I have lots of questions sent to me, and the most recent one was from Hannah,
( apologies, no pictures this time, but I think you all know what a cream tea looks like! )
I would like to ask your advice about producing larger quantities of jam and putting into plastic food grade tubs. The size of tub I am talking about is the 3 kg size.
In the village Where I live there is a tea room and the owner has spoke to me about putting my jam on their shelves for selling to the public, which is a great opportunity for me. However she Also suggested that they would like more of the jam in bulk so for them to use when they serve cream teas and also for use with their freshly made cakes and the toast and jam on the breakfast menu.
At present they buy the tubs from the cash and carry and use about 3x 3kg tubs of strawberry jam a week and 1x 3kg of apricot every 2 weeks.
I would love to supply them but I do not know of a cost efficient way to sell it to them unless I put it into a similar plastic tubs. But I do not know how I would go about doing this in terms of the hot jam on the plastic causing it to melt, or how to sterilise them safely and as the strawberry season is short I would hope to make quite a few tubs so storage would also be important.
Would you have any knowledge and advice about this?
I would be extremely grateful for your help.
Firstly, everyone wants strawberry jam all of the time. Why?
I train my customers to understand that there are different seasons for jam and a variety is a welcome point of difference for their business. That takes the pressure off of you because you are going to have to make a ton of jam 'in season' to service this kind of requirement. If you run out you are naturally going to try to replace with expensive, out of season fruit and thereby lose money.
I use the plastic pails for my supply. I fill them hot but don't seal them until the jam is cold and set, mainly because there is excessive condensation which would create mould.
If you manage to persuade your customer to have seasonal jam you won't have a problem with it keeping but you shouldn't have a problem anyway if it is kept sealed and in a dry, cool environment. I am not giving guarantees of this though as I just do not know - my customers use it pretty rapidly. I also make chutneys like this, for ploughman's lunches and sandwiches.
I am trying to get a Jampaign going, where tea rooms and hotels, B&Bs etc do use a variety of LOCAL, seasonal jam and offer a choice on their menues.It is commonplace with tea, coffee, cheese etc but everyone goes to the trouble of extolling the virtues of their freshly baked scones - and then serve it with a dollop of red jam from a bucket from the wholesaler. Why?
It is the same at county shows - you have the rare breeds farmer with their own burgers made from Buttercup, who led a lovely life in their verdant pastures before being hummanely dispatched to make this delicious burger, and then serve it with Happy Shopper sauce! What don't they get?
One positive, proactive idea, offer to do a tasting session with the café, with their staff, explaining the different jams, and let them try them with their scones and cream. Give an outline of the seasonality, what would be available when, and offer to supply the quantity they want - in the variety you have.It may be strawberry, or it may not. You can always give an idea of what next week's will be so that they can plan their cakes etc.In my opinion, a cream tea with hand made blackcurrant jam is hard to beat but I have never been offered this option after a lifetime of eating cream teas!
Be proud of what you do, don't sell yourself short, if they won't pay the price they don't deserve to buy and are not honouring the care and attention you have put into your preserves.If they won't pay the price you are going to end up being a busy fool - and still not make any money. Until we all start to value what we do, the quality of what we produce, how can we expect others to do the same?
Finally, I sometimes use a frozen fruit company who deliver in 10kgs quantities, are well priced which enables you to meet the demands of the customer whilst still providing a traditionally made jam. I make no unreasonable claims with my products, my statement is, 'I use local produce whenever possible.' This company have good quality fruit but it isn't necessarily British - but then mangoes aren't! It comes ready prepped, avoiding waste and 10kgs isn't too large to store in a domestic freezer or to get on and make if not.Don't try strawberries though as frozen strawberries don't make jam. Of course, fresh is always best but not always available in the quantities you need, even in season.
The company is Newberry International Produce their website is http://www.newberryint.co.uk/ and if you give them a call ask for Amy, who will be very helpful. (and no, they are not giving me a discount for promoting them!)