Nothing really beats fresh fruit captured at its peak of ripeness and slathered on a piece of buttery toast. With a focus on heirloom fruits, small-batch recipes, and local, local, local (often the fruit comes from the yard out back), the jams here blow our minds. Grab a spoon.
- June Taylor Company, Berkeley: The grand dame of small-batch jams, Taylor seeks out heirloom and forgotten fruits. From $13; junetaylorjams.com
- Hurley Farms, Napa: Its Royal Blenheim apricot preserves and Sun Grand nectarine jam are sunshine on a spoon. $6.75; hurleyfarms.com
- Ayers Creek Farm, Gaston, OR: The Ayers Creek family crafts small-batch jams using only fresh fruit, lemon juice, and a touch of sugar. The loganberry is a must. $7; 503/985-0177.
- Ellelle Kitchen, Pasadena, CA: We love the fun, delicious jam combos like Backyard Grapefruit with Campari or Two Berry with Lavender. $14; ellellekitchen.com
- INNA, Berkeley: Pure jam perfection—the ideal spoonable texture (between runny and firm) and not too sweet. Try the Seascape strawberry jam. $12; innajam.com
- The Girl & The Fig, Sonoma: The to-die-for black Mission fig jam is made with fruit picked at its peak, cooked with sugar and a touch of cinnamon, vanilla, and nutmeg. $6.75; thegirlandthefig.com
- Aravaipa Farms, Aravaipa Canyon, AZ: Apricots from the owner’s own sun-drenched orchard are turned into glorious preserves, using an old French recipe. $8.50; aravaipafarms.com
- Forward Thinking Foods, Victoria, B.C.: Stop by Moss Street Market and pick up a jar of perky-tart berry jam; sadly, they don’t ship. From $3.41 U.S.; forwardthinkingfoods.blogspot.com
- Blue Chair Fruit, Oakland: Made with local organic fruit in small batches, its seasonal flavors, like Adriatic fig, are simply transcendent. $12; bluechairfruit.com