Wednesday, August 19, 2009


As some of you know, I've been very obsessed with jam and preserving lately. It started in June when I made a batch of strawberry freezer jam and fell in love. I decided that I could really do this for myself, and maybe friends and family. When I started telling people about it, especially my customers at work, they were asking if I intended on selling it. I got a lot of, "I'd buy a jar!"'s. So, I decided that maybe I would sell it. But how?

That's where Suburban Harvest comes in. Katie and Jason (and Gabe, of course) are such truly awesome people, first of all. After I had been in a few times and had made a couple batches, I mentioned to them that I was making jam all day. They had the brilliant idea to sell it at the farmer's market, since they were going to get a table anyway. They can't sell it in their store unless I make it in a commercial kitchen that is licensed by the Health Department. While I keep my clean and everything, mine is not licensed.

So, I've been making jam every chance I get, going to the farmer's market religiously, and talking it up to all of my customers. And they have been to theirs! Well, we found out yesterday that I can't sell it at the market either, unless it's been made in a commercial kitchen. So, all of this jam that I've made (about 30 jars) needs to go somewhere.

I've decided to open up an Etsy shop devoted to jams, jellies and other canned goodies.

And Katie and Jason have been amazing enough to offer use of their licensed kitchen to me. Which means anything I make there can be sold at the market! It's kind of a pain to schlep everything there and back, but I think it'll be totally worth it. I hope, at least! I'm going to try to get another couple of batches in during the next couple days before the first market so that I have stock on the first day.

Today I decided (quite instantly and serendipitously) that I would start photographing for when I list things on Etsy. I did a round of Red Onion with Lemon Zest jelly (top four photos) and a round of Golden and Purple Plum jam (bottom two photos). The sun was quite bright, but I don't think it's too bad... I will probably end up reshooting at some point, but I thought it would be good to get some practice in.

I would really like to know what you think of them as product shots. Especially you, Matt! I'm no product photographer (studio was not my strong suit), but I think I can manage. If you have ideas for future shoots (colors, background, anything!) let me know. Please? I get my biggest inspiration and motivation when I have conversations.

I've gotta say, I'm totally loving the Red Onion jelly in the shot glass! It looks so cool. Do you agree?

P.S. Can you even imagine taking a shot of jelly? Gross!!

P.P.S. I promise in non-shot format, it's really really good!


Helen said...

These shots are beautiful, and are making me hungry -- which, I think, is a good sign :) Love the jelly in the shot glass. The light's great, and the bottom two photos are wonderful with the apples and jar in the background. Very visually appealing!

What a pain that you can't sell at the market unless the jam's made in a licensed kitchen! Sounds like you're working it all out, though. Hurray for friends with licensed kitchens!

Matt Chung said...

Brit this shots look great! Your a photo minor... sooo you are already super, and probably are already thinking about most of this. But here is my crit:

The first one is my least favorite but it is still not bad. I would just say keep close and really capture that delicious texture of the jam. (Like you did in the others) You seem to have the light down, out doors at this time of day looks great! If you can get light to rake across the jelly, again to pick up the awesome texture but it looks like you already did in the other shots.
I love the shots with the apples, using contrasting colors will really help to keep things interesting, and also introducing the ingredients into the background could help sell the product.

Simple backgrounds work great. Like the table or the plates, you might want to make sure the plates are super white, by setting your white balance in RAW off of them to make them look super clean and crisp.

A shot of some of your jars lined up in one of the old windows at your house I think would look fun! For banner shot for your store or a general image.

I don't know what could be for fun than shooting your jam! It is delicious. I want to eat it now!!

Brittany Noel said...

Helen - I'm glad you're hungry! Though, I hope you had something to eat handy :) I'm glad you agree with the glass, I really liked the shape and transparency. I think I'll be able to make it work...

Matt - I totally agree with you about the first one. It was the first photo I took, and that's usually the worst. I think there's something lacking in the last photo, the jam is really flat. I'll work on the raking light :) I'm glad you agree about including ingredients, too. I think some lemon zest would look really cool with the red onion jelly, to emphasize that. Awesome idea with the jars in the window!! I will do that when it stops raining here. And I totally forgot to set the white balance off of the plate, I set it for daylight. Matt, you're the best ever.

Ashley said...

Britty, I finally caught up with your blog and loved all of the posts about your vacation! Now I just need to come over and get the rest of the adventure details/stories/photos. Also, I love the photos of your jam and stalked your facebook and totally agree with Chelsea-photos of Grace with jam all over her face would totally sell!! Call me soon!
Your Sissy

Brittany Noel said...

Ashley! I'm sorry I forgot to call you this week, it's been really busy... We have to get together as soon as you get back from home. When do you start school? We should figure out a day every week again when we can hang out. And actually stick to it! I'll send you my school schedule.

Cancha-diction said...

these photos are perfect! I am currently obsessed with locally grown strawberry jelly. great post! I'd love to follow you if you follow me?

Brittany Noel said...

Thanks Cancha! Handmade jam/jelly/anything is just so amazingly better than mass-produced. That's why I started making it!

Rebecca, The Clothes Horse said...

Very cool! Your jam almost looks too pretty to eat. :) I hope your shop does very well.

Brittany Noel said...

Hey Rebecca! You're so sweet :) It is really pretty, but it's so very good so I continue to eat it. I really appreciate your popping over! I hope it does well too, thanks :)

marie-louise said...

I like these pink!

this humble abode said...

I've been totally jam crazy for the last few years and recently started thinking about selling it too. I wish I knew someone with a commercial kitchen.

Brittany Noel said...

Thanks Marie-Louise! I love the color of this jelly!

This Humble Abode: Carting all of my stuff to their kitchen has kind of started stressing me out... I won't have time to make it once school starts back up next week, and I'm kind of glad. You can sell jam made in your own home directly to people, like on Etsy (which I may do with some stuff), so that's something to think about...