Moonshine—it’s what’s for breakfast. Well it may be once you try some of Shari Leavitt’s moonshine jelly.
Shari has been making and selling small-batch gourmet jellies from her Jackson County, West Virginia, farm for years. But her moonshine jelly is a recent addition.
Shari originally achieved notice among jelly aficionados with her Tea Jellies. Unusual flavors like Bengal Tea, Chocolate Tea, Lavender Tea, and Chai Tea stood out and gained a following. She also makes traditional fruit jams and jelly styles. Her The Leavitt Farm brand products are popular at specialty/fancy food retailers around West Virginia.
Can you make a moonshine jelly for me?
A little while back, one of her retailers had the idea that he needed a moonshine jelly. Shari tells that Allan Hathaway, owner of the West Virginia Marketplace shop at Charleston’s Capitol Market, asked her if she should make some moonshine jelly so he could have it for his upcoming West Virginia Day celebration event on June 20.
At his special event Hathaway would be selling limited edition, hand-blown glass moonshine jugs made by the noted Blenko artisan glass company in Milton, WV. He thought it would be fun to have a local moonshine jelly to sell along with the jugs.
Hathaway already carried other Leavitt Farm jellies and hoped Shari would be the person to get the job done. Not one to back away from a challenge, Shari decided to give it a try. She quickly went out, purchased some local moonshine (of the legal variety), and began experimenting. Moonshine has a way of making people do some crazy things.
You see, producing a new food product for resale is not a simple process. You have to develop the recipe, source the ingredients, prepare the label and packaging. You have to carefully follow all the food safety laws and regulations. It’s not something you do just on a whim.
Well, a few weeks later, West Virginia Day arrived and so did The Leavitt Farm Moonshine Jelly. Four fruited varieties are on the shelves: Apple Pie, Peach, Blackberry, and Strawberry. They all contain a shot of pure mountain moonshine.
Moonshine never tasted so good
No, you can’t get drunk eating Leavitt’s moonshine jelly, but you may well become intoxicated with the deep, true fruit flavors spiked with a light measure of corn whisky essence. As the jelly is made, the moonshine’s alcohol boils away, but an ample dose of moonshine flavor remains.
If you’ve ever enjoyed an Apple Pie moonshine from the bottle, you’ll likely love the Apple Pie Moonshine Jelly. Moonshine adds a whole other dimension to fruit jellies, and a pleasant dimension it is.
The peach and apple jellies highlight the moonshine essence very well and let it shine. The deep, dark flavor of the blackberry gives a totally different experience, its black fruit richness pushing the moonshine into a supporting role.
But oh, the strawberry version — it is so good and quickly became my favorite. Bright and fragrant, the fruit and whisky flavors nicely balanced. It will find a home on some whole wheat toast and biscuits at my breakfast table.
Shari uses only real fruit, pure fruit juices, and cane sugar in making her jellies. You won’t find any high fructose syrups or artificial flavoring ingredients.
We’d love to see The Leavitt Farm also produce some proprietary jellies under contract for one or two of the region’s boutique moonshine distilleries. Not that the distilleries would sell much moonshine that way, but they would make customers mighty happy by selling them a couple jars of delicious moonshine jelly to enjoy back home. This way, even the non-drinkers could try the flavor of their distiller’s art.
Where to find Moonshine Jelly
Leavitt Farm Moonshine Jelly is currently available at WV Marketplace in Charleston, Tamarack in Beckley, and Point Park Marketplace in Parkersburg, WV. Online, it is sold through The Leavitt Farm Etsy store. Shari also has a line of pickles and relish that have a good following. Her Chow Chow is reportedly the largest selling relish at Tamarack.
The Leavitt Farm is located in Gay, WV. You can find more information on The Leavitt Farm Facebook page.