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Aug 24, 2010 08:45 PM

Toronto Star $29 jam article

Hello all, when I stopped at a business earlier today I noticed there was a headline on the very front page of their Toronto Star talking about $29 wild field strawberry jam. People may remember me asking about these tiny delicious wild strawberries in other threads before, tiny wild berries PACKED with flavor that I remember from my childhoood, but never ever found a source for them now that I'm older and desperately seeking them. Well I had the intention of reading about this later online, since I was in a rush, but now I cannot find any mention of it.

Does anybody know what this jam is? Or where to buy it? Or what the article was talking about?

I looked briefly on but couldn't find mention of it.

Can anyone elaborate?

Thanks in advance!

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  1. Ah, found it! Wasn't in the food section like I thought

    He mentions about having a source for the berries themselves. I would pay top dollar for them if I could find them -- does anyone know where these tiny delicious berries are available??

    thanks guys

    14 Replies
    1. re: duckdown

      It takes an enormous amount of time to pick the tiny strawberries, and they only grow well under particular climactic conditions. For that reason, I imagine the source to be carefully selective as to whom they decide to sell to.

      Picking any wild berry is a labour of love-I did it this summer, and in order to respect the forest, you have to be careful when picking them not to destroy the plants. Otherwise they won't thrive the following year...

      Someone may laugh at paying $29 for a bottle of jam-but the work involved in picking the berries is astronomical.

      Where in Ontario did these berries grow in your childhood?

      1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

        Thunder Bay, I used to go there to visit my Uncle and Grandma as a child.. My Grandma had a large field in her backyard and she would pick them, and I remember even just playing in the fields and grabbing a few right off the plant or stalk or whatever it was... I wouldn't remember any specific details like year or months, but aside from that other members on forums say they grow as close as Barrie even.. I really wish I could find them.

        I wouldn't laugh at the $29 dollar jam, the flavor of those tiny wild strawberries are burned into my memory. The scent, the taste.. Is nothing like these big dried up old strawberries that are white and flavorless on the inside.. God do I miss them dearly. I'll be buying that $29 dollar jam, believe me. I just gotta try and figure out a way to get to their shop

        1. re: duckdown

          The more North you are, the smaller they are, and the more concentrated the flavour :) I know what you mean about the scent and the taste being burned into your memory!

      2. re: duckdown

        On Twitter he says that they sold out of the Jam today at all locations except their Eglington and Bathurst location. Guess everyone wanted to try it after reading the article.

        1. re: chowspotting

          Damn, so I guess I have to wait for a new batch :(

          I guess I'm not the only one who would pay any price to get my hands on those delicious berries

          1. re: duckdown

            Placebo effect? Hope all this teensy berry jonesing pays off!

          2. re: chowspotting

            It seems strange that people rushed out to buy it since the article wasn't exactly fawning over the value, and described the taste as "over-cooked berries."

            1. re: stet

              Call it the Amy Pataki effect - read her opinion then go the opposite way.

              I grew up in the country and remember all too well the taste of wild strawberries, if this jam brings me back to those days I'll happily fork over $29. God knows I spend a lot more on dumb stuff.

              1. re: childofthestorm

                Exactly, that's what I said on another forum. I don't take *anything* Pataki has to say as even remotely serious or having even a shred of credibility.. She's probably absolutely clueless about the berries themselves anyways, since she never mentions the appeal of them at all in the entire article and actually 'craps on the jam' instead. I pretty much stopped reading (and caring) once she dissected and analyzed the flavor of commercial Smuckers crap compared to the wild strawberry jam.

                I could not agree more. I would gladly fork over the $29 just for the trip down memory lane...

                1. re: duckdown

                  It's your 29 bucks. We make strawberry jam most years but the berries can either suck or sing depending totally on weather. Homemade from good quality berries ain't Smuckers but it can vary from year to year. Frankly, I've made ridiculously small batches from the tiny variety pulled from an inlaw's property and recall that tartness greatly helped a somewhat subtle flavor. I just don't have the emotional, Proust-like attachment to them to understand the appeal.

                  1. re: Kagemusha

                    Yes, and for a lot of us 29 bucks for a bottle of jam is a luxury we can't afford.

                  2. re: duckdown

                    The ingredients don't always make the meal, though. Maybe, even though wild strawberries were used, the jam really isn't made very well? Just because it's expensive and contains wild strawberries doesn't make it automatically better than commercial Smuckers crap.

                    Have any of us tasted the jam?

                    1. re: duckdown

                      I think it's reasonable that she rated the jam she had on hand, rather than people's long ago memories of fresh berries.
                      I don't particularly value her opinion but the tasting notes give me an idea of what the jam might taste like - I don't consider "overcooked berries" a negative in this context, because I like old-fashioned cooked down jams (and not Smuckers). And a $29 jar of jam is as noteworthy as anything else the food section covers these days.
                      Let us know what you think, if you find a jar. They have other costly varieties such as wild black raspberry that interest me more, as well as cheaper jars made from ordinary fruit.

                      1. re: duckdown

                        Your comment about memory lane made me think of that line from "Field of Dreams" where people will be pulled to the ball field and hand over their money w/o thinking because of the strong pull of memories from childhood. It's worth it if it acts more like a time machine than a jar of jam. We all know the feeling of flavors and smells that instantly transport us back to happier times. Too bad it doesn't work over and over.

              2. I have not had this jam. But, I have tried the Tiptree Little Scarlet Strawberry Preserve offered by Wilkins&Sons. It now seems to be running around $20 online now, but I was sure it was in the $14 range when I tried it. It was worth the extra I think – at least for trying once. The little berries were really packed with flavour!

                1. $29 seems a bit excessive; I bought a brilliant jar of jam made with fraises des bois for 6 euros from a small jam-maker at a food expo. I bought a lot of these berries at the market, as well as "gariguettes," which were probably the best strawberries I've ever had in my life. I wish we could get those here.

                  I remember buying a bunch of wild berries last time I was at Marché Jean-Talon in Montreal, but I can't remember if there were wild strawberries.

                  You could always take a trip up North and hunt around for them (while avoiding bears).

                  4 Replies
                  1. re: tjr

                    But isn't the issue that of proximity?

                    $29 does not even cover the cost of gas to get to Northern Quebec, not to mention the time (and know-how) to source and harvest the berries.

                    6 euros is about $8CAD, but Europe is smaller geographically-its easier to source food closer to urbanized areas.

                    So while I wouldn't pay $29 for a jar of jam, I don't think its actually excessive when you consider where the food is sourced and the costs associated with its transport.

                    1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                      It would cost less to ship it from France.

                      1. re: tjr

                        Then you can source your wild strawberry from France, and I can choose to make my own while picking the berries from a bear ridden forest :)

                        I love everything French, but I'm not a slave to their food products when I know I can source certain things here that are just as high quality and speak to our own Canadian terroir.

                        1. re: Splendid Wine Snob

                          I would certainly source mine here and make my own jam. I'm just saying: $29 for jam that reviewed poorly seems slightly exorbitant when I can ship a perfectly delightful similar product for half the cost (and support an independent producer of a quality product, etc. etc.)

                          I'm not as concerned about the terroir issue for a preserved product.

                  2. A year or so ago, I bought some imported wild strawberry jam, and it was delicious. Full of petite berries and a very unique flavour. It was "Natura Vita" or "Domace Slatko" -- sorry, hard to tell what the brand name is. But, the jar says it's imported by MEPS International, 1 Yonge Street #1801. I think, but I may be wrong, that I bought it at Fresh from the Farm. The jar was around $5.00.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: Full tummy

                      Bonne Maman makes a Fraise de Bois jam (ie Wild Strawberry) which is delicious. I have never seen it in Canada though- only France. I am sure you could order that online for less then $29.

                    2. Forbes Wild Foods sells wild strawberry jam. You can order from them online or get them to bring your order to one of the markets they go to (I see them at Wychwood Barns on Saturdays).


                      1 Reply
                      1. re: myriam5555

                        I should have specified that the Forbes version is $25 for a 250ml jar. While French fraises des bois are excellent, they don't really compare to North American wild strawberries foraged from the woods. Our wild strawberries are very few, very far-between and very packed with flavour -- hence the cost. Fraises des bois are an excellent variety but may also be cultivated. The small baskets that are ubiquitous in Paris in the summer are definitely cultivated (though very tasty).