In lieu of food gift giving, June Taylor, the Bay Area's darling jam, marmalade and all around fruit artisan, has opened the doors to her Still Room for retail sales. June Taylor's kitchen is located a few blocks south of 4th street's main shopping drag, around the corner from the famous Vik's Distributors chaat house.
For those of you San Franciscans who, if so inclined to wake early on a Saturday, get to the Ferry Plaza Farmers' Market regularly, buying June Taylors' fruit conserves and syrups in person, and tasting all of them, is easy. But maybe, like so many others, you like to sleep in, aren't parked in front, or have no interest in carrying a box of glass jars through the bustling crowds.
The Still Room's holiday hours might well be one of the ways you want to buy local, seasonal gifts directly from the actual people who produce them. Through Christmas, June Taylor will be open for walk-in sales: Friday: 12-4 pm, Saturdays: 11-4 pm, Sundays: 11-4pm.
And if you're interested in getting thorough hands-on experience making marmalade with the woman herself, follow this link to sign up for one of her winter classes. Last year I was one of many fortunate students to catch a glimpse into how she seamlessly balances sweet, sour and bitter citrus fruits, creating possibly the last artisinally made marmalade in the world; made by hand, in very small batches, no two jars are exactly the same. And if you take the class you'll get to take home a jar of what your class preps, cooks and bottles!
I'm not a big fan of shopping with the crowds. But if I had to, I'd choose 4th street in Berkeley over a mall or merely catalog shopping. For the food lover, this area offers a plethora of lunch, dinner and snack options.
Clean, soul-satisfying Japanese influenced meals can be eaten at O Chame. Bold, fresh Mexican food from the people who brought us Dona Tomas, can be found at Tacubaya. High end foodstuffs at The Pasta Shop, hearty charcuterie at Cafe Rouge, strong coffee at Peet's, visually delicious objects at The Gardener, the world famous Kiehl's, cookware of all styles and needs at Sur La Table, any music you want to listen to at Hear and, saving the best for last, uncooked, Strauss milk-based seasonal ice creams and sorbet at Sketch.
Shopping for those who have seen and eaten it all can feel impossible. But I have never once given anyone a jam, syrup, conserve or marmalade from June Taylor's vast repertoire and had her/him not be wowed by it. I hope you make it to The Still Room to see where thousands of pounds of fruit are transformed into jewel colored jars, and the one-woman company is housed.
June Taylor Company
2207 4th Street
Berkeley, CA 94710