100 Years of Jam Making in Sierra Madre



My friend Nic told me about a jam maker in Sierra Madre, California, and we decided to go visit his orchard and jam factory. They give free tours every Saturday. For over 100 years, E. Waldo Ward & Son has been making marmalade, jams, and other condiments.

jam barn doorwaldo ward and sonsBack in the day, Sierra Madre was a settlement of farms and ranches, but the Ward Ranch is the only one left today. Also one of the last jam makers around that makes jam from fresh local fruits, E. Waldo Ward & Son pride themselves in not using any corn syrup or pre-processed peels. Without this addition of corn syrup like the larger commercial jam producers, marmalade from the Ward Ranch does not have to be refrigerated after opening. In the future I will have to check all jam labels!

ladder orchard

Beautiful oranges, kumquats, and other fruits surround the jam factory and a cute yellow cottage where the family lives. I felt like I traveled back in time and stepped into a completely different world. Life is full of surprises like this one.

apple butter sandwich

I bought some apple butter and their famous Seville Orange marmalade. I love apple butter because it’s creamy, a little sweet, and delicious when paired with cheese. For a quick delicious lunch, try spreading apple butter on fresh sourdough, top with a few slices of smoked Gouda, and a few spoonful of sautéed ground Bison.

Bison Sandwich, Apple Butter, and Smoked Gouda


  • 1 tbsp of olive oil
  • 8oz of ground Bison (or other ground meat)
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp of salt
  • 1/4 tsp of pepper
  • 1/2 tsp of paprika
  • 4 large slices of sourdough
  • 1 tbsp of apple butter
  • Slices of smoked gouda (enough to cover two large sourdough slices)


  1. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. When oil is hot, add minced garlic. Fry for 30 seconds until browned and add ground Bison.
  2. Add salt, smoked paprika, and pepper to the Bison.
  3. Cook and break up meat occasionally until ground Bison is cooked through and no longer pink.
  4. Meanwhile, spread 1/2 tbsp of apple butter on 2 slices of sourdough.
  5. Top the apple butter sourdough slices with smoked gouda.
  6. When meat is done, add a few spoonful of the Bison to the sandwich then press another sourdough slice on each of the two sandwiches. Press down on the sandwiches and cut each of them in half. Serve right away.

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