Food and Drink Awards 2023

Food & Drink Awards 2023 | 55 Located on one hundred plus acres in rural Freestone County Texas, this unassuming kitchen turns out some of the most delicious and unique jams and jellies in America. Rockin JR Ranch whose motto is “Where Creole Meets Country,” has an impressive collection of awards to attest to their skill at turning out products of unsurpassed taste and quality. Best Artisan Jam & Jelly Manufacturer 2023 - Central Texas & Customer Service Excellence Award 2023 work on an apple butter. Three other no sugar added products would quickly follow. When they got multiple requests for mayhaw jelly, they set off to find a source for the Hawthorn berry that only grows in brackish water in east Texas and west Louisiana. Finding a source six hours away, they travel annually to get the juice that this best-selling jelly depends on. Like most food, jams and jellies often serve as ties to one’s past. Customers will ask for products last made by a deceased relative. Janice and Ray respect that connection and try to fill the request whenever possible. Often the request is for a jam or jelly tasted while travelling or dining abroad. Their inventory of flavors now stands at more than 45 products. The products run the gamut from apple jelly to jasmine tea to garlic to strawberry rhubarb. In 2018, Ray convinced Janice to enter a competition for spicy products. That year Rockin JR entered Zest Fest ‘s Fiery Foods contest, it took home two gold chilies and a best condiment award. That was the first of what has become an annual experience. Since that time Rockin JR has taken home awards each successive year. In mid-2020, Janice and Ray were notified that Rockin JR would be considered for Oprah Winfrey’s Favorite Things to be announced in the November edition of O Magazine. They were notified in August that their spicy gift set was selected. From that point until well after the holiday season, with their products featured on Amazon, sales surged beyond their anticipation. Doing as many as five farmers’ markets a week, this direct interaction with their customers has been responsible for most of the company’s growth. The markets keep them in touch with their customers and they will often test new products at the market before moving them into the full production. Janice and Ray consider their customers their friends and their lives through new babies, illnesses, new jobs and moves. Customers become family and when they move out of the area often continue the relationship through website purchases. The farmers markets have also given them the opportunity to make wholesale relationships. They’ve also made other relationships through the markets. Gift baskets and hotel lobbies now sport their products. Their products are also gift shops and small markets. Now entering its tenth year, Rockin JR Ranch’s future looks as bright as the smiles on their customers and owners’ faces. Contact Details Contact: Janice Davis Company: Rockin Jr Ranch Website: hile Rockin JR Ranch was established in 2013, its foundation was laid many years before. Janice Davis and Ray Zies are the J and R of Rockin JR. Janice grew up in New Orleans, steps from the famed French Quarter. Her mother was a caterer, so she was introduced to the Creole flavors and spices the City is famous for at an early age. Janice’s culinary skills were honed cooking for her family and friends. Ray learned canning by watching and helping his mother. Out of their shared love for cooking, came a culinary competition and then collaboration that would become Rockin JR Ranch. In 2014, after working as CPAs for 35 plus years, they built a commercial kitchen on Janice’s property adjacent to Ray’s property. It is here that the magic is created. At first the pair envisioned a spicy sausage as the mainstay of their line. While the sausage was successful, the difficulties with marketing and shipping proved too difficult to overcome. They had begun making a few jams and a New Orleans style remoulade sauce to augment their product offering. Abandoning the sausage, they focused completely on jams, jellies, and sauces. Never satisfied with one or two products, Ray and Janice continued to develop and market new flavors. At first, they focused on spicy jams, marrying jalapeno or habanero peppers with fruit. Like mad scientists they experimented until the perfect combination was found. Mango habanero and strawberry jalapeno were the first two. Then came apricot habanero. When a diabetic customer asked about a no added sugar product, Ray began W