I am SO blessed and SO EXCITED to share this giveaway with you today!
Mandy is not just a dear friend, she is family. And that is some pretty special stuff that she makes and sells at Pieh’s Preserves.
Exotic, yet Delicious.
Tastes from places you would never have been to.
Because Mandy is from Alaska, where she and her husband relocated a couple years ago to live a simpler life AND continue working in the ministry that had captured their hearts.
Every year as she has posted the pictures of their family picking berries and hiking, it is just awe-inspiring to those of us left down here to watch from afar, because the scenery is so gorgeous, and the results are amazing (think bushels of all different berries just from hiking and searching!)
I love this woman, and am blessed to be able to give her this platform to tell you about what she makes and how she makes it. Do her justice, check out her business, and support a small ministry family in the Alaskan frontier.
Blessings to you and yours,
How long have you been doing this?
Well, the short answer is that I’ve been making jams, jellies, and other preserves for 4 years. But the preserves-making grew out of our family’s love of hiking and wild berry picking, which goes all the way back to when my husband and I first moved to Alaska, more than 15 years ago. We quickly learned that for Alaskans, particularly Native Alaskans, berry-picking is not just a recreational activity (though it is fun!)…it’s a way of life…a major component to a subsistence lifestyle. In Alaska, “berry season” is a cherished time of year and looked forward to with great anticipation!
Why did you start?
I’m a gift giver. I love sharing special things with others. For years, though, I kept our wild berries in the freezer and mainly just used them in muffins, pancakes, coffee cakes, and cobblers for my family and visitors to our home. But then, 4 years ago, during Thanksgiving Dinner at a friend’s house, I tasted the most DELICIOUS cranberry fruit sauce. And I thought to myself, “I have to get this recipe, I have to make this with the lingonberries (wild low-bush cranberries) I have at home, and I have to figure out how to preserve it so I can send it to family members in the Lower 48 as Christmas gifts!” So that’s what I did…and that was the beginning of Pieh’s Preserves. Then as I got more into preserving, I realized I could use all kinds of wild berries and flowers that we had never bothered to pick before…things like fireweed, rose hips, spruce tips, and crowberries.
What do you love about what you do?
By far, the thing I love most about making and sharing Pieh’s Preserves is that I have the opportunity to share something that is so special, so personal…something that is so much more than just jam or jelly. Because every jar of preserves is an outpouring of what we believe, value, and cherish most as a family. We love God and believe he is the Creator of our world. We are in awe of the beauty of the mountains, rivers, lakes, and glaciers that are so much a part of our landscape here in Alaska…which is why we LOVE to go hiking. And it is on those hikes that we reap the harvest of yet more of God’s creation…beautiful wild berries, flowers, and plants. And we do it as a family…all 6 of us together…something we place tremendous value on. So even though I am the one who makes the finished product…its not about me…its about celebrating God’s gifts: the beauty and abundance of the natural world, and the blessings of family.
What are you giving as part of the giveaway?
I am giving away an “Alaska Sampler” pack: a box containing a 12 oz. jar of fireweed jelly, 8 oz. jar of wild rose hip syrup, and 4 oz. jar of spruce tip jelly. I will ship it to the winner OR directly to a loved one as a gift from them! (Please note: I can only do shipping within the U.S….it’s too expensive otherwise.)
What is your favorite memory about Christmas in AK?
My favorite memories that center around a tradition are our family’s trek into the woods to cut down and bring home a Christmas tree each year. But my favorite memory of a single event was the year we had 2 other families over for Christmas and built an igloo in our backyard. It was 20 degrees below zero outside, but everyone got in on it, it took all day, and the end result looked really cool!
What is one lesson you want to share with everyone about what you do?
The most important lesson I’ve learned in making preserves, which can be applied to any area of life, is this: Don’t give up when you make mistakes and fail…try again. I have had plenty of failed attempts at turning wild berries and plants into yummy, edible preserves…just ask my family about the infamous “black dot” fireweed jelly, or my first batch of highbush cranapple butter…the stuff with all the big, fat seeds in it! But I tried, tried, again. And now I whip out perfect batches of fireweed jelly and probably receive the MOST favorable comments about my highbush cranapple butter.
Ready for the giveaway of an Alaskan Sampler pack? Follow the directions and enter!!! And congratulations to Deborah Nikitin for winning the BumStoppers Cloth Diaper Giveaway!
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