Jam used to be an addition or sidekick for me. Its intent was to accompany something else, such as peanut butter, or toast. It was never the main attraction – until now.
We spent a morning with Heidi, the creator of Serious Jam, consuming cheese and crackers as a vehicle to feast and cherish these delicacies. Heidi had a sampling of flavors from the past, current flavors and jams she may someday share with the rest of the world, if we could be so lucky! (Please do yourself a huge favor and go right over to her website to see which flavors are currently in season and order some! It is a beautiful site and just as inspiring as her jam.)
We gorged on:
Lilac Wine Jelly
Crabapple Chilipepper Jelly
Black Currant Vanilla Bean
Lemon Whisky Marmalade
Blueberry Bourbon Sage
Orange Curry Cranberry Butter
Maple Brandy Apple Butter
My mouth is watering right now with the potent memory of these jams. Flavors filled with the freshness of summer, sage and bourbon and rich salt. It is a marrying of senses of the acutest kind.
Inspired yet? Well wait until you meet Heidi.
She is fun and down to earth. Funky and relatable. The home she shares with her husband finds its creative sentiment from the cool mod vibe of a bygone era. Everything about her and her space speaks to intentional personal choice that reflects her spirit and energy.
Heidi has self appointed herself as no good unless she is working with her hands, stating “My creative muse needs to do different things so she doesn’t get bored.”
Up until last year, Heidi was one half of a dynamic florist duo. Her company of 18 years was highly successful until they both knew it was time to move on.
“I didn’t stop being a florist to do jam. It was a natural end. It was time. Both of our bodies were worn down from the heavy labor and ritual repetitive motions. We were weary and our bodies were telling us it was time to be done. I also love doing lots of things, jam, cooking, freedom to go to Italy, weaving, planting and gardening. I don’t want to HAVE to do something. Ending floral work was choosing a different lifestyle. I needed to get back to the earth.”
I think it is easy to have an audience view of someone who overhauls their life to see glamour and freedom and wonder how they do it. After speaking with Heidi, I could see that even with all the benefits and deep rewards of listening to your heart and soul and body, it still requires hard work to take such a risk. One must wrestle with expectations, plans for the future, and how to navigate uncharted territory.
“It takes real sacrifice. Which honestly I couldn’t have done without the support of my husband and friends. No one can venture off alone. We all need a tribe behind us and surrounding us.”
So how did this adventure start?
On a strawberry picking adventure five years ago; caught up in the sunshine, the cool breeze, and the warmth of the day, Heidi and her husband came home with 50 lbs of strawberries. So what did she do? Made Strawberry Balsamic Black Pepper Jam of course.
Yeah. I know. This right here is what I admire about this woman. Me? I would have given them away, frozen them for later, or at the very best, made plain ole strawberry jam. But that’s not how Heidi thinks or feels or sees the world. It’s in layers of color, smells, taste and touches. She sees the depth and richness of what could be when you bring interesting and unique pieces together.
She gave that batch of jam away, and people came back asking for more. For years she kept her friends and family supplied with jam, and then in a brief conversation with a friend at a bar, Heidi confessed, “I think I want to make jam to sell, but I don’t want a cutesy name or anything super homespun like that. I want to be serious about it and do it right and really, seriously, try to sell some jam.” Her friend kindly pointed out she just found her perfect name, Serious Jam. And she swooned, and it stuck like glue. Serious Jam was born.
I asked Heidi what she thought was different about her product and what her dreams were for her new brand.
“I measure success by the spoonful now. If I make my jam with love, then the people can taste it. They can taste the joy.
I currently forage for plums and find the farmers. I want to find the best fruit and the best farmers and their stories and support them. I want to be known as a preservationist; of life, food, method, belief of eating in the winter what we harvest in the summer. I want to take classes on fermenting and canning.
My dream is to align myself as a preservationist and find a farm where I will grow Raspberries and Rhubarb, raise chickens and llamas. But I don’t want to give up on my farmers and support of them. I want to bring people along in this journey – food that is sustainable – the more small operations works, the better we are. Small is where it is. Support the small, be their voice, raise their flag.
The big florist world gave me the guide post to help shape the vision, but I can’t force my vision. I am on the journey. Nothing happens when I force it.”
I loved meeting Heidi, so much. She is a woman who, by society standards, had everything, but trusted her heart (and her partner and their sore bodies after years of doing grueling repetitive work) when it told her it was time to move on. She braved the risk, and even when it’s hard, is courageous enough to carry on.
That’s what we need though isn’t it? More stories and examples of people who do the hard work to dig deep in the well of their hearts and live in the richness of their of their spirit, not the wealth of the world.
Thank you Heidi for a truly lovely time! You have successfully ruined jam for me forever. Yours was purely orgasmic.