A basket of jam and honey for a holiday gift says something about you – you either really like carbs or you have excellent taste in breakfast accompaniments. The only thing that’d be missing is a box of Fisher scones mix, but you can always head to the Pacific Northwest Shop in Proctor for those.
Here’s a look at two jam producers and two beekeepers who sell their products in South Sound shops.
What do farmers do with all those berries they can’t sell? That’s what Bud and Carol Moon needed to find out after they bought their farm in the Puyallup Valley in 1966 after Bud retired from the U.S. Navy. With their three children, they cultivated strawberries, raspberries, marionberries, boysenberries and loganberries – and eventually started the Puyallup Valley Jam Factory. What they don’t sell to locals or at the Proctor Farmers Market – they’ve been longtime vendors there – they turn into jam that can be found all year at local stores.
The Moon farm might be best known for their raspberries – they grow the Willamette (Carol describes them as an “old berry” with an intense flavor) and Meeker raspberries (Carol says they freeze best and make a good jam). They produce jams in a half dozen varieties, including raspberry, strawberry, loganberry, blueberry, boysenberry and marionberry; also, a low-sugar jam.
While the Puyallup Jam Factory makes straightforward jams your grandma would love, the One Spot jam company produces jams for an adventurous palate, such as blueberry basil, peach cayenne and strawberry-lemon tarragon.I opened a jar of blueberry basil and found it equally delicious as a topper for bagels and cream cheese and a sauce for grilled chicken. The flavor profile was heavy on blueberries, light on basil. The texture chunky-jammy, like good jam should be.
One Spot jams are made by Daniel Briggs, a native Tacoman who moved to San Francisco and returned to the Northwest intent on opening a slow food deli. Anyone immersed in the food scene knows of his plans for a deli, but until that happens, he’s making jams and selling them at local vendor fairs, as well as out of Millesime Designs (also a store to pick up gifts for women on your list – lots of great handmade finds). You can place orders for the jam or pick up a jar at the design store.
Longtime Pierce County resident Gary Violette came by his bee business innocently enough. He visited a bee farm operated by a friend and wound up starting with a single hive in 1998. Today? He’s got six million bees. Yup. You read that correctly – six million bees. He houses his bee hives on farms from Oregon to Puyallup – a necessity to produce honey with distinctive flavors from different crops. His bees produce nectar from blackberry, wildflower and clover fields. He also uses the beeswax to make candles, lip balm and lotion bars.
One more honey to try: Spring Valley Honey can be purchased at H & L Produce. This honey ($7) comes from Lakewood beekeeper John H. Meier, 253-380-2914.