Archive for apricot

It all started with a kumquat…

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on January 28, 2010 by massapeel


I need to take a break from the Fancy Food Faves…  this blog is totally all about food, and I have more stuff to share regarding the Fancy Food Show, however, that was not the purpose of starting this blog.  And by now, people may be wondering when I am going to get to that point…  So, without further ado, allow me to introduce myself…

I am a upper-30ish attorney (former corporate civil defense litigator, turned general counsel & compliance officer specializing in medical law) who has a passion for food.  I love to eat food.  I love to cook food.  I love to look at food, smell food.  The only thing I don’t do is grow food…  I have a self-diagnosed black thumb!  As my husband jokes, my family will be sitting at a meal, planning our next meal!  And, I don’t like just any food…  I like good food. 

This passion has existed as long as I can remember.  For example, I remember as a kid getting imported marinated artichoke hearts in my Easter basket — seriously.  I remember eating steamed artichokes when my 2 upper front teeth had fallen out, so every leaf that I scraped/ate had a strip of delicious earthy artichoke flesh left behind just waiting for my dad to finish off with some salty drawn butter.   Don’t get me wrong, I also remember the first time I had a Slurpee, and a Twinky, too (that should clue you in to the fact that those processed indulgences were so infrequent that actually DO I remember them).  But the lion’s share of food eaten in my family was freshly prepared, and relatively gourmet.

kumquat tree

So, having established that I love food, it should come as no surprise to anyone that I have always wanted to be involved in the food industry — some way, some how.  I had waitressed in my younger days, so I knew that I did not want to own a sit-down restaurant — way too consuming of nights and weekends (i.e., not conducive to having a family – my other passion).  So, that meant that I needed to make and sell food at retail.  However life takes over, time is consumed by existing obligations, children arrive on the scene, and needless to say, I never did anything to promote my food-related-aspirations.  Enter the kumquat.

It all started with a kumquat.  Really.  This past fall, my mother & partner in crime in this venture, commented to me that she had a potted kumquat tree that had produced fruit that she did not know what to do with.  Now, anyone who has ever had a kumquat knows that they are TART!!!  So, we decided to make marmalade out of it.  My dad is a marmalade fanatic, and this was going to be a Christmas present to him. 

We made the marmalade, and it turned out fabulously (Seville Orange, Apricot and Kumquat Marmalade).  For those

beneath the peel

of you marmalade afficianados out there, this was like true British marmalade in that it has a bite — it is bitter as well as sweet all rolled into one sticky yummy concoction.  And it was so seemingly simple, that we decided to make jam every week and eventually man a booth at the Charlottesville Farmer’s Market. 

The name:  “Mass A’Peel – jams with a twist”…  we decided that our schtick was the total embrace of citrus peel.  In other words, each of our products must have some citrus peel in it…  need not be a full out marmalade, per se, but they must have at a minimum some citrus zest.  Hence the name.  (by the way, I like puns!)

So, this blog will chronicle my mother’s and my adventures in making jam (and other food products) and in becoming entrepreneurs in the gourmet food industry, interspersed with general musings on food.  So, buckle up and enjoy this stream of consciousness culinary ride!