Name: Maureen Foley
Farm: Red Hen Cannery, at Foley Farms
Location: Carpinteria, CA
What they grow: This small-batch jam company uses family recipes and Foley Farm fruits and herbs to produce a variety of innovative fruit preserves. Selections include apricot jam, roasted peach and brown sugar, peach and jalapeño jam, ollalieberry and Bearrs limes, Meyer lemon and raspberry, tangelo and kumquat marmalade, boysenberry, apricot and raspberry, and raspberry.
Where to buy: Farmers markets including Thursday in Goleta and Saturday in downtown Santa Barbara.
In season now: In addition to their great selection of jams, they also sell jumbo Meyer lemons, Bearrs limes, and creamy Haas avocadoes. Future jams will include fall fruits, such as Asian pear, pomegranate, and persimmon.
Their story: For over 20 years, Foley Farms was known for their sweet cherimoyas and avocadoes. Growing up on the family farm, Maureen Foley was eager to expand the family business, creating small batch, seasonal jams with leftover farm fruit.
“We have vines that are left over from our U-pick farm stand,” said Foley. “It’s a great way to utilize the amazing fruit and create something entirely new.”
Hoping to sell year-round, jam making is a family craft, with both her great grandmother and grandmother making jams together in the kitchen. Enjoying the “Zen process” of jam making, her favorite jams include peach and brown sugar, ollalieberry and Bearrs limes, and tangelo and kumquat.
“The tangelo and kumquat is like a classic orange marmalade, but much more fresh and tangy,” said Foley. “It really has a delicious flavor. I also love using the ollalieberry and Bearrs lime marmalade as a salad dressing base!”
A writer herself, Red Hen Cannery’s motto is “fruit as poetry.” All her jams and marmalades are wrapped in newspaper and twine, each with a unique poetry inscription. With a Masters of Fine Art in Prose, her love of writing and art is evident, creating the whimsical illustration for her jams.
“No one reads poetry anymore!” said Foley. “Being a writer, I wanted to find a way to share my love of poetry with others.”
Experimenting with new fruits, Foley is eager to expand her company, with hopes to start online orders, in addition to Red Hen Cannery events and classes. While jam making may be a solitary process, she has her parents to thank for her inspiration – Mary Foley (her jam mentor) and Paul Foley (her market mentor).
“I love the markets, it’s definitely great to be a part of this community,” said Foley. “The direct feedback on my products is wonderful and I love carrying on the family tradition.”