Raspberry Preserves: The pesticide-free, late-summer Polka variety of raspberry that we use for Branches Raspberry Preserves are grown at family farm in Santa Cruz. The cool, coastal influences of the area produce warm days and cool nights that help develop the natural sugars and complex flavors of the berries. The finished Raspberry Preserves exhibit an intense, sweet and tart balance.
Blackberry Preserves: Our summer season begins with the production of our Blackberry Preserves made from a variety called Olallieberry -a cross between the blackberry and a loganberry. We have been gathering our berries since 1980 from the same family farm near the town of Brentwood. Our blackberry preserves have an enjoyably soft texture that makes them more like "compote" than traditional preserves, and that's how we often serve them.
Blueberry Preserves: The Reka Blueberry is the ideal preserving fruit with its firm texture and rich color. These precious berries are grown by the fifth generation Sorensen family on their small farm where each blueberry is carefully picked by hand. The finished Blueberry Preserves highlight the full flavor and integrity of the whole Reka blueberry. The texture is a "softer set" making it more like a "compote" than a traditional preserves.
Strawberry Preserves: Every April we visit a nearby strawberry farm where they grow pesticide-free Chandler variety berries to make this luscious preserves which we cook down with only small amounts of sugar and fresh lemon juice. Chandlers are firm, sweet, juicy berries...with old-fashion flavor. The finished Strawberry Preserves are full of a deep, rich flavor that keeps calling you back for more.
Apricot Preserves: We use the Blenheim variety for our preserves...a small, delicate fruit with a deep, rich flavor. We have been gathering our Blenheims since 1980 from the same family farm in Northern California. The Blenheim Apricot has its roots in early 19th century Paris. It eventually made it to California’s Santa Clara Valley and thrived there until the late 1960’s. But this delicate fruit began rapidly vanishing from the market due to urban sprawl, cheap imports and new industrial varieties. The Blenheim is now recognized on the Slow Food Ark of Taste as a "cherished food" worth saving.
Organic Three Citrus Marmalade: We carefully cut off all the peel of our organic citrus leaving just the luscious fruit to be hand-cut, mixed with the peel, filtered water, and cane sugar. The laborious process takes three days until the flavor-packed mixture, with full pieces of citrus in every bite, is set...a 'slow' but rewarding journey! It is made from certified organic citrus from our groves and other local growers...we pick our own Meyer lemons, and mix with Ruby grapefruits and Naval oranges. The finished elixir is chock full of bright, intense, rich citrus flavor.
Peach Preserves: The late summer O'Henry peach is the only variety we use for our Branches Peach Preserves. It has a pointed tip, making it easy to identify, and it gives way to a perfect balance...a red streaked flesh with a pleasant note of acidity, a good level of sweetness and a deep 'peach' flavor. This peach is grown and harvested in California's Central Valley where the warm summer days and mild nights make for the perfect stone fruit 'terroir.' The finished batch of our Peach Preserves is full of soft pieces of the whole fruit that hold their shape during the long, slow, cooking process.
Plum Preserves: We think Casselman Plums are simply the best tasting, late season fruit and ideal for preserving. Skillfully grown by the Nakamura family in Suisun Valley just east of Napa, we anxiously await the late August harvest each year. The skin is bright red and the flesh is deep amber and the plums turn almost scarlet the longer they hang on the tree. The finished Branches Plum Preserves are crimson colored with a deep, rich, sweetly tart flavor.
Citrus Blossom: This amazing honey is gathered from California’s Central Valley where citrus trees grow in abundance. This year, lots of rain and cool conditions produced an elixir that is pale in color with an aroma of an orange tree in bloom. Its taste is sweet and seductive.
Range Wildflower Honey: Light amber with an almost “creamy” texture, this honey is gathered from the distinct flora of the Sierra foothills - wild berries, sweet clover, star thistle and more! It has a pleasant "brambly" flavor with herbal and grassy overtones and a tangy finish.
Black Button Sage: Gathered in the lower foothills of the California coastal mountain ranges from bees pollinating the native Black Button Sage plant. It's one of those miracles of nature, a honey with an amazingly smooth texture that will not granulate. It's favored for its pure color and subtle taste.
Raspberry Flower: This honey is gathered from the coastal raspberry crop, and it possesses a gorgeous straw color with floral overtones. This is a rare instance where the honey tastes like the fruit of the plant with a distinctive fresh raspberry finish, pleasantly sweet and tart.
Wild Blackberry Flower: For those of us who have grown up in California, summertime is often associated with wild blackberries along the roadside. For a short three week period, the bees gather their yearly nectar from tiny white flowers on these thorny vines. Light amber in color, this honey has a very floral bouquet with a silky smooth texture.