As we round out Women’s History Month, we want to share one of the most delicious women-owned small businesses in the Burgh! Trust us, this mother/daughter-owned small business is about to be your new JAM – Maple Street Jam that is. Since its conception during the pandemic, Maple Street Jam Co. has become a beloved name throughout Pittsburgh, and we are here to tell you why!
We spoke with the daughter in the mother/daughter duo, Caitlin Girdwood, and she told us all about how she got started with Maple Street Jam Company and how it has grown to what it is today. During the pandemic, like many, Girdwood was seeking an alternate source of income that she could manage from her home. The idea came to her when she thought of her homemade pepper jam she would bring to parties as an accompaniment to charcuterie and other bites. She already knew how to make jam plus she knew it was a hit among friends! Thus Maple Street Jam Co. was born.
With her mother Donna recently retiring, it was the perfect fit for the mother/daughter pair to start this business together! When they began production, there were three signature flavors: Pepper, Blueberry Lemon, and HoneyRum Strawberry. The Pepper Jam was a no-brainer as that was the inspiration for Maple Street, but the HoneyRum Strawberry has quite a unique origin story.
During the pandemic shutdown, if you weren’t aware, all of the state liquor stores were closed. Girdwood knew she wanted to do a flavor incorporating rum, so she brainstormed and realized local distilleries were still operating! So where would the Maple Street Jam team find rum for this flavor? None other than the local distillery Maggie’s Rum Farm! That means that anytime you purchase the HoneyRum Strawberry jam you are supporting not one, but two local businesses. Plus, HoneyRum Strawberry is Girdwood’s favorite flavor they create!
Some of Girdwood’s favorite ways to enjoy Maple Street Jam are with thumbprint cookies, on a scone or toast, and her savory fix favorite is putting their signature Pepper Jam on a cracker with some cream cheese. Talk about tasty! Our personal favorite way to enjoy Maple Street Jam is on a classic PB&J sandwich, but we are eager to try some of the sweet jams mixed in with cocktails, as Girdwood said that is a common use she has heard over the years. Their Lucky Sign Citrus Marmalade sounds perfect for this as its ingredients include oranges, lemons, and Millvale’s own Lucky Sign Gin.
After three years of operating, Maple Street Jam Co. has expanded to being sold in retail spaces and at farmers markets around the Pittsburgh area. Some of the farmers markets you can find Maple Street Jam at are the Lawrenceville Farmers Market, the Block Northway Farmers Market, and the Pittsburgh Flea. For retailers near you that stock Maple Street Jam, check out their website’s “where to buy” page! Shops like De Fer Coffee, Steel City Salt Co., and Oakmont Candle Works all stock Maple Street Jam Co.
Girdwood tells us the future of Maple Street Jam Company is hopefully a commercial kitchen and storefront of their own. With their original signature jam flavors and seasonal releases, a space of their own could result in even more jams! She told us she would love to expand their savory jams beyond their classic Pepper Jam. Speaking of seasonal jams, one of our favorites is the Berries & Bubbly which has just made its spring return! Another seasonal flavor that is made in preparation for fall and released each September is their Apple Pie Jam. Made with fresh apples, sugar, dark brown sugar, lemon juice, pectin, and spices, this seasonal jam is autumn in a jar!
As a small-batch jam company, Maple Street Jam Co. truly makes its jams with love. Each batch makes about 12 jars within the hour of production and then takes an additional hour to ensure they are canned and sealed properly. The last step is to add their European-style design label. Girdwood said she always had that style in mind for their label design, so she worked with a graphic designer in England to bring her vision to life. We don’t know about you, but we think he crushed it.
So there you have it – Maple Street Jam Co. in a nutshell! Go support this local woman-owned business online, at one of their many wholesalers, or local farmers markets. If you already love Maple Street, they are currently hiring for someone to coordinate their farmers markets stands this year. Check out their website for more details!This content was provided by a local, independent contributor to Made in PGH, a lifestyle blog.