It is remarkable how closely the history of the apple tree is connected with that of humankind.
– Henry David Thoreau
Back in 2014, Small Batch America founder Tom Monday asked if we’d consider sponsoring some events at the annual South by Southwest Conference & Festival (SXSW) that March in Austin, TX. SXSW had grown every year since its inception to become a globally revered convergence of music, film, technology, visual art, and related industries. I’d always wanted to go to SXSW, but not being a musician or dot-com entrepreneur with a drive to market my wares to the hip throngs that gathered there, the idea of actually attending always seemed like a selfish indulgence that I simply couldn’t justify. But Tom’s offer meant that our work could be there, standing for itself, hopefully delighting the few that tasted it, and ultimately doing a better job of representing our daily practice of making nut butter than my personal presence ever could.
Small Batch America’s vision was to collaborate with a couple of the country’s best jam makers and Austin’s Easy Tiger to serve the “World’s Best PB&Js” to the creative folks, VIPs, and attendees of various SXSW music label parties and ticketed events. We’d recently done something similar for a local event in NC, and the little open-faced pb&js we made were wildly popular as hors d’oeuvres. When Tom asked if there were any jam makers I’d be excited to work with, of course I immediately thought of my friend Jessica Koslow’s SQIRL in L.A. and Austin’s own Stephanie McClenny’s confituras. I had not tried confituras jams yet, but several friends raved about them, and I had recently read about Stephanie after her Preserves category wins at the prestigious Good Food Awards. Luckily, both Jessica and Stephanie could swing it, and we worked with each of them to come up with nut butter pairings for the jams they would send. Stephanie and I didn’t know each other, but we learned that we spoke the same language, had admired each other’s businesses from afar, and immediately hit it off. We’ve been friends and occasional collaborators ever since.
confituras was born in the summer of 2010 when, after several years of preserving the local bounty that Austin’s farmers’ markets had to offer, Stephanie was ready to reach out and share her love of preserving in the form of a small jam company. It did not take long for the vibrant community in Austin to recognize and appreciate her commitment to quality, seasonality, and really good jam. Along the way, confituras was awarded the 2011, 2013 and 2014 Local Hero Awards by the readers of Edible Austin and was also recognized nationally, winning Good Food Awards in 2011 and 2012, 2014, and 2015. The Austin Food & Wine Alliance awarded confituras a culinary grant in 2013 for their ‘Preserving Austin’ project, which is an emerging program that refers to both preserving the local, seasonal bounty and preserving local canning history and heritage. confituras offers intensive canning classes at their commercial kitchen space as well as at urban farms and shops around town and provides free demonstrations at farmers’ markets and non-profit organizations. They currently operate at two weekly farmers’ markets and are available at several locally-owned shops, farm stands, and local food delivery services across the state of Texas. Stephanie lives in beautiful South Austin with her husband and a menagerie of animals picked up along the way.
It’s an honor to present Stephanie’s Bourbon Caramel Apple Jam as our November Featured Jam! To make this heavenly jam, a mix of heirloom apples from the Texas panhandle are slowly cooked down and gently blended with fresh caramel made from organic cane sugar. confituras finishes it off with “just a snort” of Treaty Oak Distilling Company’s Red-Handed Bourbon Whiskey, distilled right down the street in Austin. This is truly a next-level apple jam that will make anything it touches an unforgettable food event in your life. Also, a Thanksgiving cheese plate could not ask for a better addition!