August 2011

INNA jam?

by admin on August 30, 2011

It Takes One To Know One.

When a Meyer Lemon Marmalade class sells out within a few hours, you have to wonder who the instructor is.  I love Meyer Lemon Marmalade as much as you but come on…a sell out in less then a day online?  Something was up.

Out of curiosity and a bit of irritation that I didn’t make the cut, I decided to find out who this “Dafna Kory” was.  Thanks to google, I easily found her lovely website, INNA Jam and became immersed in her story.  Her site gave me an immediate sense of her being and it was not hard to know that she was a woman at the beginning of a journey that I would like to know more about.  Not one to shy away from impulse, I quickly shot her an email and introduced myself.

Dafna responded immediately and in no time we were chatting on the phone.  Dafna came right through the telephone..or would that be cell phone… her energy, her passion for her products, her tales of growth spurts that were taking her off of her bike and into the kitchen full time.  Needless to say, she was inspiring and her products sounded yummy.

Because we didn’t carry jams in our stores, I decided to order for our Club Members only.  She was making her raspberry jam at the moment so I went with that.  Kaelin and I were headed to the City that week so I decided to pick up the delivery.  Although she was using a small commercial kitchen at that time, the pick up was at her home.  As we drove up the long driveway, it was not hard to distinguish her home…the UPS boxes on the front porch gave her away.  Kaelin and I had a good laugh and talked about “those days”.  I remember when my house was bursting with product and I cleared one room just so I could have a space that wasn’t about St. Helena Olive Oil Co.  You love having it around you but when it’s in your space 24/7, it gets a bit overwhelming.

Dafna greeted us at the door.  Her house was immaculate and there were stacks of raspberry jam waiting for us in her living room.  She was excited to have a large order and as excited to receive the check.  As we loaded the car, Dafna shared her story and that of her products…and what makes good jam….and the growers of her fruit…and the growing out of where she was but not yet able to take that next step…it all sounded too familiar.  Part of me was happy to be past the angst of those days and another part yearned to be back in them….there is an innocence….a true passion that drives you almost to the point of what some would consider lunacy and/or reckless abandon.

As the last box was loaded and I climbed in my car, I had no doubt that Dafna was on her way to creating a thriving business.  She had it all….the passion…..the energy….the commitment to the planet and therefore, her product….the determination….and most critical…..the innocence…the abandon…and yes a little bit of lunacy.

I was a better person after meeting Dafna Kory.  She reminded me to stay a bit reckless and embrace the “little” lunacy that has driven me throughout the years.  Her jams now represent that to me….her energy is present in the finished product which is how I know she will be a name to remember.

Her Jams: Her jams speak for themselves.  They are made in small batches…she was adamant about adding more pots vs. bigger pots to keep the quality.  They are seasonal….she’s making as much jam as possible before we go into the winter months as last year she ran out….the fruit is organic….sourced within 100 miles of her kitchen…she knows the growers….she uses less sugar then most jams…and the taste…..well, I don’t know you but I think you would be hard pressed to make a better jam in your own kitchen.

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Update: Months later Dafna is moving into a larger kitchen….adding more stores to her customer list….not able to deliver much on a bike anymore….still making her own deliveries but I noticed her sister was on the last one….a sure sign that will be handed off in the near future….all signs that are leading to a dream coming true!   Needless to say, I’m proud to be a part of it and excited to be able to offer it to our online community.

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We currently have 5 flavors available online and in our stores: Star Blueberry, Polka Raspberry, Royal Blenheim Apricot, Seascape Strawberry, and Plenty Spicy Jalapeño!

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Quinta do Tedo

by Peggy OKelly on August 16, 2011

One of the reasons I chose Florence, Italy as our home in 2009 was the knowledge that a dear friend, Kay Bouchard, lived just outside in the Chianti Region. She was a great source of information and inspiration…my security blanket.

I had known that she and her husband Vincent were developing a winery on the Douro river in Portugal but it was only after sharing many glasses at their table in Chianti that I realized how special it was. It was around that same table that we discussed the possibility of bringing the port and wine into the United States…and in particular, into our Rutherford store. It seemed like a dream at the time but Kay and Vincent are active dreamers….it wasn’t long after I arrived home that our first shipment was on its way.

Fast forward to our third shipment of Quinta Do Tedo…larger every time but never large enough to introduce it to our online audience….until now. It is still extremely limited…the largest amount we have is 120 bottles of the Tawny Port…the favorite…and that is before I take my share. :)

There are so many wonderful stories about Kay and Vincent that I could share but find out for yourself and visit their website and follow Kay’s blog. You will get lost in Kay’s posts and perhaps wake up someday in the Douro Valley…..tell them we sent you.

HOW THE BUZZ BEGAN…..

In the spirit of our life in Italy, I decided to offer complimentary glasses of Quinta do Tedo wines and port in our Rutherford store. We set up the back bar for people to help themselves to a glass. They can walk the store or sit in the theatre seats and catch a bit of Food Inc. I hoped to sell enough to break even on what we served as I do have two hungry teenagers to feed but again, I was open to whatever it was to bring…as the spirit was in sharing. The CPA in me watched the numbers carefully and they jumped out at me the first day…people were buying the port in multiples…and raving. I was not surprised at the reactions but did not expect to start a cult following…ha…be careful what you wish for, right? We sold out quickly and it took months to get it back in…and then we did it again…before i could even get it on the website.

We ordered as much as our cash flow would allow this time but still very limited…we have the most stock of the Tawny Port (120 bottles) as it is the favorite.

Needless to say, I’m excited to share Quinta Do Tedo port and wines with all of you but even more pleased to share in the connection to the beauty of the product, the producer and the planet. Come share a glass with us in Rutherford or buy a bottle of your own and lift your glass to Kay, Vincent, and all others who follow their dreams.

Salute!


Click here to purchase Quinta do Tedo Port and Wine

A Recipe from Kay: Olive Oil Cake with Balsamic Fruit Sauce

Makes 6 Servings

Cake:
2 Eggs
1 1/4 Cups Sugar
1/2 Cup Orange Extra Virgin Olive Oil (You can also use any of our plainExtra Virgin Olive Oils for less citrus flavor)
3/4 Cup Milk
Grated zest of 2 oranges, plus 1 sliced orange for garnish
1 Cup Flour
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Powder
1/4 Teaspoon Baking Soda
Big Pinch Fleur De Sel

Whisk eggs and sugar together until blended, add olive oil, milk, orange zest; mix well. In another bowl mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt. Add to egg mixture and stir until just blended, do not overmix. Pour into buttered and floured loaf pan, bake a 350º F until set, 35-40 minutes.

Balsamic Fruit Sauce:
3 Cups plums, cherries or berries; or 2 cups dried prunes, apricots, or pears.
1/2 Cup sugar
2-4 Tablespoons water
2 Tablespoons Balsamic Vinegar Methode Tradizionale
Cook fruit, sugar and water until fruit softens, remove fruit and reduce syrup if very liquid. Stir in balsamic vinegar. Serve with cake, a dallop of whipped cream, and a glass of Quinta do Tedo Fine Tawny Port!

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What Is Extra Virgin Olive Oil?

by Peggy OKelly on August 10, 2011

Extra Virgin Olive Oil?  You can see the answer in our pictures above.  It comes from caring for your trees from birth….harvesting with reverence and care……processing in a top flight facility……storing properly……honoring the earth.    It’s always great to know the technical aspects but just as important is to know the heart and soul…so for all you visual learners…your answer is in the pictures of our 2010 harvest above.

But now….on with the class……..

Does everyone use an Extra Virgin Olive Oil?.  Ah…. I can hear the resounding yeses falling from cyperspace.

So what is an Extra Virgin Olive Oil?  What…where did you go…wait…I hear some murmurs…..”first pressed”….”cold pressed”….”the best”.

If these were your responses, you are not alone.  I have yet to conduct a sensory evaluation class where anyone knows the true definition of an extra virgin olive oil.  There are confusing terms on the market as well so I hope to clear it all up for you in our series on “Unraveling the Mysteries Of Extra Virgin Olive Oil”.

First, before we do anything, I need to get “cold press” off of my chest.  The term actually stemmed from long ago when the norm was to press olive paste between mats to extract the oil.  The second (hot) press would squeeze out more oil from the paste producing a low quality oil which was eventually refined or burned in lamps.  Under European standards, the term “cold press” can ONLY be used if the oil was extracted using mats.

Most olive oil in America is produced using the centrifuge process….NOT mats.  Therefore, the term, “cold press” doesn’t even apply.   Also, to be categorized as an extra virgin olive oil, as noted below, the processing must take place under 86F.  So, technically, all extra virgin olive oil is processed at lower temperatures making the term “cold press” redundant at best but really just simply irrelevant.

TEST QUESTION

Two olive oils are sitting side by side on a store shelf.  They both call themselves Extra Virgin Olive Oil.  One puts in bright letters, “Cold Press”  and the other does not.  Which olive oil is higher in quality?

ANSWER ………who knows?!!!!!   Get it?!

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Now let’s get into the actual definition of an extra virgin olive oil.

  • Olives are only pressed once
  • Oleic Acid content is under 0.8%
  • No defects are found in the olive oil

Paul Vossen, UC Davis Cooperative Extension, gives us a more detailed description of an extra virgin olive oil:

  • Must be made from fresh olives — extracted from the fruit solely by mechanical means
  • Fruit must be of high quality, processed soon after harvest, and with clean equipment
  • Temperature during processing can not exceed 86ºF (30ºC)
  • No solvents can be used in the process
  • Must not be mixed with oils made from seeds, nuts, or pumace (milling leftovers)
  • Must meet specific standards for over 20 laboratory tests
  • Free fatty acid level can not exceed 0.8% and peroxide value must be
    < 20 meq O2
  • Contains naturally occurring antioxidants and polyphenols
  • Must be able to pass a taste test by an International Olive Council (IOC) recognized panel indicating some fruitiness and zero defects

So this gives you the technical details on an extra virgin olive oil and in my next post, I will attempt to make the definition consumer friendly…so you can navigate the sea of extra virgin olive oil with a decent GPS.

If you have any questions or need clarifications, please don’t hesitate to post them in the comments so everyone has a chance to benefit.

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