From Hobby to Business

by Gramma Sandra Schneider

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Lots of people think of starting a home business and surely wanting it to pay them a "wage" when all is said and done.

Many of our friends had prodded me for years to sell my homemade jam and jelly, but it costs a lot of money for the fruits and berries. It also costs a lot of money for the fruit, pectin and sugar. My thoughts were, yes, this is a good idea, I make wonderful jam and jelly, but would people want to pay $10 a jar for it? I didn't think so.

We started out to save money for ourselves when we bought our old farmhouse seven years ago. We have eight children and 16 grandchildren and it was becoming more and more expensive to make enough jam and jelly to supply all of them throughout the year. We planted fruit trees, apple, peach, quince, pear and plum. We planted strawberries, blackberries, red raspberries and have many black raspberries around our property. We have elderberries, grapes and blueberries in the wild within a short drive from us. So we started gathering all the fruit that we could get for free.

I still had the issue of the fruit pectin until I met an Amish lady when I stopped at her store for a few things. She introduced me to "Dutch Gel." It is the most amazing fruit pectin. It also only costs about 20 cents per batch of jam or jelly. WOW, when I could cut my cost this much, the thought of a small business looked more inviting to me. I had been paying about $2.00 per batch buying the fruit pectin available at super markets.

My Amish friend Bertha also introduced me to "Clear Gel," which is used in making pie fillings. I now make all of my own pie fillings during the summer and fall months and can them for use throughout the year. This has been a very substantial savings to our family.

Did I start the business? You bet! And it is doing very well. I can now produce the jam and jelly at a price that people will pay and I get much satisfaction growing my own fruit and berries for the jam and jelly. We only use oranges that we have to buy as we can't grow oranges in upstate NY too easily, but if you give me time, I may find a way to do that.

From the jam and jelly, I ventured into soap making and other toiletries which can be made here at home. We are now collecting Social Security and had to find a way to not only save money, but to make a little extra on the side. We grow all of our own herbals and flowers that go into the soap, which is a huge saving also.

Visit Gramma Schneider to find the very best in hand-crafted, quality products. All are hand made by skilled artisans. You'll find a variety of handcrafted items, candles, homemade soaps, baskets and quilts.

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