All Articles
All Articles

American Spoon

by Brian Fichtner
on 09 September 2008

American Spoon has been in the business of making artisinal fruit preserves for nearly three decades. While many commercial manufacturers pump their jellies and jams full of sweeteners, American Spoon makes every effort to use as little sugar as necessary to create a fruit-forward product while preserving the natural flavors that often get lost in big batch production.

Based in Petosky, Michigan, American Spoon is ideally positioned to tap into a wealth of locally harvested fruits. Despite its picturesque locale—a quaint Main Street American town on the northern shores of Lake Michigan—the region can feel rather remote. Company co-founder Justin Rashid comments about his home, “There are two things you need to bring with you when you move to Petosky—a job and a wife.” Having left New York City in the late 70s with the aim of harvesting the region’s bountiful produce, Justin fulfilled the first prerequisite quite readily by supplying foraged foods to New York Chef Larry Forgione. With Larry’s brunch business in full swing, it wasn’t long before Justin found himself making preserves from Michigan fruits.

What sets American Spoon apart is their ethos. “We’re in the business of selling authenticity,” Justin declared. Authenticity means not only making natural preserves, but preserving varietals through strategic partnerships with regional farmers. While national distribution dictates the need for more hardy (read: less flavorful) fruits, American Spoon works with farmers to save heirloom varieties like its Red Haven Peach Preserves ($8 / 9.5 oz.) that might otherwise be lost from cultivation. American Spoon is one of the last companies to hand-peel this fragile fruit, known as a “melting flesh” peach variety. Despite the intensive labor, it yields an extremely succulent preserve loaded with large fleshy chunks.

The Wild Thimbleberry Jam ($17 / 9 oz.) is another delicious and rare product. Found only in some of the most remote regions of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the thimbleberry is similar in resemblance to a raspberry, however it bruises far more easily, making it unsuitable for mass cultivation. If the fruit falls to the ground, it's all but lost from the damage. Foragers can only pick a couple pounds in twice as many hours but the rewards are an incredibly aromatic jam, punctuated by the thimbleberry's miniscule, nutty seeds. For breakfast, we'd recommend using this jam in a crèpe.

Every American Spoon store—there are six in Michigan—features a tasting counter where customers are encouraged to both sample every product available and learn about its history. Look for our inclusion of American Spoon gift boxes in this year's upcoming holiday gift guide. American Spoon can be purchased online, through mail order or at gourmet retailers such as Dean & Deluca in New York or Surfas in Culver City.

The CH25 is a showcase of creators and innovators from a broad range of disciplines who are currently working to drive the world forward.

Dan Barasch + James Ramsey

A quest to make the future brighter—underground

Read More
We both share a passion for groundbreaking technology and a shared love of New York

Eelke Plasmeijer

The locally driven restaurant that’s upending Balinese food culture

Read More
We really try to keep things simple and let the produce do the talking

Sarah Kunst

The entrepreneur single-handedly changing the landscape for women in tech

Read More
People who live on a planet that is half women but can never seem to find any when they need one, I have solved your problem

Tal Danino

The bioengineer who’s programming DNA to fight cancer

Read More
[Manipulating genes] is very new, people are just learning how to program these organisms

Roxie Darling

From un-shampoo to transgender identity, the NYC colorist boldly defining the next chapter of hair

Read More
Hair color is as much a science as it is a craft

Matt Kenyon

Fusing art and technology to disrupt concepts of corporate America

Read More
I want the work to live in the world and circulate, so it can generate more dialogue

Tarren Wolfe

The next-generation appliance making kitchens greener—literally

Read More
Our goal is to provide food for everyone in the world, and the best place to start is in our very own community

Kathleen Supové

The NYC performance artist who’s radically reinventing the piano recital

Read More
I like pieces that are virtuosic, that show off the piano and what it can do, and are awe-inspiring

Alex Kalman

The tiny museum in Manhattan that’s redefining museums

Read More
The mission is to put this small simple and powerful tool into the hands of as many people as possible

Corinne Joachim Sanon

The chocolatier bringing social change to Haiti and bean-to-bar chocolate to the world

Read More
Seeing the poverty surrounding me and the lack of jobs and opportunity bothered me

Douglas Riboud + Justin Guilbert

How a mission to create great coconut water led to a whole new way of doing business

Read More
We’ve made a conscious decision to be as transparent and honest as we can, and let people decide for themselves

Meredith Perry

How searching the Internet helped a 22-year-old invent wireless electricity

Read More
It’s not about where the information is, it’s about how you use the tools

LaToya Ruby Frazier

Documenting the slow, troubling change in Braddock, Pennsylvania

Read More
I am not a journalist, I am a conceptual documentary artist using my visual expression for building narratives that are unseen and unheard

Sabine Seymour

A future where smart clothes are as ubiquitous as zippers

Read More
In the future you will not buy a piece of 'functional' clothing without SoftSpot

Pauline van Dongen

The Dutch designer blazing the wearable technology path

Read More
I’m fascinated by concepts of change, movement, energy and perception; since they are closely related to the way we experience the world

Marcus Weller

Using technology to turn motorcycle helmet design on its head

Read More
I was taken aback both by the number of people that doubted it, and by the equally large number of people that got behind it

Lulu Mickelson

A civic leader bringing change to NYC through design

Read More
Human-centered design is one of the many tools that we can use to better engage the public

Vanessa Newman

Redesigning pregnancy for the post-gender generation with Butchbaby & Co.

Read More
I want my customers to feel comfortable and unchanged, in that becoming pregnant didn't take away from or compromise their identity

Jonathan Sparks

Reinventing electronic music by inventing multi-disciplinary instruments

Read More
Recorded music is becoming so cheap, so the value of music is now in live performance

Melissa Kushner

Addressing the needs of orphans and vulnerable children in Malawi through microenterprise

Read More
Poverty is complicated, there is an increasing temptation and pressure in the development space to oversimplify things

Joshua Harker

Pushing the boundaries of sculpture with intricate 3D printing

Read More
My intent was to explore and depict the architecture of the imagination, to interpret and share forms evident in the mind’s eye

Kegan Schouwenburg

Revolutionizing orthotics through 3D-printed insoles

Read More
What orthotics do is they effectively change the geometry of what your alignment is like

Leopoldine Huyghues Despointes

The young filmmaker and non-profit founder who just wants people to follow their dreams

Read More
I feel confident and ready to accomplish so much more, the movement is on

George Arriola and Monohm

An heirloom electronic for the post-smartphone era

Read More
We agonized during the design process as all hyper-obsessed craftspeople should

Cynthia Breazeal

How an emotional, empathetic robot named Jibo stands to revolutionize communication

Read More
The thing that's so provocative about social robots is that it's fundamentally a community technology