What gave you the push to branch out and start Jam Sessions Jam?
I've been canning since I was a teenager, and have always loved making my own jams, jellies, pickles, and sauces from whatever is growing in my garden and at local farms. When I was working in education, the summers were a quiet time in the office, so I started playing around with developing new jam recipes in my off time. I got a great response from friends and family, and started toying with the idea of making my jams on a larger scale and selling them at local farmers markets in the summer season. I wanted to partner with some of the wonderful small farms in the area and highlight the great things they were growing, and encourage people to eat locally and seasonally. Everything gathered momentum, and I took the leap and launched Jam Sessions officially in 2014. It's been a great success so far and a really fun creative outlet for me!
What Boston-area maker(s) do you admire?
It's so hard to choose--there are so many amazing makers in the area! I have major maker crushes on Ava's Caramel Popcorn, Kwohtations Cards, Spindler Confections, and Honeycomb Creamery, all of whom have been so generous to me with their time and guidance as we've all gotten started and navigated the in's and out's of developing our products and reaching new customers. Plus, all of their products are delicious and beautiful!
Any advice for someone looking to start their own business?
Work from your passion--if you come home from work every day and then stay up half the night working on a project that you love, listen to that. If it feeds you, even when you're tired, go with it. And find a community! Talking with other makers and small business owners has been invaluable every step along the way, and is one of the reasons I'm most excited to be part of Boston & Bale.
What is something most people don't know about Jam Sessions Jam?
I do still have a 9-5 job, but it's no longer in education: now I'm a Test Cook at America's Test Kitchen! It's a dream job for me doing recipe development for ATK cookbooks, and launching Jam Sessions is what led me to embrace a new career path in food. It means a LOT of cooking--working on recipes at work all day and then making jam at night and on weekends--but I absolutely love it.
Why the word play with the Jam Sessions name?
I actually started my career as a musician, and still sing with a band, Walter and the Night Owls, locally in Somerville. Now my jam sessions take many forms--in the kitchen and on stage!
Photo Credit: Jam Sessions
Jam Sessions makes the perfect addition to your Boston gift.
Check out www.jamsessions.com for more info.