AFTER getting off to a sweet start, Mary and David Graves' Berkshire Berries enterprise is now fueled by their spicy Berry-Hot preserves.
From Becket, Massachusetts, Mary explains, "We still sell traditional fruity breakfast jams and jellies. But business has really heated up since we've added flavors like Berry-Hot Strawberry, Berry-Hot Garlic Raspberry, Berry-Hot Cinnamon and Berry-Hot Blueberry.
"These are excellent with meats or in sandwiches. I also suggest adding a little to a plain vinegar and oil dressing."
Strawberries, raspberries and garlic called for in her recipes are grown on Their farm, supplemented with additional produce grown locally. Blueberries they use grow wild in nearby woods.
"We began selling jams from a surrey in our yard in 1978," Mary recalls. "Then in 1991, we bought a restaurant and used the kitchen to make preserves after hours." Soon, increased demand prompted them to close the eatery, expand production and open a gift shop.
Its shelves also display the Graveses' honey, maple syrup and switchel--a thirst-quencher made with raspberry or blueberry vinegar, water, sugar, ginger and lemon juice. They sell at farmer's markets in Boston and New York, too.
"A few years ago, David set up a beehive in a rooftop garden near New York City's Union Square Green Market," she relates. "Our New York Rooftop Honey is such a hit that we have placed six more hives in the city!"
Daughter Heather, 23, and son Jeff, 20, work full-time with their folks.
For ordering information, call 1-800/523-7797, write Berkshire Berries at R.D. 1, Chester MA 01011 or check Web site: www.berkshireberries.com