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Jamming out jam, sweet jam

Caramie Schnell
Vail, CO, Colorado
AE Grammys Jam PU 6-23-07
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The big competition among Carole Coletti’s 12 grandchildren is to come up with the best new jam flavor for the season. Last week two of her grandsons, Jake, 12, and Davis, 9, helped her experiment with two new tropical flavors ” pineapple mango with cocount and strawberry pineapple with coconut. Not only did the boy’s help grandma make the jam ” from stirring to ladling to water bathing the jars ” they even helped sell it at last week’s market and took home a nice cut of the profits and a jar apiece.

“They had so much fun,” Coletti said.

The tan, slender Coletti is the not-so-grandmotherly “Grammy” behind Grammy’s Jam. This summer marks the Minturn resident’s 10th season selling the colorful fruit concoctions. Her close friends Ty and Helen Gillespie helped start the market a decade ago, and it was over dinner one night that they shared their plan for a Minturn summer market.

“Back in Madison Wisconsin there was this huge farmer’s market I used to ride my bike to every weekend. I had wanted a market here so bad,” Coletti said.

Thrilled, Coletti told the Gillespie’s that though she wasn’t sure what she’d sell, she’d figure something out.

That something was jam. In between hiking, biking, golfing and playing tennis, Coletti generally “stirs like crazy” before the market opens in the summer and then tapers off a bit, making jam twice weekly. The most popular jar is triple berry, which is raspberry, blackberry and blueberry.

“I ship (the Triple Berry) all over,” Coletti said.

What started as a small side business 10 years ago, has steadily grown. Last weekend, with her grandkids by her side, Coletti sold 9 cases of jam, or more than 100 jars. Most of the people buying jars of jam each weekend are familiar faces, Coletti said. At the winter market this past December one woman showed up with a suitcase in hand.

“The year before she came and had to make so many trips back to the car that she decided to bring the suitcase. She said ‘Look, I’m prepared this year,'” Coletti said.

Back when the Ford’s owned a home in Beaver Creek, Betty would send someone down to stock up on Grammy’s Jam, said Nancy Hassett, friend of Coletti’s and owner of the Savory Inn Cooking School in West Vail.

“She has hugely loyal clients,” Hassett said.

“I love her jams ” there is a lot of love and care that goes into those jams and she uses all fresh ingredients,” she continued.


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