Made in Georgia: Woman’s love of Emily G’s jams led to a career making them

Emily G’s produces 10 year-round flavors, like peach marmalade and fig pomegranate, plus eight seasonal flavors, including cranberry port. Courtesy of Cortini Shelton
Caption
Emily G’s produces 10 year-round flavors, like peach marmalade and fig pomegranate, plus eight seasonal flavors, including cranberry port. Courtesy of Cortini Shelton

Credit: Cortini Shelton

Credit: Cortini Shelton

Jennifer Burns credits “jam fans” for the growth of Emily G’s, from a small-batch maker, selling at farmers markets, to a company with 18 varieties of jams and marmalades (and one pepper vinegar sauce). Those jam fans started buying Emily G’s products at local markets years ago, and continue to buy them today from a range of retailers, predominantly in the Southeast, but as far afield as New Jersey and the Midwest.

Burns was one of those fans. Almost a decade ago, she and her husband Tom bid on a year’s worth of Emily G’s jams at a silent auction benefiting Children’s Healthcare of Atlanta. They loved the product, and, when Burns learned that Emily G’s was considering closing down production, the Burnses bought the company.

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Jennifer Burns turned Emily G’s into a food line sold in retail locations across the Southeast, as well as Iowa, Minnesota, New Jersey and even South Dakota. Courtesy of Pete Massey
Caption
Jennifer Burns turned Emily G’s into a food line sold in retail locations across the Southeast, as well as Iowa, Minnesota, New Jersey and even South Dakota. Courtesy of Pete Massey

Credit: Pete Massey

Credit: Pete Massey

It’s the entire family’s passion. Tom’s unofficial title is “chief tasting officer,” and the couple’s four daughters — Kristina, Gabrielle, Jessica and Amy — work alongside their parents, handling social media, assisting with sales and promotion, creating new jam recipes, and figuring out nontraditional ways to use their products.

In their commercial kitchen space in Statesboro, chosen because of its proximity to a daughter attending Georgia Southern University, the family produces 10 year-round flavors, including fig pomegranate and peach marmalade, and eight seasonal ones, like pear honey and cranberry port.

Emily G’s You’re the Jam gift set includes 1.5-ounce jars of the company's most popular flavors. Courtesy of Pete Massey
Caption
Emily G’s You’re the Jam gift set includes 1.5-ounce jars of the company's most popular flavors. Courtesy of Pete Massey

Credit: Pete Massey

Credit: Pete Massey

The company has grown, in large part, because Burns takes the time to meet with chefs and shop owners, offering tastings and listening to what they think, and what they need.

“We set up tastings and start conversations,” she said. “When I meet with chefs, I get to hear their ideas about what they could do with our jams. They were the ones who inspired our food service line. We now produce gallon containers of triple berry, fig pomegranate, peach marmalade and datil peach marmalade.”

Some restaurants, like Local Three, tell Burns to bring whatever she likes, and then they get creative in the kitchen.

“Local Three has supported us forever,” Burns said, “and I love to see what they create with the flavors we take to them. It’s the same with some of our other restaurant and hotel clients, like Little Alley Steak, Hotel Indigo Atlanta-Vinings and Longleaf at the Atlanta Botanical Garden.”

If you order an Emily G’s charcuterie jam kit, you’ll receive three flavors of jams and step-by-step directions for creating a charcuterie board like this one. (The cheese, charcuterie and fruit are not included.) Courtesy of Pete Massey
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If you order an Emily G’s charcuterie jam kit, you’ll receive three flavors of jams and step-by-step directions for creating a charcuterie board like this one. (The cheese, charcuterie and fruit are not included.) Courtesy of Pete Massey

Credit: Pete Massey

Credit: Pete Massey

Tastings in small retail stores allow Burns to get to know the owners and help them find the right flavor mix for their customers. Getting into large retail stores is different. “The bigger stores have their own process,” she said, “reviewing certain types of products on a schedule they create, and each retailer is different. Once they taste it, they’re hooked. Then, the hurdle is finding shelf space in the stores.”

These days, Emily G’s can be found in the Murray’s Cheese departments in Georgia Kroger stores, and is featured as a local product in Southeastern Whole Foods Markets and Fresh Markets, as well as being available in a host of specialty shops around the region.

With so many people creating cheese boards and charcuterie plates, Emily G’s offers help in the form of a kit that includes three flavors of jams and step-by-step directions right on the package. Courtesy of Pete Massey
Caption
With so many people creating cheese boards and charcuterie plates, Emily G’s offers help in the form of a kit that includes three flavors of jams and step-by-step directions right on the package. Courtesy of Pete Massey

Credit: Pete Massey

Credit: Pete Massey

Creativity in using the company’s products doesn’t just reside in the chefs they work with. The whole Burns family gets into the kitchen, dreaming up nontraditional ways to enjoy their jams. Their cookbook, “Spread the Love to Your Table” ($12, available on their website), includes recipes for cocktails, mocktails, appetizers, entrees, sides and desserts.

Now, there’s something new for the jam fans. The company recently launched a charcuterie jam kit that includes three of its most popular flavors — jalapeno raspberry, peach marmalade and fig pomegranate — chosen because they complement cheese and charcuterie. The box also includes step-by-step directions for creating a charcuterie board that’s Insta-worthy.

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