The Man Behind the Jams

Bruce Surprenant

Bruce Surprenant

Farm life goes back many generations in my family. In the early 1900’s my grandfather bought a farm here in Mooers, New York which my father inherited. When I was nine months old he sold the farm and moved four miles away next to another farm. I started working on that farm the summer of ’62 and continued working there until I was 18. During this time my mother taught me everything I know about cooking.

After graduating high school, I married my high school sweetheart, joined the Air Force and became a Weapons Mechanic. I was assigned to England in ‘72 where I planted my first strawberries. Unfortunately, I never had the chance to harvest them as I was involved in an auto accident with a lorry. After having two ankle fusions, I was reassigned to Turkey as a weapons advisor where I had another head on collision which left me hospitalized for a year. I then changed jobs to accounting and was re-assigned stateside to Plattsburgh. 

In ‘81 my wife and I purchased her family farm. Five years later I started growing strawberries but again I did not get the chance to harvest them due to new military orders in Belgium. 

I finally retired from the Air Force in ‘91 as a disabled veteran and I became a Dog Control Officer for three local towns, one of them being Mooers, New York. I again planted strawberries (33,000 this time) and started a strawberry u-pick in the summer of '92.

In '94 I started to raise raspberry plants which we now continue to grow as our main crop. In the summer of ‘98 we finally started to make and sell our jams and jellies. We quickly went from making 1,200 jars to over 25,000. We pride ourselves in making all our jams and jellies the old fashion way – by hand. No steam kettles here! We are known for our unique flavors and have made over 150 different varieties! Jams and jellies have truly become my passion and I’m still lovin’ every minute of it.