It all started with a recipe that was handed down from my Great Aunt Danny.
- Bell Peppers
- Habanero Peppers
Chop peppers, add to vinegar and sugar. Heat until it boils, add pectin, stir, put in jars.
Sounds easy, right? Well, it is – except for the incredible burning hot power of the habanero pepper. Simply cutting into one releases such powerful capsaicin, you’ll soon find your eyes watering uncontrollably and your throat scratching so badly you’ll be tossed into a coughing fit of epic proportions. If you are so bold as to actually touch the cut peppers, your skin can burn for an extended period of time. Touch your burning fingers to another body part and it, too, will also feel the burn.
The offending habanero peppers.
Then comes the boiling sugar. One mistake, and you have a sticky hot overflowing mess that can take hours to clean. Trust me, I know.
Point being, what looked like a simple recipe from Aunt Danny was actually dangerous, painful, and messy. Part of me wanted to tuck it away and never look at it again. But, the other part loved the result so much, I had to persevere.
Holidays meant Adam and I would take time out to make Aunt Danny’s Habanero Pepper Jelly for friends and family as gifts.
We put the girls to work at an early age. 🙂
Friends raved. “You should sell this!”, “I’m sooooo addicted to it!”, “Can I pay you to make some for us when it’s not the holidays?”.
While we knew the jelly was great, it took years for us to take the comments of our friends seriously – and we started daydreaming of a jelly business.
The daydreaming became reality in 2010 when Kelly’s Jelly (because, honestly, it sounded better than “Danny’s Jelly”) was established.
From the onset, we knew we had to be different to stand out. Not only did our product have to be great (thank you, Aunt Danny), but its ingredients had to be natural, and they had to come from producers that represent the best of their local production (thank you, Farmers).
We began as a local vendor at the Lake Oswego Farmers’ Market (putting our young daughters to work).
Our first Lake Oswego Holiday Market.
Eventually, we were able to add more flavors to our line-up: Strawberry-Habanero, Pineapple Jalapeno, and Strawberry Fruit Spreads. Then came more farmers’ markets, and store placements. Voodoo Doughnut wanted our jelly to liven up their Thursdays and Ruby Jewel wanted our jelly for their ice cream.
Waiting in line at Voodoo Doughnut for our first taste of a Kelly’s Jelly doughnut.
We decided to enter our jellies in specialty food contests…and we won! Scovie awards and Good Foods awards. We were amazed. And we are grateful.
We are grateful to a community of friends who encouraged us. We are grateful to our city of Lake Oswego for supporting us. We are grateful to businesses who took a chance on us. And we are grateful to you for buying from us.
Now that you’ve discovered Kelly’s Jelly, we would love it if you’d introduce your friends to Kelly’s Jelly – as the perfect hostess gifts or as the “secret ingredient” to the dish they can’t stop talking about.
Again, thank you for your support, and we will see you at the Lake Oswego Farmers’ Market.
Kelly & Adam Calabria