Winter in the Berkshires
It is now mid-winter in the Berkshires, an area of quiet, elegant beauty, located in Western Massachusetts. Even when the snow falls the sun shines brightly, shafts of its light cutting through the trees, through my tall windows and into my life. I can think of no better season in which to be in my kitchen cooking up batches of my delicious BERKSHIRE PRESERVES™ Seville Orange Bitter-Sweet Marmalade, Pink Grapefruit Marmalade and Blood Orange Marmalade.
In 1969 I traveled to England for the first time. (My then-husband was meeting with the Beatles and he DID NOT introduce me. Really!!!!) It was, then, a country still emerging from the vestiges of the Second World War and it immediately won my heart and mind. The food was dreadful, the people were warm and kind, and the shopping for European clothing was fabulous, (and at prices that were VERY favorable for an American). Wow, how time has changed all that! What I remember most, though, are the gorgeous English soaps at the hotels and the extraordinary marmalades and jams at breakfast.
I've been on a quest these last 40 years to find marmalades like those I had on that visit. Bitter-sweet, loaded with fruit peel, dense yet spreadable, and tasting of fruit as fruit was meant to be. Not one supermarket brand, "gourmet" or otherwise, has met the challenge. They're either cloyingly sweet, or have had fruit peel marched somewhere near them but never actually "in" them, or they taste like fruit made from chemicals. So, I've begun to make my own under the label BERKSHIRE PRESERVES™
Our Seville Orange Bitter-Sweet Marmalade, Pink Grapefruit Marmalade and Blood Orange Marmalade will soon be available in two popular stores in the Berkshires, Guidos Marketplace http://www.guidosfreshmarketplace.com/ in Great Barrington and Lenox, and Bizalion's http://www.bizalions.com/. On March 25, 2010 we having our launch "tasting" at Guido's in Great Barrington and the products will be on the shelves from that day forward. I'm very excited about this and hope that all of you who are within driving distance will join me there that day.
My plan for BERKSHIRE PRESERVES™ is to produce small-batch marmalades, jams and preserves made, whenever possible, from local, seasonal ingredients: always all natural, always nut-free and gluten free. Look for our products in the spring when carrots and ginger come into season, in the summer when the crops are peaches, strawberries, rhubarb and berries, and in the fall when pears are at their glorious best.
BERKSHIRE PRESERVES™ has a website in construction through which you'll eventually be able to purchase directly from us using PayPal. In future blogs I'll give recipes in which you can use our products for things other than schmearing on toast, and talk more about travels and food and the warmer side of life. So, please keep an eye out for us and come back soon.