We buy all the jams and jellies we serve to guests from the Chatham Jam and Jelly shop right here on Cape Cod. Of course, as a small business on this magnificent peninsula, we support as many other local businesses as we can. But the Chatham Jam and Jelly shop is really something special. What started as a way to earn some extra cash during the busy tourist season some 30 years ago, has blossomed into a full time career for Carol Cummings and her husband Robin, along with help from their children. In the beginning she made small batches of jam based on family recipes in the kitchen of their home to sell at local gift shops. But their popularity soon soared and the Mom and Pop operation needed to expand quickly to fill orders and meet the demand, so the business eventually took over both their living and dining rooms as well. Their tiny storefront on Vineyard Avenue in Chatham that has served them well since 1983, however, is about to expand once more.
Chatting with them yesterday, when we stopped in to pick up our latest order, we found out that the entire shop will be moving to a new location, hopefully this August, where Carol will have a licensed commercial kitchen in a new facility at 16 Seaquanset Road in West Chatham. There she will once again be able to create her chutneys and relishes, along with the jams and jellies for which she is so famous. They were busy picking out counters and cabinets to hold the nearly 120 varieties they already produce annually and talked excitedly about adding even more creative concoctions to the inventory.
When we first sampled their jams nearly 10 years ago to choose the ones we thought our guests would enjoy most at breakfast, it was an extremely difficult decision. Should we go with standbys like strawberry and blueberry, or more exotic varieties like cranberry fig or spiced peach? In the end we chose something native to Cape Cod (Wild Beach Plum) something traditional (Raspberry), and something a tad more unusual (Cranberry Vanilla). Our guests love these jams, as evidenced by the number of times we need to reorder.
In addition to their jams and jellies, the Chatham Jam and Jelly Shop also carries an assortment of gift items. Store hours are 10:00 AM to 5:00 PM, Monday through Saturday. As a courtesy to our guests who can’t make the trek down to the shop to purchase items to take home to friends and family, we stock a few jars in our gift shop here at our Cape Cod Inn as well.