Fairywood Thicket - Deborah Geering - Atlanta Magazine
 

Deborah Geering

Our columnist's musings on the local foods scene

 

Fairywood Thicket

Magic jam

9/1/2011

As long as Kimberly Conner can remember, she and her family have battled a weed that grows wantonly in their Fairburn horse pastures. In 2004 she asked a friend with a Bush Hog to clear it. Instead she got a lecture on the wonders of elderberry, the “weed” all over her property. That summer Conner made elderberry jelly; its flavor was light, clean, warm, and earthy all at once. First she gave it away, then she sold it at Fairburn Farmers Market.

As the lines grew for their jelly, Conner and her husband, John, offered a deal to neighbors who owned fruit trees: The Conners would maintain the trees in exchange for fruit. “It’s amazing how much is out there that just goes to waste,” she says. “Figs, apples, peaches, muscadines, blueberries, blackberries. I have access to fruit all over Newnan and Fairburn.” Her flavors grew bolder: strawberry-lavender (below), pecan pie, kudzu blossom jelly. When farmers gave them unsold vegetables, Conner made pumpkin butter, green tomato jam, sauerkraut.

In 2006 the couple built a commercial kitchen, where they pack up to 500 jars a week. (Fairywood Thicket, the company name, refers to a legend that fairies ride elderberry branches like horses on midsummer nights.) They sell to hotels and restaurants and at farmers markets including Peachtree Road, Sandy Springs, and Serenbe. Nine-ounce jars cost $6. fairywoodthicket.com

Photograph by Caroline Kilgore

Deborah Geering is one of our contributing writers.
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  1. Jackson Reeves posted on 09/07/2011 12:56 PM
    Jam always just reminds me of that "Friends" episode...aptly title "The One with All the Jam," if I recall correctly. "Put your hands together." I'll just leave that as is.
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