This jam is a limited edition flavor, produced with Rainier strawberries grown and harvested at Suyematsu Farm on Bainbridge Island, WA in honor of Japanese Farmer Akio Suyematsu.
This 40-acre berry farm was founded in 1928 by Yasui and Mitsuo Suyematsu, two first generation Japanese immigrants who had been farming on leased land for over a decade in the same region. The property was placed under the eldest son, Akio's name, when he was merely eight years old, and after two decades of regenerating by horse and hand what was primitive forest into what is now the largest producing farm in the county, the Suyematsu family was forcibly removed from their home in 1942 at what would have been their most significant bumper crop season, along with thousands of other Japanese American families in the region and detained at Manzanar Internment in Death Valley, California. Upon their return, they worked tirelessly to restore the farm to its pre-war operation. In the 1970’s, Akio planted raspberries and learned to raise them from Felix Narte, a Filipino farmer, who had worked with Shigeko Kitamoto, one of the first local farmers to grow raspberries. Akio continued to farm, educate, and innovate up until death at 90 years of age in 2012.
The maturity and legacy of this fruit shows. This jam is absolutely beautiful in its clarity— a mars red preserve with hunks of whole strawberries suspended in its nectar, with the intermittent nutty chew from its seeds. Rounded sweetness punctuated with floral notes, just as they are right off of their stems.