Who is Abby Meet Abby. She no longer spends time in the kitchen, but she is still a favorite chapter in the Abby’s Orchard Preserves story. Lisa Battista, head jam maker and developer of Abby’s Orchard Preserves, loves the fact that her old girl Abby is the namesake for her business. As many of her customers know, Lisa is as happy to meet and talk dogs as she is to talk fruit and jam!
Abby’s Orchard Preserves are made using local, mostly Northeast Ohio, Orchard fruits. The preserves are made in the traditional method of simply cooking fruits and sugar to the setting point. It is the combination of the naturally occurring pectin in the fruit, added sugar, and heat, that produce a thickened product. Fresh grated lemon zest and
juice are added to most products. Lemon and citrus are naturally high in pectin and help to add a little “set” to the jam. Sugar and lemon do double duty by also preserving the fruit. Apple is added to some products, as they are also rich in pectin.
Abby’s Orchard Preserves are sometimes a little “looser” or less “set” than some commercial products. This is due to the fact that there are no added thickeners or additional pectin added to the product. This is a personal preference of the jam maker. Lisa would prefer to end up with a “looser” product than an over cooked or over sugared product. While added pectin is not necessarily a bad addition to jam, Lisa simply feels that it is unnecessary. When she first started making preserves and using beautiful, in season fruits, specifically red raspberries from the Rosby Berry Farm, simply cooking red raspberries and sugar together made a perfectly beautiful jam. No other ingredients needed!
Abby’s Orchard Preserves relies on many small farms for purchasing local fruits. Her main business interest is local foods, the true inspiration for the product. Because of a reliance on and commitment to local fruits, Abby’s Orchard Preserves rotates product according to seasonal availability. During peak of a particular fruit season, Lisa will seek out the best (not the cheapest or the best bargain) fruit available, process fruit and make jam. Fruit is often frozen for use later, yet some frozen fruits will be gone before the the next season’s harvest.
If choosing between organic fruit from California or elsewhere, or Ohio fruits from local growers using integrative pest management practices, Lisa will opt for the Ohio fruits. This again is a personal philosophy. Local, seasonal fruits, harvested at peak ripeness, from trusted growers, tastes better, and makes better tasting preserves! Good Health is a consideration, and local fruits are purchased from trusted growers with good reputations for quality fruits.
If Ohio organic fruits are available, they are a clear choice. In the case that fruits are not available locally, conscientious effort is made to purchase in a responsible, sustainable manner. Citrus fruits are often purchased directly from farms in California, dried figs are unsulfured, and organic cranberries are ordered directly from the bog farms.
Lisa likes to say that preserves are all about the fruit. Abby’s Orchard Preserves are made with care in small batches. Fruit is harvested at peak of ripeness, processed minimally, and sweetened to taste for optimal fruit flavor and preservation. Water bath canning is done to maximize shelf life, and finished products are sold within weeks after production.