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SAVOR ENCORE

Jam and Popcorn

Family business combines fruitful flavors with corny confections by

LISA MACKINDER

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local farmers’ markets in Richland and Plainwell and at the Douglass Community Center. “It was easier to get into a small market,” she explains. “It was not a huge investment.” Bilberry Jams and Jellies took off, and by 2013 they were selling their wares at the

18 | ENCORE SEPTEMBER 2018

Brian Powers

ne summer day back in 2012, a pregnant Becky Bil of Kalamazoo had no inkling that a trip with her kids — she and husband, Rick, have nine ranging in age from 7 to 21 — to the strawberry patch would launch a family business. They picked 27 pounds that day, and when Rick, who is a parts manager at Galesburg Ford, arrived home from work, Becky says, he whipped up a batch of jam from the berries. They passed the jam out as gifts to family and friends, which started a commotion. “They’re like, ‘You should really make this and sell it!’” Becky says. “I said, ‘Well, what’s the market for that?’” Continued entreaties and encouragement propelled the Bils to gather a variety of fresh fruits and make different flavors of jams and jellies that summer. They produced traditional jams like peach, strawberry and strawberry rhubarb as well as some unique flavors such as peach pie and apple pie. As a test run, Becky says, they took their products to sell at small

Encore September 2018  

Southwest Michigan's Magazine: Meet the siblings piloting RAI Jets success, local horseshoe club is ringing up fun, what do jam and popcorn...

Encore September 2018  

Southwest Michigan's Magazine: Meet the siblings piloting RAI Jets success, local horseshoe club is ringing up fun, what do jam and popcorn...