The Jam Man: Roger Adams with some of the jams and chutneys he makes on a near daily basis to raise money for Wauchope Hospital.FOUR years ago, Roger Adams, president of the Wauchope Hospital Volunteers had trouble telling his jams from his jellies.
Faced with an out-of -control Choko vine in his back yard and some time on his hands, he consulted an old recipe book.
He decided to make some jam.
Last week he turned out over 200 jars of jam, chutney and pickles, slaving over a sticky hot stove from Sunday to Sunday.
It’s been an amazing journey for this local man who gives back nearly all the money raised to the Wauchope Memorial Hospital.
This year he has made over 1,700 jars of jams, pickles and chutney for a profit of nearly $6,500.Most of that goes straight back to the Wauchope Memorial Hospital.
His ‘hobby’ has taken on a life force of its own and the description of his kitchen and production line conjures images of ordered chaos with the amazing aromas of marmalade
wafting through the air.
“In the beginning I was doing it all my hand but of course this has changed over time,” explains Roger.
“I have invested in a variety of machinery including mix masters and special saucepans that have cut the preparation time significantly”.
He averages around 35 bottles in a week although this week, in the lead up to Christmas, the tally stands at 80.
Most of the bottles that range in price from 2 – $6 are sold at the Wauchope Hospital Volunteers stall and two local retail outlets; Dancing Fabrics in Port Macquarie and Lewis’ Butchery in Wauchope.
Roger also gives bottles to friends or uses his jams as currency to barter for ingredients and equipment for his next batch.
His jams have been given to other charities for fundraising and have been distributed to Sydney, Brisbane, Cairns and Melbourne.
“People are stopping me in the street now to ask ‘Are you the jam man?’, so I suppose I am getting a bit of a reputation,” said Roger.
“I will work with whatever is in season and will always have a go with what people give me.
“I may find myself returning home with a melon, a pumpkin and a stick of celery and wonder what I’ll do with it?’
“I add onion, salt, vinegar and sugar and some food green food dye and the next day it’s hello Halloween chutney!”
The successes include the popular winter and summer medleys, Passionfruit jam, Fig jam and the citrus combinations including carrot and lemon, lemon, ginger, passionfruit and orange.
The failures or ‘experiments’ have included anything containing Rockmelon or Pineapple.
“They just will not set.”
Thanks to friends, some known and some unknown, Roger manages to procure all the ingredients at a relatively low cost.
“The IGA are wonderful, they will give me a significant reduction on seconds and I have friends who donate ingredients like sugar or drop off their excess fruit and vegies.
“There is also a mysterious jar donor who leaves them by the box load on my doorstep.”
This hobby is time consuming but still incredibly rewarding and Roger is determined to keep it manageable despite the growing popularity of his product.
“I’m really very happy with how it is going and now I have a following of people but I won’t go into business.
“It wouldn’t be a hobby then would it?
“We are told to learn what you are good at and do it with faith, hope and love,” he explains.
“I’ve done that and just added some vinegar, salt and sugar and most of all a touch of spice”.
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