When Mara told me last January that she was buying the entire plum and cherry harvest from a young farmer she had met through the Rocky Mountain Farmer’s Union, I must admit, I was a tad unsure about buying all that fruit. We mostly make kraut, kimchi and various other pickled delights but the fermented fruits, popular throughout Asia as well as parts of Latin America, were a new exploration for us. In the very early days of our business (before we actually even knew it was a business) we had harvested wild plums from my family’s land in Lyons and made a batch of umeboshi to share with friends but this was a great deal more fruit, with more on the line. Flash forward to harvest and our crew stemming a zillion cherries, elephant heart plums arriving plump and sweet- such elegance and flavor, a process of balancing sweet, salty and tart coupled with adding the zing of live food. They were on their way to becoming something very tasty.
In September, we submitted to the Good Food Awards with these new products and heard back in November that we were finalists. The news had the wonderful rush of risk paying off but also of the tendril of our process, our creativity and our care out in the world.
This month we went to San Francisco to accept our award and to meet many other excellent food crafters from all over the country. We wore lipstick, we were humbled in the presence of gustatorial greats like Mark Bittman, Alice Waters and Ruth Reichl. We ate many wonderful things and drank our fair share too. We made new friends, worked a souk style Farmer’s Market on Saturday at the Ferry Building (which was so outrageously busy we had to hide in bed and watched Girls for a few hours to recover) and took in the foggy goodness of the city. Thank you to Sarah Weiner and the rest of the GFA crew for putting together such an cool gathering of food nerds, hats off to all the other winners and if you are local and want to taste the goods- Umeboshi: Salted Paonia Plums and Cheriboshi: Salted Paonia Cherries are now available at a Whole Foods and other independent grocers near you.