Welcome to 510 Fruits

510 Fruits came into existence because I love fruit and foraging and jam making. I love the bounty of seasonal produce and I came to love canning and jam making when I learned how hard it is to actually use all the fruit from a tree when it ripens. After processing my own backyard fruit, I began to see fruit everywhere I went. Thus the initiation into forage. Foraging in my neighborhood has taught me about the often overlooked bounty of our streets and backyards and has been a great way to meet neighbors, build community, and more efficiently share in the season's offerings.

As my love of fruit and jam has become an obsession, the stack of jam in my house has grown to waist high and wobbly. I realized I needed a way to get the jam out of my house as fast as I seem to be making it. Thus 510 Fruits and this attempt to share the variety of locally foraged and harvested fruits I have made into jams, marmalades, fruit butters and canned. Selling is not about making money, but just about covering the cost of jars and ingredients so that I can go on making more jam.

On the label, the byline "local forage" means the fruit is foraged from my yard, friends' and neighbors' yards, and streetside. The byline "local harvest" means I picked the produce at a local u-pick farm. Names also include more specific information, usually the street name of where the fruit originated.

Monday, December 14, 2009

The SOLD OUT Blues

So after less than 2 weeks in the jam "business", my entire wobbly stack of 200+ jams is sold out. What an amazing pilot project this has been! Thank you for all your support and enthusiasm for this jamming endeavor. I'll definitely be continuing with the jam making, but can't fill more orders until I build up my stock again. Stay tuned to this blog (sign up as a follower for automatic updates) for announcements when new batches of jam get made and are available for sale. Happy Holidays and Happy Jam Making to all!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Ode to Lemons

Today was Lemon Day. (And that doesn't mean it was a lemon of a day!) After patiently waiting and watching for weeks, I finally deemed I had a quorum of ripe lemons on my tree. I harvested a large grocery bag full and spent the afternoon zesting and juicing.

An improvised double burner cooking lemon curd in front, and a pot of candied lemon peel in the back. First I piloted two different lemon curd recipes, then I did the big batch. Learning: the more egg yolks the better. Yolks keep it thick and creamy after it's been reboiled.

Yield: 18 jars of lemon curd and 3 cups of candied lemon peel

Sunday, December 6, 2009

The Great Tree Shake Down--Apples, Pears, and Pineapple Guavas

The past 72 hours have been a jam making and canning blitz!

First, a final harvest of a neighbor's pineapple guava tree. It was a duck and cover operation--a firm shake down of the tree brought pineapple guavas raining down throughout the yard.
Pineapple guavas are a fantastic fruit--small and oval with a tart green peel and a soft, gelatinous, whitish flesh. You can actually eat the whole thing, although most people prefer just the sweeter inside flesh. The flavor is like other varieties of guava but the texture is part banana. I've been experimenting with both jam (inside flesh only) and marmalade (peel and flesh). This harvest yielded a dozen jars of creamy jam.

Then, a trip to a friend's land up in the Anderson Valley. Fall in the Valley is thick with the smells of ripe apples and wood smoke. Two old apple trees provided a few bushel baskets of windfall (with a little help from another generous shake-down).
We cranked out the cider press and sampled the range of juices the different apples produced--from sugar sweet to tart.
The fresh pressed cider makes a great juice for canning so I made a trip across the road to a larger orchard for pears, added a little lemon juice, cinnamon sticks and orange zest, and canned two dozen jars of cider poached pears. Delicious!

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Pears and Meeting New Neighbors

Last week I had my first experience of leaving a note in the mailbox of a neighbor I didn't know asking about fruit harvesting. They replied immediately with absolute generosity about sharing the pears from their enormous, old pear tree. In exchange, I left them jam from my apricot tree, and after processing their pears, returned to them some jam from their own tree. The experience was a classic in the reasons I love forage: As usual, the fruit was way too much for any one household, falling to the sidewalk, and making a mess. I was able to harvest pears from the very top of the tree with a fruit picker and give them back to the neighbors whose tree it was who hadn't been able to reach the top fruit. As I stood on the sidewalk picking fruit, other neighbors came by and chatted and I got to distribute the just picked pears to them. Not only was forage a re-distribution success, but I met a handful of lovely new neighbors!

Results: A dozen jars of Apricot-Pear-Ginger Jam and half a dozen jars of Apple Cider and Red Wine Poached Pears.