By Kristina Houck
Colette Bolitho and Jennifer Woodmansee both have three children, a background in health, and a passion for cooking and entertaining. So when the two Del Mar residents teamed up to create quality-preserved products a year ago, it seemed like a natural fit.
What started as a side project for family and friends has turned into The Gingered Pear, a growing business that offers shrubs, chutneys, flavored syrups and savory jams.
“We have similar lives,” said Woodmansee, a non-practicing physical therapist. “We both have three kids, we’re both multitasking quite a bit and we both have this incredible drive to make this product really great for people.”
Hillcrest Whole Foods customers selected products from The Gingered Pear as “Best New Product” during a Sept. 25 showcase featuring a dozen new local vendors.
The Del Mar Wine Company has offered the company’s shrubs since July. The Gingered Pear was also recently approved as a Whole Foods Market local vendor.
“It seems a little surreal now,” said Woodmansee, a nurse at Rady Children’s Hospital. “We started with shrubs because there really aren’t any shrubs out there. It was fun for our friends and family to taste it, too. It kind of evolved from there.”
The pair prepares their products in a Mira Mesa-based commercial kitchen.
The seasonally based shrub syrups are made from fruit, herbs, spices and specialty vinegars. All shrubs are processed using a cold pressing technique, which allows the fruits to maintain their flavor, color and nutrients.
“There are a lot of fruits in each bottle and it’s a complex flavor,” said Bolitho, who noted the product could be used in cocktails, but also as a salad dressing or a yogurt topping. “It enables someone at home to very easily make a cocktail that’s really sophisticated and complex in taste that normally you’d have to go to a bar or restaurant and have someone make for you. We feel like there’s opportunity for this sort of product since it’s not really available.”
Bolitho and Woodmansee are also proud that their products are natural and contain no artificial coloring or artificial flavor.
“It’s a quality product,” Woodmansee said. We take pride in feeding our families and ourselves good, wholesome foods.”
“Most of the mixes that are out there on the market have sugar as the first ingredient, and some have artificial flavoring and color and corn syrup,” Bolitho said. “I think this is just a beautiful, natural product.”
The Gingered Pear has already debuted its line of shrubs, and will soon release a collection of chutneys, flavored syrups and savory jams.
Bolitho and Woodmansee will hold demonstrations and feature sample cocktails and mocktails from 4-6 p.m. on Oct. 25 and 3-5 p.m. on Oct. 26 at Seaside Market, 2087 San Elijo Ave., Cardiff-by-the-Sea.
“Everyone is so busy that if you can have something that’s beautiful and high-quality every day, it elevates your experience and the moment,” Woodmansee said. “That’s what we’re hoping this brings. We’re offering high-quality products to bring pleasure to everyday life.”
For more information about The Gingered Pear, visit thegingeredpear.com.