W hat started out as an alternative farm enterprise in Abbeyleix with Laois Leader funding, has now evolved into an award winning business that employs 12 people and which recently secured a €200,000 deal with retail chains such as Dunnes Stores, Musgraves and Tesco.
G’s Gourmet Jams is basking in the sweet smell of success. The family business is the only jam maker in the country to grow their own fruit. G’s Gourmet Jams are made using traditional methods, stirred and poured by hand into an open pan with flavours including raspberry, loganberry, blackcurrant and plum. The brand has also expanded to include chutneys and relishes including cranberry, brandy butter, lemon curd, red pepper relish and red currant jelly. They also make bespoke jams supplying the likes of the Shelbourne Hotel, the Ritz-Carlton, the K Club, Dromoland and Ashford Castles.
In the past year the Abbeyleix firm invested €30,000 to rebrand the new Abbey Farm range of 12 jams as a “quirky” accompaniment to the already established range of 30 G’s Gourmet Jams with the aim of appealing to a younger target customer.
The company is still a family operation. It was established by Helen Gee in 1999 when she finally acted on her ambition to own her own food business. The Bagnelstown native, who moved to Abbeyleix when she married Cyril, always had a love for making traditional foods so it was a natural progression to set up her own jam business which has won Helen and her family many prestigious awards over the years and she is a familiar face at Food Fairs all over the midlands.
It remains very much a family business with Cyril growing the fruits that make the jams. Eldest son Roy, a qualified engineer by profession aids in the making of the jam and in running the business. Another son Clive is the sales director and also handles the logistics while daughter Sandra is production manager and is also responsible for HR and Business Development.