In the summer of 2008 it started raining blueberries in Woodstock, GA. A farmer in South Georgia was about to lose his blueberry farm and was fortunate enough to get involved with a church in the Woodstock area. A plan was developed whereby he would deliver blueberries in a refrigerated truck to the church and with the help of the church members, sell them for $1.00 a pound. After loading up on gallons of blueberries, I decided that since I couldn’t eat them all, and had no extra freezer space, I’d make jam and jelly out of the bounty and give the jars away as Christmas presents to family and friends. About 75 jars later I knew I had a problem. The truth was, I didn’t have that many family members with whom I exchanged Christmas gifts, and at that time I certainly didn’t have that many friends. I had to find a home for all the extra jars. That very same day I saw a sign advertising the Woodstock Farmer’s Market and decided to try to sell the extra jars at the market. After speaking with the market manager I was welcomed into the Woodstock Farmer’s Market family. I rented one of their tents and went to work the following week selling jams and jellies in the Georgia August heat. Nervous and convinced I would not be able to sell a thing, I was pleasantly surprised when I almost sold out of my blueberry lime jam that day.
Thus began a very wonderful journey for me! It all began with blueberries but the business has expanded to include over 70 different flavors of jams and jellies, not all of which are blueberry. Included now are pepper jellies, peach, strawberry, mango, kiwi, papaya, guava, pineapple, plum, cherry, tomato, watermelon, cranberry, rhubarb and many different combinations of fruit jams and jellies.
I had always wanted my own business but never dreamed it would be something I enjoyed so much and brought back so many fond childhood memories. My dear friend Katherine sent me the following quote which I think sums it up: “Into each life there comes at least one moment which, if recognized and seized, transforms the course of that life forever. Rely, therefore, on radical trust, even though the moment may call for you to leap empty-handed into the void.” Ralph H. Blum ~ The Book of Runes
When I was contemplating whether or not to pursue jam and jelly making as a business I inadvertently ran across the following quote (which, by the way, has followed me throughout my lifetime): “Dream and the way will be clear. Pray and the angels will hear. LEAP AND THE NET WILL APPEAR!!”
I took that leap of faith and thus began Bettie’s Blueberry Jams and Jellies! If you’re ever in Woodstock, look me up most Saturday morning between 8:30 and 12:00 pm, from mid May thru the end of October. We’d love to see you there or feel free to contact us to place an order.
By the way, the farmer saved the farm and I still purchase my blueberries from his farm every year!