It's true! I am a completely crazy person and launched this wonderful, growing baby of a company just a few months into planning my wedding. And now, the big day is here! I wish I could make jam AND get married all at the same time, but even I am not quite superpowerful enough to do that. So, my dear jam-lovers, I am going to go a bit silent for the next two weeks (you'll have me back by Valentine's Day) while I get myself good and wedded to my lovely fiancé (plus a honeymoon for good measure). Yay! Drink some champagne for me if you can, where ever you may be, and I will be back before you know it. Spring is near, and with it will come a host of new flavors and exciting news! So, pop that bubbly—I certainly plan to—and I'll see you on the other side!
I'd like to tell you all about the Good Food Awards 2015, but they were 100% killer and I am 100% exhausted. The big news is that I WON!! And of course, as usual, by "I" I mean we! The award is really shared with farmers who grow these incredible berries that make my jam what it is, my mother, who has been a lifelong supporter of my dreams and flights of fancy, my dad, who is thrilled to find that he's not the only small businessperson in the family after all, and my fiancé David, who has been a longtime supporter of me and who has very kindly (and much to my delight) signed up to become a lifelong supporter.
I was awarded this amazingly large and self-defense-worthy medal (see above) for my Tayberry Jam—the first jam I made after becoming an official jam maker (as opposed to an enthusiastic hobbyist). It was a huge honor, particularly when I looked up and down the line of my fellow "Preserves" category winners and saw nothing but incredible people. Alice Waters herself placed it around my neck and I basically can die now.
But seriously, the awards ceremony was such a pure pleasure to just be at. The thoughtful, inimitable Mark Bittman gave an inspiring (and inspired) opening address on the idea of good food—the kind that the Good Food Awards celebrates—as protest. As revolution! He spoke to the food system in this country and to its brokenness, and reminded me why I am doing what I am doing. He talked about supporting farmers, and paying fair prices. Respecting food and its provenance—producing incredibly delicious food in a responsible way, food that people can trust, and in doing so cultivating a culture that reveres good food. Sometimes, alone in the kitchen at the end of a long day over the hot jam pots, it is easy to forget—if momentarily—why I am doing this. Mark Bittman reminded me. I could not wait to get back in the jam kitchen!
A lot of fellow Portland people were there to accept awards, which was a thrill, too! The wonderful David Briggs of Xocolatl de David was there to accept for his (deliciously Crunch-bar-like) Sourdough & Olive Oil bar. The Olympic Provisions guys—who, incidentally are doing my wedding rehearsal dinner in just about 2 weeks!—were there to accept an award for their Salami Etna. They graced us with a little GFA-themed song, which was exactly what we needed well into hour #2 of speeches and not a drop of alcohol in sight. Catch a look & a listen here. In that teeny part that cuts out he's singing "Good Food, good friends, let's fight the good fight 'til the end." I mean, come on—inspiring stuff! Seriously, how am I lucky enough to be amongst these shiny, passionate, heart-driven people?
Sitting next with my fellow preserves winners was a treat, too. I got to talk with Lemon Bird Preserves (as well as her adorable parents, who are adorable) whose pickles & preserves I have loved since my days at Mouth.com (her pickled cocktail tomatoes are unreal), and I also got to chat with the very lovely Dafna from bay area-based INNA jam, who is sort of a small batch jam mogul as far as I'm concerned. Also, she makes shrubs and those are just crazy good. John from Ohio's Black Radish Creamery gave the acceptance speech on behalf of all of us crazy jammers and pretty much just nailed it right off the bat by opening with a little jam-maker humor and playing "Jammin'". The jam jokes Do. Not. Get. Old.
After the ceremony, my fiancé and I partied it up with my mom and her lovely gentlemen friend, and my picture was on this big screen with all the other winners and it was totally insane and it went to my head even though I tried not to let it. Tip toeing on the clouds! When our coaches became pumpkins once again, we headed home on the trolley through the balmy SF night and giggled our way to sleep. Needless to say it was a memorable night.
Saturday was the bustling and crazy-busy GFA Winners Marketplace at the Ferry Buildling and if you came by I probably explained to you what tayberries are and hopefully I didn't sound like a zombie. I was a zombie, but I think my table—my first ever!—was sort of adorable! I spruced it up with a lovely piece of fabric from Bolt Fabric, a shop just down the street from me here in Portland and it looked like this:
I had such fun watching people enjoy the Tayberry jam—a rare treat for me as I usually just pop the jar in the mail and hope that whoever's mouth it ends up in is a happy one. We celebrated with good cocktails and great friends and now it's back to the kitchen!
Thank you all for being awesome and for loving jam and good food!
Warm-fuzzies and all the best,
Print Lives! January 04 2015, 1 Comment
This post was supposed to happen first thing Saturday morning, as people were sipping their coffee and just starting to think about reading the paper. It was going to say something like "go grab a copy of the weekend Wall Street Journal because WE'RE featured in it!!" Instead, a magical thing happened. All of you lovely jam lovers beat me to it. Before I even had a copy of my own, the orders came flooding in. First from the East Coast, and then slowly moving across the time zones—jam lovers around the country, getting their fix! We spent yesterday in a mad flurry of jam jars, packing material and squeals of joy, and ended it with some good friends and good bubbles (see our Instagram feed for more of what yesterday looked like). What I mean to say is THANK YOU—everyone. I am honored and overwhelmed. I am so thrilled to find that my love for and trust in simplicity, classic preparations and Oregon berries is shared by so many others!
If you'd like to see the piece, which is blush-inducingly flattering and written by the talented, smart Charlotte Druckman, you can read it here (we're featured right below the awesome donut calendar). We're just finishing up the orders that will go out tomorrow and I am off to take a quick Champagne break before getting back into the jam kitchen to fill the wonderful and many (wow!) jam pre-orders that have come in this weekend. I don't want to keep you guys waiting too long, though, so I'll just skip the glasses. If it's good enough for Maya, it's good enough for me.
Thank you all! Love & jam,
Because it's official: PLUM TREE JAM IS A GOOD FOOD AWARDS FINALIST!!
Full disclosure, I've known about this for a little while now, but I haven't been able to share it with you until today!!! I'm incredibly honored to be recognized so early in the game! My jam was blind-tasted by some pretty amazing palates, and next to many, many worthy entries and somehow, they decided that mine was uniquely delicious. Wow. Pretty floored.
Check out all of the 2015 Good Food Awards Finalists here. I know that I am in good company because we not only had our wares blind-tasted, but we also all went through a very rigorous vetting process. Winners will be announced in January, so keep your fingers crossed, and in the meantime, cheers!
yours in jam,
Prepare your heart to be thoroughly melted! Exceptionally adorable things have happened to our jam lately—namely that it has been gobbled up by some of the cutest human beings ever. See below, Fig. 1 and Fig. 2.
Fig. 1: Holman, who prefers his boysenberry jam lumpy with berries (which is great, because that's how we feel, too), and spread all over homemade pancakes.
Fig. 2: Maya! We finally got to meet our friends' gorgeous little nugget, who—as we discovered—is a BIG fan of jam. She'd been pretty fussy all afternoon, but when that Triple Crown berry-coated jam spoon touched her lips, all that changed. Parents, take note!
Wishing you a week full of cuteness and jam!
While it's true that the jam-making itself is done by one person—that would be me, Miranda!—Plum Tree Jam (like all projects worth a darn) is the result of the hard work and loving support of a community of friends and family. People like:
David! My fiancé and all around awesome dude! Here he is picking berries with me this past August. Those are Triple Crowns (you can buy jam made from those very same Triple Crowns HERE!):
My Mom, Linda! Aren't Moms the best? She's a mostly-retired Professor and much-loved lady! She's picking boysenberries (you can buy jam made from those very boysens HERE!):
Morgan & David! Our friends and neighbors who not only come berry-picking (they picked Waldo blackberries, and you can buy the jam made from those Waldos HERE!), they also provide boatloads of creative input and all around encouragement.
this is Morgan! (well, it's her hand, but you get the idea)
Jam jar sticker idea from David "idea-factory" L-P!
Cheers to you lovely people! And cheers to you, dear customers, who are now a part of all the fun and delicious goodness that is Plum Tree Jam! Thank you!
Hello jam lovers of the world! I can't believe this day is finally here—Plum Tree Jam is up and running at last! After many months of hard work, and years of dreaming, it's really real. I'm so excited to share my jams with you! Thank you for coming to this jammy little corner of the internet, I hope you enjoy yourself while you're here.
Welcome all you wonderful people, and enjoy!
Yours in berry-goodness,
Miranda (jam-maker, berry picker, champagne-lover)