June Taylor is the Judi Dench of Jam. If being British is a prerequisite to being a Grand Dame, then June’s got it all wrapped up. Her angle on jam making is very “English Manor.” In her Still Room (kitchen/workshop) she creates wonderful jams and conserves with heirloom and local fruits. June Taylor is a real artisan, making her own pectin from peels and seeds, milking the pectin into her boiling pots with the expertise of a bygone era. Or so I’ve read.
I greatly admire June’s business model. Along with her assistant she produces only about 20,000 jars of jam a year, selling it online or at the Ferry Plaza Farmer’s Market in San Francisco. Posh Spice is even a customer.
June Taylor is so good she could give someone like me a complex. Like, I could think, “Why bother making jam while June Taylor is alive?” But then I realize that while jam is jam, June and I have some very different things going on. June Taylor focuses on old-school jam making, using every bit of fruit the way Native Americans used every bit of buffalo. Just like that, minus the bloodshed. I did read online that she uses white sugar, which is why she moved from the Berkeley to the less-crunchy San Francisco Farmer’s market. Personally, I’d rather cook with cow bones than use white sugar (oh wait, that’s what cooking with white sugar is!). Her focus is on local fruit, although her definition of local is a little broad. But considering that even though she is doing a small business, 20,000 jars means she needs a lot of fruit. And it’s always fresh and beautiful.
June Taylor’s jams seem to target a very specific customer: the one with 10 bucks in his pocket to spend on jam. With Sabjimata, my desire is to make quality, human made eatables for the masses using natural ingredients, locally grown, in accordance with the basic principles of ayurveda. Why should po’ folk have to eat Smuckers? I’m a little tired of the Walmartization of America, of the “crap for the masses” mentality of this country. Everyone deserves to eat well. This country may not be able to provide health care for all of its citizens, but it should be able to at least drain the government subsidized I.V. of corn syrup, diglycerides, stabilizers and all the other junk making people fat and sick. I’m not just talking jam, I’m talking quality of life.
But let’s stay on topic.
So yes, the price of her jams are high, averaging about 10 bucks a jar. Is the price warranted? Why not. She knows what she is doing, she takes her time doing it. And we live in a capitalist culture.
See June Taylor’s commercial on Youtube. It is extremely cute and clever. Brava. But sadly I ask, where is June?