Sunday, July 22, 2012

Jam Update, the Hardwick Farmers Market & Greece

How's this for a visual temptation?  I always tell people that I make jam for 3 reasons.  1.  I love the idea of taking something that's produced locally in the summer & turning it into something that can be enjoyed in the middle of the winter.
2.  There's something very basic in making preserves.  It feels right in my soul & my kids all love my jam.
3.  They look like jewels in their jars when they're finished.  Note photo above.

This morning I got up & was mentally prepared to make seedless blackberry jam.  I have always avoided making anything seedless because it feels like you lose so much when you remove the seeds, but I had plenty of blackberries & thought I'd give it a try.  I had my ingredients on the counter & went to put the empty jars on a towel when I realized that I was going to be short jars for the jam-making that I wanted to do today.  So - after chatting with David - off I went to the store for more jars.  As I was checking out, the cashier asked if I made jam & if I grew my own fruit.  I told her that I do my best to make jam each week with whatever is available locally.  She asked if I'd been to the Hardwick Farmers Market.  I didn't even know that there was one.  She said it's on Sundays at 10 (actually starts at 11) & that there's a jam person there that makes unusual jams (including Queen Anne's Lace jam).  Since it was 9:45 I figured it was a sign from God & off I went.  Since the market opened at 11 I was about 40 minutes early, but sat under a tree & watched the vendors set up.  The Hardwick Farmers Market is quite impressive for a small town.  I left with:  3 varieties of garlic (the man that sells it is so pleasant), 2 bags of granola (how could I resist coconut pineapple & lemon blueberry?), a jar of maple sugar, fresh/local cheeses (Swiss & Barndance), peaches (I thought it was too early, but the heat is bringing in everything ahead of schedule), a lovely baguette from Rose32 [a European style bakery that doesn't know how to make a bad item], cookies from a gentleman that promised to make hermits for me next weekend & some 4 oz jars of jam (including Queen Anne's Lace).  I had a great chat with the jam couple.  We compared notes on the use of sugar, the price of fruit, the search for jelly jars, etc.  I know that I'll go back. 
When I came home I finished up the seedless blackberry jam & made peach jam.  For all of my family & friends that know me well -  I can hear you.  Yes - I don't like peaches.  I don't like the taste, the smell & particularly the feel of peaches.  Everything about them says "fuzz" to me.  But --- I know that people like peach jam & I'm willing to make it.  Want to know what kinds of jam I've made this summer?  Even if you don't - I'm going to tell you anyways since I'm so pleased with the variety ~
* Strawberry Rhubarb
*Red Currant Onion Chutney
*Blueberry Red Currant
*Raspberry Blueberry
*Black Raspberry
*Shiro Plum
*Yellow Raspberry
*Spiced Blueberry
*Triple Berry (Blueberry, Blackberry, Red Raspberry)
*Seedless Blackberry
Wondering what the country of Greece is doing in my title?  I was on Skype this morning with my husband & saw that one of my paper buddies from Greece was on, too.  We'd always said that we'd try to "talk" to each other live & it's never worked out.  I sent her a message & within minutes we were in each other's houses chatting like we'd just stepped apart the day before.  It was wonderful!  Zeffy is so amazingly talented & I've loved watching her on YouTube.  We exchange packages periodically, but this was so much more fun.  I would love to visit her in Athens & of course, she's more than welcome here.  In the meantime - this option worked out well for us.
I'm headed off to read The Paris Wife.  It's so good & since the house is quiet I can tuck under a blanket & get a few chapters read. Before I know it I'll be back to work so I want to make the most of being home for a few more hours.  Before I do that I'm off to track down a recipe for Queen Anne's Lace Jelly [will share if I find it].  Have a wonderful week & check back soon ~


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