Meet Kyla King
Kyla King is the owner and operator of Rad Jamz, an Okanagan jam company creating amazing products from jams and jellies to pickles, pies, and more. Rad Jamz is located in West Kelowna, BC.
How did you get into jam making?
I grew up in East Kelowna with my parents and sister. My mom and dad both grew up on farms in Alberta so gardening and preserving was part of our routine every year. We were lucky to live in a part of the world that is so abundant with fresh fruits. I had never even tried store bought jam growing up as we always had my mom’s strawberry freezer jam on hand. Jam, pickled everything, salsa, canned tomatoes, tomato pasta sauce, canned peaches, fresh apple juice… These are just a few things I can think of that we had on hand in our pantry all throughout winter.
What did you do before you started Rad Jamz?
After high school I went straight to Okanagan College to get my Red Seal as a chef. From the start of my career I was very passionate about fine dining cooking. I left Kelowna at the age of 18 to work and learn my trade. I went from Whistler to Vancouver, then I spent a year in Melbourne Australia where I worked in a 3 chef hatted restaurant. Straight after I went to London England and worked at a 2 Michelin starred restaurant as well as staging (workplace trials) in over 20 Michelin starred restaurants. When I returned home to Canada, I spent two summers as a Sous Chef at Mission Hill Winery and two winters at Canadian Mountain Holidays as a Head Chef for a heli-ski lodge before starting my little jam biz.
When did you start this as a business?
In 2016, my now fiancé and business partner Alby moved to a little town in the Okanagan known as Summerland. We didn’t really know at the time we moved there, how quiet of a town it was after living in mega cities for the past 6 years.. Needless to say, we were a little bored. I started going to their local farmers market and it was like a little flip switched in my head, “I can do this!” So I started making what I love, Jam and pickles! We spent the rest of the summer working tirelessly at our Chef jobs and creating new and interesting flavours of jam that we would sling at the Tuesday markets on Alby’s only day off as he had two jobs at the time. Our little side hustle was fun! I loved it! I got hooked! I could see potential in it and even though it was crazy challenging, we stuck with it.
What are your products? Bestsellers?
We still make an assortment of jams, jellies and pickles. We are shifting our focus more towards jam for retail in grocery stores and in bulk for restaurants to eliminate those single use plastic crappy sugar bomb jams (ew). I’ll keep making pickles for now but only for the locals, its really hard to keep up with the demand. We made over 50 cases of pickled asparagus last year that sold out by July and 100 cases of dill, spicy dill and bread & butter pickles that sold out by November. Sorry guys, I can’t keep up just yet! Our pickles are definitely a best seller no matter what. For jamz.. it depends on the kind of person you are, everyone has a favorite. Mine is Peachy Caramel. I caramelise the sugar before I add it to the fruit giving it that smoky caramelized taste, it’s da bomb!
Tell us a little bit about your company.
I really focus on all of the important things like sustainable, healthier options, real fruit, no BS. Our ingredients label is very easy to read. We work with local farmers mostly so that we can use up the fruit that they can’t sell so it doesn’t go to waste. I put very little sugar in my jam, mainly because I was in disbelief with the amount of sugar the recipe called for on my first batch of jam that I made as an adult.
Where can we find your jam?
Right now, you can only find us in the Okanagan and surrounding communities (check our list). Very soon we will be spreading our jam all over British Columbia into grocery stores and restaurants. Our goal is, by next year you will be able to find our jam nation wide.
What do you love about producing jam?
Everything. I love my job. Jam days are my favourite. It is not an easy art to master, the satisfaction I get from making a jam that has the perfect consistency and sets properly is indescribable. I’m 100% a perfectionist when it comes to cooking, coming out of fine dining restaurants, I would never settle for a mediocre product. I also love the community. We really have gained a family with the local farmers, crafters and producers here in the Okanagan. Its so exciting to see how we all evolve in our craft. We’re always here for each other to bounce ideas and give insight. I’ve never felt that rivalry if someone else is producing the same products as I am, because they’re never the same really. I’ll buy other vendors pickles and jam because I love eating pickles and jam! I #eatjameveryday so why not try a new flavour every once in a while, am I right?!
What are your aspirations for Rad Jamz?
I would love to see Rad Jamz grow and be able to provide it nationally if not globally. We have a really nice product and I just want people to enjoy jam again. Preserving is a dying art unfortunately as convenience has taken over. Nothing tastes better than home made so if you’re going to eat jam, why not enjoy it?
Anything else we should know?
We’re just really happy to be in business with so many amazing people. The amount of creative, talented, hard working entrepreneurs has created a beautiful synergy for us, and we will be forever grateful to everyone we have met that has helped us along this journey. We couldn’t have done it without you!