We journeyed to the quaint town of New Haven, Vermont, eager to get a firsthand taste of the handcrafted, honey-sweetened jams, marmalades, and conserves made at V Smiley Preserves and Lil To Do Farm. V herself welcomed us into her world of preserving and slow cooking, and shared her philosophy that a shared meal isn't just food, it's a magical moment where time slows, laughter fills the air, and memories are made around the table.



Q: How do your products encourage customers to slow down and appreciate the analog side of life? 

A: While we talk a lot at V Smiley Preserves about process, aka how to make honey jam with these ingredients, tasting is believing. Many of the flavors we make contain beginning, middle and ends. The jams are punchy and layered. In other words, they are a ride! It’s special to experience that and our customers love to pause and think through, “what did I just taste?!”  


Q: Is there a specific story or example that illustrates how your products have made a meaningful impact on someone's life? 

A: Many folks turn to our honey-sweetened, no added pectin product when they are experiencing a health challenge. I began cooking professionally because of my own health challenges and it’s what gave me the guts to start a company that works very differently than other jam companies, as we sweeten with honey rather than sugar.  A customer once told me that the jams were their sweet joy as they confronted cancer treatment.



Q: In your opinion, what are some of the most rewarding aspects of making your own food, and how do they contribute to overall well-being or quality of life?  

A: A beautiful, simple, delicious meal has the power to slow time, stretching it into this special, glowing moment at a table. You relax, you listen better, you laugh more deeply. 


Q: What’s your favorite way to unwind or further embrace the analog side of life after a long day on the farm or in the kitchen?  

A: If I have even a couple hours, I love to cook at home. I’ll buy a special roast or a collection of colorful vegetables. I set up a stool in the kitchen so I can get my feet up while I carefully brown each side of the pot roast. To unwind (and energize), I’ll visit our local bookstore, Vermont Bookshop, and browse the cookbooks. If I’m really short on downtime, I’ll visit our local co-op and buy a loaf of this amazing gluten-free Buckwheat Sourdough, and then I’ll go home and make jammy toast with Seville Marmalade and sea salt.  


Q: Think of a perfect day on the farm – what would that look like, and what would you be doing?  

A: Oof, these days I run our restaurant, which focuses on making food that celebrates preserves. That’s to say, I am so rarely at home and on the land these days! But if I were, I love sprint planting and I love harvest; when it's time to cut big swathes of herbs and take them in to dry.


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