Hartman Gardens – Montrose Colorado’s Finest Jams, Jellies, and Syrups

by Curt Donohue on June 26, 2010

Since we have created a blog about our life in Montrose and on the Western Slope, we decided to offer a way to feature and support Montrose and Western Slope businesses.   Montrose, Colorado is teeming with wonderful artwork, crafts and food, and as we thought about whom to feature first, we ran across one of Montrose’s local legends, Janet Hartman of Hartman Gardens.  For years, we have seen Hartman’s Jams, Jellies, and syrups in the local stores of Montrose and have had the pleasure of enjoying them ourselves.

Background – a story sweetened with Montrose History

The Hartman’s are one of the older families in Montrose, dating back to the 1800’s.  I was surprised to find that Janet and her husband Carlton (Coky) have lived in the same house since 1973 when they moved from town to the country on approximately 10 acres with a small orchard, garden, and a raspberry patch.  She grew up in the area, canning, quilting and sewing.  Originally, Janet taught English at Montrose High, but with a growing family had to limit teaching to substituting at the various schools.  When she took her jams and jellies to the farmer’s market, they sold well because women no longer had the time to make their own.  She actually made more selling jams than substitute teaching.  Soon neighbors were offering their fruit for her to use as well.  In 1990, they added a commercial kitchen to the house which made it possible to sell on the wholesale level.  Customers include the Village Smithy, a restaurant in Carbondale and several local businesses in Olathe, Montrose, and Ouray

Over the years, Janet started taking the recipes that she knew and developing them into her own creations by adjusting each batch to suit the quality she was looking for.

So, what makes Hartman Gardens Jams, Jellies and Syrups stand out?

  1. They use local Colorado grown fruit whenever possible.
  2. They make each batch individually (each batch has approximately 32 cups).
  3. Most batches are taste tested by Janet herself for quality, taste, and appearance.
  4. Hartman Gardens Jams and Jellies have less sugar, which brightens the flavors of the fruit.
  5. In the same way that grapes can affect the taste of wine from year to year, fruits also can taste different year to year or are juicier some years than others.  Unlike commercial jellies, each of Janet’s recipes is adjusted to highlight the fruit that goes into it.

Janet is a striking, kind, and gracious woman.  Meeting her was an absolute delight.  It was a pleasure to tour her kitchen and orchard and to imagine the work and love that she and her husband must have put into their incredibly beautiful home and property.  When it was time to go, Janet would not let me leave without first receiving a warm hug from her and a jar of her boysenberry jelly.  Not one to wait, I immediately opened the jar as soon as I got home.  Its amazing how good toast and jelly can taste at 3:00pm on a warm June day.  True to her recipe, the jelly wasn’t overly sweet, I could actually taste the fruit – and it was wonderful!

As soon as our shopping cart is ready, we will be carrying all of Hartman Garden’s products for your purchasing pleasure.

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