Name: Lori Heal
Farm: 2 Peas in a Pod & Mama’s Preserves
Location: 1358 Deer Canyon Road, Arroyo Grande, CA 93420
What they grow: The “Mother of Jams,” Heal has created more than 25 unique varieties of farm-fresh preserves, from the ever-popular Olallieberry to spicier indulgences like Apricot and Blueberry Jalapeno. Other bestsellers include Rosemary Mint, Meyer Lemon Marmalade, and Mama’s personal favorite, Plum. In addition to her popular preserves, fruit syrups, and sun-ripened berries, the farm also grows many varieties of beans, sugar snap peas, Brussels sprouts, and juicy citrus.
Where to buy: Farmer’s Markets including Tuesday and Saturday in downtown Santa Barbara and Friday in Montecito. Additionally, Mama’s Preserves have been featured on several menus, including the popular Burger Bus food truck and Sly’s Restaurant in Carpinteria. Orders can also be placed online at mamaspreserves.com.
In season now: Red and yellow raspberries, blueberries, boysenberries, mulberries, snap peas, broccoli, cauliflower, cranberry beans, black beans, and of course, their infamous olallieberries
Their story: A 27-year veteran of the farmers’ markets, Lori Heal grew up with a love for fresh, local produce. Involved in the entire production process, Heal is at home on the farm, picking berries at the peak of perfection for her jams and preserves.
“It is definitely a lot of hard work, but the people keep me going,” said Heal. “I’m so grateful for the relationships I’ve created over the years. I love making people smile.”
Mama’s Preserves began over 12 years ago as a family-run business, turning extra fruit into a life-long passion for preserves. Heal has mastered the art of blending, creating different flavors that pair well both in sweet and savory entrees. Each batch is unique and one-of-a kind, mixed at the peak of ripeness with little added sugar and no preservatives or pesticides. The whole fruit, skins and all, is used to create a more intense flavor.
Heal encourages taste tests, creating teachable moments for market goers to explore new flavors and textures. For Heal, it is all about the love and support from the Santa Barbara community.
“It makes me so happy to watch not only my own children grow up, but my customer’s children come back year after year,” said Heal. “They are now bringing their kids to meet me! There’s nothing better than that.”