Few people are more widely known in the fruit preserve world than June Taylor. The crowd-anointed “preserve queen” has provided the Bay Area with delicious, thoughtful and seasonal fruit marmalades, jams, butters and other preserves for more than 30 years.
When we harvested a bounty of persimmons from our Fox Hill Vineyard, we had to call June to whip up a delightful Fuyu persimmon fruit butter that captures the delicate and cozy autumnal flavors of harvest and this beautiful fruit. Fruit butter is made from fruit that’s cooked, puréed and cooked a second time to concentrate the flavors. The result is silky and delicately textured that’s great for topping many desserts and snack spreads.
We’ve long been fans of June’s deep knowledge and intuitive work with preserves and her commitment to using local organic produce to support local farmers. What started as a way to provide better marmalade options akin to what she had available throughout her childhood in London blossomed into a fruitful business, June Taylor Jams. Although she closed her West Berkeley shop in 2021, we’re are delighted that she has collaborated with us to make this special preserve.
We recently caught up with June ahead of the persimmon butter collaboration where she shared her process, commitment to organic ingredients and favorite ways to eat fruit butter.
What excites you about this Fuyu persimmon butter collaboration with Broc?
I enjoy the challenge of imagining a new preserve and how to create interesting flavors to compliment the fruit, and sharing with Broc Cellars a commitment to sustainability in agriculture. I appreciate the opportunity to be creative together.
What was it like working with the Fox Hill persimmons and why did you want to use Fuyu persimmons instead of Hachiya?
The Fuyu persimmons I chose to transform into a fruit butter are small and delicately flavored. As they are thick-skinned, I favored making a silky smooth butter, which to me reflects and represents the slower season of autumn and winter. This is the first time I have worked with persimmons. These persimmons are delicately sweet, so I imagined ways to enhance but not overpower the fruit, and bring in a little warmth in spices as we are now in the colder season. Hachiya persimmons are classically preserved as hoshigaki so that is what I made with them.
How did you learn to preserve fruit?
I learnt by doing it over and over again with a curiosity and desire to understand the processes involved. I inevitably became aware of the changing nature and flavors in fruit, and the conditions in their environments, growing practices, etc., which influenced this. The transformation of seeing fruit singularly, as an entity, into something nuanced and forever changing became the most rewarding and illuminating discovery.
Why is working with organic fruit and small farms important to your craft?
It is essential to support growers who provide us with fruit and food grown without the use of harmful chemicals and pesticides. We have an epidemic of cancer and other diseases related to the use of poisons in the growing of our food, and I have never wanted to be a part of that business and offer a product to my customers based on those unsustainable practices. My real commitment started with the birth of my child, and then as my understanding [of food systems] developed, I saw it as a much wider issue of the harm done to the land, the soil and creatures therein and the people who work on the land. We must use our dollars to support small family farmers who toil on our behalf in extremely challenging circumstances to bring the healthiest food to our tables.
What is your favorite way to enjoy fruit butter?
I enjoy eating fruit butters in a variety of ways and particularly see them as reflecting the slower seasons of autumn and winter. How about as a topping on oatmeal or yogurt? Or accompanying a croissant or morning waffle, or after a meal with a cheese and dessert wine from Broc Cellars!