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Monk-made jams from Michigan, with a Byzantine twist


Photos Courtesy of Society of St. John

Daniel Esparza - published on 05/13/22

Following the Benedictine Rule, the monks support their monastery by making and selling jams, along with handmade chocolates, fruitcakes, muffins, fruit-and-nut mixes, and cookies.

Monastic brewhouses have existed across Europe at least since the 5th century. They are a (mostly) Benedictine tradition. In his Regula (that is, the Rule of St. Benedict) Benedict clearly states that monks should earn their own keep and donate to the poor by the work of their own hands.

Following the Rule, monasteries have always produced a diversity of different goods, beer being just one of them. Cheese, coffee, sauces, peanut butter, perfumes, dishes and decorative pottery, and sweet treats are among the many monk-made products one can purchase while visiting a convent, a friary, an abbey, or a monastery. It is not surprising that monk-made jam is a thing.

On the northern end of Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula, Byzantine Catholic monks of the Society of Saint John are selling jams, jellies, and baked goods. Their storefront, which is opened seasonally, is known as The Jampot

Located near Jacob’s Falls, three miles east of Eagle River and five miles west of Eagle Harbor on Scenic Highway M26 in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula, The Jampot sold its first jar of preserves in 1986, made from local wild berries. Ever since, they have been selling their gourmet jams and jellies “to customers from around the world,” as read on their website.

Following the Benedictine Rule, the monks have supported their monastery by making and selling these jams, but also handmade chocolates, fruitcakes, muffins, fruit-and-nut mixes, and cookies. Sold under the name “Poorrock Abbey,” their preserves come in many flavors, including wild thimbleberry, golden raspberry, and chokecherry.

Proceeds from The Jampot support the vision and works of Holy Protection Monastery, a Byzantine Catholic Monastery.  You can learn more by visiting their website.

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