Money for jam in pre­serves

Kapi-Mana News - - NEWS - By AN­DREA O’NEIL

No­body likes to see good food go to waste, which is how a Mana psy­chother­a­pist who dis­likes cook­ing found her­self pre­serv­ing 800 kilo­grams of fruit this win­ter.

Kate O’Byrne launched her top­shelf jam, chut­ney and mar­malade com­pany Snooty Fruit two years ago af­ter see­ing fruit rot­ting on the ground in her friend’s gar­den.

The jams she makes are no bog­stan­dard toast top­pings, how­ever. Her 22- prod­uct range in­cludes crabap­ple and chilli jelly, ki­wifruit and ca­per chut­ney and tof­fee ap­ple jam.

‘‘I don’t like cook­ing, I like cre­at­ing. I like com­ing up with ideas and cre­at­ing things,’’ Ms O’Byrne says. ‘‘I look at recipes and I think ‘how could I do that dif­fer­ently?’ I ba­si­cally cre­ate my own recipes.’’

The com­pany name is a com­pro­mise be­tween Ms O’Byrne’s orig­i­nal name Funky Fruit, and her hus­band Brian’s sug­ges­tion, Snooty Sauce. The name is a tongue-in-cheek way of ex­press­ing the com­pany’s or­ganic, preser­va­tive-free stan­dards.

‘‘It’s not like some­thing you’d get at a su­per­mar­ket,’’ Ms O’Byrne says. ‘‘Our phi­los­o­phy is the qual­ity is pre­mium. I sup­port lo­cal when I can.’’

The pre­serves are cooked in small batches of 50 jars each in a tiny com­mer­cial kitchen in Ms O’Byrne’s garage, but dur­ing busy weeks this au­tumn she bor­rowed Mana Cruis­ing Club’s fa­cil­i­ties.

‘‘It’s hard work at times. This year at times I was work­ing seven-day weeks.’’

It might be hard slog but her re­ward came when Kirk­caldie & Stains be­gan to stock her prod­uct.

‘‘It was cham­pagne that night,’’ she says.

Ms O’Byrne is now in the process of get­ting her prod­uct into Bal­lan­tyne’s in Christchurch, Smith & Caughey in Auck­land and Martin Bosley’s City Mar­ket in the Chaf­fers Dock Build­ing on the Welling­ton water­front.

An ob­sta­cle on her jammy jour­ney was cus­tomers not know­ing how to use the prod­ucts. Ms O’Byrne now posts recipe sug­ges­tions on her web­site and Face­book page, and does cook­ing demon­stra­tions.

The jams are so high in fruit that they cross the sweet-savoury bar­rier, Ms O’Byrne says. A plum pre­serve would work equally well in a fruit cake, as an ice cream top­ping or in a meat pie.

As well as han­dling hun­dreds of kilo­grams of frozen fruit, Ms O’Byrne will spend com­ing weeks in­vent­ing new flavours for Christ­mas cook­ing and bak­ing, and get­ting on­line sales run­ning on her web­site – as well as con­tin­u­ing her psy­chother­apy day job.

‘‘I like to make things hap­pen,’’ she says.

Jammy busi­ness: Mana psy­chother­a­pist Kate O’Byrne started her posh jam com­pany af­ter see­ing a friend’s fruit rot­ting un­der a tree.

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