A man watches his pear-tree day after day, impatient for the ripening of the fruit. Let him attempt to force the process, and he may spoil both fruit and tree. But let him patiently wait, and the ripe pear at length falls into his lap.
– Abraham Lincoln
I first met Amy Deaver at the Good Food Awards in January 2015, just before her Lemon Bird Preserves won an award for her Greengage Plum Preserves, a beautifully summery jam made only from slow-cooked Greengage “Reine Claude” plums, sugar, and lemon juice. The jam was incredible, and Amy’s positive energy absolutely filled up the room. I was flattered to find out that she had been eating our nut butters for years thanks to a brother-in-law here in Durham, and we of course became fast friends.
Lemon Bird shares our passion for transforming fresh produce into exceptional-quality preserves while supporting our local and like-minded farmers. In parallel to my own epiphany about handcrafted food as a Peace Corps Volunteer in Zimbabwe, Amy founded Lemon Bird after an inspiring trip to the South of France, where she rediscovered a love of canning and jam making.
All of Lemon Bird’s jams and pickles are sourced with produce from nearby farms in Southern California. Like our nut butters and bars, their jams and pickles are 100% handmade. The fruit they use is also incredibly fresh. In fact, Amy and her team usually receive the fruit the day it was picked directly from the farm. As with the Greengage plum, a relatively obscure European variety unknown to most Americans, Lemon Bird tends to source harder-to-find fruit varieties not only because they are so delicious, but also to raise awareness about them and help sustain their preservation. Their jams are also gently cooked in French copper kettles, and it typically takes 2-3 days or more to create each small batch. Lemon Bird also shares our commitment to environmental sustainability and takes great care to compost, recycle, and reuse everything they can to create a waste-free production process.
We are so proud to offer Lemon Bird’s Comice Pear with Vanilla Bean preserves as our February 2017 Featured Jam! The Comice pear also happen to be one of my all-time favorite fruits, thanks to a life-changing discovery on a friend’s Pennsylvania orchard 15 years ago. The “king of pears,” as it’s commonly known, was discovered by a gentleman farmer in France’s Loire Valley, where a plaque still reads,”In this garden was raised in 1849-50 the celebrated pear Doyenne du Comice by the gardener Dhomme and by Millet de la Turtaudiere, President of the Comice Horticole.” I understand the need to commemorate such an event. Buttery, sweet, and with a jasmine-like floral fragrance, the Comice pear is an oft needed reminder that beauty exists in the world. We love this jam straight from the jar or spread on toast, and it’s a beautiful addition to any cheese plate.