The Morning Show with Annika Sonic and Rose Tamberino. Guest Christopher Wilson of LunaGrown
Annika: It is 8-14. Good morning, Annika, and Rose with you in the morning and now we have a third Chris Wilson, from LunaGrown is with us here on the air. Good morning. Oh, you made a face that I get it wrong, but good morning, okay, good, morning, thank you for being here with us.
Chris: Thank you for having me.
Annika: Oh, we, we are so excited to have you and as we’ve been talking about you all week long. But our biggest thing is, we were proud of ourselves that we have like self-discipline. We’ve been looking at that all week long, we’ve been touching it, showing it to other people.
Rose: He sent us this beautiful package from LunaGrown, that’s the company he’s from, of jams and the beautiful, three Jams and jars and the packaging with the fruit paper. And I’m assuming that’s how you send things when you send a gift.
Chris: Yes that’s correct.
Annika: He did say an interesting thing. These are not usually for general consumption. They were made especially for pairing.
Chris: Any of the LunaGrown. You can use it on bread. And Toast, of course, Artisan bread, but it’s more geared to meat pairings and cheese pairings, to use with dishes rather than get up in the morning. And I’m just gonna have this very day before work.
Annika: Yeah, but you could put it on toast.
Rose: But having… No, I’m a plant-based or everybody knows that, but they’re delicious plant-based cheeses. I will put this on a beautiful piece of toast like I said, an artisan toast with a plant-based cheese. First, and then a jam for breakfast.
Annika: Why not that is so great. So we’ll be having this for breakfast. Right Now! Yeah, okay, wait, well tell us all about LunaGrown. Like how did you get started in the jam business?
Chris: It’s kinda odd, I was between jobs and friends of mine had purchased land for farming, and we took a walk one day before the land had been touched with our dogs and the one dog Luna went missing, we could not find her so we walked the land and walked landing. It’s almost 50 acres the I… So we found Luna in a field blueberry bushes, there were eight acres of wild blueberries, and she was picking them off eating them.
Annika: She was foraging. Good Girl!
Chris: And that started the jam business, the blueberry jam was the first one.
Rose: I love these stories. You just think somebody decided to go into business no… The dog was in a blueberry bush.
Chris: We started with $60.
Rose: Really… Yeah, how long ago.
Chris: In 2012.
Rose: So I’m not very long ago.
Annika: See That gives hope to people… You know you can do what you want, you don’t need to be rich. But I’m sure, where it was probably a struggle in the beginning?
Chris: It was very, very much a struggle. We started out of the kitchen as a home-based and then went to the farm and the long run built a kitchen and now, of course, we’re a state-licensed and federally listed in a… We sold nationwide.
Rose: Wow, and where is that? Where is the farm?
Chris: The farms in Wurtsboro.
Annika: Wurtsboro, oh that’s Cool!
Chris: And I have to say this, We are not open to the public.
Rose: Okay, sure, yeah, you have you that you do the business that you do the work there, but then you sell it elsewhere. So locally, where are you… How many places in the, say, the Hudson Valley.
Chris: I would say 10 to 12 places, plus we do farm markets in and events.
Rose: Like, like farm and flea. You’re gonna be at Farm and Flea.
Chris: Absolutely, that’s great, which is a beautiful event.
Annika: So definitely look for him at all of these events that he’ll be going to throughout the summer and I know you’re out of Wurtsboro, but I, oh okay. The farm is up in Wurtsboro. Now, I notice that you have reduced sugar products. And now with jams and jellies, that’s kind of weird. How do you get around that or how do you do that?
Chris: Well… So any time you recreate a recipe, of course, you have to put that through the state and put that through the federal government and get a… You get that approved thank you. And jams and jellies when you buy what’s in the market, that’s 55% Sugar, that’s a lot of sugar…
So, I have family members that are pre-diabetic, and I said, If I’m gonna create a product, it has to be suitable for them, good, which of course now is suitable wherever I even… Yeah, who doesn’t wanna cut their sugar…
Rose: Who needs 55% sugar, in a jam, is fruit, it’s berries, they’re sweet enough.
Chris: To meet the FDA code, you have to drop it in at least 25%. We’re actually almost 40% less. Less than what the original standard was, set in 1939.
Annika: Okay, how do you do that? You just… Do you increase more of the fruit in the jam or how do you do that?
Chris: It’s a different… We’re getting the science here. There are two different types of pectin. There’s the kind you see in the market like Certo, and Sure-Jel… That requires sugar to activate… And then there’s low methyl pectin which is still made from fruit from citrus, and that requires calcium to activate so you can create your product, with lower sugar you can create it with honey, you can create it with a non-sugar sugar.
Rose: Oh, wow, I love when we learn stuff like that. So what do you use then, in yours?
Chris: I use sugar and honey depending on the product.
Rose: Right, but it’s still 40% lower than a lower than the typical.
Chris: The typical stuff you find in the supermarket.
Annika: That’s awesome. Right they don’t just dump it in there for mass consumption and say yes the sweeter the better they’ll love it!
Chris: In the same aspect. Sugar is a preservative. So the stuff you see in the supermarket that lasts for five years, in your cupboard, that’s why. Your artisan and jams or jellies that are reduced sugar, You might store them for nine months, but trust me, you eat them so quick.
Rose: Speaking of that, do we get to taste. Should we take a little break? We’ll get some stuff together and we’ll do a little tasting…
Annika: You don’t have to twist my arm on that.
Annika: Lunagrown.com L-U-N-A-G-R-O-W-N.com so… Oh, so my gosh I… Oh yeah, so spiced fig jam.
Rose: Okay, I don’t know how do you explain it, I mean I’ve had fig Jams before this is immediately, I say Fig Newton. I had a taste like that inside. But then there’s something that happens toward the end that then you get a different… And it might be the Bourbon?
Annika: It’s called the bourbon or that, Wow. Now, what I like about it is the texture of it. It’s not firm and hard, and it’s just absolutely delicious. I cheated, I had to have a Rose said she was gonna wait I couldn’t wait just absolutely delicious.
Rose: No, I had the fig. Yeah, like there’s… It’s fig newton first? And then there’s this delightful thing that happens at the end.
Annika: Yeah, no, no, it’s absolutely delicious by the way, Chris Wilson is with us here, we’re so busy testing everything and tasting everything it has, we, Okay, you gotta do the mango Honey just do it now.
Rose: Okay, this is called Honey mango… Oh, here we go.
Annika: Wait, wait ’til you. Will you get that in your… I know, right, it’s amazing.
Rose: Wow, it’s… So, no, I mean I don’t eat shrimp anymore, but I could see why he said you’d wanna put that on a fish. I could totally see that.
Chris: Even if I… As a non-For-salmon for straight vegetables, I put it in store Fry.
Annika: Oh, what a great idea. I’ll be doing that.
Rose: With tofu… And that would be fabulous.
Annika: It is, and if you’re just joining us, with us, we have Chris Wilson from Lunagrown and their jams and jellies, and originally made for pairings with cheese and wine, but we are so on the old be able to.
Rose: And here’s what’s in it, I love to read ingredients because it’s gotta be less than a couple right; mangoes, water, cane sugar, honey. Less than 2% pectin. I mean, that’s it, that’s it. Simple, keep it, simple folks, keep it simple folks if you wanna taste. These are gonna be at motorcyclepedia at farm and flea on the 24th… 25th of March, and we’ve got all kinds of yummy things. There’s this apple jam.
So, to a… So as a that…Oh yeah, we’ll be tasted. Let’s see, we’re gonna take that on the gingersnap.
Annika: Chris. Well, we’re busy like testing here. Now, you say that you have these things people can order them by mail but do you at all sell in regular supermarkets?
Chris: We don’t sell in Supermarkets.
Annika: I could imagine there must be some sort of a challenge with regular supermarkets.
Chris: It is challenging because supermarkets by from distributors, so they get large bulk you know, they get it all in at once.
Rose: And they want it to last forever. It’s gotta have a shelf life of like ten years.
Chris: Mostly LunaGrown sells in some of the wineries olive shops, specialty olive oil places. Cheese shops. That’s our go-to-market is it’s more of an appreciated product in those areas.
Annika: You, I think, for your next label you have to take a picture of roses face while she’s eating a…
Rose: Apple. Oh, I’m gonna make you one. It’s unreliable. Chris said “It tastes like apple pie. Yes, we will. Wait till you taste this on the little ginger snap. So what else would you do with this? Apple jam pairing and cheese, right? I would think a nice cheese.
Chris: With your turkey. It’s phenomenal.
Rose: Who needs a cranberry sauce, right?
Chris: Ahh no, I know it’s popular but no.
Rose: I spice cake, that’s what I feel like that right with the gingersnap, the Apple jam it feels almost like a spice cake that you’re eating.
Annika: This really makes so such a beautiful present a… I mean I know you can give yourself a gift, but the way it’s packaged and just the little things that you’ve done here when you package this for, like mothers day.
Rose: Hint hint March, 24th-25th is motorcyclepedia. This is a great time to pick up a couple of these. I don’t know if they buy them at motorcyclepedia. Will, there’ll be some sort of wrapping or anything nice or what are you doing bags? How are you giving them out?
Chris: At this point? Usually for events, as just excuse me. We just sell the jars.
Rose: Okay, so I, that’s perfect. So you can buy a couple of jars and get one of those pretty baskets somewhere. I make a little basket for mom or dad, father I really… My husband would love this. Because like you said, to pair it with other foods is really the key. And I don’t think a lot of people think to do that.
Chris: Right, but… You look at the industry. And it was never created for that.
Rose: Right it was just plain peanut butter and jelly or toast with jam, that’s it.
Annika: Well, you know, you don’t eat meat, but you could put it on on on ham if you had a nice ham it is anything.
Rose: Did you discover that what brought you to put the jam on these other foods? Was it just an accident.
Chris: I quit it in bread, I… Oh, so you were like, “let’s see, so what I’m gonna do with my product, yes, so I…
I cut the bread out.
Rose: So you then started playing the jam on other things?
Rose/Annika: Oh wow, but it goes great on bread, I think I, I mean, I’m looking forward to… Just go great on your finger. Yeah doesn’t matter or the… Just get it down off of the spoon to Delicious. And you guys, again, Wurtsboro… Was the farm? Don’t go there, They are not open to the public. But you can find the products all around the Hudson Valley.
Chris: All around the Hudson Valley. There’s a list on the website of specific stores that carry it.
Rose: Which is LunaGrown.com right, That’s L-U-N-A-G-R-O-W-N-N.com.
Annika: I don’t know, the things that just stand out to me are the texture. Texture’s, a big deal to me. So the texture is really delicious and of course, reduced sugar 25% less sugar than what you see on the shelves there in your store and beautifully packaged, local. I mean, you know… There’s nothing that we… Yeah, we just, a whole a… We love it.
Rose: How long I’m looking at your FAQ’s, how long can you keep it once you open it in the fridge? I know it’s not gonna last very long ’cause we’re gonna eat it, but it.
Chris: ’cause you’re gonna eat it. I say, what I tell customers is about a month. In my fridge, it lasts for three months and I do have to say this, if your re-fridge isn’t necessarily the cleanest in the world, like you forgot that lime hidden in the crisper drawer.
Rose: That’s my refrigerator.
Chris: Everything will go bad really quick. So I, in one, I’m very serious so I was on a…
Rose: I didn’t understand that. What? If your Fridge isn’t clean, which is mine. I have so much stuff in my refrigerator.
Chris: The life span of your jam, of course, but it cute the lifespan of your dairy if you have dairy in there… Of your other vegetables…
Annika: Like I have Mangoes in my drawer that are on their way out.
Chris: Yes, in the… So you should remove those from your drawer…
Rose: Okay, but wait a minute, why? It’s in a glass jar yeah.
Chris: But even in a glass everything breathes in your refrigerator, even though you put it in a glass jar, and you’ve opened at once, that vacuum seal is broken. So you run the risk of you know.
Annika: Oh, okay, so get all the rotten food. Well, then I wouldn’t have anything in my refrigerator all the rotten food outta there… All you need in your refrigerator…
Chris: Is jam.
Rose: That’s all… And some cheese right.
Chris: But yes, it’ll last a good month and your refrigerator but you will eat it before that month is over.
Annika: Well, we believe that now, how many, are these all of your varieties.
Rose: No, I know so, yeah, what…
Chris: How many do you have a… So I retired depending on the harvest season ’cause some years, you can’t get everything you’d like to between 40-24 to 40 varieties.
Annika: Wow, I don’t wanna put you on the spot but do you have a gooseberry anything.
Chris: So we grow gooseberries.
Annika: They are my favorite. They’re like the healthiest fruit in the world!
Chris: Well you can come help pick them because they have thorns that will make you bleed for weeks…
Annika: I know, I know, ’cause.
Chris: Oh… They’re like needles.
Annika: So guess what, that doesn’t stop to the birds from eating them that was…
Rose: They don’t have to worry about the things they’re small and if they could maneuver moving between.
Annika: My mother has gooseberries and I was looking to steal a couple of bushes from her, but they’re a little… Not difficult to grow but they don’t transplant well.
Chris: So you just take a snip.
Rose: Okay I’m looking at your website is beautiful, “Lunagrown.com RazzleBerry jam. What’s a razzleberry?
Chris: The Razzleberry, the original Razzleberry, we’re going back to Charles Dickens. The original Razzleberry was made from Huckleberries, black caps, and whatever other Berry was around that time of year, and they would put the three together because you need to stretch that through the winter.
Our Razzleberry is raspberries, blackberries, and blueberries. So we’ve taken our seasonal favorites and this is what you get for the holidays, it’s very nice.
Rose: It’s beautiful. Please check it out. At Hudson Valley, Farm and flea at motorcyclepedia come and see Chris at the Lunagrown booth. Because you won’t be disappointed you, we will see you there.
Will you be doing some tastings at all to.
Chris: Absolutely I…
Rose: You’ve got to go in, just take a little spoon and give everything a taste.
Annika: Chris, thank you so much for coming and letting us know all about this LunaGrown and the Wurtsboro. Like we said, “Don’t go there.
Rose: No, but the farm just… I know that they’re local, it’s all grown locally and there’s nothing like that. That’s where you wanna eat.
What’s all around you.
Annika: What’s really great is that that’s the way I always pictured the Hudson Valley, to be everybody. And of course, it’s not always like that, but now it’s going back to that.
Chris: And there are some really amazing artisans in the valley.
yeah, some really amazing people.
Annika: I almost, I feel like we’re really the start of some sort of an evolution of…
Rose: And we’re so lucky to know Laurie Peron at Hudson Valley Farm and Flea because she does this amazing gathering.
Chris: Right, absolutely amazing, what she puts together is phenomenal. Probably the best that I’ve been to in the Hudson Valley.
Annika: The energy of so many like-mind and he who care about the earth, who care about other people, who care about what they do, the energy is amazing.
Rose: And I would think, too, when you meet these people, right, you probably all start thinking like you, what can we do something together, like you must be like just ’cause it’s like energy about all of you that everybody… We’ve met so far has the same vibe that they’re just all about putting something together that’s meaningful and that matters, and that’s good for people and that people enjoy. So you all have the same… Like I, passion is a right and as I would be, I would be thinking like, Let’s see, we could take the LunaGrown jam and put it on the grock bites, and the damn-good honey can go in the Lunagrown jam at a…
Annika: Just thank you so much for coming down.
Chris: Yeah, that’s a thank you so much for having me, I, I really do appreciate it, I was a wonderful experience.
Annika: Yeah, yeah, first time on the air. He said, did I get it right. And you have a great radio voice too, it just kind of envelopes you, you think you… You can tell your radio friends, that you did an A-plus, today on the…
Chris: Oh they’re listening to it.
Annika: Are you kidding good thing we got you now, ’cause after they heard you, they’re gonna wanna there every day. So, I latent a chance to get you here once again, thank you so much and if you have anything new that you wanna tell us about… You’re always welcome to call.
Chris: Thank you.
Annika: Thank you, Chris, that’s Chris Wilson from Lunagrown.
Chris: So in an orange marmalade, you get orange rings and a lemon marmalade You would get lemon rinds, you’re straight out Jams your Berry jams will have the seeds in them, raspberries it comes with the seeds in it, if the seeds are removed and you’re just doing it with juice that’s called jelly.
Annika: So don’t ask for seedless Jam, don’t ask for seedless jam.
Rose: Alright, so marmalade has the rind, Jam will still have the seed. A jelly is just made with the juice.
Chris: It’s just made with the juice.
Rose: Interesting, uh, to… Do you carry jellies?
Chris: I make a few jellies.
Rose: It is okay not many, ’cause everything we’ve had has said, jam right at the…
Chris: So the standard is for me it’s a chipotle jelly.
Annika: Oh, oh, oh, and we’ve never letting him go.
Rose: What you do with that what do you put that on.
Chris: A spoon.
Annika: Let’s see, any questions. We did have some… Oh, I’m just gonna throw this in there. I think I know the answer to, but there’s no such animal, as a marma-lard right.
Chris: Not that I know of… You can create one if you’ve got the time.
Rose: It’s the Bronx accent.
Annika: I’m always confused about what’s right is it marmalade. Or is it right marma-lard? And so I… Can you liquefy these things?
Chris: Yes you can… If you take a teaspoon of it, you can warm it up in your microwave and then pour it on top of a Danish. You get a beautiful glaze. Those things you see in the market with the cream and the fruit, that’s actually topped with warmed Apple jelly. Oh, you warm it up, you put over the top it cools, it makes a beautiful glaze.
Annika: I’ll distract him. You get the shackles and chains.
Rose: Something about drinks. We can put these in drinks? That our girl, alright Tina thank you!
Chris: For alcoholic beverages and non-alcoholic beverages. The Chipotle pepper. We like to mix that with cucumbers. Look, cucumber juice in your Bullet blender. Yeah, add some gin add a tablespoon of chipotle pepper and sit by the pool. You’re good to go.
Annika: Oh, were we to get to go right now? And we gotta go to commercials. But you hang out or with this, Chris.