Today we’d like to introduce you to Amy Neiman.
Amy, can you briefly walk us through your story – how you started and how you got to where you are today.
My journey to jam-making started in my childhood with the prolific apricot tree in our yard. It was not a linear journey however. I started my work life running printing presses. I moved on to typesetting and graphic design studying art in College. When I realized that I was not going to be able to earn a living as a visual artist I decided to go to law school. I worked at a large firm, a small firm, and then ventured out on my own and for about 15 years I represented children in high-conflict custody cases and in guardianship proceedings. I was often in Court many days a week and on days that I was not in Court I drove all over Los Angeles and spent time in other counties in California to meet with my young clients, their parents and guardians, teachers, health-care providers, therapists, etc. I loved my work and did not realize at the time how much stress and trauma I was holding for my young clients. In my free time – which was extremely limited – I walked and hiked, cooked all sorts of things and fed my family and friends.
In 2016, I was diagnosed with a tumor on my brain. Surgery was required, I lost hearing in one ear and the recovery was very slow. I had a lot of time to reflect on so many things and I realized that going back to a career that was as emotionally draining and all-consuming as mine had been was not an option for me. During my recovery, I did the things I loved – I walked, hiked, cooked, fed my family and friends. I especially enjoyed making jam – something that I had done with my mother when I was very young – every summer – when that apricot tree unloaded the most spectacular fruit ever. I kept making jam and making more and finding new and different kinds of fruit to jam with. I developed relationships with the organic farmers at the local Farmers’ Markets and just kept on making jam and giving it to family, friends and acquaintances. My family encouraged me to find ways to start selling my jam so I did. And here I am. Along the way, I have added in a couple of other products primarily granola, granola bars, and spicy nuts. I sell-off of my website Batch-33.com; at local Pop-ups and private events; and I recently was invited to participate in one of the local Farmer’s Markets for special events. My jams are carried by Tartine Manufactory at the Row in DTLA, at Larchmont Bungalow in Echo Park, at Esters Wine Bar in Santa Monica, and at stores in Venice and Santa Monica.
My home kitchen has been certified by the County of Los Angeles. All of my jams are seasonal and made in small-batches in my copper jam pot. Every ingredient in the jams (and granola) is organic and locally sourced from our fabulous Farmers’ Markets here in Southern California. I am certified as an organic producer by the California Department of Food and Agriculture and I am currently applying for Federal Organic Certification.
I hope to continue growing my company in a way that will enable me to preserve the quality and integrity of my products.
Has it been a smooth road?
I can’t say that this has been a bumpless road but I enjoy every minute. It took a bit to establish rapport and relationships with the growers. They meet so many people at every market that it is not easy to keep track and to gain their respect and ongoing interest has been a little challenge but well worth it! Figuring out reasonable cost for fruit has been and continues to be a bit of a challenge. Is it worth it to purchase seconds (slightly damaged fruit) or will the fruit be wrecked by the time I get home leaving so little useful product that it would have been more cost-effective to buy the good stuff. Is the good stuff being sold to me at a reasonable cost…
Figuring out the best jars to use (I am now on my first redesign of look) and labeling requirements and design has been a challenge. I work with an amazing woman who has a very small organic skincare line but who previously was a product label designer. She has helped me in so many ways!! Photographing the product for my website is an ongoing challenge. Doing the social media is a challenge. It’s all interesting and fun and a headache!
We’d love to hear more about your business.
I have a small home-based organic jam company. My jams are all made from seasonal fruit, locally sourced from our Farmers’ Markets here in Southern California. I only use organic produce and products in my jam and granola products and I never use pectin – even when making jam with fruits lower in natural pectin. My jams are known for their freshness, seasonality, clean, pure flavors, and perfect jammy consistency. The quality of my jam is never compromised by any factor. Simply, if the fruit isn’t perfect – I don’t buy it – I just move on to some other kind of jam. All of my jam is made in very small batches which enables me to control the quality including color, texture, and flavor.
Is our city a good place to do what you do?
I do feel that Los Angeles is a good place for any small business. We have flexibility to certify home kitchens which enables a small entrepreneur like myself to experiment and try products and grow sensibly and slowly. We have a youthful market here who are open to trying so many new things and there are so many ways to market and sell products. Makers Markets, Pop-ups, Farmers’ Markets, small shops, large shops, internet, social media, word of mouth – it’s all good.
- My small jars of jam (4 or 6 oz) cost between $8.00 and $9.00 a jar depending on varietal and availability
- Large jars of jam (8 or 9 oz) cost between $15.00 and $18.00 a jar depending on varietal and availability
- Granola costs $9.00 for 8 oz and $18.00 for 16 oz bags
- Granola bars are $4.00 each
- Address: Batch-33
737 Marco Place
Venice, California 90291
- Website: Batch-33.com
- Phone: (310) 720-4269
- Email: Amy@Batch-33.com
- Instagram: Batchthirtythree
- Facebook: Batch-33
Mary Michel, Annie Mandell