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MiVT: Blake Hill Preserves

Published: Jul. 12, 2021 at 12:43 PM EDT
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WINDSOR, Vt. (WCAX) - Each year, the World Marmalade Awards bring in thousands of entries from across the globe.

But for the past five years, a Vermont company has been taking the crown, and that includes five medals won this year alone! It’s all thanks to Vicky Allard, the real “Lady Marmalade.”

“I used to go foraging for fruits with my father and the local farms and we would just take them home and make jam with my mother, so it’s just a family tradition for preserving the best of the harvest,” she said.

Allard is the owner and executive chef at Blake Hill Preserves in Windsor, Vermont, and marmalade is her jam. Originally from England, she came to the U.S. in 1999, working an office job until a move to Vermont got her back into jam-making.

“A friend snuck a jar down to the local village store of some wild blackberry and apple jam that I made and got us our first order,” she recounted. “It was a true business by accident.”

Her delicious creations spread like wildfire, and in 2015, they opened up their store in Windsor’s Artisan Park.

“Our specialty preserve shop is really a nice way for customers and visitors to experience Blake Hill. It’s meant to be a gateway into our lives and our kitchen here,” shop manager Sydney Sturgeon said.

It’s at their Windsor location that these perfect preserves are made by Allard’s talented team.

“Everybody loves making jam, they love tasting jam, they work incredibly hard, they love what they do, and we all have fun as well,” she said.

Sometimes Allard will even make some by herself. When we stopped by, Allard was making a Meyer lemon elderflower jam as part of their Private Kitchen Series. The collection is made up of seasonal, local produce, sometimes hand-foraged that day.

“What’s nice is that people can come in here and literally buy some of our fresh creations that we literally made in the morning and are available in the afternoon,” Allard said.

Although there are nearly 60 other flavors available, they all come from a berry special place in Allard’s heart.

“It’s almost something that’s intrinsic to oneself and so I think it’s just enabled us to flourish and kept the credibility behind it because people know we do it because we love it,” she said.

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