Local Spotlight—Florida's Bounty
Meet Becca, the “Ben & Jerry’s of Jam & Jelly”
Natural Times, April/May/June 2014
By Gretchen Hein
“Local gifts with a taste of sunshine,” the motto of Florida’s Bounty is a perfect description of the jams and jellies produced by Becca Posner. Even better, it’s an accurate description of Becca as well! Becca’s a local gal who packs a potent dose of sunshine. She’s engaging and energetic; the sort of person who lights up a room with her presence. An elementary school teacher and mother of two energetic, delightful young boys, she recently added yet another pursuit to her life—making jams and jellies, moving her further along the path to fulfilling several dreams.
Becca learned the craft of jammin’, as she calls it, from her grandmother. For generations her family has lived off the Florida land. She spoke of her grandparents who were dirt-poor subsistence farmers. Poor, except when it came to eating, and then the table was full of what they grew, raised and hunted. Those experiences became a seed within Becca who is now taking what she learned hanging on her grandmother’s apron strings to a new level! I’m not talking about common strawberry jelly or peach jam, I’m talking about Lemon Drop Jam, a lemon, vanilla, honey delight or Citrusly Mint, a ginger, lemon, mint blend that she says is grand rubbed on pork. There’s Pindo Palm, using the copious bounty of pindo dates that fall each spring. She adds the juice of tangerines and . . . yum! Perhaps try Twisted Figlicious, a combination of lemon and fig would pique your curiosity. She left a jar of Sour Orange Cider with me. She had been given a load of Florida’s Sour Oranges, talk about tart! She turned them around with a hint of cloves and cinnamon. It’s got a tarty zing, one I found refreshing; a little sweet, a little tart and a great way to wake up my taste buds. Becca jokes that she’s the Ben & Jerry’s of jam making; just give her some time in the kitchen, fresh fruit, spices and her creative juices start to flow.
Until recently, the only fruit she used came from what she could find or what friends and soon-to-be friends passed along to her. This is where another one of her dreams enters the scene. Becca loves connecting with people, and food makes connection easy. Someone learns about her jammin’ and soon the conversation winds its way into an invitation to come and pick. She was recently given a bounty of grapefruit. Do you know how hard it can be to eat all the grapefruit from just one tree? While she admitted that grapefruit is not one of her favorite fruits, she saw it as a challenge—what could she do to turn it into an interesting, tasty delight? She explored balancing the grapefruit with strawberries and now it’s in jars labeled Afternoon Delight.
Mistakes? Yeah, she’s ruined a few batches here and there. Finding the right combination of fruit, sugar and pectin can be tricky business when you’re jamming.’ Too much of one ingredient and the jam can be stiff, not enough of something else and you end up with syrup. Of course, some combinations don’t turn out to be quite what she envisioned. Her number one taste tester is her brother. This sets the stage for another dream—keeping family close together. Everyone’s involved in some way—brother, husband, sons, grandparents, all have helped. And, then there’s the special connection through her mother. Florida’s Bounty first belonged to her mother and a close friend as a gift basket business. The name was still registered to them although the business had been dormant. With their blessings, Becca resurrected the business name, and kept the basket scene afloat, but it’s the jammin’ that calls to her.
Look for Becca’s flavors at New Leaf Market Co-op, in restaurants around town, and Tomato Land. Keep your eyes out for new flavors and don’t limit yourself to just toast and jam, use them as glazes for veggies, meats and pastries, or try adding a spoonful to a cup of yogurt, or as topping for a bit of ice cream. Florida’s Bounty—a homegrown business, promoting sustainability, human connection and fruit that’s scrum-dilly-umptious!