When 90% of your life is governed by the unknowns, the unquantifiable outcomes and the rejections that come hand in hand with a life in theatre, there is nothing more grounding than a pot of cooking strawberries. I mean it.
I have been a professional preservationist (read, maker of jams, jellies, pickles, chutneys, marmalades and wines) for about 3 years. I work exclusively for Beans and Bagels, the Rockwell location, and I make all sorts of preserves for friends, family and myself. While Beans and Bagels does not sell whole jars of my products, it's always worth asking me if I have a stash at home. I usually do.
Preserves enable us to eat local year round. I buy 90% of my produce from my farmer's market and we work hard at the shop to select produce from farms in Michigan and Illinois. What this means, is that production is extremely busy from about May-November, and extremely slow during the coldest winter months and early spring. I encourage a healthy skepticism of restaurants that claim they are making seasonal jams in February:)
Anyone can learn to preserve food. Humans have been doing it for thousands of years. I am always willing to teach and share information. I am largely self taught though I have also trained with Chef Sebastien at The French Pastry School in Chicago, IL.
I am forever in debt to my friend and colleague, Adam Snow. I wouldn't be writing these words right now if he hadn't noticed me carrying a sack of late summer pears and gotten a swell idea.