James Beard Award and NCIBA Nominations

What a great week at the Blue Chair Fruit headquarters! The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook has received a nod from the James Beard Foundation, nominated for Best Photography! To say this is a big deal would be a dramatic understatement. We’ve got our fingers crossed for May, and feel more appreciative than ever of Sara Remington‘s beautiful photography!

The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook is also a finalist for an NCIBA award, for Best Food Writing! We are forever grateful to the independent bookstores and booksellers who have supported us and the cookbook, and are deeply moved at this nomination. These people really know their books, and their support is a high honor indeed.

We’re on cloud nine over here! We’ve come to feel like this cookbook is our baby, and we’re so darn proud at all the success it’s achieving out in the world!

Gifts for the Jam and Marmalade Fanatic

We’ve covered how to convert your friend who’s on the fence about jam, but what to do for the friend who eats jam for breakfast every morning? Good thing we’re equally obsessed, and full of fun gift ideas! In fact, we wouldn’t mind receiving these items ourselves (hint, hint).

Perfect gifts for your friend who thinks they know everything about jam:

Picture a warm loaf of bread, spread with our assertive orange English Marmalade, topped with high-quality chocolate, all lightly toasted so the chocolate’s a bit melty and the marmalade flavors really sing. Yum. We love ChocoVivo — their dark chocolate with almonds and sea salt would be a particularly nice partner for any orange marmalade.

Of course, if one already has more jam than humanly possible to eat in a lifetime (and we’d seriously question even that limit), we have a fun gift suggestion: jam-and-toast soap. These cute soaps look real enough to eat, except the “jam” is translucent soap, and the “toast” is goat’s milk soap! A silly way to “sweeten up” your jam gift basket.

For your favorite PBJ aficionado, we recommend mixing it up with Massa Organics almond butter. Freshly made right here in the Bay area, this almond butter is truly delicious, and a great alternative to everyday peanut butter! We love this almond butter with our Damson Jam for a new take on an old standby.

Ok, so your friend eats a lot of jam, but is their jam accessorized? We didn’t think so. We love this chalkboard jam pot from Terrain — the perfect little container to use when serving a favorite jam flavor! Perfect for making breakfast time a little more special, or as a picture-perfect serving dish for afternoon tea.

If your friend is obsessed with Blue Chair Fruit:

Encourage your friend’s jam obsession by nudging them to make their own! The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook is the perfect resource for the fledgling jam-maker, with a thorough information section that ensures success. Once your friend learns to make their own preserves, they’ll enjoy the fruits of their labor for years to come!

Sometimes, you have to give people exactly what they want: a lot of jam. If you’re intimidated by all of our delicious jam and marmalade choices, we’ll do the hard work for you with our Jam Club! Members receive one jar each of three of our most exciting flavors every other month; this is the perfect way to provide your friend with some of the best jam and marmalade in the country!

Coming next week: gift ideas for the jam- or marmalade-maker in your life!

Rosemary Cornbread Recipe

After Rachel’s appearance on The Martha Stewart Show yesterday, we’ve been getting quite a few requests for Early Girl Tomato Jam! While we do not have this particular jam currently available, we do have two other delicious tomato preserves that should should make you pretty happy: Gingered Tomato-Nectarine Jam and Spiced Tomato-Bourbon Conserve. They are two of our most popular flavors right now, so if you have your heart set on them, act quickly!

The Martha Stewart Show has also posted Rachel’s recipe for Early Girl Tomato Jam, as well as Rachel’s clip from the show.*** This recipe is included in The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook, and we’re happy to send you a copy!

***ETA 10/9: Looks like Martha’s link has changed and the recipe is temporarily unavailable; you can still find Rachel’s clip from the show here. As soon as we have a new link, we’ll be sure to post it here!

Our fabulous new team member Jo was so inspired by the Spiced Bourbon-Tomato Conserve that she made a delicious savory rosemary cornbread to go with it — and then brought us our own individual jars of vegetarian chili, each complete with its own garnish! While this cornbread is extra special with the Spiced Bourbon-Tomato, we also think it’s yummy with the Tomato-Nectarine. Yum!

Rosemary Cornbread (makes a 9×9 pan)

3/4 cup cornmeal
3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 Tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 teaspoon fine chopped fresh rosemary
1 cup milk
1 egg
4 oz. (one stick) butter, melted
1/2 cup corn (frozen is okay)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Spray or butter ur 9×9 pan.

Mix all dry ingredients (cornmeal, flour, sugar, baking powder, sea salt, and rosemary) until evenly dispersed.  Mix the milk and egg together in a different bowl with a whisk.  Add the milk and egg mixture to the dry ingredients and mix with a wooden spoon or spatula until almost incorporated.  Add melted butter and corn and mix until incorporated.

Pour into your prepared pan and bake for 30 minutes in the middle of your oven.  Check with a wooden skewer or toothpick, which should come out clean.

Serve with butter and your favorite tomato preserve.  (And if you’re lucky, with your boyfriend’s chili, shared with good friends!)

The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook Launch Party

Everything’s starting to come together for Rachel’s cookbook tour. Last night, we had our book launch party at our kitchens with about 100 of our closest friends and biggest supporters!

There were jammy snacks, jammy cocktails, and even some jazzy music jams (sorry, we couldn’t resist). Thanks again to everyone who helped us celebrate this tremendous achievement! It feels so good to be supported by such a fun, creative, dynamic community, and we really hope the new cookbook makes you happy and fills your life with delicious preserves.

If you’d like to see more pictures from last night’s event, and see pictures from upcoming events, please check out our Facebook page. And, if you couldn’t make it last night but want to know when Rachel’s coming to a bookstore near you, don’t forget to look at our Where to Find Us page.

Many thanks to Grace Street Catering for the beautiful space, and for helping us entertain our guests! We’re still dreaming about those little jammy snacks…

Further thanks to the lovely Sara Remington for coming by to help us celebrate. It wouldn’t have been a true cookbook celebration without you, and The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook would definitely not be the same without your gorgeous photography!

And on that note, it’s time for us to get ready for all of our San Francisco Bay Area events this week! Please do come by, say hello, get your cookbook signed. Can’t wait to see you!

The Blue Chair Fruit Team

The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook Goes On Tour!

Wow! We woke up a little more excited than usual this morning — our first book tour event is NEXT WEEK. It seems like time is just flying by, and something tells us it’s only going to get faster.

We’re looking forward to a fabulous lineup of events centered around Rachel and the cookbook. It’s a jam-packed (ha!) whirlwind of a tour, and here’s a list of our San Francisco Bay Area events:

  • Sept. 22, 7:30 pmBooksmith: 1644 Haight St., San Francisco, CA 94117
  • Sept. 23, 7-9 pm18 Reasons: 593 Guerrero Street, San Francisco, CA 94110
  • Sept. 24, 5-9 pmMaison d’Etre: 5640 College Avenue, Oakland, CA
  • Sept. 25, 10 am-1pmThe Gardener: Ferry Building, San Francisco, CA 94111
  • Sept. 25, 3 pmOmnivore Books: 3885 Cesar Chavez St, San Francisco, CA 94131
  • Sept. 26, Time TBD, Rockridge Out & About Festival: College Avenue, Berkeley, CA

We’ve also got some great events planned in Seattle, and quite a few stops on the East Coast! For more information, please check out our Where to Find Us page.

These events are the perfect way to hear the backstory on TBCJC, meet Rachel in person, get your book signed, and, of course, support your favorite local independent bookstore. If you don’t have a copy of the cookbook yet, it can be purchased here, or at the event of your choice.

Here’s to exciting jam and cookbook talks!

Sara Remington Interview

Check out this amazing interview with our favorite photographer, Sara Remington: http://lettuceeatkale.com/2010/photographer-sara-remington-on-shooting-food/

We were lucky enough to have Sara as our photographer for The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook, and every single image in the book is absolutely stunning. Some of her photos are also featured on the postcards we hand out at our farmers’ market stands. We can’t tell you how frequently people comment on the gorgeous photography and ask to take a card to display in their home!

The whole interview’s great, and we especially what Sara has to say about the stories food can tell:

I don’t want my photos to just be another pretty image. I want them to have personality and tell a story.

Take this peach. I want you to think about where it was grown, when it was picked, and how it might taste. And I want it to evoke memories of, say, when you were a child and your mom made peach cobbler, or the feeling of peach juice running down your face, or a summer you loved, or picking fresh fruit from a farm, or whatever the fruit brings to mind.

We couldn’t have said it better ourselves! Please click here for more of Sara Remington’s beautiful work.

Cookbook News and Lime Picking

Book Cover ImageWe are so excited to see the first proofs of Rachel’s gorgeous new cookbook! This two-year process has been extraordinarily fun and enriching, and we can’t wait for you to see the book. We will be offering pre-orders for the book on our Blue Chair Boutique page soon… stay tuned!

In other news, we just went Bears lime picking at our friend Deborah’s house a few days ago, and are in the midst of whipping up some fabulously delicious Coriander-Orange Marmalade. Secret ingredient? Limes! For another marmalade featuring this delicious fruit, check out our Silver Three-Fruit Marmalade, in which Deborah’s limes are combined with our favorite Lisbon lemons and a touch of bergamot. Yum!

The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook is nearly finished…

Wow – it’s been quite a year! But we are delighted to announce that Rachel’s book is nearly completed. It has been a fabulous and fulfilling process, and we can’t wait to see the first samples from the printer! For all of you who are excited to see Rachel’s book, we will soon be posting some sneak previews on our site, and will also be showing off our new sales blads (booklet-like promo samples) at our farmers’ market stands and at our bi-weekly pop-up market stands. The Blue Chair Jam Cookbook will be released nationally on September 14th. Please stay tuned for more news on this monumental work on jam and marmalade!