Tuesday, March 15, 2011

We're Jammin', Jammin' Jammin'; I Want To Jam It Wid You

It's probably way too early in your day to put up with my bad jokes but this one, lame as it is, was just too good to pass up. Sorry.

Sunday I decided to venture out in the midst of an interesting weather day. It began with an appetizer of rain showers and wind gusts, followed by an amuse bouche of sun breaks and a main course of heavy squalls with small craft warnings. Holy Weather Channel, Batman!

As I made my way down Highway 47 from Forest Grove toward Carlton I discovered that Mother Nature had given us a new water feature; the upper Tualatin River had become Lake Gaston. The entire valley was flooded and the only thing missing was a waterskier or two. Perhaps some fishermen.

After a quick stop at Patton Valley Vineyards to check on their lineup (more on this later) I made it the rest of the way to Carlton to see how my good friend Byron Dooley's latest wines were doing. Byron, as you've read here before, has been doing great things with his Seven of Hearts and Luminous Hills labels. Other than to say that he's still chugging along I'll pass on a further review or he'll have to put me on the payroll.

So now we come to the subject of today's post - The Republic of Jam. This little venture was started by Lynnette Shaw, who has created some really interesting stuff. Using all local fruit where possible, she concocts some of the wildest and most delicious combinations of flavors I've ever run across. Strawberry and basil anyone? Spiced cherry conserve with cinnamon, clove and cardamom? Mostarda di Carlton with apples, shallots, serrano chiles and various dried fruits? Simply delicious.

What Sue at Rose City Pepperheads has done with simple combinations of chiles and fruit, good as her products are, has been made pedestrian by what Lynnette is doing. I wish I could remember the manner in which she served her things, but I think I remember the strawberry/basil being served on blue cheese and a cracker of some sort. It was delicious and would have been wonderful with one of Byron's pinot noirs - of which I'd consumed enough to explain my memory lapses.

Give Lynnette a visit, preferably in person at her world headquarters on Main Street in Carlton, but definitely on her Facebook page or her website: http://www.republicofjam.com/

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