April 16, 2014
Modern Gingham preserves are one of the first products we discovered and got excited about when we started out with Colorado Crafted. Kathy's flavor pairings are consistently inspired and delicious, and the fact that she uses locally sourced (and sometimes even foraged!) produce makes her preserves that much more interesting.
Every time I chat with Kathy about her latest ideas on how to use Modern Gingham preserves - topping plain yogurt, paired with duck, in a grilled cheese with aged cheddar - I get hungry. She's a lady who understands good food, and it shows. And on top of that, Kathy is super nice, whip smart, and very funny. We were so pleased to visit her in her Denver kitchen to snap some photos of her in action and ask her a few questions.
Tell us the story of how you got started.
In 1998, I met my husband, Daniel, a guy from London, England who was living in Chicago. When I met his parents for the first time in London, I was introduced to their pantry, filled with mason jars of preserved foods-fruits in syrup, fruits in wine, veggies in brine, and jams. I was fascinated and impressed and excited to try it myself. Upon returning back to Chicago, I bought some heirloom apples, made and jarred applesauce and became hooked on preserving food. I lived in Montreal, Quebec for 4 years and learned to preserve and “put up” lots of different foods. Moving to Denver, I noticed the large number of fruit trees that go unpicked in people’s yards, and became interested in preserving that fruit rather than let it go to waste. And Modern Gingham Preserves was born.
Tell us a little bit about what makes your products unique and interesting.
Where and how I source is probably the most interesting thing about my jam. Getting permission to pick the fruit from the trees allows me to get really high quality fruit, and really control each small batch of jam I make. Additionally, I think the jams are interesting in composition-not too sweet, any spices or liqueurs really compliment the fruit I am preserving. I like to think I make jam that really respects the integrity of the fruit I preserve-the flavor is preserved. There is nothing worse than having jam that looks like a fruit you’re familiar with, but when you taste it, it doesn’t taste like anything but sugar. Any sweetness from my jam is really the result of using ripe, locally grown, and locally sourced fruits that are preserved at their ideal time of ripeness.
How long have you lived in Colorado, and what do you love most about it?
I have been in Colorado for 4.5 years. I love the winters. After living in Chicago and Montreal, where winter was interminable and the sun really seemed like it had disappeared, I love knowing that one snowy day will be followed closely by a sunny one. And I really love the people here. Supportive, friendly, active, and energetic.
Are there any other Colorado artisans that you’re into right now?
I love Clean Getaway Soap. Best soap ever. And I love Zanitea. It’s a locally blended organic tea company in Denver. I don’t tend to like tea, even having a British guy in the house, but I love her tea.
Unfortunately Kathy is no longer making Modern Gingham Preserves, she's moved on to other endeavors. We miss her delicious jam very much! However, you can still...
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The majesty of Colorado's Sawatch Range. Words & photography by Wilder Ruth.