Why Jelly Boxes?
Hello! I'm Kristy, the creator of The Jelly Bees. I am a lover of flowers, especially edible ones. I'm also a wild edibles forager, herbalist & jelly maker among many other things. You may be asking what's a jelly box? And, why a CSA?
Some backstory - I first started making edible flower jellies with the kids' foraging classes I
teach as a way to encourage the children's interest in wild edibles. What kid doesn't like jelly?! Well, I'd never have guessed that making that first batch as a class perk would flip a switch on my inner child! I've continued doing jelly or jam with my Spring/Summer classes and each season I pick more flavors to explore.
Trust me when I say there have been some obvious flops for flowers or berries going into jelly form. Some just meh... and then others - blow your taste buds away! One of the bigger challenges I've had not having a trained palate is coming up with ways to describe the flavors to share with friends & family as I try to entice them to be my guinea pigs.
Moving forward from making a couple flavors for my classes, I enlisted family & friends on a private Jelly Belly crew as my taste tester panel for feedback. I wanted to see if others liked the flavors my crew at home did or not. My Jelly Belly Crew was incredibly supportive as I kept popping up with more new flavors as the seasons changed. And I'm still looking at more & more flavors. Somebody stop me please! Oh BUT there are some really amazing flavors & the potential of so many more, only being limited by my imagination or ability to have access to the flower/herb/plant.
As you can imagine with so many choices & experiments, I have jelly coming out of my ears! I need somewhere to re-home these gorgeous, vibrantly colored gems. There's only so many jars of jelly my crew at home can eat. I'd like my kids to make it to adulthood with their teeth! With the jellies that have made it to other homes, I got enough request for more that I needed to figure out a way to move forward again.
And here we are with the creation of a jelly box CSA. While I love the jellies & enjoy making them, I also needed a way to ensure the ones made have homes to claim them so that I don't have a storage crisis. Doing a CSA helps me to plan how much to grow, forage & continue to source when needed. I currently have several places that I trust to be clean & accessible for foraging; work with several local permaculture/clean farmers; expand my growing gardens to meet demand; and source from trusted sources regionally when needed to supplement. CSA - style also helps me to plan for expenses for garden needs, materials for jelly-making & continuing to expand my resources to consider future additions. I can better predict what the interest level is & where to direct my energies to balance home, family & "work". As many of us are being impacted currently due to the pandemic, a CSA felt like the right direction to go for now with the least financial impact on our family.
If you enjoy sweets that make your taste buds sing, you'll want to check out these jellies! Upcoming posts will take you closer to the process from the beginning of growing/harvesting through the jelly making. I will also share about the flowers, herbs & such that I choose as ingredients.