Historic Catsup at Searsport Farmers’ Market

Marilyn Cleveland, owner of  Marilyn’s Jam Session, recently unearthed a century old recipe from her great Aunt Florence for Grape Catsup, which Aunt Florence made on her farm in New Gloucester, Maine in the early 20th century. Before the advent of Tomato Ketchup, many farmers’ wives made a spiced catsup from whatever fruit was available.  With offers of wild grapes from neighboring farms in Penobscot, Horsepower Farm and Quill’s End Farm, Marilyn made a  grape catsup based on great Aunt Florence’s recipe which she calls Conquered Grape.   Marilyn and her husband Scott give tastes of the catsup to their customers at farmers’ markets, who find it irresistible.

Marilyn’s Jam Session jams

Marilyn’s Jam Session jams

Another historic recipe which Marilyn is reviving is for rose hip flavored syrup.  Marilyn’s Beach Rose is made with local wild beach roses.   Rose hips are especially high in vitamin C, and have been eaten for generations for their health benefits.  Using local ingredients, Marilyn makes small batches, and her first batch of seventeen bottles of Beach Rose was sold in a few days.

Marilyn’s Jam Session was founded six years ago, with such unusual jams including a wild blueberry and lime called Blueberry Riff, a half and half wild blackberry and blueberry jelly called Blackberry Blues, a super-hot pepper jam made with Bulgarian carrot peppers called Bulgarian Bebop, and an orange and habanera combination called Orange Up!.  Marilyn’s husband, Scott, is a jazz pianist and names the jams.  Since its launch Marilyn has developed nearly twenty varieties of jam, jelly, preserves, spreads and relishes.

Marilyn’s Jam Session can be found every Tuesday from 2:30 to 5:30 at the Searsport Farmers’ Market on Route One.  For more information on Marilyn’s Jam Session email mainejamsession@gmail.com or visit www.marilynsjamsession.net, or Marilyn’s Jam Session Facebook page: www.facebook.com/marilynsjamsession.