| 03.21.2018

Grandma knows how to jam–Edna Neer cans jelly and jam to sell at the local farmers market


Edna Neer is Sagle, Idaho’s, local grandmother and she sells jams and jelly to the good boys, girls, women and men of Moscow.

Neer owns her own company, Grandma Edna’s Jams N Jellies, and operates out of Moscow.

Neer has been canning jam and jelly since she was about four years old when her mother taught her the craft, Neer said. She said when she was young, Neer was excited to spend time with her mom and help her make their families jelly. It was an important part of growing up for her.

Business partners Craig Roberts and Edna Neer stand at the Moscow Farmers Market to sell their honey, jam and jelly.

Business partners Craig Roberts and Edna Neer stand at the Moscow Farmers Market to sell their honey, jam and jelly.

My favorite part about jamming is the look on people’s faces when they try them,” Neer said.

Her canning didn’t stop in her youth however. She has been doing it non-stop ever since her childhood.

“When I got married and started having the first (of) five children it was out of necessity, we always had raspberries, strawberries and huckleberries in the garden and we always went berry picking, so it was just a good way of providing a food source for my kids,” Neer said.

Neer has been selling her jams for three years at the farmer’s market.

Neer said she sells, on average, about seven dozen jars of jam and jelly every weekend for 26 weeks. She said she works hard every week to supply herself with enough jam to keep up with Moscow’s high demand for her canned goods.

“I am doing between four and five different batches of jam a day during my week,” Neer said. “That’;s anywhere between eight to 14 half-pint jars per batch.”

Canning that much jam and jelly takes a lot of fruit. Neer grows some of her own fruit in her garden, but it is not enough to keep up with the demand for her goods. In order to supply herself with enough fruit and spices to can her jam Neer said she buys locally from her fellow farmer’s market venders.

Neer started selling her jam at the farmer’s market when her husband and brother in-law urged her to start selling them. They had experienced her canning expertise for years and convinced her that she had to share it with the people of Moscow, Neer said.

The idea for the name, Grandma Edna’s Jams N Jellies also came from her husband and brother in law, she said.

Her next step was to develop a label for her packaging. Neer’s daughter helped her do that.

“I was struggling to find a label that fits on the top of the jar,” Neer said. “Because I feel the front of the label needs to be free of design or labels so you can see what’s in the jar. We had to get it very small.”

“It’s the one that brings the most surprise to people because they don’t realize strawberries, and cranberries, and raisins, and oranges, and spices, can taste like a present for your mouth,” Neer said.

Edna also sells jams and jellies that are accesible to people who are diabetic. She buys her honey from her business partner Craig Roberts. The two share a vendor stand and have developed a mutually beneficial relationship.

Neer’s favorite jam she makes is her Christmas Jam.

Kevin Douglas Neighbors

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