… WITH JAM ON IT – RUBY SPOON JAM!
My first glimpse of Ruby Spoon jams, on my first visit to the Adelaide Showground Farmers Market, was brief – a quick peek of jewel coloured jams on little dishes, fleetingly sighted in between the crush of children and adults who clustered round the stand. Bracing myself, I elbowed my way through the crowd to find out what all the fuss was about, strategically placing myself front and centre of a very impressive array of jam sampling dishes!
A product of our beautiful Adelaide Hills,the genesis of Ruby Spoon Jams came to Lynda Demaagd over a cup of tea one Sunday when discussing with her parents the future of their berry farm. Her parents own the property, a short walk from Lynda’s own home, and have grown a variety of berries, including strawberries, raspberries, tayberries, sylvanberries, loganberries and Boysenberries, commercially for some years. Lynda grew up in these hills, running feral (her word – not mine!) and developing a healthy respect for her natural environment – the latter helped along by her parents respect for the land and the local fauna. Her mother and father have always kept a 30 acre parcel of their property as natural scrub, in order to preserve the local blue wrens, and the family occasionally cared for injured native animals. When Lynda left school she went on to study a Bachelor in Design, in time working as a jeweler and metal-smith in Sydney. She eventually moved back here to her Adelaide Hills where she is bringing up her young family and encouraging them to develop an understanding and respect for their environment and the natural cycles of nature.
Not one to remain idle for very long and thinking about ways to extend the enjoyment of local, seasonal products she soon began looking at the berries growing down the road. Now with a TAFE business course under her belt, Lynda and her mother spend 2 1/2 to 3 days a week in the small kitchen they have built on her parents property concocting and then producing their luscious range of jams. Using apples from local growers and their own berries, the delightfully named Ruby Spoon – a reference to her jewelery making and the colour of the fruit – is in production all year round. During the peak of the berry season and with the help of some casual local labour, the fruit is picked and then frozen, enabling them to stagger their production over the course of the year. The jams are hugely popular although they do very little marketing, relying instead on the personal contact with their customers at the Adelaide Showground Farmers Market – where they have held a stall since it’s inception – and word of mouth. Lynda has some ideas up her sleeve to extend the current range and she is starting to look at some commercial equipment with a view to expanding production – but will never compromise her standards.
Jam is something we nearly always have on the shelf, but these jams are just that bit special with vibrant, natural colours and a lush, sweet flavour. We are all familiar with the use of jam for breakfast or on top of hot scones, but why not try a few other ideas with Ruby Spoon jams? I serve it spooned over a hot, comforting rice pudding on a cold night, mixed in with some yoghurt and nuts for breakfast in the morning and as a topping for ice cream. You could pop a spoonful into the bottom of panna cotta molds before pouring in the panna cotta mixture, try it sandwiched then baked between layers of homemade shortbread dough, added to some good balsamic vinegar for a salad dressing and – best of all – on a jam tart. My very favourite recipe for a tart is this Jam Crostata.[mc4wp_form id="16750"]