Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Meet The Maker: Aunt Christy's Country Kitchen


One of the great benefits of being a part of the Handmade in Kansas City collective is the opportunity to get to know the other makers and sharing their stories!  Today’s Meet the Maker features Christy Bean from Aunt Christy’s Country Kitchen – maker of  small batch, hand-stirred, unique jams, jellies and chutneys.
 

I first met Christy at a craft show in Blue Springs and could not keep myself away from her table.  Partly because she offers free samples of her unique jams, jellies and chutneys but also because she was just so darn nice and funny!  She brings her sister or her mom along to help and you can just feel the love and family support that help her business thrive.  I loved her and her jelly so much I bought cases of it to give for Christmas gifts (and ended up keeping it and eating most of it myself!!).  After eating so much of her jelly, I decided to find out a little bit more about Christy’s story….

Christy is the oldest of 5 kids and is married to Rick Bean.  While she is Aunt Christy to several human children; she has one furry baby of her own, a sweet kitty named Blitzen.   Even though making and marketing her jelly keeps her very busy, Christy works full time as a preschool teacher with 1-2 ½ year olds.

Christy first started making her jellies for some handmade Christmas gifts for her family.  Her mom and sister loved the Cabernet Sauvignon jelly so much…they ordered some to give as gifts to friends and clients.  So, in December 2012, she quickly came up with her business name (from her own name and adorable little cottage type house, which kind of looks like it could be in the country), packaging and price point.
 

 

Her product list has now expanded to included wine jellies, beer jellies, fruit jams, herbed jellies made from herbs that she grows in her garden, and cocktail jams.  You can see the full list here.
 
 
Some of the unique flavor combinations are inspired by her Dad, but others just came from taking complimentary flavors and experimentation.  Christy is always trying new (and sometimes crazy) ingredients, like Dandelion jelly and her newest, Southern Peach Smash with just the right blend of peaches, cinnamon, vanilla beans and bourbon. Both are AH-MA-ZING!
 
 
While most of her creations are simply incredible, she does have one story where her idea did not turn out the way she hoped.  You can read the story of her Key Lime Marmalade disaster on her blog,

Christy’s inspiration comes from seeing people enjoy the flavors of her jellys and jams.  She feels like making people happy is truly a wonderful thing and motivates her to create.  She leans on encouragement from her Mom, her fans and the other makers in the Handmade in KC group to keep her going when things get tough. 

What does the future hold for Aunt Christy’s Country Kitchen?  The short term goal is to find retail locations like wineries and breweries, but the when asked for long term goals, Christy says, I will see what happens from there. The possibilities are truly endless!”

Find and follow Christy online at:
Website: www.auntchristyscountrykitchen.com
Facebook:
www.facebook.com/AuntChristysCountryKitchen
Twitter:
http://twitter.com/Aunt_Christys
Thank you to Laura Graybill from Handmade By Lolo Z for creating this blog post.

 

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