At the age of 13, my father built a small fruit stand in front of our home. My brother who was 16 at the time would pick the fruit and vegetables from the farm and bring it to the stand for me to sell. Each summer, from that time and through college, we truly learned what hard work was and gained a greater appreciation of a family business. Our family’s fruit stand soon became a landmark in the Central Valley known today as Simonian Farms.
Growing up in a vineyard in the Central Valley of California, I was fortunate to make many wonderful memories. I loved to go with my father in the vineyard to do just about anything from checking the irrigation, driving the tractor, playing in the mud and especially learning how to pick grapes for raisins. One of my fondest memories of my mother was watching her take the over ripe fruits and make many different types of jams and jellies (sometimes with my help). I always loved the final products with the beautiful array of colors. My family grew many different types of fruit, from all kinds of stone fruit, berries, pomegranates, strawberries, figs and more.
As a young adult, I began making my own jams and jellies and eventually many would prove to be award winning recipes. I would often pick the fruit on my own but was also fortunate enough to acquire some of it from our family farm. The hobby of making jams and jellies became a nice source of extra income for me and my family. All of my jams and jellies are made in single batches bursting with the natural flavor of the fruit. Some are paired with other fruits such as Plum/Raspberry, Strawberry/Rhubarb, Pomegranate/Jalapeno to name a few. Many of my jams and jellies pair very well with a variety of cheeses, chicken, pork or just one of your favorite nut butters.
Through the years, I have learned many things about this process and perfected it along the way. Most importantly though, are the people I have met and the wonderful customers I have gained (many of them long time customers) who share my love for these labors of love.