Interview with Justin Rashid of American Spoon

What is your favorite part of artisanally producing food?
I love driving out through orchard country, visiting farms and stopping at roadside fruit stands to discover new varieties of delicious fruits. We work closely with our local fruit growers through then seasons to capture these special flavors, and I love meeting with our farmers and walking through their fields and orchards, surrounded by fruit.

What made you want to produce
artisanal food?

A love of Northern Michigan and a fascination with the bounty of our Northern Fruitlands. I began foraging for wild foods in the fields and forests of Northern Michigan when I was very young. My parents purchased a farm here when I was five and it came with a large raspberry patch and an orchard and was surrounded by thousands of acres of forests. The farm came with a fruit cellar fully stocked with jars of preserves and cordials. Every August my mother labored to keep that cellar freshly stocked with her own preserves and pickles while we watched and helped out at times.

How long have you been producing your product and where is your production?
We started making jam in 1982 in the basement of a candy store in downtown Petoskey. The following summer we opened our own retail store and preserving kitchen just a few blocks away. 29 years later we’re still standing over the same copper kettles in our Petoskey kitchen.

How long does it take to make your product from start to finish?
From the time fresh fruit comes in our kitchen door until jars of our preserves are cooled and labeled takes about 36 hours.

How many people work together to make your product?
We work directly with a dozen or so farmers who grow the varieties of fruits we love, and local foragers collect wild berries for us throughout the summer. Once that fruit reaches our kitchen, a staff of 8-10 people work together to preserve it in small batches.

At Zingerman’s what is your favorite thing to pair your product with?
We love our American Spoon Fruit Preserves on Zingerman’s Bagels spread with Zingerman’s Cream Cheese!

Justin Rashid

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