Danelle Nutt has loved jellies and jams her whole life. Little did she know one day she’d make a living preparing and selling them to eager customers all over central Nebraska.
“Growing up, I had to have jelly on my toast, egg sandwiches, sausage sandwiches, you name it,” said Danelle. “My mom would make plum and chokecherry, and to this day, they are my all-time favorites to have opened and ready to lather on something.”
Her passion for all things jam and jelly-related has even led her to become an award-winning business owner. Danelle received the Center for Rural Affairs 2018 Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP) Women’s Business Center Entrepreneur Award as the owner and operator of Nutt Family Jams and Jellies.
Danelle, and her husband, Josh, came up with the idea for their family business more than a decade ago while making Christmas gift baskets for family and friends. Since then, the business has grown and thrived due to Danelle’s hard work and dedication.
The jams and jellies are homemade using fruits and vegetables grown on the Nutt family’s acreage outside Ravenna, Nebraska.
“We specialize in making a wide variety of jams and jellies, syrups, and hand scrubs,” said Danelle. “And, we can easily tell you what to eat any flavor on or with.”
Nutt Family Jams and Jellies is truly a family-run venture. From gathering berries on their family property to making the products, the whole family stays involved.
“We started making bigger batches [of jams and jellies] each year so we could sell them at shows and take pride in knowing absolutely everything about the ingredients in our products,” said Danelle. “Gradually, we’ve made bigger batches and more flavors for Christmas presents, craft fairs, and stores trying to expand our business and make new contacts.”
The business owner says each year they make a goal list of what new flavors or services they would like to add to their business, and work toward those dreams. They also credit the Center for Rural Affairs for providing the extra drive and push they needed to reach those goals.
“We’ve been wanting to add nutrition labels, but we always came back to the same questions about who to talk to and where to begin,” said Danelle. “Well, the Center has been a blessing. Working with them has opened so many more doors and gave us the knowledge and resources we needed to take that next step.”
In 2017, Danelle and her husband began working with former Center REAP loan specialist Dena Beck to obtain financing to build a certified kitchen on their property. Due to the unexpected death of Danelle’s brother, those plans came to a halt.
Then, in the spring 2018, they made contact again with the Center, this time with Loan Specialist Craig Eberle. He guided them in plans to start making nutritional labels for the jellies by working with the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and in trying to get the products into more local stores.
“Danelle is very deserving of all her success,” said Craig. “She has developed a product that is growing in popularity, and with the new labeling, this will hopefully allow her to expand reach and get the products into more stores throughout Nebraska.”
Danelle has been very pleased with her time working with the Center, and attending its events.
“Craig has been there to answer all the questions we may have and supports our business in any way he can,” Danelle said. “I attended the Women’s Entrepreneur Conference in 2018, and it was above and beyond helpful. I’ve gained so many contacts and new information.”
In the future, Danelle hopes to continue making new flavors, as well as sell her products in more stores, attend more craft shows and fairs, and to eventually build a licensed kitchen on their property. She also hopes to expand their Nutt Family Country Market Produce Basket deliveries using the homegrown produce out of their gardens.
In addition to the business, Danelle works with her husband on their family farm. The operation includes cattle and row crops, as well as fruits and vegetables. The couple has three children, Bailey, Gunner, and Charlie.
At a glance
Josh and Danelle Nutt
Nutt Family Jams and Jellies
21030 Imperial Rd.
Ravenna, NE 68869
Hours: by appointment
Feature photo: Danelle Nutt receives the Center for Rural Affairs 2018 Rural Enterprise Assistance Project (REAP) Women’s Business Center Entrepreneur Award from Craig Eberle, loan specialist. | Photo by Rhea Landholm