Interview with a Maker - Ann McGrath / Ann in a Jam
If you are in need of some seriously delicious jam, jelly, or pickled goodies we know just the business for you! Ann has a fantastic mix of sweet and savory and all the ideas on how to use her products to whip up some fantastic meals!!
What do you Make/ what is your business all about?
I make gourmet jam, jelly and pickles. I try to stay away from traditional flavors for the most part, not because I don’t care for them, but because they are available everywhere. Strawberry jam is delicious and it isn’t hard to go to a farmers market and find a very good jar of it so that frees me up to experiment with interesting flavor combinations.
How did you get started?
I got started canning when my husband’s grandmother passed away and willed me her canning pot. Originally, I just wanted to be able to recreate some of her most beloved recipes for our family, but I found out that I really loved canning and things just went from there.
What's your biggest SUCCESS this far?
Tough questions. I’ve certainly had great days from a money stand point and I’ve had some pretty interesting doors open to me because of this, but a success for me is when I get an email from someone telling me how much they love my jam, or seeing a repeat customer and having a good chat. There are so many things about Ann in a Jam that make me smile. I generally think it’s just a success in and of itself without breaking down the moments.
What's your biggest Failure?
Since Ann in a Jam truly is a labor of love, there really haven’t been any big failures. I think the worst I’ve dealt with so far is the occasional batch of jam that doesn’t set!
What do you love the most about making/your business?
The act of creation is so important. I think that as a society we would all be healthier if we all did more making. The rush of energy I get when I see something fresh and wonderful and ready to be canned at a farmers market is the best. I love the feeling of inspiration when the ideas start flowing. And for me, the act of making the things I make is very calming. I do my best thinking when I’m in the kitchen.
What is your business Super Strength?
Ann in a Jam’s super strength is the support that I have from my friends and family. Truly, I couldn’t do any of this without them, and I wouldn’t want to! My favorite Ann in a Jam event is what we have come to call the “Strawberry Slaughter”. When my (several hundred pound) strawberry order is ready I get all my available family and friends together. We set up tables and everyone pitches in to get them cleaned and hulled for jam. We eat, drink beer, chat and laugh. It’s a great evening!
What advice do you have to those makers/ entrepreneurs afraid to take the next step?
Fortune favors the brave. Getting started in the craft fair/makers game is pretty easy and requires a relatively small investment. There is so little to lose by giving it a try and seeing what happens!
What is your spirit animal and why?
Lol…I don’t think I have one! Is there an animal that especially enjoys eating tacos and watching Netflix? If so, that would be it!