Yesterday I visited a sweet and fragrant, magical world – The Jammery, where Tracey Collins, owner of A Jar Of, makes all her mouth-wateringly delicious jams, sauces and chutneys.
Tracey was incredibly welcoming (especially considering I had two of my three children with me) and we had a lovely chat about her growing business whilst the children emptied the boxes of jam jar lids all over the floor…
What prompted you to start A Jar Of? We lived near London but had a plan to move to the country and start a small holding with holiday lets. The logistics ended up taking longer than we expected and although I had left my job as an analyst, I needed something to do before the move actually happened. I started making cakes to sell at farmers markets which was successful, but difficult to manage a stock of perishable items. I had always made jams and preserves as Christmas presents but suddenly had the idea to make them for sale. I optimistically took 60 jars of jams to the first market (using a stand with no banner and home-printed labels). I was staggered to sell almost everything, but I’ve never looked back.
Where do you sell now? I have 24 stockists, throughout Dorset who stock my jams and preserves – I ship out around 800-1000 jars a month. I also take part in Dorset food festivals and markets where people can come and meet me and buy. A list of stockists and events is listed on my website here.
Where do your ingredients come from? As much as possible, I use ingredients from Dorset. I use cherries from Cherry Picked Hampers, blueberries from Puddletown, gooseberries and blackcurrants from my garden and I forage the hedgerows for sloes in the autumn. All the fruit and vegetables are seasonal, so my stock changes through the year.
What is your idea of a perfect Dorset weekend? It would definitely involve getting to the coast and walking some of the coast path with our dog. Golden Cap and Durdle Door are my favourites. And I love eating out – my top recommendations are The Crab House Cafe in Wyke Regis and The White Post which straddles the Somerset/Dorset border at Rimpton – their food is simply beautiful.