Recently, I spent some time in Hudson, New York. I fell in love with the town and while I was there, I couldn’t shake the feeling that I must–just must!–uproot my entire life to move upstate. I shared this ridiculous fantasy with one of the wonderful women I met there and her response was, “Do it! Move upstate and just start making jam! You could start a jam business!” I have no idea what compelled her in that moment to chose jam, specifically, as the business idea that would convince me to leave my perfectly lovely life in Manhattan–but, I had to admit, it sounded dreamy.
Well, flash forward to a few weeks later and I meet Candice–a woman who actually DID start a jam business!! She is the amazing brains and heart behind BRINS, a delectable line of specialty jams and marmalades, made right here in Brooklyn (and see, she didn’t even have to leave New York City to make this dream career a reality!).
Candice and I hit it off immediately–swapping stories of homesicknesses, the feeling of being new in New York, and then the feeling of building a home in New York. We all have our own things that have helped us to cultivate such feelings. For Candice, it is jam. Having grown up in Louisiana, creating jams–originally, from ingredients mailed to her by her mother, grown from her family’s own garden–was her way back to a sense of home.
After nearly a decade in the fast-paced world of architecture, Candice left to pursue a life that felt more authentic to who she was–and founded BRINS. And the result is FANTASTIC. I mean, seriously delicious. I’ve never really been a jam person before, but now I find myself reaching for all different BRINS flavors, mixing them into my teas, my salad dressings, and even a stir-fry sauce!
Below, Candice shares more of her own story and gives us tips for a few of her favorite jam pairings!
What inspired you to leave your life in architecture behind and start out on your jam journey?
I worked professionally as an architect for 10 years. When I started out, I focused a lot on architectural theory; the relationship between space, senses, symbols and how we understand ourselves through the positioning of these elements. I adored luxury retail architecture so much because I was able to spend a lot of time studying the materials and details of what makes up various lifestyles. I was given the tools to replicate, not just the physical aspects, but the emotion behind those styles. It was a great job, but after a decade I found I was coming to a pass. I wasn’t learning anymore and I wanted to branch out to find other avenues that would let me continue growing.
Preserving was something I found myself coming home and doing as a way to fill in the blanks after a long day at work. I realized it was a next step, it was a way for me to stitch together senses & tell a story, then stand back to watch it become a tool for others to create their own story, just like what I was doing with (architectural) design. I don’t see that I gave up architecture at all, to me this is just another tiny aspect of the practice – at least the practice I set out for myself.
What is it about jam that gives you a feeling of home?
Fruit is really just little capsules of sun & rain, isn’t it? So, from the start it was quite literally just a capture of Louisiana. Being able to preserve; to create something ready-made for a future day or for sharing with others is something I grew up around. My grandfather was a cattle farmer with a small garden & corn field. I have vivid memories as a child of sitting with my family in lawn chairs around a pile of corn silk shucking for entire afternoons, the early morning journeys to our family butcher, the following days of family team work wrapping and prepping the day’s haul. It was work, but it was also a reason to communicate and share. And every visit meant leaving with jars of pickled veggies. Every time we would open a jar or unwrap meat to cook for dinner, it would bring us for an instant back to that farm and the days we made something together.
I never made jam/ marmalade until I moved away. Making marmalade was just an instinct of how I found a way to tell my story, the story of my home. And from there, I’ve let it grow.
What are a few of your creative recipe ideas for using the jams? Any favorite pairings?
Lately, I really love using jam in my tea or making simple salad dressings.
The Lemon Saffron is perfect in the evening after a meal with an Oolong or White Peony tea. The Cherry Chai is amazing in the morning with a deep tea like Assam or Ceylon & a touch of milk (I always go for unsweetened almond).