IMG_1131As many of you may already know I have a passion for preserving. Throughout the seasons I make jams, chutneys, marmalades, pickles and at Christmas time my house is filled with the glorious aroma of home-made mincemeat.  I love making preserves and if I’m not making them I am writing about them, even my two little daughters have caught the preserving bug and they regularly help with hedgerow picking and the like.

Now I am looking for your help as I am looking for customers to help get my preserves from award winning to sales winning. Despite having won a string of awards I have never managed to secure a real market for my jams and with two under-fives to look after and a living to earn it has been one of those things that I have had on my wish list for a very long time.  I have decided that it is now or never. There are many preserving companies out there without accolades that are selling there produce to happy customers so I think it is about time I gave it a try.

When I started making jams, chutneys and marmalade’s using time honoured methods and fine quality local produce, my intention was to sell my IMG_1069products in local farm shops, however, my stumbling block was that I cook seasonally and in small batches and I soon found that shops wanted high volumes of my preserves that I simply cannot meet- for example I cannot produce 200 jars of my Award Winning Welsh Strawberry Jam in mid-December, it is a seasonal product. My preserves win awards because the care and attention that goes into their making combined with the best possible ingredients makes for a superior product. I don’t wish to change how I make the products as the judges’ comments tell me I am doing it right and I strongly believe in small batches, open pan method, good local produce, hand chopped peel etc etc, so what I want to do is change the way that I sell my products.

I want to set up a Preserving Club, which is designed to allow customers to buy my jams, chutneys, pickles, books and marmalade directly, cutting out the middle man and trying out new flavours and combinations as the seasons dictate.  People will be able to buy either a marmalade, jam, pickle or chutney or mixed pack which will contain three full size jars these will come on either a one of purchase basis or at a discounted rate for a monthly subscription. The flavours will vary in accordance with what is in season at the time of ordering.

I need to kick-start the project and so I have set up a project on a website that allows people to make pledges towards getting a project off the ground. My project is not looking for donations it is looking to kick-start by you placing orders and giving my jams and pickles a try. By securing enough orders it will help to lower costs of jars and labels and allow me to get set up and start the business properly.  You can read about my project and make a pledge if you wish at https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/17386355/the-preserving-club

I believe that great taste should be the priority when making preserves and that the desire of shops to drive down costs and provide continual supply of products out of season is a large part of the problem with our diets and shopping culture.

The Preserving Club is not asking for a long term commitment you can place an order for a months’ worth of preserves and then order again if and when you fancy or you can decide to have an ongoing subscription. It is flexible and you can decide when you would like to buy – it’s always up to you.

The idea of the club is that you receive three seasonal preserves at a time (you choose whether jams, pickles, chutneys or a selection) this helps with the costs of postage and makes it worthwhile for all concerned.

As well as preserves you will get recipes and newsletters updating you about the preserving year in with your deliveries. You can also opt to send gift packs to friends and family as gifts in time for Christmas.

Pledges start from just £1 and for £20 upwards you can opt to receive a pack of my award winning produce. I hope that enough people like my preserves to decide to buy a pack but if not this are a useful bit of market research.

 

 

About Seren Charrington-Hollins

ABOUT SEREN-CHARRINGTON-HOLLINS Describing my work through just one job title is difficult; because my professional life sees me wear a few hats: Food Historian, period cook, broadcaster, writer and consultant. I have a great passion for social and food history and in addition to researching food history and trends I have also acted as a consultant on domestic life and changes throughout history for a number of International Companies. In addition to being regularly aired on radio stations; I have made a number of television appearances on everything from Sky News through to ITV’s Country House Sunday, Holiday of a Lifetime with Len Goodman , BBC4’s Castle’s Under Siege, BBC South Ration Book Britain; Pubs that Built Britain with Hairy Bikers and BBC 2’s Inside the Factory. Amongst other publications my work has been featured in Period Living Magazine, Telegraph, Daily Telegraph, Daily Mail and Great British Food Magazine and I write regularly for a variety of print and online publications. I am very fortunate to be able to undertake work that is also my passion and never tire of researching; recreating historical recipes and researching changing domestic patterns. Feel free to visit my blog, www.serenitykitchen.com