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March Newsletter 2024

Greetings!  We hope you’re enjoying the longer days and see some signs that Spring is on its way!


The daffodils & California poppies are blooming, our white peach tree is full of blossoms, and the veggies I planted in the fall are finally ready to harvest!  I grew celery for the first time, and it’s beautiful.  This is my favorite time of year.

I also harvested a few pounds of rhubarb this week.  I’ll wash it up, weigh it, chop it up and freeze it.  It takes awhile to collect enough to make a batch of jam, but II’ll keep you posted.  I still have Rhubarb with Orange and Rhubarb Strawberry Jam with Star Anise if you’re needing a rhubarb fix!

While my white peach, nectarine and apricot trees are starting to bloom, it appears the yellow peach tree in our front yard didn’t survive last year’s awful weather.  The wet and cold made it very susceptible to various blights, and although it produced a few pounds of peaches last year, I see no signs of life now.  We’ll remove it this month and set aside the wood to dry for firewood.  I know many great peach growers, so I’ll still have peachy jams this summer.


I passed the annual Contra County inspection of my home kitchen and secured my Cottage License Permit through February of 2025!  I’ve reached out to a few local grocery stores to see if they’ll carry my jams.  Fingers crossed.

On March 9th, I’m hoping to be at the Eat Real Fest X Headwest Marketplace on 4th St. in Berkeley, but it hasn’t been finalized. Check my Instagram for updates.


Fig Jam with Lemon & Vanilla Bean

Ingredients: figs, sugar, dried meyer lemon zest, lemon juice, vanilla beans 

I’m asked if I have fig jam at every fair I attend, so it’s clearly popular and must be difficult to find.  I got around to making a small batch with the 4 lbs I froze from last fall’s harvest.  I combined the earthy sweetness of figs, the floral, citrus tang of our Meyer lemons and the warmth of vanilla beans to make a jam that’s perfect for your next cheese board. There’s a limited supply so snap some up before it’s gone. 

How to use:

-Make a goat cheese, fig jam and arugula grilled cheese sandwich

-Mix with softened cream cheese and use it as a filling for crepes

-Make these fig bars!

-Use it to make a balsamic based vinaigrette

-Make crostini appetizers with fig jam, prosciutto, gruyere cheese & a drizzle of  balsamic glaze


-Pear Jam with Rosemary

-Simple Pear Jam

-Small Strawberry Balsamic Jam

-Small spicy apple jelly


Jam Rolls with Frangipane

This is a perfect recipe for using up that jar of jam that’s been sitting in your fridge for awhile.  Use whatever enriched bread dough you’d like.  My favorite is below.


4 cups bread flour

¼  cup sugar

¼ cup dried milk

1 cup warm water (temp should be 110*F-115*F)

1 egg

1 tsp diamond kosher salt/1/2 tsp table salt

1 package dry active yeast

¼ cup room temperature butter

Other ingredients:

-½ cup of frangipane (almond cream)-This recipe from King Arthur Baking Co. is great!  This recipe makes 1 cup so freeze what you don’t use.

-½ cup of your favorite tart jam.  

-Cream cheese frosting-Check out this recipe on The Kitchn : Freeze what you don’t use.

How to make the dough with a standing mixer:

  1. Stir sugar and dry milk into warm water in the bowl of a standing mixer. Add the yeast and whisk it in.  Let sit until yeast foams (10 minutes)
  2. Add the egg and whisk in by hand. 
  3. Stir in the flour one cup at a time by hand with a silicone or rubber spatula.  
  4. Attach the dough hook and knead on low for two minutes.
  5. The dough will not come together completely at this point, but don’t worry. It’ll smooth out when you add the butter.
  6. Continue to knead the dough on medium for a minute. 
  7. Keep the machine running, and add the butter one tablespoon at a time.  Let each bit of butter completely blend into the dough before you add the next tablespoon..
  8. Once all the butter is incorporated, turn down the speed to medium-low and let it knead for 5 minutes longer.  The dough should look soft and silky.
  9. Spray a tub or bowl with oil and scrape the dough into it. Spray a bit of oil on the top of the dough.  Cover the container with a clean cloth.  Let it rise in a warm part of the kitchen until it’s doubled (45 minutes to 1 hour) To help know when it’s doubled, I mark the starting  level of the dough in the tub with a piece of tape,but you can use a dry erase marker or a rubber band. 
  10. Punch down the dough.  Once it’s punched down you proceed with this recipe, or you can:
    1. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, refrigerate it overnight and make the rolls the next day.
    2. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap, pop it into a freezer bag and freeze for a month.

                        When you need it, thaw in the fridge overnight and leave it on the counter for two            

hours before you begin the rolls.

To make the rolls:

  1. Grease two 8 inch cake pans with butter and set aside
  2. Preheat the oven to 350*F
  3. Roll the dough into an 11 by 15 inch rectangle.  This dough is quite soft and sticky, so use a lot of flour.
  4. Spread the room temperature almond cream on the dough, leaving a 1 inch border.
  5. Spread the jam on almond cream.
  6. Roll the dough tightly
  7. Slice 12 even pieces and place six in each 8 inch cake pan.
  8. Let rise for an hour.  They should look like they took a deep breath and are holding it.  You can also flour your finger and make a one inch indentation.  If the indentation stays, it’s ready.  If it pops back out, give it more time.
  9. Bake for 25-30 minutes.  They should be beautifully brown and the internal temperature of middle should be 200*F ish.
  10. Let pans rest for 10 minutes and then turn out onto a cooling rack.  Frost and serve while they’re still warm.

Have a fantastic March!