It all started when Gillian Reynolds wanted a way to share the bold and intense flavors of California fruits with her family in New York City. With the help of her brother and collaborator Christopher Reynolds, she created Jamnation, a line of jams featuring creative flavor combinations like Blenheim apricot and almond essence (Apricot Up in the Moment), Seascape strawberry with key lime (In the Limelight), and Arctic Star nectarine with rose essence (Rose to the Grindstone). The jams are deeply flavorful, spread easily, and showcase the natural colors of the fruits.
Gillian, who studied economics at Stanford, is committed to promoting sustainability and helping small-scale farmers. All her jams use fair trade sugar and spices, as well as local and mostly organic fruits. Packaging is fully recyclable, biodegradable, and eco-friendly.
Christopher Reynolds, a trained chef with a creative writing major from USC, works with Gillian on flavor pairings, the website, and naming the jams. “The rejected jams names make for great fun,” laughs Gillian. “For example, the first name for ‘Cardamom Knows Zest’ was ‘Orange is the New Crack’.”
Gillian’s workspace is in downtown Berkeley at Certified Kitchens (the first certified gluten-free and organic-dedicated rental kitchen in the Bay Area). Jams are sold at jamnationjams.myshopify.com, but you can also find them in San Francisco at Bi-Rite and Rainbow Grocery. We hear chances are good they may be at East Bay purveyors in the near future.