refrigerated Semi, it was woody and tasteless, and did not bring enough flavor to the jam. Once I’d started my own jam business, I was overjoyed both with the quality of fresh local fruit and with the added significance that local ingredients gave my jam. Buying local fruit from farmers means I value the fruit more, because in addition to a lower cost, I can interact with the actual human beings who grow what I buy, sell, and eat myself. I can extend this relationship between producer and consumer another step when I sell my jam, interacting directly with my customers, who eventually consume what is, in part, the “fruit” of my labors.

I’m always at the Charlottesville Farmers Market on Saturdays (April-December), meeting new friends, farmers, customers, suppliers, and the rest of the community, and its easiest to get your hands on jam there. I can mail jam too, though it takes a little longer and costs a little more.