by Eileen Seiler
When a fruit spread is so good that you can’t help but stick your spoon in a few extra times, you know that someone, somewhere has gotten it just right. And, that someone is Sheila Rhodes, owner of Small Batch Kitchen, Doylestown Food Market’s Producer of the Month. Small Batch Kitchen produces low sugar sweet, spicy and savory spreads in a variety of flavors so tantalizing, your mouth will be watering before you open the jar.
Like many entrepreneurs, Rhodes’ inspiration began in her own backyard, planting vegetables and fruit on her one-acre plot of land. She taught herself canning methods to preserve her harvest then started experimenting with recipes, including fruit spreads, which led to a delightful discovery.
“The jams I was producing were overly sweet,” Rhodes says. “I started creating my own recipes and was surprised to find how reducing the sugar intensifies the fruit flavor.”
All Small Batch Kitchen Spreads are handmade and contain no artificial ingredients. Rhodes sources her ingredients from local farms such as Living Hope Farm in Harleysville and Frecon Farms in Boyerstown. She purchases as much produce in season as she can and freezes it for future recipes. Rhodes still grows her own ghost peppers and garlic for her Ghost Pepper and Roasted Garlic spreads.
“Most of my flavors come from me playing in my own kitchen and figuring out the science,” Rhodes says. “It takes about a month to develop a new flavor including the testing and approval processes.”
From Blueberry Basil and Brandied Pear to Pumpkin Porter Beer and Cherry Bourbon Chipotle, Small Batch Kitchen spreads are intriguing and adaptable to so many recipes. So far, the most popular product is her Sour Cherry spread. Rhodes also receives a lot of requests for rhubarb and is thinking about adding raspberries and blueberries to the mix.
Rhodes has a certified kitchen where the spreads are prepared, canned and packaged. She then sells her spreads at gourmet food stores, local venues like Doylestown Food Market and area farmers markets throughout Pennsylvania, New York and New Jersey. As her business continues to grow, she is looking to add some new farmers markets and stores this year as well as expanding her sales and production staff.
Come and taste Small Batch Kitchen spreads at Doylestown Food market, March 10 and March 18 from 10 am until noon and save 20 percent on all Small Batch Kitchen products throughout the month of March.