It all started more than 25 years ago.
Krista Scudlark fell in love with a green hot pepper jelly she had tried at a friend’s house, asked for the recipe and was hooked. That’s when she decided to make her own.
“My husband grows all the fruit and the peppers, we have a big backyard and we make preserves from things we have grown,” Scudlark said.
A neighbor at the time owned Franklin Hardware Store in Lewes, Del. When he got a taste of what she was cooking up, he suggested that she put a few jars in the hardware store. Scudlark also began selling her products at farmer’s markets and that’s when her hobby turned into much more. It’s called Backyard Jams and Jellies, it now contains more than 85 flavors of jelly and jam, as well as fourteen award winners.
“It’s really been the Delaware farmers markets over the last nine years, I started doing these and it has started to really change from a hobby to a real business,” Scudlark said. “I now have five part time employees that help with labeling, cutting up fruit, cutting the fabrics, etc.”
Scudlark adds that most of her employees are her friends and they enjoy picking the fruits and spending time together.
The 85 flavors of jams and jellies include Strawberry Jam, Peach Jam, Crab Apple Jelly, Blueberry Jam, Rasberry Jelly and Rosemary Mint Jelly, to name a few. The business also offers a variety of no sugar added flavors as well as hot pepper jams and jellies, wine jellies, mustard, chutney, marmalade, preserves and more.
The product can be found at Fifer’s Orchards in Camden-Wyoming, Del., Kalmar Kountry Goods in Harrington, Del., Fresh Connection in Milford, Del., Milton Historical Society in Milton, Del., Surf Bagel in Lewes, Del., Mason Farms Produce in Centreville, Md. and Stillwaters Wines, Spirits and Specialty Fun Foods, in Kalamazoo, Mich., among many others.
Scudlark says the business usually dies down after labor day but not anymore. Many are wondering, will the business continue to grow?
“I’m really at the threshold right now because I’m the only one that cooks and we rent a kitchen so we really can’t produce much more than we do right now,” Scudlark said. “Customers have been taking a case a jam home with them and giving them as gifts for the holidays but the business should start to slow down around Dec. 26.”