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Berkshire Coop

Guido's Marketplace

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Berkshire Preserves Launches with a Tasting at Guido’s

Rural Intelligence Food It all began, as so much food sleuthing does, with a memory.  “In 1969, I traveled to England for the first time,” says Barbara Fields, sole proprietor of a new company Berkshire Preserves™, which officially launches this Thursday with a tasting at Guido’s. “My then-husband was the attorney for Alan Klein, the Beatles manager, so he was meeting with them.  (No, he DID NOT introduce me. Really!!!!)  Back then, England was still emerging from the vestiges of the Second World War, and it immediately won my heart and mind.  The people were warm and kind, and the food was dreadful, except for the extraordinary marmalades and jams at breakfast.”

Years passed, one marriage ended, another and a business, PAPERCHASERS®, Manhattan-based professional organizers, began.  All the while, Fields kept an eye out for a great jam.  “I’ve been on a quest these last 40 years to find marmalades like those I had on that visit—bitter-sweet, loaded with fruit peel, dense yet spreadable, and tasting of fruit as fruit was meant to be.  Not one supermarket brand, ‘gourmet’ or otherwise, has met the challenge. They’re either cloyingly sweet, or have had fruit peel marched somewhere near them but never actually in them.  Or they taste like ‘fruit’ made from chemicals.” 

Rural Intelligence FoodThen one day she came across a marmalade recipe that sounded as if it had the right stuff—fruit and plenty of serious, rough-cut 1-inch by 1/4-inch chunks of peel, not too much sugar, and a little lemon juice.  She boiled up a batch and England 1969 came flooding back.  Says Fields, “I said to my husband, ‘I think I have a product here.’ So I brought some to Guido’s and asked them to taste it.  Am I crazy?  Maybe this stuff is no good?  But they said, ‘No, we think it’s delicious. Bring us some.’ ” 

These days, Fields divides her time between running her business in Manhattan and hovering over vats of Seville Orange Bitter-Sweet Marmalade, Pink Grapefruit Marmalade and Blood Orange Marmalade at the weekend house in South Egremont she shares with her husband Lanny.  “I am negotiating to rent commercial kitchen space,” she says.  With her new-found confidence as a jam maker, Fields also intends to broaden her product line this summer.  “My plan is to produce small-batch marmalades, jams and preserves made from, whenever possible, local, seasonal ingredients. I’ve been talking to Dan at Taft Farm in Great Barrington, whose strawberries are sensational.” 

“I want to work, and I have to work,” says Fields.  “But I’d been looking for a way to spend more time in the Berkshires. Then this marmalade thing came along.” 

Berkshire Preserves
.(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)
South Egremont, MA; 413.528.2824, 917.696,8104

Guido’s Fresh Marketplace
Great Barrington, MA; tasting, Thursday, March 25; 11 a.m. - 2 p.m.

Berkshire Preserves is also available at Bizalions
Great Barrington, MA

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Posted by Marilyn Bethany on 03/22/10 at 07:25 AM • Permalink