Ask any Olympian sports person and they tell you winning gold is a marathon of hard work, persistence and continual striving for excellence. Lori Reich, of Shute Fruit and Produce agrees: she has been making preserves from her farm house kitchen for over 20 years transforming the bounty from her and her husband David’s farm on the banks of the Teign at Bishopsteignton.
“David grows it—and he is an excellent grower—I put it in a jar. We try not to let anything go to waste. Preserving is a way of making the farm’s bounty into gleaming jars of something special in their own right.” Says Lori.
“At the moment we have lovely runner beans—yes, this late in the year—ours are at their prime. We encourage our customers to pick now to fill their freezer for when fresh beans are not available, or at least, cost us more in terms of air miles if not price.
“When you are making preserves you can add extra ingredients to make the flavours really sing. My winning Beetroot Chutney takes the humble, earthy beetroot and with a good dose of horseradish, shakes up your taste buds. Summerfruit Jam, another gold medal winner, combines those perennial favourites of strawberries and raspberries, with redcurrants for a hint of tartness that adds its own dimensions.
“If you are looking for something really special for a cheeseboard, try my Medlar Butter. It is a spreadable fruit butter named for its texture, made of that forgotten fruit the medlar. Friends pass me their medlars if they have a glut. I make a point to thank them by putting their name on the jars. It tastes like a cross between apricots and dates, but spread on a cracker with some blue or goats’ cheese or even mature cheddar, makes magic on your palate.
“But the most surprising medals this year have been for my newest products: no added sugar preserves. Zusty Strawberry Jam and marmalade, named Marmalow, for people looking to reduce the sugar in their diets. I use Zusto sugar substitute which has no after taste and pushes the fruit flavours forward. Obviously, the judges at the World Marmalade competition agree. My Zusty jam is not just a gold winner, but is now a finalist for Champion product with Taste of the West, the largest regional food group in Britain.” In the meantime, the Indian summer allows the farm to keep producing great tasting pick your own runner beans, fabulous sunflowers, sloes for making sloe gin and other crops until the end of October. You can find all this and a lot more at Shute Fruit on Newton Road, TQ14 9PN, it is also on the bus route. Open 11am to 4pm. Check the website for full details www.shutefruit.co.uk, especially the Picking Today page that is updated daily with crop information.