Berrima is such a delightful and small country town where every building seems to have either colonial history or good produce or both. It’s such a small town that it’s very easy to walk through and so Carl and I took a leisurely stroll and meandered through a lot of the stores that line the sides of the main street.
One of the shops we loved was The Little Hand-Stirred Jam Shop. The shop sells a large variety of high quality country produce that’s all beautifully presented inside a shop that was once the residence of the man who owned the antique store, further up the road. The antique store is now closed but the jam store is thriving.
When we were there a couple arrived with their two small children (14 months apart) and they were delivering chutneys they had made on their property. Everything seems to be proudly locally made and it’s great to see store-owners supporting local suppliers.
The shop sells a fine selection of jams, condiments, mustards, sauces and pure Australian honey with many products made on the premises. We bought quite a few things including creamed honey, honeycomb honey, chilli jam, blood orange marmalade and lemon curd. All products were made on the premises or by locals living in the town.
I love shopping like this. The big chain supermarkets just cannot compete with this kind of an experience. I was greeted by the store’s owner who warmly greeted me like I was a VIP and enthusiastically gave me information on all the products I was interested in buying and those not on my radar.
Like Damson Plum Jam. The Damson plum is about the size of your thumb nail and it’s sweet but also tart. These plums are hard to find and difficult to source but if you can find them, they make the most amazing and addictive jam. They are small and sour when fresh, but make the absolute best plum jam in the world. Unfortunately, Damsons are clingstone and can’t be pitted before the cooking starts so it’s quite a process to make the jam as you have to fish out the pits as the jam cooks. From the challenges of sourcing the plums to the difficulties of making the jam, Damson plum jam is definitely a rare find, a labour of love and an absolute treat.
Now…after being given a taste of Damson jam, I bought a jar. Somehow, it hasn’t made it back to Sydney. Where do things like this go? So many of my possessions know the art of a good disappearing act. Another reason to return to Berrima!
I was also told about the bad season bee farmers endured last year with so many bees dying due to an unseasonably warm Spring followed by days of rain that stripped the blossoms from the trees and plants leaving the bees with nothing to eat. As sad as this story is, it’s lovely to talk to vendors who know the history of how their goods are produced and how seasonal factors can alter the end result.
But the Little Hand-Stirred Jam Shop doesn’t just sell conserves; there’s an ice cream shop that sells a lot of Serendipity ice cream and if you like rum and raisin flavour, it’s real rum that’s added, not rum essence. I managed to get a photo of Carl being handed his double scoop of ice cream!
The Little Hand-Stirred Jam Shop: 9 Old Hume Highway, Berrima NSW 2577
Ph: 02 4877 1404