Camilla Wynne, a former pastry chef turned rock star, left both lives behind to preserve all the good things the harvest has to offer.
“I have been canning for almost a decade. I was instantly obsessed with it. I think most people that start canning get a bit addicted to it.”
Starting off with a just few of the staple canning recipes, including a delicious raspberry jam and savoury dill pickles, it was not long before Wynne started experimenting with a diversity of ingredients, combining flavours and creating the unique recipes that characterize Preservation Society products.
“What really interests me about canning is finding new recipes, matching new ingredients and being creative with what is available.”
How did Preservation Society get started? “I had started teaching canning courses and was canning my own stuff on a pretty regular basis, getting positive feedback from friends and students. Then the media started contacting me for interviews on canning. It made me realize there was a growing interest and potential for canning. The business idea just grew from there.”
Now, 3 years later, everything produced in the Preservation Society kitchen is still canned ‘the old fashion way’.
“Everything here is made by hand. Jams are cooked in large copper pots to ensure even cooking and amazing taste. All our labels are hand stamped. The first year of this business I personally closed every single jar.”
What is the secret to delicious canned goods? “Good canning is the result of high quality ingredients prepared through pain staking methods. The best results come from it being something you really love to do.”
How do you find quality seasonal ingredients? “I had started trying to reach out to a few local farmers, but it is actually not in my nature to reach out to strangers in that way. I was mostly going to different public markets to see what was available. Last year I was in the same building as Provender. I learned more about their business and some of the local producers they work with. It seemed like a really good option for getting access to new, seasonal products and helping to build relationships with local producers.”
What local foods have helped fuel your creativity? “The first thing I ordered through Provender was grade 2 sour cherries from La Ferme Petit Cailloux. We made an amazing cherry juice and maraschino cherries. I ordered apples, pears and plums through Vergers McMillan Orchards to make minced meat and was really happy with the results. We used some of the sour cherry juice and apples to make a delicious cherry-apple butter. I got used to seasonal switches in the menu when I worked in restaurants and it makes sense to get creative with our canning recipes depending on what’s available and in season.”
How does having an on-line marketplace help you plan for your business? “I am part of the digital age and being able to order things on line just makes sense. I find it very convenient to be able to order something at midnight if I am thinking up a new recipe. It is also nice to be able to browse through products, see the products and to know the cost of the product up front. Sometimes I order products and it is not clear what it will cost until it shows up at my door. It is great to be able to plan in advance knowing what we will have and what it is going to cost. It’s also a big time saver, which is important when your business is all about a lengthy canning process.”
“In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.” - William Blake
The winter season is upon us and it is definitely time to enjoy the fruits of Preservation Societys’ labour. Some great Preservation Society products to share with family and friends this holiday season:
Bon Matin!Bleu Matin // Vanilla Sugar // Bleu Matin Granola
Joyeux noel! Fruitcake // Christmas Clementine Marmalade // Hot Buttered Rum Caramels
L’apero! Caesar Celery // Hot Pepper Jam // Blue Cheese Crackers
Bergamote! Bergamot Marmalade // Bergamot Syrup // Bergamot & Quince Pannetone
You can find Preservation Society at these great local holiday markets:
Dec 12 to 14: Puces Pop at Église St.Denis
Dec 20: Christmas at the Stable
Dec 20 to 21: Super Bazar at Sala Rosa