As the weather gets colder and Hatters begin to shelter in for the winter, it’s the perfect opportunity to stock up the pantry with jams and preservatives – and local company, Jamming Around, might just have what you’re looking for.
Mij Wolcoski, owner and sole employee, started the business in 2019. She learned the art of canning from her family and several of her recipes have been passed down for generations.
What was once a hobby became something more when six of her homemade jams, jellies and pickled vegetables won ribbons at the Medicine Hat Stampede two years ago.
“It was so exciting,” Wolcoski told the News. “Just to have the acknowledgement.”
That was when Wolcoski’s family suggested she try selling her canned goods at the Medicine Hat Farmer’s Market.
“We started with a table with seven rows of jam on it. We are now up to 42 flavours.” This number doesn’t include any of the seasonal flavours or preserve products that Wolcoski makes. For this year’s fall season, she’s reintroduced several customer favourites, including pumpkin pie and apple pie.
While she enjoys making more traditional products like strawberry jam or marmalade, Wolcoski admits the more unique flavours were what helped Jamming Around break into the market. Jars of papaya peach jam, mustard pickles, or Wolcoski’s personal favourite, key lime jelly, often fly off the shelves.
“It’s homemade goodness. It’s not chemicals. It’s not dyes. It’s not preservatives. I know what goes in those jars … there’s nothing artificial,” Wolcoski said when describing how each product is made.
Locally grown ingredients also help to enhance the flavour.
“Everything that we can purchase (or source) locally, we do,” said Wolcoski, as she shows endless pictures of her and her family picking apples and berries at nearby farms.
The freshness is apparent in the taste, but customers also enjoy what Wolcoski calls ‘homemade comfort.’
“When people try them, they say, ‘Oh this is like my grandma’s! People are drawn to it. It’s comfort food. It just gives you that homey (feeling).”
Wolcoski hopes all Hatters can one day try and enjoy her products, so she makes sure to keep prices down.
“For me, it’s very important that people can afford to buy them,” Wolcoski said. Jams and jellies are priced at $5, pickles and other preserves are $7.
It’s not about the money though, she said. She simply wishes to share her life-long passion with the community.
Wolcoski would be open to the idea of expanding Jamming Around, but for right now, is happy with remaining local.
“I would like it to stay that hometown feeling,” she said. Besides that, Jamming Around is still a one-woman venture.
“It is just me,” she laughs. “It’s just me and a pot.”
Jamming Around products can be found at several local retail locations throughout the city, such as McBride’s Bakery and The Market Centre. However the largest selection of products can be found at Oh My Fruit Creations.
KENDALL KING, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News