Good Jammin’

Food Finds by Sara Beth Nelson / December, 2015

It’s hard to taste Kim Otwell’s gourmet jellies and jams and believe she did not start with the heart of a chef. 

“In the beginning, I wasn’t even that interested in cooking.” says Otwell. Faced with the devastating diagnosis of her young daughter with chronic kidney disease, she was ready for a change. Struggling to make ends meet, Otwell relied on food pantries. “We were fortunate to have a pantry with a variety of fresh produce. I was getting so much amazing local food, that I started preserving to save it.” Thus, Little River Pantry was born. It was important to Otwell to keep her company in line with the local food movement, locally sourcing between 75 and 80 percent of the raw ingredients. Most of the preserves contain at least one item from within a 50 to 65 mile radius of Newmarket, New Hampshire. Most of the berries Otwell actually picks herself. “For me it’s a deep connection with the people who grow the food, harvesting, and then the final destination of preserving. Nothing is more satisfying than being able to feed your family through the winter from a bountiful summer’s harvest.”

Her preserving habit offers 25 seasonal jam flavors starting with her favorite, a mix of blackberries, blueberries, and raspberries called Bumbleberry. Wickedly Wild Blueberry is a delightful taste of fresh-from-the-field blueberries with a zest of crisp lemon and hint of cinnamon. Cranberry Apple Tea Jelly includes an infusion from White Heron Tea and Coffee Community. Wine jellies include what Otwell calls “boozy enhancements.” Little River Pantry offers singular blends of flavors packed into every jar, and 5 percent of total profits go back to where Otwell’s story started, the New Hampshire Food Bank.

Little River Pantry
Newmarket, N.H.