I want to start by congratulating Sylvia P, who won "Orion", the Shark Monster, from Karen's Monsters. We had 128 comments, and her name was randomly chosen through Random.org. Thank you all for commenting and entering!
Todays Friday Feature is really in a jam. Well, at least Amy, the owner of Lemonbird is up to her elbows in jam. Amy and her husband own and operate Lemonbird out of southern California. They started the business after a trip to France, which you can read about in her shop. Let's see what else we can find out about Amy and her yummy business.
TDB: I read that you started making jams after a visit in France, and finding some wonderful jams. Did you have any jam-making experience before that, or was this a brand new venture for you?
Amy: I love to cook and I have been making jams for years. I was always experimenting with cooking and giving friends and family gifts of all kinds of foods. A couple of weeks ago, friends actually opened jars that I had made for them a few years ago before I started selling the jams.
TDB: You have some very different combinations in your jams. What's the inspiration behind those combinations?
Amy: I love all kinds of fruits and vegetables at the local farmers markets. I was telling a friend yesterday that weekly visits to the market are my "joie de vie". I get inspired by tasting the fruits I use, a walk through the garden, a smell, a season I want people to feel when they taste the jam, a place near or far. . . And my imagination is nonstop when someone brings me fresh fruit from their garden!
TDB: Have there been times when you've thought something sounded wonderful, and it ended up being a complete flop?
Amy: (I am smiling as I write this one!) I've learned the hard way to make test batches of any kind of new jam I think will be wonderful, especially when learning to work with a fruit I've never cooked with before. I made a mix of blood orange last spring with some fresh herbs and after cooking and canning all day long - it tasted medicinal and I had to throw out every jar.
TDB: Where else do you sell your jams?
Amy: My jams are for sale at Artisan Cheese Gallery in Studio City, California and Fiore in Montrose, California. Both of these shops are in the LA area. We've actually had requests from other shops across the country in the past couple of weeks and we're hoping to expand to more places this year.
TDB: Who helps you create these wonderful jams?
Amy: My husband! He's been there helping me with everything I make from start to finish. I've also had a lot of help from friends and family who have all volunteered to help in some way.
TDB: What is your favorite jam that you make?
Amy: Wow, tough one - I think as I finish each type of jam it becomes my new favorite!
TDB: When you're not "jamming", what do you enjoy doing?
Amy: We love camping and hiking and the outdoors. We're also planning the start of an orchard and garden right now.
TDB: What advice can you give to new shops on Etsy?
Amy: Etsy is a wonderful place with so much talent and kind people. I think the handmade movement is truly affecting how we make purchases and who we are purchasing our goods and services from. Find your niche, have great photos, and a professional looking shop. There are many services on the site itself that can help you get started!
Thanks Amy! Now we get to talk about what Amy is offering for the Friday Features giveaway. Amy is giving the winner a choice of either a 2 jam gift basket with a Lemon & Lavender and Apple & Thyme jam, OR 3 individual jams, including Kumquat & Tangerine with Vanilla, Blood Orange and Apple & Thyme. Items will shipped anywhere in the US.
To Enter: Please go visit Amy's shop, and come back here and comment on your favorite item in her shop. Unfortunately, we can only open this contest to readers in the United States, due to postal regulations on food items. Deadline to enter is Thursday, April 17th at midnight PST. Please be sure to leave only ONE comment with a valid email or other way to get ahold of you. I had to re-draw twice on the last giveaway, because I had no way to get ahold of the person whose name I drew!
Don't forget to enter to win the $10 gift certificates from Ambrosia Delights. We will be drawing TWO winners who will each receive the $10 gift certificate! Deadline is Monday, April 14th at Midnight PST.