Andrea from With Love from Our Kitchen

The way to our heart is through our stomachs, or in this case, homemade jams! Using only locally grown fruits, vegetables, and herbs, Andrea produces jams and chutneys using no additives or artificial ingredients; just a minimum amount of sugar to preserve them for up to 2 years, and of course, lots of love from her kitchen. We asked her a few questions about her process, her business, and her plans for the future! 

Il-lokal: Tell us about your background and how you started your creative journey.

Andrea: Living in a rural village surrounded by fruit trees, and vegetable fields, I found myself wanting to feed healthy food to my two very young children. 

Il-lokal: How did you develop your making skills? What was your learning path to get to where you are presently?

Andrea: I developed my making skills through inspiration, nature, and having the time to test and improve my methods.

Il-lokal: How important is having an online presence (website, social media…) to showcase and promote your work? How does it work for you?

Andrea: Shops and markets keep the artist in touch with people, however, an online presence helps customers to purchase at their convenience and from the comfort of their own homes.

Il-lokal: What’s the most memorable milestone of your creative journey? 

Andrea: Shark Tank made me believe in myself and my jams & chutneys. It was no longer my family or friends who gave their opinion but renowned judges. The experience also made me understand that I wanted to remain local and genuine to the end.

Il-lokal: Where do you find inspiration? What are your go-to sources?

Andrea: Our local fruit trees, nature as in sunny mornings in the garden, the farmers market, and springtime fields - they all make me want to capture their scents and flavours and store them in a jar for another time when I can't see or feel the fruit.

Il-lokal: What do you do or where do you go when you need a creative boost?

Andrea: When I need a creative boost, I usually visit the Farmers Market but it could even be a fresh herb while out on a country walk that sets the spark off and I begin to imagine combinations I could try. It could also be a neighbor or friend who calls me to offer their surplus fruits which gives me a boost. 

Il-lokal: What’s your process like?

Andrea: The cycle usually involves my husband and son picking the fruit, which I then prepare to cook the jam. My daughter designs and markets the products and their labels.

Il-lokal: When do you work? Is there a time of day that you prefer or something that helps you work?

Andrea: The ideal scenario for working is a sunny morning in my kitchen, facing our kitchen garden otherwise it's in the evening after everyone has gone up to sleep - my way of unwinding and meditating, where I can immerse myself in my work, just me and my jams. Occasionally, when I get large orders I rent a fully equipped kitchen space. I love reaching out in my garden to cut fresh herbs or lemons from our tree to use as natural pectin. 

Il-lokal: What are you working on right now? Do you have any exciting things in progress that you’d like to share?

Andrea: Sometimes a neighbor or friend calls me to say they have excess fruit in their garden and it gets too tempting especially when it's a fruit I haven't tried yet - I've prepared 2 new fruits and I’m testing their longevity at the moment  - hopefully they'll be available to purchase soon.

Il-lokal: What’s next for you? And what are your creative plans for the future?

Andrea: I’m currently looking into more efficient methods to produce my jams & chutneys naturally. 

Il-lokal: What are some of your goals for the future?

Andrea: I wish to inspire and educate more people to use the produce from their trees, gardens, and our local veggie markets.

Il-lokal: Are there other creatives whose work/products you particularly love or admire?

Andrea: Daphne Caruana Galizia's monthly Taste magazine set the spark off many, many years ago, and reading through Matty Cremona's recipes and publications got me all the more enthusiastic to go for local, eat, and feed my family fresh homemade produce.

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