First you find the trees – they are often in a wet area such as the pond on our property. Some years are so wet, we have to gather them from the water in canoes! There are about 200 trees on our farm. I’m told they could be 50 to 60 years old. All the maintenance is done by hand and nothing is put in, on or around the trees. The entire property is chemical free and fertilizer is provided by goats, lambs and chickens.
Once the berries are ripe we gather, clean, and dry them with a method we have developed over the years. If we time it right, you can see how it’s done at the Mayhaw Berry Harvest Festivals. To see a video of how it’s done the old-fashioned way, go to our Mayhaw Pond page where our neighbor, David Ward, demonstrates his method.
Here at Golden Acres Ranch, we package the berries in 4-pound bags (one-gallon) and refrigerate or freeze them. The next step is to make the Mayhaw juice from the berries. Then the fun begins.
The 4-pound package generally nets about 3 quarts of juice. I use Cane Sugar and Natural Apple Pectin in the jelly. Sometimes there are enough green berries that I don’t need the pectin but it is not as reliable to jell and it is easy to overcook and scorch the sugar. So, for consistency, I do like to use the pectin.
One thing I haven’t mastered completely is removing the foam that forms as the jelly cooks. Those little flecks you sometimes see in the jar are pieces of foam that I’ve missed. The product tastes just the same but I won’t win “First Prize” at the fair. This is a natural part of the product like the nubs seen in wool or raw silk.
We hope you will try some and enjoy the handmade goodness of Mayhaw Jelly from Jefferson County. We sell them in three sizes and we are willing to ship within the United States. Also, we accept most credit cards. You’ll need to Contact Us to find out what we have on hand and how much it will cost to ship.
UPDATE October 2017 – We are currently SOLD OUT of jelly due to no harvest last Spring. Please pray for a cold winter and no late frosts for this year!
The last of our berries are being made into jelly for the Market Days 52nd Annual Holiday Shopping Event. December 2nd and 3rd, 2017