Jammer Cheree Hill has created her very own specialty fruit company called Jars of Delicious. In July of 2020 she moved into a commercial kitchen in downtown Riverbank to share tasty homemade jams, jellies, fruit butters, canned fruit and pie fillings.
“I am certified with the State of California as a wholesale manufacturing like Hunts tomato ketchup and anything like that but just on a smaller scale for now, but look out Smuckers I am coming after you,” Hill joked with a big smile.
These days Hill can be found at the Modesto Farmer’s Market, about 15 brick and mortar stores throughout the area, the Oakdale Cheese Company, and her very own website www.jarsofdelicious.com. She also stays busy with fundraisers, a variety of projects, custom orders, gift baskets, and party favors.
Learning of what Hill noted is the “lost art of canning and preserving” from her late mother-in-law Peggy originally was to just lend a hand and make a good impression.
“The first year I was just labor and as time progressed I started being more involved in the process,” said Hill. “Her love language was she would make it and give it away as long as you gave her the jars back she would be your supplier.”
The niche turned into a passion for Hill after her mother-in-law passed away in 2014. She certified her home kitchen and started setting up shop at the Farmer’s Market in Modesto. Each year she added another market and began participating in events like the Riverbank Cheese and Wine Festival.
The dream turned into a reality when she found the commercial kitchen at 6601 Third St., which was previously a bakery. The mother of three has been able to juggle the growing business and family.
“It has everything I needed,” stated Hill about the location in Riverbank. “It took a little bit of elbow grease. I didn’t realize how much stuff I had. Now that I am here I can have things out and organized and I see everything. It allows me to get rid of the redundancy. Now that I have a commercial space and I don’t have those restrictions, I am able to do more online sales, more fundraisers, a lot on the wholesale side and additional events as well.”
Working year round Hill takes advantage of the local fruits that are available and has made several connections with growers in the area. There are fresh local fruits that she will freeze so that she can use them year round. However there are fruits that she cannot freeze like citrus. She explained that you can freeze the juice but not the peel so those fruits she has to use when they are in season.
Customers will find approximately 80 options in the Jars of Delicious line including the traditional flavors like strawberry, blackberry, apricot and some more exotic flavors like the Hawaiian which is coconut, mango, and pineapple or the guava, peach and Marionberry. Some of her options are seasonal like the cranberry mixes in the fall or the top summer flavor of strawberry watermelon that she crafts using fresh local watermelon. There are staples that she will have at all times that are customer favorites like the strawberry peach mango and the blackberry pomegranate.
Hill has also created some breakfast syrups that can be used on pancakes, waffles, or on desserts like the cherry syrup drizzled on cheesecake combining the tart of the cherries with the creaminess of the cheesecake. She explained that the syrups can be used in cocktails, mocktails, and milkshakes. The coconut syrup can be used in a rum drink with pineapple and the pumpkin butter can be used in a milkshake.
“I am a bit of an overachiever; there is a lot going on but my customers also appreciate that,” remarked Hill. “They know they can come here and I will have strawberry banana. I have my classics and then I also will have things that come and go.”
Although her shop is not a retail store Hill will deliver goods to the public from the location on occasion. There are no plans to open up the location on Third Street to the public. She has many methods to keep up with the demand for the Jars of Delicious including distance delivery and shipping.
“I want to stay a small business,” expressed Hill. “As a small business I can guarantee every single jar that you open has been hand poured by me, it is hand labeled, and it is fresh local fruit. The main focus is maintaining. I want to see what this first full year in commercial looks like.”