Meet Our Vendor: Ayako & Family

Say hello to this amazing family business, Ayako & Family who makes delicious jams that will make you coming back for more…lot’s more.

Where does your passion for food come from?
My mother, Ayako, who founded the company nearly a decade ago, has been teaching me since I was a young girl the values of respect, discerning, and sharing around our food and ingredient sourcing. Ayako & Family emerged from dinners around the kitchen table, cooked by my mother for usually hours, whirling fast, with sometimes two, three, four extra chairs for the unexpected joiner from school. Dinner at the table together was never an option, it was a necessary ritual that punctuated the day; it was a moment to slow, to engage with one another, to refuel the body and mind. It was a way for us to know how my mother’s day was. How we relate to food may be of equal importance as to how the food facilitates our relationships. It may not in fact be about the seriousness of the meal or its perfection. Sometimes I ask myself, “Does this food have the ability to make me grin? Can I see an origin, a family, the vision of another kitchen table around which I’ve never sat?” What we have learned together is that eating jam can be its own kind of food ritual.
My mother used to say, “the most rewarding part of what I do is hearing how people relate to the jam and the memories it can recall.” That is how I might describe how I became involved in the Seattle food industry, into restaurants, and now this humble jam company; food is storytelling, nostalgia and family. The act of preservation, in particular, is a wonderful allegory for how anything–fruit, memories, time–can be stored away and then re-experienced once again in its ripest form. When the jam recipes were passed onto me from my mother, it was important for me to continue this way of storytelling. The plums we use are expressive of the hands that tend to it and the earth from which it emerges. And the jam, even just a spoonful of it, has the power to share with you the story of my mother and her love of simplicity and greatness in a single bite.
Where do you source your ingredients?
 We source all of our ingredients from Mair Farm-Taki, a Japanese-owned Certified Organic farm in Yakima, Washington. Katsumi Taki, farmer and owner, has been collaborating with us since we began, cross-cultivating heritage plum varietals with Asian ones to produce fruit that is exclusive to his farm and some to our product.
Tell us about a new product you are working on.
 We are currently developing cocktail oriented products using our signature plum varietals. Think bitters and syrups.

What will our fans find at your booth this fall?

 This fall, we’ll have available our entire line of jams, up to fifteen different plum flavors, apricot and rhubarb. We have a handful of plum flavors that will be new to our collection this harvest and a holiday gift set of three jars as a way to kick off the gift-giving season.

What’s the best part of your job?
Watching our customers try our product, their smiles, and learning how they connect to it on a very visceral level; sharing their own memories or experiences with jam. It’s truly amazing the power of jam!

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