If you’ve ever got into a pickle while making preserves, or found yourself in a jam with your jams, help is at hand at Toby’s Garden & Harvest Festival! Amongst the many talented makers and producers at the show is Antonia Mottola, owner of Somerset-based jam producer Bunnies Love.
Antonia is running a Pickle & Jam Surgery next to her stand on both days of the Fest where you can get advice on the technical side of preserve-making whether it’s setting jam, pectin content, which fruits or spices to use, the best way to make marmalade, or which jars to use.
Antonia is an experienced gardener and started Bunnies Love some 15 years ago after experimenting with a ministry recipe from World War II, Carrot Marmalade.
“At the time I was selling plants and flowers at local markets,” says Antonia “and I decided to take along a batch of this carrot marmalade. It was a roaring success and as I had playfully labelled it “Bunnies Love Carrot Marmalade” a company was born.”
Bunnies Love products are all cooked in a sustainable and renewable premises, in a little thatched cottage and a couple of acres with its own water and sewage complete with solar panels, solar water heating and a wood fired Rayburn cooker.
Antonia keeps chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys for eggs and meat and glorified lawn mowers in the form of Bertie the Sheep and his girls. Pigs come and go and Antonia grows organically as many fruit and vegetables as she can for her jams in her potager.
Says Antonia, “It has always been very important to me to produce jams and preserves that I would eat myself. Good ingredients cooked in a traditional way. Lemon curd made with real lemons, butter and of course fresh eggs.”
“My all-time favourite, strawberry jam is cooked with whole plump strawberries and you must try the carrot marmalade! There are seasonal jams, rhubarb and vanilla in the spring, clementine and passion fruit in the winter. The list goes on!”
Antonia and her Bunnies Loves preserves and advice can be found on the Top Lawn in the Gastro Garden on both days of the Festival.