sally’s syrup [a project from the heart]

for twenty six years, my grandmother, sally, was my best friend. she taught me about optimism, compassion and humor. sally’s syrup is an expression of my gratitude to her. and an expression of my love for food and gardening (likely, might i add, loves to have been highly influenced by my grandmother).

so how’d it start? well, it’s one of those sad stories where something devastating happens and then there’s a light, or in this case sugar, at the end of the tunnel. my grandmother passed away in 2014. and i turned to gardening, one of her favorite hobbies. but like serious gardening. like maybe i went overboard (i rooted an avocado seed and planted a tree…in minnesota). my house and balcony became littered with plants. everything from african violets to carmen peppers. my herb garden took off. it was beautiful. and delicious. and i needed to find something to do with all of the excess. i started making simple syrups. i tried everything – lavender, cilantro, basil, rosemary. with brown sugar. with cane sugar. never stevia, though, because gross. i incorporated citrus, i tried different spices. i brought them to parties and i gave them to friends and family; my fridge was full of simple syrup. i was always, and conceivably so, sticky. and sweet. surprisingly, and i say surprisingly because i’ve always been a little hard on myself, people liked ’em. “sell them at farmers markets,” they told me. “i’d buy this,” they said. so, i did.

i narrowed down the flavors. simplified it to six staples – habanero, ginger, mint, rosemary, lemon and an og (plain). i played around with names and logos and labels. and then i registered my first llc, sally’s syrup.



my first farmers market was in june 2015. sally’s syrup was sold in three stores, at two farmers markets and one coffee shop. through it all, i wanted to make sure that it was fun. it was a pursuit, rather, an ode, to my grandmother. the project has been temporarily put on hold since my relocation, though i have intentions to continue. Someday.

Jennifer Universe