There is nothing quite like breaking the seal on a new jar of homemade preserves. It could be filled with sweet pickles or relish, a specialty jelly or your favourite fruit jam. Regardless of its contents, it’s a comforting feeling knowing that someone has prepared it using the old-time tradition of preserving foods. Perhaps it brings us back to our childhood, when our grandmother’s were seen doing the same, shuffling about in the kitchen during the later summer months. Or maybe it’s the present trend that the famous little mason jar has taken on. Trend or no trend, those with the skills and patience to preserve, can, pickle, and jelly are becoming highly regarded, as the push to consume local foods becomes a priority.
For over 20 years, Ulla Grant of A Little of This has been experimenting with preserving the goodness of fruits and vegetables and other goodies, year-round. What started out for Ulla as a hobby to pass the time, has flourished into part of her weekly routine.
Ulla first began bringing her goods to the table at a seasonal farmers market over 20 years ago when she and her family lived in Timmins, Ontario. For about three years, she dabbled in selling crafts, pierogies and a small amount of preserves. When she and her family moved to Thunder Bay, the Thunder Bay Country Market had just completed their first official year. So Ulla joined the lineup of vendors and has since been a part of our market. In the 19 years that have passed since then, Ulla has created for herself a solid reputation of excellence in her home-made products. And, as Ulla put it, “to keep busy, get out and have fun!”
Upon visiting A Little of This’ booth, you’ll be greeted by Ulla herself, surrounded by a vast rainbow of jams, jellies, preserves and many other goodies! She takes pride in the countless products she offers. For those who take comfort in traditional preserves, you’ll find relishes, canned beets, pickles, carrots and many other canned vegetables. There’s also a host of traditional jams and jellies. But that’s not all. Ulla has a passion for trying new recipes and offering unique varieties and flavours of preserves to her customers. And she’s become well-known for the unusual lineup of other preserves she carries. Things like antipastos, chutneys, appetizer jellies and uncommon spreads. Ulla challenges her customers to try things like her garlic, wine and blueberry appetizer jellies. She recently discovered a flavourful recipe for onion jam, as well as cranberry ketchup! If you’re in the mode for something a little less traditional, A Little of This offers you a little of that, too! Also available: a variety of dry dip mixes for purchase, where a part of the proceeds go to a cancer-related charity.
There are countless more varieties of products waiting to be discovered. Ulla’s biggest seller has become her Million Dollar Relish, also a 10-time winner at a number of local fairs! Ulla’s secret? She’s found a way to perfect the texture to her original recipe. As a validation, Ulla enters many more of her preserves in local fairs. Quality is always key in how she chooses the ingredients for her preserves and whenever possible, she supports local growers and businesses. Many of her products are purchased from local farmers like Belluz Farms and Whitefish Valley Vegetables as well as a number of local retail outlets including George’s Market. There’s no doubt that when you enjoy one of Ulla’s products, you’re consuming a tried and true recipe full of local goodness.
Ulla has become accustomed to what her customers favour depending on the season. Popular at Christmas are her pickled asparagus, while late summer brings out more traditional preserves and jams. However, Ulla’s talent in preserving goodness means that you can enjoy the tastes of many fruits and vegetable, year-round! You’ll find Ulla at the market every Saturday morning, 8:00am to 1:00pm. Bring home one of her unique appetizer jellies for your next special occasion, or open up a luscious jar of preserved pickles as a creative side dish. A Little of This opens your palate to both traditional and new textures and flavours through preserved goodness!