Aletha Thomas, a former schoolteacher, launched Monkeypod Jam in 2010, when she was placed on furlough. Each furlough Friday, Aletha would pull out her French copper pot and make jams and jellies using ripe Kauai fruit. With each batch, she was preserving the season’s harvest while also preserving childhood memories of her grandmas, both of whom she remembers making jams on the farm.
The turning point came when a neighbor unloaded a hundred pounds of fat, creamy mangoes on her husband’s doorstep. “We have to make jam!” he told Aletha. And that’s when she began preserving in earnest, working hard to make sure none of Kauai’s beautiful fruits went to waste. Today, Monkeypod Jam works with more than 25 Kauai farmers to create 55 seasonal preserves. We use only fruit from Kauai and are deeply committed to Kauai agriculture. This is our way of sharing it with everyone. Aletha continues to make her jams, jellies and marmalades by hand, cooking them in wide copper jam pots, which help heat the fruits quickly in order to capture the freshest, brightest flavors.