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Kathy's Kitchen, a Springfield Staple

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If you look in your cupboard you will probably find a jam, jelly or some fine canned item from Kathy’s Kitchen. I first saw these great items in Carlinville, Illinois at the Strawberry Festival and added a few to our favorite list. My husband loves Kathy’s pickled beets enough to eat them like candy watching television at night! I prefer the jams and jellies and Chow Chow, but there are many items to choose from. Although I have consumed her wares for many years, this year at the Illinois Specialty Conference was the first time I had a chance to meet the Kathy behind the name. Kathy hails from Virginia, Illinois and came to the Illinois Specialty Conference with examples of her wonderful wares. “I am here and hope to drum up business for roadside stands and farmer’s markets,” she said. In business this year for twenty years trying to find a place where Kathy sells her great items is a true historic Springfield destination with a twist. “We deliver to Peoria and Humphries Market in Springfield and they sell to a lot of people,” Kathy said. “There is also a gentleman in Buckner, Illinois that distributes to Southern Illinois.” Humphries Market has long been established with quality foods in Springfield and is a place to find Kathy’s Kitchen varieties. Kathy Keylor got started at an exhibit at the Illinois State Fair,” Keylor said. “People said I should sell this.” In 1994, Kathy Keylor took their advice and started selling her pickled beets and bread and butter pickles. This adventure is a family affair for Keylor and her husband Daryl who has stood by her side the entire time she has been in business. Daryl Keylor was on hand at Kathy’s Kitchen booth at the Illinois Specialty Crop conference. “Daryl has been a true partner,” she said. Kathy learned how to can from her mother-in law in the 1960’s. “I had never canned. My mother-in-law taught me and as a kid, my grandmother kept us supplied so my mother didn’t have to do it.” Keylor creates a wide variety of jams, jellies and butters, she makes apple butter, apple jelly, apple jalapeno pepper preserves, candied apple butter, apricot preserves, blackberry jam and jelly, black raspberry jam and jelly, elderberry jelly, gooseberry jam and jelly, pear jelly and preserves, pear honey and pumpkin butter along with rhubarb and strawberry combinations. During the summer months as the fresh vegetables are ready to pick Keylor cans them while fresh. Some of the items she makes from vegetables includes asparagus poppers, dill asparagus tips, beet pickles, bread and butter jalapeno pickles, bread and butter pickles, hot pickles, Chow Chow, chili sauce, dill green tomatoes, green tomato relish, pickled cauliflower, pickled garlic, corn cob jelly and pickled mixed veggies and much more. Kathy’s Kitchen is located in 201 N. Pitt, Virginia, Illinois and she can be reached by phone at 217-452-3035 or email at kkitchen@casscomm.com.

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