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The FareTrade

The Trade

Rachel Saunders

Rachel Saunders

Establishing herself as a powerhouse in the jam and canning world, Rachel + Blue Chair Fruit has won numerous accolades for her jams + marmalades. From a passionate side project to a growing business with 5+ employees, a cookbook and a burgeoning product offering, Rachel has turned BCF into the go-to resource for all things jam + marmalade!

 

What Inspired You To Start Your Company?

I fell in love with jam and marmalade making nearly ten years before starting my company and wanted to bring my unique skills and vision of preserves to the public.

 

Tell us about your products.

Blue Chair Fruit makes the best jams and marmalades in the country. Our products are entirely handmade and we use only the best sustainably farmed fruit. We make over 100 flavors per year. We are known for our extremely bright, nuanced, and balanced flavors and textures and for our unusual flavor combinations, but we also do stellar single-fruit jams such as boysenberry, tomato, bergamot, fig, and nectarine. We have redefined preserving for the modern age.

 

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

It means you approach each jar of jam as if you are a painter and the jam is the canvas. And it means each jar of jam bears your personal imprint.

 

What is your favorite small-batch treat?

Of my own? As far as jam, it’s impossible to say. As far as treats I make at home, dark fruitcake with my own candied citron is right up there.

 

What Drew You To Food?

It marries art with science. And I see food, and jam-making in particular, as one of the most exciting ways to engage with one’s surroundings.

 

Where Does Your Food Inspiration Come From?

Everywhere – the ingredients themselves, but also other areas of food and drink such as cocktails or salads. Art and language figure into it to, too; there is a grammar of jam making.

 

What Products Are You Working On Now?

We just did a gorgeous apricot with Peruvian chiles. It also had plumcots and Rangpur limes in it. It’s my new favorite!

 

Do You Have a Favorite Product?

No; generally, it’s whatever jam we cooked last week. But if I were on a desert island, I would always choose marmalade.

 

Latest Ingredient Obsession?

Aji limo and aji Amarillo, both from Peru.

 

What Did You Have For Dinner Last Night?

Watermelon-mint salad and a mushroom-pork quesadilla from Cosecha, my all-time favorite Mexican place.

 

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

That is really tough – Dan Barber has already tried it!!

 

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

What Advice Would You Give Other artisans? Think of your business from a structural standpoint. And make sure your vision is clear before you start.

 

What Other Local Food Artisans or Chefs Do You Admire?

Christopher Lee

 

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

I can’t say exactly, but if it were at Septime in Paris or The Whale Wins in Seattle, I’d be sure to die happy.

 

Favorite Restaurant or Food Experience?

Blue Hill at Stone Barns

 

What Do You Enjoy Doing Outside of the Kitchen?

Cooking at home, which is really different from making jam in an industrial kitchen; pilates, spin classes, the cinema, reading and practicing my French (I was a French major), traveling, listening to music, spending time with my dog – and, above all, spending time with my husband.

 

What’s Your Favorite Kitchen Soundtrack?

It changes all the time, but right now, it’s Amy Winehouse singing Valerie.