Having the ability to preserve all that cannot be used in the fresh state, affords the opportunity for the preservationist to work with a berry farmer for example to purchase their whole crop, ensuring that the berries are grown in a sustainable fashion and providing the farmer with the security of knowing their product will not go to waste. The results are jams, jellies and preserves of a natural quality, ones that derive their flavor from the ingredient rather than additives. Blackberry’s small-batch preserves pay homage to the true meaning of abundance with stewardship and respect for the orchard’s natural goodness. through recipes passed down by our Appalachian forebears, our artisans revive the craft of "putting by" with each jar that’s sealed. using only the highest quality ingredients.
Shannon Walker grew up eating and preserving from the land. With the guiding hand of his grandparents he saw living out of the garden a way of life. His grandmother showed him how to cook and preserve while his grandfather influenced his love of gardening and foraging. After a successful career as a photographer, Shannon decided to change his path and took up work in the kitchen and spent the next 7 years in the kitchens of Blackberry Farm, a local restaurant or two and even had his own catering business. He returned to Blackberry Farm in the Main House kitchen in early 2009, and then stepped into the role of Preservationist in 2011. The Larder is a natural place for Shannon as he gets to express creativity, love of the food culture and products from East Tennessee, and use his skills as a chef and those that his grandmother passed down. Shannon’s high regard for the land, passion for farming, foraging, bee keeping and the history of the area is apparent in each jar he creates. Shannon sees his role as the Preservationist at Blackberry Farm more than preserving the season’s bounty, but to also protect and share the southern Appalachian culture and food history.
“Our goal is to capture a certain time and place on the farm, and preserve the unique flavor that only the peak of that season can put forward.”