Oak Orchard jams and jellies are handmade with handpicked local fruit such as black cherries, plums, figs, red currents and Mirabelle plums. Minimising wastage, orange pulp and peel left over from making orange olive oil makes up a compote that’s tasty on toast or mixed with yogurt.
ONCE UPON a time in a canton not very far away (Basel, that is) there lived a young man who one day returned from Boy Scout camp to take over his mother’s kitchen.
Uninspired by the prospect of boiled salt-water potatoes, Martin fried the uncooked spuds in oil and butter, added salt, pepper, a dash of spice, and fresh rosemary and basil.
Simple yet delicious, Pommes de Terre à la compagne (known as “War Potatoes” in the testosterone-charged world of the teenage Scout camp) came to be, signifying the start of many more inventive and tasty things to come.
Martin then progressed from campfire cookery to mastering the art of the flambé under the tutelage of a pro chef who coordinated the community’s annual fine dining event.
Seizing the moment
Although Martin eventually chose a life in finance over one in a professional kitchen, his passion for cooking and concocting resolutely remained on a not-too-distant back burner.
“Life in the kitchen and garden was the perfect counterbalance to sitting in front of a screen and number crunching,” he explains. “In finance, things need to be precise, in the kitchen you have room to experiment and create.”
An earlier-than-anticipated departure from the world of brokerage opened the door for Martin to seize the moment and focus his energies in a new but familiar and welcome direction.
One that started with an open field of wild garlic (“Bear’s garlic” to the Swiss) just waiting to be picked, washed, mixed with pine nuts, parmesan and seasoning to become a flavour-packed, deep green pesto for heaping on pasta, meaty fish or into baked mushrooms.
One thing leads to another
Moving from wild garlic to the greenery growing in his own herb garden Martin then plunged into making his first flavoured olive oil, with basil, followed by rosemary and then mint.
Shortly thereafter, Oak Orchard Edibles made its first appearance at a local Sunday morning market. Private commissions weren’t far behind.
Fruit-flavoured olive oils came into the picture at a client’s suggestion: Oak Orchard Edibles’ lemon olive oil works a treat over seafood and lemon-ricotta stuffed tortellini.
Fruit also shows up as a base for vinegars: Martin’s raspberry or pineapple vinegar (mango is still in the making) combined with his orange olive oil makes for a delicate, slightly sweet vinaigrette.
Jams, jellies and sharing recipes
In exchange for olive oils and vinegars, Martin got the pick of his neighbours’ fruit orchards — heritage apples, plums, black cherries, Mirabelles, kiwis and figs, and turned it into a variety of jams and jellies with low sugar content and sometimes, a little pinch of the unexpected.
“I’ve picked up a lot of ideas travelling and going to food markets, where I talk with the vendors of all kinds of foods and spices,” he says.
“I don’t use a lot of salt or sugar and I let carefully selected ingredients, whether herb or fruit, speak for themselves.”
Handpicked and made by hand, Oak Orchard Edibles deservedly labels its products artisanal. They’re now available at BioTop in Coppet village and at La Petite Lignière, on the Rte Suisse 55, in Gland, where Martin also hosts taste-testing events.
“I enjoy chatting with customers and finding out how they’re using my products. One client told me he loves the basil olive oil simply for dipping his bread into!
“It’s interesting because they also like to share their own family recipes with me and we compare ideas,” he says.
What’s in a name?
Martin’s looking forward to participating in the American International Women’s Club’s Arts & Crafts Market on 29 September at the AIWC Clubrooms in Geneva.
And then it’s Christmas market time (check back here for more details) so there’s busy but enjoyable days ahead.
Martin cares deeply about creating oils, vinegars, pestos and preserves that he can be proud of and that his customers enjoy.
So much so that he’s put his own family name, Ineichen, behind the brand. Loosely translated from Swiss German it means “among the oak trees” or with a little imagination — Oak Orchard.
Taste, hands, heart, and name: you can’t put more of yourself into your products than that.
For more info about Oak Orchard Edibles, you’re welcome to get in touch with Martin at: firstname.lastname@example.org
This is not a sponsored post.