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Jam-ing at the Farmers Market

If you’re looking for some unique jams, look no further than Jams and Jellies From Home, a small business co-owned and run by Will Wright and Benjamin Hershberger. 

Wright and Hersghberger make homemade jams with locally produced ingredients and have a vast selection of flavors. If the jar is kept sealed, it can last 18 months before being opened. After opening, the jams are good for six months. 

“When I retired, I thought I need to do something different. I do not want to sit at home,” Wright said. “I’m the person who has to keep busy. So I decided to do jams and jellies.”

Hershberger encouraged his business partner to get the necessary permits to vend their Jellies. Wright started making jams at home in 2008 and would sell them at a local flea market in Eureka. Slowly, Wright progressed to vending at local farmer markets. Soon after, he moved the operation to a commercial kitchen. 

Habanero Apricot Jelly from Jams And Jellies From Home on display at the Arcata Farmer’s Market on Sept. 24. Photo Credit Celeste Sadler.

“It’s been very, I guess, fun or entertaining for me to do this at times with him,” Hershberger said. “Sometimes there’s a lot of work but he seems to get a lot of joy out of it.”

Wright has a vast catalog of unique flavors. Some recipes he learned from his auntie and grandma, or combinations he finds online and some come about through trial and error. Other flavors are given to him by people. The most popular flavors of jams are: Tayberry, blackcherry, habanero hot, medium habanero, mango habanero and pineapple habanero. 

“I’m happy that people love them,” Wright said. “That makes me feel good. I try to stay consistent with all of the jams that I make– if they love them that way, so why change anything.” 

Wright was born and raised in Nunez, Georgia, a small town located south of Atlanta. It was there that his love for jams and jellies began. At a young age, Wright used to sit and watch his aunt and grandma make jams.

“I didn’t do anything when they were making it, I just kinda sat back and watched,” Wright said. “It was in my head at that time, it was interesting but I would never do anything. You can learn by just watching and that is what I did.” 

Wright moved to Humboldt County to be closer to his cousin and lived in Nunez until 1985. It was in Humboldt where Wright and Hershberger met through a mutual friend in 1994.

Before the jam and jelly business began, Wright worked in management in housekeeping and laundry services in California. In Georgia, he worked remotely at a care facility in administration before retiring in 2007. 

Jams and Jellies From Home can be found at the farmer’s markets in Miranda, Garberville, Arcata and in Eureka.

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