by Christina Cush | June 16, 2017

The Spread: Vintage Fruit Cocktail! 

Wet your summer whistle with a unique Mayhaw Paloma, made with club soda, tart juice from a Florida berry and tequila 

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Fruit pioneers Scott and Lindsay Meyer are bringing mayhaw back in a big way—in addition to being successful rice croppers at Congaree and Penn in Jacksonville. The fruit, with pinkish to deep red skin, looks like a tiny little apple or a big berry—the biggest one, less than an inch in diameter.

“Mayhaw, from the hawthorn tree, is one of the only native fruit trees in the Southeast,” says Scott. “We’re trying to pioneer more mayhaw trees, fruit and juice in the marketplace,” he says. But don’t bite into the teensy fruit expecting a sweet treat.

“It’s very, very tart,” says Scott.

Native Americans ate it to settle their stomachs, as the berry is more acidic than vinegar. Once the right amount of sugar was added to the juice, Scott says, “a unique flavor of cranberry with a grape finish became sought after in rural areas.”

Since Scott put his first hawthorn in the ground in February 2015, he’s sprouted 1,800 trees and plans to start selling them to the public in the fall. For now, you can buy Congaree and Penn’s mayhaw juice, jelly and shrub, a vinegar-based syrup made from the juice. Scott has even bigger plans for the shrub.

“We’re experimenting with a sorbet,” Scott says. “The shrub is so versatile. It’s the easiest way to get mayhaw flavor into all sorts of things, like a salad dressing or a cocktail.” Hey, did somebody say cocktail? Great idea!  Since the Meyers met in Texas, they’ve been tequila fans. “It’s hot on the farm in the summer and tequila seems to be a good choice,” Scott says.

Conagree and Penn's Mayhaw Paloma; Photography by Stefanie Keeler

Conagree and Penn’s Mayhaw Paloma; Photography by Stefanie Keeler

MAYHAW PALOMA

SERVES 1
  • 1 1/2 ounces tequila
  • 1 ounce mayhaw shrub
  • 1/2 ounce fresh grapefruit juice

Preparation: Shaken and poured over ice, topped with club soda.


Read the full story on Congaree and Penn Farm.