Monday, October 17, 2011

Upcoming Preservation Classes at Mother Moo

For those who are interested in home preservation, Mother Moo Creamery, the flagship store for Mothercluck Artisanal Jams, Jellies and Preserves, will be offering a series of monthly canning workshops. Here's what's we have cooking:

Appealing Apples
Apples are one of the most versatile fruits and a home preservationist's dream. Learn about various canning applications including apple syrup, applesauce, apple butter, apple jelly, pie fillings, pickles, dehydration, and more in this class. 

9 a.m., Saturday, October 29  OR
6 p.m., Monday, November 7
Class fee: $65

Cranberries aren't native to Los Angeles, but that shouldn't stop you from preserving one of Thanksgiving's favorite condiments. In this class, we'll water bath can one of our favorite marmalades: cranberry and orange.

9 a.m., Saturday, November 12  OR
6 p.m., Monday, November 14
Class fee: $65

Coming up:
Marmalade season: What to do with all that backyard fruit?
Liquors for the Holidays: Hint: They make great gifts!
The Bacon Cure: Join us as we dish up bacon ice cream and have a guest bacon expert who will show us how to "cure" bacon.

All our classes offer instruction on the principles of basic canning. You'll be able to water bath can almost everything -- stone fruit, tomatoes, strawberries, figs, and marmalades -- regardless of what we can for the class.

Class fee is $65 and includes all course materials. Just come with your apron, closed-toe shoes, and your favorite paring knife. Class attendees will bring home one or more jars of what is prepared and preserved in class, and a complimentary scoop of ice cream. To reserve your spot, email us at or call 626.355.9650.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Yes, You Can! Canning Class Offered

Here's your chance to get hands-on experience canning some of your favorite summer items. I'll be sharing my knowledge at an intimate class hosted by the fine folks at Simple Gourmet, where I'll teach canning safety and how to get the most out of your summer produce. The class is set for 10:30 a.m., Saturday, July 30.

Class includes locally grown produce, (yes, we will actually can!) canning jars, written materials and will last 3-4 hours. You will leave with three jars of finished canned items you made that day! Learn more about the class here

The class is limited to 10 individuals so make sure to sign up today!

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Upcoming Appearances

Our flagship store, Mother Moo Creamery, won't be open for a few more weeks but we are thrilled to be presenting an ice cream demo at these two amazing local events: EatReal Festival and LA Street Food Fest.

At Eat Real, Mother Moo Creamery Owner and Certified Master Food Preserver Karen Klemens will appear on the craft stage at 11 a.m., Sunday, July 17, giving a demo on how to make her signature Sweet Summer Corn Ice Cream. She also will be at the LA Street Food Fest on Saturday afternoon.

If you cannot make any of the two extraordinary food events, check out the Mother Moo Creamery website for information on our much anticipated opening!

Cannot wait to see you all there!

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Coming Soon: Mother Moo Creamery

For those of you who love Mothercluck jams and jellies, we are proud to announce that our products will have a new home. 

Coming next month, Mothercluck Artisanal Jams, Jellies and Preserves will be MOO-VING to Mother Moo Creamery, 17 Kersting Court, in beautiful Sierra Madre (

Owner Karen Klemens will be scooping up her organic ice cream at Mother Moo, plus she will be selling her artisanal jams directly to the public. Home preservation classes and workshops also will be available in August -- just in time to can the 100 pounds of tomatoes in your garden!

Mother Moo and Mothercluck are proud to be united under one barn.

Come by and give a scream, because We All Scream for Ice Cream!

Saturday, May 21, 2011

The Market is Back!

After a few months of rest and more importantly the birth of two beautiful, healthy goat doelings, the Altadena Urban Farmers Market is back, featuring locally grown fruits, vegetables and prepared foods.

The market also will be celebrating the lift of the citrus quarantine. The quarantine has hampered local growers' efforts to safely and legally transport backyard fruit. At the May market, patrons can expect plenty of fresh, organic fruit and vegetables for sale.

The market is set from 1 to 4 p.m., Sunday, May 29, at the Zane Grey Estate, 396 E. Mariposa St., Altadena. Proceeds from the market benefit the ongoing work of the nonprofit Arroyo Time Bank. Check out the ATB's link here.

Mothercluck's line of jams, jellies and preserves will be back along with a host of other regular vendors. We all will be so happy to see our regular customers again.

Truly, the Altadena Urban Farmers Market is one of the best markets in Los Angeles County. Stop by, shop and make sure to pet the goats, including babies Dorothy and Poet. You'll be glad you did!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

New Item: McGrath Family Farms Strawberry Jam

Back by popular demand, my award-winning Gaviota Strawberry Jam using berries freshly picked from McGrath Family Farms. This is a premium jam using 100 percent organic strawberries. $12 for an 8 oz. jar.

I only make a limited supply so when I'm out, I'm out.

Until next time, of course.

Come get yours this Saturday, April 30 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m., 2600 Paloma Street, Pasadena. The event, benefiting Norma Coombs Alternative School, is free and open to the public.

My Gaviota Strawberry Jam makes the perfect Mother's Day gift.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The Life of a Chicken

At Mothercluck, we’ve been working as hard as a brood of hens to produce some of the best artisan jam your mouth will ever taste. Right now we’re getting the most out of our citrus as the season winds down -- gorgeous, tasty marmalades and candied citrus. Soon we’ll focus our efforts on the bounty of plump strawberries on the horizon.

This Saturday, you can taste the deliciousness of our citrus at the launch of GOOD LA, a new local community market at Atwater Crossing, 3229 Casitas Ave., in Atwater Village.  You can learn more about living a more sustainable life, stop by the DIY workshops and shop for locally made goods.  The weekend event is free but feel inclined to RSVP because some events will fill up.

Mothercluck will set up shop from noon to 5 p.m., Saturday, along with a handful of other local artisans such as Créme Caramel LA and Cast Iron Gourmet. We’re happy to join them.

If you are in Atwater Village, stop by and give a cluck! 

Friday, April 1, 2011

Buy LOCAL: Two Great Events Saturday!

Your Saturday morning errand schedule might be tight, but there's no reason not to support two events happening in the Pasadena community. Both events are located mere minutes of each other.

On your way to the local grocer, stop by and support local artisans who have baked for the Bake Sale for Japan. The nearest location for Pasadena-area residents is at the Chef's Center in Pasadena, 45 N. San Gabriel Blvd., Pasadena. Mothercluck Artisanal Jams, Jellies, and Preserves has donated some goodies, plus there's delicious breads, cookies, and other sweets for sale. Proceeds from the event go directly toward Japanese earthquake and tsunami victims. The sale begins at 10 a.m.

You'll be thanking us in July if you buy LOCAL and purchase your tomatoes and other delicious fruits and vegetables from Ardenwoods Edibles and Winnetka Farms. Meet the farmers behind this one-day-only sale as they host a seedling and seed sale from 8 a.m. to noon. Ardenwoods is located in Pasadena (email me for address info). There is no entry fee to purchase your locally grown starter plants.

So stop by, sniff some basil and fresh tomato greens, taste some jam, and say hello!

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Local Fruit?

Although I served as the messenger for this story, the intent is clear: if you live in the Pasadena/Altadena area and have time and/or fruit that needs gleaning from your trees, the Arroyo Time Bank wants to hear from you!

Tons of fruit are going to waste in our region. Let them help serve nutritious, delicious fruit and juice to some of the areas neediest families.

Send them an email at, and see how you can make a difference.

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Bake Sale for Japan

Mothercluck Artisanal Jams, Jellies, and Preserves, along with other local artisans, will be participating in an old fashioned bake sale to benefit the Japanese Tsunami and Earthquake victims. The Bake Sale for Japan event will be held from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Saturday, April 2.

If you are in the Los Angeles region, please check out any one of the 27 host sites for the event. The funds raised will benefit a Japanese aid group called Peace Winds Japan.

Mothercluck's items will be sold at the Chef's Center of California, 45 N. San Gabriel Blvd., Pasadena. If you know anyone in the 'hood, please encourage them to support this tremendous cause.

Together, we can make a difference to help those in need.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Buy Local! -- SALE This Weekend, Sat., April 2

Meet the farmers behind Ardenwoods Edibles and Winnetka Farms as they have a seedling and seed sale from 8 a.m. to noon, Saturday, April 2. Ardenwoods is located in Pasadena (contact me for address info). 

If you buy local, you'll KNOW where your starter plants come from! Start from beautiful, organic, HEALTHY seedlings and you will eliminate the problems you might face later this summer. Plus both nurseries carry varieties you won't find elsewhere -- guaranteed!

Mothercluck Artisanal Jams, Jellies, and Preserves also will be selling their delicious, small batch jams. Stop by, shop, taste some jam, and say hello!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Food for Thought

Delicious meal worms for the chickens. Gone in seconds.

I really do need to begin harvesting my own maggots.

Suggestions anyone?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Good Stuff to Eat! Altadena Urban Farmers Market

So proud to be affiliated with the Altadena Urban Farmers Market! If you are in the Los Angeles area, shop locally and attend the monthly market which is held at Zane Grey Estate in Altadena. February's market will be held from 1 to 4 p.m., this Sunday, Feb. 20.

In addition to Mothercluck Artisanal Jams, Jellies, and Preserves, there will be vendors selling natural, organic chickens, bacon, eggs (yes, I'll have a few dozen to sell), artisanal bread, gluten-free products, amazing greens, and starter/edible plants for your own urban homestead.

If you care about where your food comes from, stop by and meet other like-minded homesteaders.

Logo is courtesy of artist and illustrator Joseph Schuldiner, whose book Pure Vegan is due out in early 2012.

Friday, February 11, 2011

The Girls Are Back!

Nothing like having three fully functional girls back in action after the winter months. It was the first time that we had hens fully recover from a molt and produce eggs.

It just goes to show that when you start with a healthy flock that's fed a good diet, magic can happen.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

A New Scoop and it's Anything But Vanilla

It was the test that worried me the most.

For the past four months, I’ve been fretting about what, or better yet, how I would do on a test that caps a week-long learning experience on how to make ice cream.

And that result came a few weeks back when I completed my studies at the nation’s oldest classroom instruction devoted to the science behind ice cream making – Penn State’s Ice Cream Short Course, offered by the college’s Department of Food Science.

Learning about ice cream properties was part of my personal commitment back in October. Many of you may remember that when I joined the ranks of the unemployed, I promised myself to use this time to explore new opportunities. And that meant going back to school.

I didn’t want to invest many years (and take on a mountain of debt) for an entirely new degree. I wanted to be educated in something that was serious but different – something that would help me in my quest to make outstanding small-batch jams and preserves. After some strong encouragement from my husband-who-hates-farm chores, he essentially said, “don’t live with any regrets.” I signed up that night.

Penn State’s Ice Cream Short Course is anything but easy. Its science-based lectures and labs are for those who want and need to make some serious ice cream. I learned fun stuff like the differences between vanilla beans (Tahitian has cherry notes), but there were many hardcore essential classes on pasteurization, refrigeration, regulations and labeling, microbiology, and packaging. My personal nightmare was mix calculations which are, put simply, very important if you want to make a consistent ice cream product. I struggled – and boy did it suck -- but eventually I overcame that section thanks to some very talented, crazy smart teacher assistants.

For me, the course was filled with successes and new ventures that a test cannot measure. Before it began, I promised myself to make the most of this experience and opportunity, and I think I did. I accomplished things I’ve never done before. I ran for class president and lost. I sang karaoke (hey, there's a first for everything) and I participated in a Minute to Win It contest which required me to make an ice cream banana split sundae with one hand (I won a nifty ice scraper for all those frigid California mornings).

At the end of the day, though, something even more extraordinary happened: I tried to be the best student I could be, and that meant I studied. Let me tell you this: the younger Karen-in-her-20s would have done none of the above, especially study.

During its 119-year run, some of the big guns in the world of frozen confections have taken the course: reps from Ben and Jerry's, Baskin and Robbins, Haagen and Dazs – they’ve all graduated from Penn State’s Ice Cream Short Course. And now, I, too, am proud to have joined the ranks.

What's next for Mothercluck and my line of artisanal jams, jellies, and preserves? Why ice cream, of course. I cannot think of anything better than small batch, premium, vanilla ice cream with ribbon-infused fruit freshly made from my line of preserves.

A scoop of heaven, I say!

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The New Food Activism

If you live in the Los Angeles area and love lazy Saturdays at Vroman's Bookstore, stop by and listen to two book authors who care about food -- Robert Gottlieb and Erik Knutzen. While you're there, make sure to shop for some local artisanal items, including jams and preserves from Mothercluck.

Gottlieb, author of Food Justice, and Knutzen, of The Urban Homestead, will speak on “The New Food Activism” and how it relates to local efforts, such as the current plan to open a community-owned market in the Pasadena/Altadena area. The event is sponsored by the group behind the planned market -- the Arroyo Food Coop.  Items the Coop plans to put on its shelves will for sale at Vroman's.

Mothercluck Jams, Jellies and Preserves is proud to be a participant in this book signing and mini market. Stop by, say hello, and meet other people who care about their food and shopping locally.

The event is set for 1:30 p.m., Saturday, January 22, at Vroman's Bookstore, 695 E. Colorado in Pasadena.

See you there!

Monday, January 3, 2011

Holding Hands 16 Years On

A few weeks ago, I embraced an anniversary. It was 16 years since my mother died of pancreatic cancer. We buried her the day before Christmas eve.

For many years, the holiday season was filled with weeks of sadness and ambivalence. I'd see happy shoppers, but shopping made me anything but happy. All I could think of were those last few days of her life, filled with pain and misery, and how in a matter of months she shifted from a relatively vibrant woman to someone, at the nadir of her dying hours, looked like she was 90 years old.

Of course, time changes one’s perspective. I no longer care to remember those last few hours of her life but rather gestures and conversations that made me feel connected to my mother.

There is no question that the happiest moments of my childhood are the ones I experienced around when I was 5 or 6 years old -- long before the turmoil, boredom, and depression hit my mother.

My son is now 6 -- the time, in my childhood, when my mother would hold my hand to safely cross the street, wrap her coat around me to keep me warm and occasionally buy me a nickel candy bar just because she knew it would make me happy. She would pick a fresh green pepper from her small vegetable garden because she knew how much I adored them. She would bring me a banana or orange cut in quarters, all because she loved me.

I now do all those things that my mother taught me.  As a motherless mother, I really don’t have a clear map to help me navigate motherhood. I have very little history to go by other than my memory, or perhaps the history of my mother told by my siblings. But as the youngest of four children, I experienced my mother differently. She was a very different mother to each of us, and to me particularly.

This past holiday season, I remembered my mother’s loving gestures not only because of her death but because I’ve spent a considerable amount of time with my son. He’s been home from school. I’m not working so our days were filled with just the two of us, playing endless games of indoor basketball, running errands, having lunch and learning about what’s really happening at school.

This short break also allowed me to show him small but meaningful gestures of love: the subtle hand-holding as we crossed the street, wrapping my coat around him because he’s cold, and yes, buying him the occasionally candy bar because I can. And as it was 40-plus years ago, this time spent with my son has been one of the happiest of my life, and certainly a highlight of my role as a mother.

I’m not sure my son will look back and say that these are “the days to remember.” That’s ok. I certainly hope there will be other significant memories. But as I remember my mother’s death, I also am reminded of the hope and wonder a new life can bring. My son will never know his grandmother. But at least he can experience her warmth, intelligence, and brilliance with every loving gesture.