Money for jam in preserves
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.