Author: Suzy Neal

Greatness starts in the field.  blackstockvineyard1 (Custom)

To make something great, you have to start with something great.

Its been a dry summer so far here in north Georgia wine county, but the grapes are coming along nicely and the vineyard managers are hoping for a great harvest.

We have simple recipes, with ingredients you can pronounce, so its really necessary to start with great fruit.

Staying true to our core beliefs,  all of our products are made from fruit that grows in our region. biggrapes (Custom)

We’re fortunate that that the mountains of Georgia are the perfect climate for a variety of wine grapes and we get to enjoy watching the vines change throughout the year and sometimes even help our winery friends at the harvest. clarkgrapes

Our Vineyard Spread and Vineyard Fire are both made with Chambourcin that we source from a local winery here on the Unicoi Wine Trail.  Chambourcin is a French-American hybrid grape and grows well in our region.

For a true Georgia mountain entertaining experience, serve Vineyard Fire with soft and creamy goat cheese, and a local wine from one of the many vineyards here in our area. Our current local crushes, pun intended, are Habersham Winery 2014 Chambourcin, Serenity Cellars Traminette and The Cottage Vineyard and Winery 2014 Vidal Blanc and Stonewall Creek 2015 Yukari.

Come visit the wineries on the Unicoi Wine Trail and tell them The Jelly People sent you.


Our recipe for a smoked bone-in ham glazed with Unicoi Preserves Apple Cider Pepper Spread, along with serving suggestions.

glazed ham
Apple Cider Pepper Glazed Ham
Print Recipe
Easy, delicious and a crowd favorite!
Servings Prep Time
10-12 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
10-12 10 minutes
glazed ham
Apple Cider Pepper Glazed Ham
Print Recipe
Easy, delicious and a crowd favorite!
Servings Prep Time
10-12 10 minutes
Servings Prep Time
10-12 10 minutes
  • 5-7 lb. Smoked ham, bone in
  • 1 jar Unicoi Preserves Apple Cider Pepper Spread
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Open ham packaging and drain all liquid, then pat ham dry with paper towels. Score the skin in a diamond pattern, and place on a shallow roasting pan. We used our broiler pan and rack, it's ideal.
  2. Roast approximately 45 minutes, then, using a basting brush, glaze the ham with Unicoi Preserves Apple Cider Pepper Spread. Roast until internal temperature reaches 150 degrees. Keep an eye on it and if the ham starts to get too dark, tent it with aluminum foil and continue to cook until the internal temperature of the ham reaches 150 degrees.
  3. Let ham rest 20-30 minutes. then transfer to a clean cutting board and slice to serve. While the ham is resting is the perfect time to cook a pan of biscuits. We used frozen biscuits and followed the package directions for baking them. Brushing them with melted butter when they are almost done is delicious.
  4. Serve ham with biscuits, Unicoi Preserves Strawberry Vanilla Spread, aged cheddar cheese and Habersham Cherokee Rose.
  5. Accept compliments humbly.
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We love jamming in Asheville so when Ingles Markets invited us be part of their Taste of Local store event in Asheville, we immediately agreed.

ClarkIngles (Custom)

The Universe, still smiling at us, put one of our favorite west coast bands, The Brothers Comatose at The Grey Eagle that night.

broco3 (Custom)

After a fun sampling event with other local vendors like Annie’s Bread and Roots Hummus in the Ingles deli, we checked into our hotel, and headed out for some more jamming. Clark and I love a walkable town, and were glad to park our car and enjoy some time exploring downtown.

Asheville is a big foodie town, with so many dinner choices! After checking Yelp reviews, we decided to eat at the venue, and the tacos did not disappoint.

brocotaco (Custom)

The Grey Eagle has a great sound system and the band really brought a high energy crowd out. Good times indeed.

The band has been out on the road for a while now. In Asheville, they were 3000 miles away from home, so we spread some Unicoi Preserves to them after the show. We’re gone from home a lot and understand a little bit about life on the road.

broco (Custom)





stonewallmike2 Cheese pairings with our locally sourced jams is something we love to share with friends, so when we were invited to be a part of the filming of Appetites and Anglers   at Stonewall Creek Vineyards, we stopped by Ingles Markets on the way for supplies.

stonewallmike stonewallvineyard



We started in the produce area and picked up some juicy grapes. Next up was our crunch element, so we got a scoop of almonds from the bulk section en route to bakery for a baked-in-store fresh, whole wheat baguette.inglescheese

Cheese, glorious cheese, was next.  inglescheeseboard2

Ingles has an extensive specialty cheese section and their buyers source cheese from all over the world, so we had a lot of choices.

Clark and I each picked three cheeses and this is how we paired them with our spreads.







Chaumes with Salted Caramel Peach. Get this cheese, soft, smooth and nutty, you won’t regret this choice.

Satori Balsamic Bellavitano and Oscar Wilde Vintage Irish Cheddar with Strawberry Vanilla Spread. YUM. Strawberry Vanilla is fantastic and versatile.

BelGioioso Sharp Provolone with Apple Cider Pepper Spread.  A crowd favorite!

Landana Milk Goat Cheese with Vineyard Fire. Mild goat cheese is a nice choice for a crowd

Supreme Creamy Soft Ripened Cheese with Vineyard Spread. Rich and satisifying

We also enjoyed Applegate Uncured Genoa Salami as part of our cheese plates.





I challenge you to try a new cheese, share it with friends and pair it with Unicoi Preserves. Let me know what pairing you create.








Sunday is our day of rest, at least from selling jelly. We’ve been taking more time to play outside lately and while we were riding at Jackrabbit yesterday, it occurred to me that riding mountain bikes is a lot like selling jelly.

  1. It doesn’t matter how slow you’re going, just keep pedaling/peddling
  2. Keep your head up and look past the obstacles
  3. Look where you want to go and stay focused on looking ahead
  4. Stay balanced, stay centered
  5. Don’t be afraid to put your foot down  sabaselfie
  6. Relax your shoulders, smile and have fun
  7. Rest is as important as working
  8. Shifting gears is necessary
  9. Respect others on the trail and you’ll be respected as well.
  10. The best things in life aren’t easy



My secret recipe for easy entertaining is puff pastry. With puff pastry in your freezer and our jelly in your pantry, you’re ready for summer fun.

For best results:

  • Thaw puff pastry according to package directions
  • Bake on parchment paper or Silpat
  • Preheat oven
  • Refrigerate the appetizers if the pastry gets soft. Cold Pastry + Hot Oven = PUFF!

Here’s 5 fast recipes that will look like your friend Ina Garten just stopped by and dropped off appetizers for your party.

  1. Jelly Twists  I used Vineyard Spread and substituted goat cheese for the chocolate in this recipe
  2. Pepper Jelly Palmiers Try our Apple Cider Pepper Spread or Vineyard Fire
  3. Pinwheel Cookies Let your imagination guide your jelly filled fingers
  4. Festive Jelly Bows Pick your favorite flavor, I like Vineyard Spread for this pretty recipe
  5. Jam & Ricotta Pastry Salted Caramel Peach loves creamy ricotta cheese

Happy Puffing!


Clark & I are often asked how we got into the jelly business.  joshpeachjam

Living in a rural mountain community, we’re surrounded by farms and joined a CSA pretty early on. Minimizing our carbon footprint and reducing food miles is important to us. We started freezer preserving tomatoes the first year. We roasted lots and lots of delicious, locally grown heirloom tomatoes, froze them,  and enjoyed them through the winter months.

Reading nutrition labels on different jarred products we bought seemed more like lab experiments than food, full of ingredients that were hard to pronounce. At the encouragement of my sister, Betsy, a long time canner, artist and just genuine crafty person,  we started putting food in jars.


We started out slow, using what we’d pick up at farmers markets, making jam and  jelly, then pickling vegetables. Eventually, it was apparent we had a lot more food in jars then we could eat, so we started selling our canned goods at local farmers markets.  We had a loyal following with our original home recipes and a business was born.

Cooking with what grows in our mountain region is important to us and we have cooked up a new recipe from local fruit that we’ll be revealing soon. I can’t wait for you to try it.


Good Enough Shrimp and Grits with Candied Bacon
Print Recipe
Award winning recipe from the 10th Annual Jekyll Island Shrimp & Grits Festival featuring Unicoi Preserves Apple Cider Pepper Spread
Good Enough Shrimp and Grits with Candied Bacon
Print Recipe
Award winning recipe from the 10th Annual Jekyll Island Shrimp & Grits Festival featuring Unicoi Preserves Apple Cider Pepper Spread
  • 2 1/2 cups Nora Mill Stone Ground Grits
  • 7 1/2 cups water
  • 1 tablespoon Kosher Salt
  • 1 1/2 cup Mountain Fresh Creamery Cream
  • 1 stick Unsalted Butter
  • 2 1/2 cups Cabot Extra Sharp Cheddar, grated
Candied Bacon
  • 1 1/2 lbs. Wright’s Thick Cut bacon Diced into approx. 1/2 inch pieces
  • 9 oz. Unicoi Preserves Apple Cider Pepper Spread
  • 3 lbs. Georgia Wild Caught Shrimp
  • Kosher Salt & Black Pepper to taste
  • 2 tablespoons Unsalted Butter
  • 2 tablespoons Oliver Farm Peanut Oil
Pan sauce
  • 1 1/2 cups Habersham Vineyard Signet Wine
  • 1/2 lb. Mountain Fresh Creamery Butter
  • Fresh chopped chives
  1. Combine water, salt, cream and butter in stockpot, stirring in grits over high heat. Stir constantly until boiling to prevent grits from clumping. Lower heat to simmer, cover with lid, stirring occasionally for approximately 30 minutes, adding water if the grits get too thick. Stir in cheese, taste for salt and adjust if necessary. Cover and keep grits warm over low heat.
Candied Bacon
  1. Cook bacon over medium heat until browned, drain off bacon grease, return bacon to pan. Add 9 oz. jar Unicoi Preserves Apple Cider Pepper Spread to bacon. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly. Reduce the liquid until almost evaporated. Remove candied bacon from pan to a Silpat or parchment paper. Spread out to cool.
  1. Peel and de-vein shrimp. Rinse shrimp and pat dry, then season lightly with kosher salt and black pepper. Heat 2 T. unsalted butter and 2 T. Oliver Farm Peanut Oil in a skillet over medium high heat. Add shrimp to hot pan in batches, don’t crowd the pan! Sear one minute per side and remove shrimp from pan.
Pan Sauce
  1. Add 1 ½ cups Habersham Vineyard Signet Wine, turn up heat to hard simmer, add ½ lb. Mountain Fresh Creamery Butter and cook for 5-7 minutes, reducing sauce slightly. Taste for salt and adjust if necessary. Return shrimp and juices to pan, toss to coat the shrimp and cook over medium heat, approximately 2 minutes.
To Serve
  1. Ladle grits into bowl, top with shrimp, pan sauce, candied bacon and chopped chives.
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Unicoi Preserves is now two years old!

We celebrated our second anniversary last Saturday at Habersham Winery’s 24th Annual WineFest. It’s a fun event and this year there were 20 different Georgia wineries pouring their wines, as well as live music, great food and vendors.

Reflecting back on the two years we’ve been spreading Unicoi Preserves, I can’t help but think of my friends who have talked about their children going through The Terrible Two’s.

A difficult time for parents, toddlers often become frustrated and have temper tantrums. Toddlers feel overwhelmed learning vocabulary and independence. However, The Two’s are also a fun time, with more interaction, activity and personalities developing. Things that may help the frustrated toddler include outside playtime, naps and snacks.

Good advice for toddlers and jelly makers alike.

Every day is a new adventure for us and we are excited to start our second year with a new website, blog and infinite possibilities.