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.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

510 Fruits is back up and running

After a few quiet months, jam-making has once again become a weekly event at my house and as the jars are starting to take over both kitchen and dining room, it is time for a shout out to jam lovers everywhere to come and get some!

I've currently got about 10 different variations on stone fruit and berries. See the complete list on the right. I'll keep it updated as I add new flavors and/or sell out. (Hopefully I won't sell out in a week like last time!)

Summer Sweet and Sticky

Summer finally feels like it is fully here now that I have climbed trees and gorged myself on ripe, warm, drippy, sweet fruit.

For the first summer in many years, I've been doing more u-pick harvesting than neighborhood foraging as the late spring rains in the East Bay seem to have led to poor local fruit setting, including no fruit at all on my much beloved apricot tree. Luckily apples and pears seem to be setting nicely on my street, so fall may see the return to the eminence of foraging.

For now, I've been wandering further afield, east to Brentwood and down the coast to Pescadero, in search of the perfect u-pick farms. I'm very happy to report that this year there are more pesticide free and organic u-pick farms than I have found before, including some new favorites: Farmer's Daughter for stone fruit, Pease Ranch for cherries (both in Brentwood), and Phipps and Coastways in Pescadero for berries.

This week I've been obsessed with peaches and olallaberries, in a number of different combinations. Friday I picked 35 pounds of peaches, warm from the sun, and so candy sweet I must have eaten six or seven straight from the trees.

Monday was berry-ing and purple stained fingers.

(Olalla madness)

(Silly Sticky Stained Ari)

(Will the purple ever come off?)

Olallas (a cross between blackberries and boysenberries (themselves a cross between blackberries and raspberries)) are just finishing and blackberries and boysenberries should be starting next week. Anyone wanna go picking?

Jamming today I finally mastered the peach peeling using an ice bath after a one minute blanching in boiling water. I can't believe it actually works just like they say it will--the entire peel slips off in one piece with the gentlest touch!

(Naked peaches)

Jamming is not for those who don't like to get their hands dirty--it is seriously sticky work!

Today's yield:

13 jars of Peach-Olallaberry Jam
8 jars of Olallaberry Jam
6 large jars of Peach-Olallaberry Pie Filling (cold packed, no pectin, just fruit)

So far this summer season I've been intrigued by savory-sweet jams and by accent herbs and spices. My favorites so far have been Apricot-Basil-Ginger (subtle yet luscious) and the return of last year's fav Cherry-Rosemary.

Cherries remain my season favorite and also the most fun to pick with three to five year olds. Even I appreciate being able to pick fruit by the handfuls and fill 5 gallon buckets in 10 minutes!