“Lavender Dreams”

            “Jelly Madness” a farm in McRae Arkansas, about forty-five minutes north of Little Rock was the first farm where I began my ALFN journey. This is the description the farm:

      “Jelly Madness creates exciting and explosive flavors of home made jellies, sauces, syrups, and baked goods utilizing fresh, pure, and local ingredients.  We utilize produce from our own small farm, other local farms, and in some cases USA produce such as citrus products which are not produced in Arkansas.  Jelly Madness also makes no sugar added products utilizing Xagave nectar and Stevia.  We do not utilize synthetic fertilizers or pesticides on our small farm however, we do purchase produce from other larger local farms that do utilize those methods.”
 
              Being a huge fan of Stevia, I think it is a great natural sweetener while having no affect on blood sugar levels  which made me very excited to visit “Jelly Madness”. The family business  farm promotes the slogan “Fresh, local and pure”. As I drove up I was greeted by husband-wife team Amanda and Eric. The new family business originated at their house where they also homeschool their three children. We walked around outside and I was given a tour of the land and shown where the acre and a half of blueberries grew. As we walked around I learned about how the family got started and why they chose to invest in this type of business. I asked what the initial inspiration was to have a “jelly making” business was and Amanda simply replied, “Lavender”. She explained that she and her husband had always been attracted to essential oils, unique flavors and lavender in particular as it launched their business idea. The first jelly ever to be sold under the name of “Jelly Madness” was a flavorful blackberry lavender ginger. The creativity continued as Eric and Amanda created more jellies with a variety of exotic flavors. Amanda and Eric have plans to make a garden marmalade jelly, a pumpkin butter and a variety of different pancake mixes. They look forward to producing seasonal edibles with the holidays coming up. Eric has also started the process of writing a grant proposal in hopes to get government funding to add greenhouses and more fruit trees to the land. I didn’t actually get to see where the jelly was made, as they work their magic a couple miles up the road in a rented commercial kitchen but felt that I saw enough to understand the concept of the farm.

              You can soon buy “Jelly Madness” products at the Arkansas Local Food Club as well as the Green Corner Store on Main Street. As I graciously left the Martin’s I was given a plate of some of the most delicious scones I have ever tasted made with the finest and purest ingredients and a jar of the blackberry lavender mint jelly. My first farm visit was a success and it was refreshing to see how the creativity of a family can flourish as it provides incredibly unique choices of food products while supporting the local economy.

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