Thursday, September 13, 2012

Food Finds: Paradise Preserves

We are happy to start the first section of our Food Finds with the talented ladies Karen and Bridget of Paradise Preserves. The mother daughter duo who make the yummiest jams and amazing pickled treats!!!

1. Make. Shop. Live.:What do you make?
Artisan jam, jellies, marmalades and more.

2.Is there a green or Eco component to your business? 
Yes. we are a company that strives to maintain the 'locavore' ideal in regards to food cultivation and consumption . Bridget and I work along side small family farmers and organic backyard growers to get the freshest produce for our signature flavors.

3. Where (If anywhere) do you sell your goods/wares in-person?
We are a proud vendor of Crafted at the Port. Booth A199. Also a featured local product at the Corner Store in San Pedro where we do tastings quarterly. We participate in the Sugar Plum Festivals at the Orange County Fair Grounds and the Buena park downtown mall. I do the Lions Club Flea Market in Malibu every September. This year for the first time we are vendors at the three Patchwork shows in Los Angeles and Light at the Lighthouse at Point Fermin Park in San Pedro on September 22.

4. What is your favorite thing to make? 
Jelly and chutney. Jelly because you can get such gorgeous colors and flavors from fruit and chutney because it is so fun. Bridget is working on chutney recipes right now. We will roll out our chutney product line in October. I usually keep them as Fall product.

5. If you make food, Do you focus on Organic or Locally Sourced ingredients? 
Without a doubt. I need to add this comment however, we use certified organic if and when we can. Unfortunatley for the consumer and the small family farmer, to be a 'certified oraganic' farm the farmer must let farmland lay fallow for a number of years and submit to soil testing by the USDA. Small farms are not able to afford that and thus steps in (or continues to dominate) our recently traditional food sorces, the corporate farm. Consequently, Bridget and I are committed to finding fruits an vegetables that may best be designated as 'home grown or non-industrailly grown'. One of the farms we work with uses beneficial insects, chickens and guinea hens as varmint control. has his farmhands keep rows clean by removing over ripe or bad fruit and keeping the area as clean as possible so as to keep from using chemical insectisides. He also has assess to his horse for manure and neighbors' horses as well. His strawberries are sooo good that the are mostly juice!

6. What are your favorite blogs or source of cool information? 
Oddly enough the USDA. most of the information on preserving food is as old as the hills and this United States Federal Organization has been stellar at keeping the basic cooking standars high and the information available to all who ask. I also am a fan of really old cookbooks. These women (no offence to the other sex, but males were rarely involved unless they were pre-teens and charged with keeping the water boiling for the jars).

7. What are your favorite materials to work with?
Spices, herbs and alcohols. Using one or more of these can completely change the flavor profile of a fruit.

One of the strawberry farms. 
8. What is your favorite or most used technique in your art? 
I use basic science on a daily basis. Ph levels are important in food preservation as is the condition of the produce being used. My VERY favorite thing is going to farms to pick or pick up produce, and share.

9. If you could work with anyone, or learn from anyone (living or dead) who would it be? 
Julia Childs, the first person to ever eat an artichoke or a pomegranate and Jesus Christ. Not necessarily in that order.
Fresh Strawberries - These will soon be tasty jelly!
10. Lastly, if you want to talk about anything that may have been missed - feel free to rant here :)
I can not stress this enough. We ALL need to know where our food comes from. We ALL need to know what it looks like before it get to our grocer/farmers market. Environmental Impact reports are the norm when it comes to building new roads, tunnels, housing deveolpments, parks etc. but not when a corporation buys millions of acres of our prime farmland to experiment with genetically modified seed. seed that is putting the lifeblood of our beautiful country, family farms, out of busines. Seed that grows food that we use to put in our childrens mouths. I am all for technical improvements, America has that in her soul, I just want to know when I am eating them.

We are so glad we can enjoy the fruits of these ladies labor! Hope you can get some for yourself and try them all out - you won't be disappointed.

XOXO, KC & Kevin

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