Today, we sit down with Pamela Smith of Jam-Tastic Homemade Jams.
DFM: Tell us about how you got started making jam?
PS: My mother made jams when I was growing up. My favorite was her Spiced Peach. Christmas mornings for us meant a big breakfast with popovers and Spiced Peach Jam. When we moved to Ohio in 2006, I was surprised to find that peaches grew here--I always thought of them as a “southern” fruit. So that first summer I got the jam recipe from my sister, and I’ve been expanding and exploring new flavors ever since.
DFM: What kind of products should we expect from your market stand?
PS: I offer a wide variety of fruit jams and spreads, featuring unique flavor combinations as well as traditional favorites. For instance, my Dutch Apple Pie Jam does indeed taste like pie without the crust, and Strawberry Banana tastes like a smoothie. But for those who prefer the less “adventurous,” Classic Strawberry or Red Raspberry are proven winners. All of the jams are produced by hand (yes, I chop each peach and mash each blackberry), contain only fruit, sugar and pectin (no preservatives), and are minimally processed to retain the essence of the fruits. I encourage everyone to by stop and taste a sample.
DFM: Have you made any changes since becoming part of the Dublin Farmers’ Market?
PS: I would say that being a part of the Dublin Farmers' Market is actually a part of my overall “change.” We chose Dublin as a place to live because the sense of community here was so apparent. At this stage of my life, I find myself reaching outward--outside my family, beyond “career," to really feel a part of our community. So my Farmers' Market participation, along with my volunteering efforts, and singing (part time) with the Dublin Singers, are all part of an effort to feel connected with the community.
Perhaps the most unexpected benefit of my involvement with the market has been hearing back from customers about new and different ways they have enjoyed my jams. One woman told me she had used Spiced Peach Jam to glaze a ham. Another said she served Cherry Almond Jam spread over brie cheese, sprinkled with almond slivers. Still another had used my Ginger Pear Jam as a filling for cupcakes. Jam is certainly not just for breakfast anymore!
DFM: What are your favorite flavors?
PS: My personal favorite is Raspberry Peach. To me, it just tastes like summer. You might be familiar with the dessert Peach Melba (vanilla ice cream with sliced peaches in a Melba [Raspberry] Sauce). I just knew the flavors would combine beautifully.
My most popular flavor is Triple Berry, which combines strawberries, raspberries and blackberries. It makes such a full, rich blend that I call it my “can’t miss” jam.
DFM: We often hear the word “localvore” what does that mean to you; why do you think it’s important that the local people come visit the Farmers’ Market?
PS: There are obvious environmental advantages to eating foods that don’t have to be transported great distances. And certainly fresher foods--those that don’t have to be harvested before they are really ripe--just taste better. But I also feel that part of the appeal of eating locally is that you get to know the people who are producing your food. It harkens back to a time when all your food was grown or made by friends or family. There is a sense of trust built between producer and consumer, almost as if anyone who enjoys my jams has been invited to my home kitchen.
DFM: What do you think the future will hold for you and your business?
PS: Up until now, I have always bought the fruit for my jams. But I recently planted my first few berry bushes, and would like to grow more of my own fruit.
DFM: If you weren’t making jam, what do you think you would be doing?
PS: I’ve had a long unrealized dream of writing children’s books. I have a few stories ready to go, just in need of an illustrator and publisher. I like the idea of leaving a written legacy for my children and grandchildren.
DFM: If we looked inside your fridge, what would we see?
PS: I actually had to peek myself to answer this… What struck me was the image of an accommodator. Everyone in the family has an individual water bottle (some plain, some flavored), there are 3 different types of juices, 2 different types of milk; nobody has to compromise! We have lots of cheese, and shelves full of condiments, but my guilty pleasure is in the freezer. I confess to an ice cream addiction!
DFM: Any last thoughts you would like to share?
PS: Here is my family recipe for Popovers. As they “pop over” the pan while baking, the insides are hollow. So the hole inside makes a perfect spot for loading up with butter and Jam-Tastic Jam! Enjoy!
6 Tbsp butter or margarine
2 cups milk
2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1. In small saucepan, melt butter. Grease well 18 muffin tins (the newer the better).
2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, with mixer at low speed, beat eggs until frothy; beat in milk and melted butter until blended. Beat in flour and salt until batter is smooth.
3. Fill each muffin tin ¾ full with batter. (Note: put water in any muffin tin cups that are not being used by batter to keep the pan from burning.) Bake 40-45 minutes, then make small slit in top of each popover to let out steam. Bake 8-10 minutes longer. Immediately remove popovers from tins. Serve piping hot.
Yield: 18 popovers