To Market: Smoke ’Em
BY KATY KELLEHER / PHOTOS BY MICHAEL PIAZZA
Woodstock Hill Preserves
Maureen Estony was walking through her orchard one day when an idea struck like Newton’s apple falling from the tree. “I suddenly thought, ‘Hmm, what if you smoked fruit? That could taste really interesting,’” she recalls.
From the seed of this idea, an award-winning line of fruit preserves was born. Although Estony had been quietly making quality jam for over 35 years, she had yet to break into a mainstream market. After spending over 1,000 hours in the kitchen—time she spent building her own smoker, smoking her own fruit and perfecting her unique recipes—Estony was rewarded with what she wryly calls “overnight success.”
Her award-winning preserves feature local fruits like pears, strawberries and cherries that have been slowly smoked over fires made from oak, apple, pecan and citrus woods. Each fruit is paired with a different kind of wood—applewood has a subtle flavor that works better with softer fruits, while oak works well with heartier fruits.
A standout in the line is the strawberry balsamic preserve, which complements creamy soft cheeses perfectly. The smoked pear tastes amazing with cheddar, while the peach bourbon chipotle is excellent on a pulled pork sandwich. Last Thanksgiving, Estony’s family ate the pineapple mango preserves alongside slices of turkey.
“I had no limitations when I was making it,” Estony says. “There are no limitations to how you eat it, either.”