Sunday, June 6, 2010


JAM...JAM..JAM.,.AS FAR AS THE EYE CAN SEE...Well, it does seem like a sea of jam when you're standing in front of
THE SUMMER KITCHEN'S market tables.

In fact, they put up about 80 different kinds of jam with monikers like Fiesta, Millenium, Maiden Blush, Denim, and Hedgerow. What the heck is Hedgerow Jam? I ask the intrepid, 88 year-young owner and jam wizzard, Jim Schroeder. "Wild fruit grows in hedgerows," says Schroeder. And that's exactly what goes into this luscious jam - wild strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries. Now if you ask him about his all-time favorite jam, he tells you apricot...and adds with a wicked glint in his eye:"What God would make for "her" children."  Yup. You got it.
Jim Schroeder is a character and loves to chew the fat.

HE'S A STORYTELLER,  and if you stop he'll talk. He'll tell you how much a dozen eggs cost when he was a kid: "3-cents a dozen." He'll tell you that he used to supply jams to Tavern on the Green restaurant. And he'll tell you heartwarming stories like the one about the woman from North Carolina who stopped by and only had enough money to buy one jar of jam. He graciously gave her a case and wouldn't accept any money. A few months later he got a box in the mail. Inside was a beautiful hand-made afgan and a check for the case of jam. "I kept the afgan, but sent back the check," he grins.

AND THEN THERE ARE THE EGGS. Brown beauties laid fresh by 30 Golden Comet chickens - twenty dozen a week. "We have them out on grass," says Dan Aultman, who's been with Jim for 34 years.

"I started comng to the farm when I was four, says Dan who lived next door and remembers his first job was "counting out the asparagus and drinking Tang". Now he manages the jam making, tends to the cows, and oversees the 100 acres of farm land including the six acres of wild plum, black raspberry and wild apple. He works the Market with Jo Miller (in photo on right), who always has a great and welcoming smile!


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