‘I first made my jellies in the Unites States when I lived in Washington – I moved there as a chef in the early eighties – and first sold them at the Eastern Market on Capital Hill, which is a really famous market.
‘Ten years is a long time to own a restaurant and run a kitchen and run a restaurant at the same time, in what was a 100-seater restaurant (probably sheer madness). So at the end of that decade, I went back to my original roots as a jelly maker, taking my experience of the market in Washington and applying it, first to the local markets in Kerry, then moving outwards across the country. I’ve done markets and festivals the length and breadth of the country, from Donegal to Lissadel House.
‘I love artisan food markets, they are in my bones. I love the other food producers and how passionate and supportive they are, I love meeting people who love food and who tell you what they think. Those people are honestly one of the main reasons that I am now in the large supermarkets. They taught me how to make my jellies better, what new flavours to bring in, how to package them so that the label clearly says what to do with them.
‘And the delicatessens and fine food shops who showed faith in me, without them I wouldn’t have got a start. Sometimes when a product reaches the supermarket shelves, producers forget who got them there. But I am still grateful to every small shop who took a risk and stocked my jellies and to every person who ever bought a jar of Harty’s Jelly. Without them, I just wouldn’t be here.
‘And I must mention the award-givers. Sometime people underestimate the power of a food award – but not me. We are blind-tasted in every award from Bridgestone to the Great Taste Awards. Just imagine your jar, with no label on it, and total strangers tasting it. Well I say strangers but they are ‘expert’ strangers. They know what they like and regard based on experience and when you get an award based on that criteria and tasting process, you have to say, that’s what it’s all about. Someone who doesn’t even know you (who may not even like you if they met you!) and they say your product is worth buying. But more importantly, they say your product is worth someone spending money on in a food store or supermarket and that it is made with love and care.
‘I really hope you like my website and maybe want to try my jellies. People often ask what a jelly is, as if it’s something very different. But it’s not, its just a wobbly condiment, packed with lots of flavour (and in the case of our Hot Pepper Jelly or Ginger Hot Jelly which both pack a chilli punch). Use it instead of mayonnaise, mustard or any other thing you add to meat or cheese or vegetables to make it taste better. Once you try our jellies, and put the jar back in the fridge after taking the first spoonful, you will want to go back and take another spoon. It really is that delicious. You won’t be able to do without it.
When you have another dull sandwich for lunch, and think, what can I do to make this more interesting, reach for a Harty’s Jelly. Or when you think you have really seen enough chicken breasts for a lifetime, add a spoon of our Apple and Sage Jelly or any of our Hot Pepper Jellies, and you’ll see why we’ve been such a success. Or when you have a fried pork or lamb chop on a Tuesday night, and think, how lucky are we to have a lovely home-cooked meal mid-week, reach for a spoon of Harty’s Jelly and you’ll feel even luckier, I promise!
And you haven’t lived, really, until you have placed a spoon of our jelly on a plate with a sausage. Or in a sausage or bacon sandwich, 0r even better, with scrambled or poached eggs for a weekend brunch. Why should you deprive yourself? Life is short (Here’s our online shop!)
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Fine food shops and delicatessens have educated customers about our jellies and their uses (thank you!). See xxxxx for a listing of a stockist near you.
We are forever grateful to our customers at the artisan food markets who have been the back-bone of our success and helped us to get where we are. We are regulars at food markets and festivals all over the country. Watch our blog posts for news.