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Spreading love and organic fruit

“It’s been a weird year,” says Jan Hogrewe, founder of Just Jan’s, a fruit spread company based in California.

Probably most of us can agree with that sentiment. 

For Jan, coronavirus was the company’s second big setback this year. Her manufacturer of eight years bailed, just as she was getting ready to launch three new products with a national retailer. And by just, she means the same week that the order was supposed to ship. Jan had just located another manufacturer…and coronavirus hit. 

“I’m not doom and gloom…I’m really glad to have an online food business without a brick and mortar store right now. But we were in the public a lot, doing demos at wineries and other places. We’re just juggling how to survive and have a viable business at the end of this.”

Online business has seen an uptick, and Jan thinks that’s probably the result of some very directed advertising, people spending lots more time online, and consumers wanting to support local businesses. She’s also offering free shipping and combination specials. 

And she has some in-house marketing help; her daughter’s boyfriend is sheltering in place with Jan’s family, and his relatives back East are spreading the word about the nice lady with the excellent jam out in California!

Jan put together a food preservation  guide for anyone visiting the company website. She includes her father’s pickling recipe for vegetables, which she found in one of his books. 

“I feel the need to help however I can, whether you buy my products or not. So I’m showing people how to make jam, how to pickle produce – that’s kind of my wheelhouse right now.”

And she’s developing recipes for her Everyday is Friday cocktail collection. A particular stand-out in these days of social distancing? Apricot Peach Sangria for One. And there are lots of other great recipes for when we can once again sip together…

Katelyn Murphy-McCarthy

Katelyn is a writer and editor specializing in creative nonfiction. She comes from a long line of entrepreneurs, and loves hearing and sharing the stories of women who are making a difference.
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