He be jammin' in the Junction

From farmer's market to opening storefront

Last summer when Julian Katz found himself with boxes of his homemade jams cluttering up his abode, he knew it was time for a change.

“I looked around my apartment and I had cases upon cases upon cases of jam,” he says. “I had literally stacks of jars and I just looked at my roommate at the time and I was like, ‘I need to sell these.’ ”

For most of 2011, he sold his goods at farmers markets around the city and used the kitchens of his chef friends whenever he was able until he reached the point where he knew he needed his own space.

The resulting Stasis Local Foods, which opened in December on Roncesvalles Avenue near Dundas Street West, offers his Stasis Preserves products like a black walnut honey or a pear and roasted garlic chutney made with pears and apple cider vinegar from Niagara and organic roasted garlic from an urban farm in Downsview Park.

“Stasis comes from the Greek term meaning held in time or with little movement, so kind of like homeostasis,” Katz says. “The idea is that we take those beautiful ripe peaches at the height of their ripeness and we hold them in stasis in the jar with no change until you open the jar and get fresh peach jam or whatever the product is.”

He says one of the things he wants his customers to understand is with a bit of creativity, they can eat local food that is delicious, wholesome and healthy any time of year.

“If you want strawberries in the middle of winter, eat a delicious strawberry jam that was made locally and in season instead of buying something from California,” he says.

Since he creates small batches often with seasonal items, he updates his weekly offerings at stasispreserves.com so customers can be in the loop on what’s new in stock. He also still sells his products at the Evergreen Brick Works Farmers’ Market and at St. Lawrence Market.

Although he quit his job in fine dining to focus on his own business, he says it still applies to what he does now.

“I’m a Red Seal certified chef so all of those skills I use every single day,” he says. “Whether it’s the rigorous cleaning of the fruits and vegetables to the knife skills that I use everyday to quickly and accurately cut and peel.”

Katz says he liked the Roncesvalles neighbourhood. He also thought the store would fit in well since the community is conscious about eating well and enjoying local foods.

“I was just really excited to see it all come together and see a whole shelf of my preserves and to see people come in and really enjoy them,” he says. “Just having somebody taste something and seeing their eyes light up like, ‘wow this reminds me of when I was a kid’ and ‘this is how my grandma used to make jam,’ just having people really get it is really rewarding to me.”

About this article:

By: Ann Ruppenstein
Posted: Feb 1 2012 1:48 pm
Filed in: Business
Edition: Toronto