Sarah MacAulay is The Jam Lady. she makes delicious, beautiful, sweet, savoury, simple and complex hand-crafted preserves that are as good-for-you as they are good to taste. Her inspiration comes from her childhood days when she lived on a small farm and made preserves with her mom. They were a hit with friends and family, and just as she was finishing up her psychology degree in 2008, she took her jams and preserves to the St. John’s Farmers' Market. Now she's a psychologist by trade and a preserves artisan by night.
She loves using hand-picked, local ingredients, and there are all sorts of flavours and textures in her repertoire: jams, jellies, chutneys, marmalades, salsas and more. All of these incorporate traditional Newfoundland berries like blueberries, raspberries, partridgeberries, bakeapples, squash berries and even dogberries, dandelion and crabapple, or else traditional flavours like screech rum.
The creative and adventurous side to The Jam Lady likes to experiment with chilli and spice – check out the traditional hot pepper jelly made with ghost pepper. in preserve-making, as in psychology, diversity is to be cherished.
Sarah says, “There are more uses for preserves than your morning toast - like over cheesecake or Greek yogurt, or as a glaze or sauce with poultry, meat, even fishcakes." The all-time favourites include Screech Marmalade and the twenty-type-of-berry Jumbleberry Jam.
Artisanal jams and preserves might be on-trend now in North American, but before that, they were a traditional Newfoundland and Labrador staple and were essential to getting through the long winters. Food security and sustainability are important to Sarah’s business, which stems from a culture of preserving, and not wasting.
Sarah loves bringing her own traditional skills and creativity to the craft, but the community made The Jam Lady a going concern. “It was because of the community and the St. John’s Farmers’ Market that I made connections with people, food and farmers to support and grow my business.”
What’s next for The Jam Lady? On the getting-out-there front, Sarah would like to see The Jam Lady preserves available for sale in local stores. On the getting-in-there side, Sarah’s interested in expanding her garden and raising some bees. And on the out-there-and-in-there front, Sarah’s exploring ways to workshop preserving sessions with people who’d like to learn.