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The FareTrade

The Trade

Eric Haeberli

Company Name: welovejam

Founder/Creator: Eric Haeberli

Location: San Francisco


What Inspired You To Start Your Company? 

I love cooking!

 

Tell us about your products. 

I make each batch of We Love Jam products by hand. Unique flavors, wonderful ingredients.

 

What Does Being A Small-Batch “Artisan” Mean To You? 

I make it myself each day.

 

What is your favorite small-batch treat? 

Fruit and veggies I grow in my yard.

 

What Drew You To Food? 

My parents. They were food obsessed and I picked it up from them.

 

Where Does Your Food Inspiration Come From? 

Who knows. Maybe good wine? Good weed?

 

What Products Are You Working On Now? 

A pepper jam that I have been commissioned to make.

 

Do You Have a Favorite Product? 

It is the feijoa jam I make, or the quince.

 

Latest Ingredient Obsession? 

Cappelletti. Add about 2 oz to a wine glass with ice, add about 2-3 oz of prosecco and then top off with about 1 oz of San Pellegrino. Stir it a bit. It is heaven.

 

What Did You Have For Dinner Last Night? 

It is an easy dish to make. You chop up some broccoli both the stalk and the flowers into about 1” pieces. Sautee some garlic in olive oil, add the broccoli, shaking the pan and then put in some sea salt and some ground Calabrian peperoncino. Add some bread crumbs and minced sun dried tomatoes, more olive oil and cook another minute or two. The bread crumbs and olive oil is a very old fashioned peasant Italian sauce and it works well with veggies such as this. I was really hungry last night, so I scrambled some eggs and mixed it in. Yum!

 

What Person, Living Or Dead, Would You Most Like To Have Try Your Product? 

Well I love the artists Gilbert and George and I sent them a jar of the apricot jam, well I sent it via their gallery but I have no idea if they ever tried it. Then a customer told me that in an episode of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Larry David says it is impossible to get a good apricot, so I sent him a jar of the apricot jam via HBO via his agent. No idea if he ever got it. Who knows maybe Patricia Highsmith or Pierre and Gilles. I sure like her books and their photos. 

 

What’s The Best Piece Of Advice You’ve Gotten In Building Your Business? What Advice Would You Give Other artisans? 

The only advice I was given was don’t open a retail business stick to wholesale. My advice is it takes about 10 times more money than anyone will tell you. It costs a fortune to start a food business, and then it never ends. You are spending money every day, and when it comes to wholesale accounts they never pay on time. Be prepared for a financial roller coaster.

 

What Other Local Food Artisans or Chefs Do You Admire? 

Well my friend David Lebovitz. I met him when he was writing his first cookbook and we were neighbors and are close friends. I really admire his persistence on working on developing a recipe. And I admire anyone who can make a pizza like what I ate when I was in Napoli. So simple, but so hard to make. Oh, and those street cart vendors who sell the lemon slushy drinks in Napoli. I still dream of those. They basically have an open cart filled with ice. Then there is this metal canister they add some sugar, fresh squeezed lemons, put the lid on it and then they twist the canister between their palms in the ice until it reaches a slushy consistency. I swear. I would fly back to Napoli just to have one of those. Oh, and have a custom suit made…

 

If You Had To Choose Your Last Meal, What Would It Be? 

Probably a sexy guy, figuratively speaking. I am not a big food eater believe it or not.

 

Favorite Restaurant or Food Experience? 

I would say it was a kaiseki meal I had when I stayed at the Kincha-Ryo in Kanazawa Japan. 

You put on a yukata and these wooden clog like shoes, and are escorted up these stone steps they you swear you are about to fall down and break your neck to a small hut on the top of a hill overlooking the city. It is screened on all four sides. You sit on a pillow on a tatami mat and are given a scroll written in Japanese calligraphy by the chef of what you will be eating. Every day the menu is different and super seasonal. Then you are served like a 20 course meal over a few hours. The presentation and flavors blew my mind. One of my favorite things was this wood and brass box they brought to the table. Hidden inside were some glowing charcoal embers, and another chamber held some soft tofu. It was a very special tofu and it had a special sauce. The smoke from the embers infused the tofu. It was simplicity done so well. This is why all the top chefs know real food culture and honesty in ingredients stems from Japan. It was the country that inspired me to start a food business. I was actually going to start an organic fruit smoothie bar in Shibuya before I started the jam business.

 

What Do You Enjoy Doing Outside of the Kitchen? 

I love to work out and run, play tennis, swim. I am very active during the day. I cannot sit around. But at night after a full day in the kitchen I love reading and writing and hanging out with my three cats.

 

What’s Your Favorite Kitchen Soundtrack? 

Italo Disco. This is a term for club dance music from the 80s mainly from Germany, Italy and Spain. It is analog synth heaven. I am obsessed now with the band Digitalo. They are contemporary, Russian I think, but they get the vintage sounds just right and I love the red blazer jacket the lead singer wears.