A Sweet Surprise

One of my favorite things about traveling is discovering successful businesses using the skills we teach in our FACS programs. We made one of those discoveries on Friday morning near Sister Bay in Door County, Wisconsin. Bea’s Ho-Made Products makes wonderful jams and jellies right on the premises, mostly from locally grown produce.

At a homestead owned, since 1884, by four generations of Landins, Bea’s Ho-Made Products is located one half mile east of Gills Rock on highway 42. The canning business started quite by accident. In 1961 the Landins’ oldest daughter, Linda, started selling cherries from a picnic table by the roadside.

The following year she included an over supply of beans and cucumbers from the garden. Motivated by her success she added her grandmother’s famous chopped cherry jam. The jam sold very well, inspiring her mother, Bea, to expand the selections to include strawberry jam, raspberry jam, and various pickled items.

Each year something new was added and the business slowly grew. The Landins operated a farm by day and did their canning by night, selling the finished products on a picnic table by the roadside. In 1972 Bea started a wholesale business, which prompted her to build a kitchen and retail store.

The staff at Bea’s was nice enough to invite me into their kitchen to watch the cooking process. It was amazing to see the speed and efficiency with which they work. They really have the process down to a science!

Here’s a tip for making jam that the staff shared with me. When jam is poured into jars, the fruit rises to top as the jam cools. To redistribute the fruit throughout the jam, allow it to cool about 30 minutes then gently stir each jar. The fruit will stay dispersed throughout the thickened jam.

That’s a great tip to share with your students! You’re welcome!

Award Winning

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