Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Uptown Westerville Farmers' Market: Meet Jane Varley of Varley Valley Products

Why I love to bake and make jam:

Some of my earliest memories include picking berries, making jams and making bread with my mother and my brother. (My father just enjoyed the fruits of our labors).

I distinctly remember “helping” my mom make brioche (a fancy French pastry) when I was about four. I can only imagine how much help I actually was (NOT). I remember seeing a picture of me at that age, covered head to toe in flour.

I also remember going out to pick black raspberries – I usually ended up with just a few in my bucket, while my brother and mom managed to get a bucket full. I guess you are not supposed to eat 10 for every 1 you put in the bucket!

We always made our own breads, jams, maple syrup, and other foods. As a matter of fact, I don’t remember ever purchasing store-bought bread until I went to college. As my mom would say, “Believe you me, homemade is better”.

Although my last name is English/Irish, my ancestry is Pennsylvania Dutch, with my family moving from Germany to western Maryland in the late 1800s. I come from a long line of von Hoechlers, von Munchaus, Mayers and Jungs.

I grew up on my grandmom’s and great-grandmom’s recipes. I thought that everyone had pie for every meal of the day! Yes, we had breakfast pies (shoo-fly, Montgomery, and funeral pie); main dish pies (meat pies and pot pies (actually made in a pot), and dessert pies. We also had good home-made bread and jam at every meal. Sweets and Sours (pickled items) were also served at lunch and dinner.

Most of my baked goods and jams use recipes from my grandmom and great-grandmom. So when I am kneading bread or rolling out pie crust, my mind is often remembering my childhood and I am filled with loving thoughts of my mom (who passed away in 2005). I can’t think of a better reason for baking.

Thanks, Jane!

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