CHRISTMAS OFFER Subscribe to Kent Life today CLICK HERE

Meet preserve maker Joanne Michelle Harrell

PUBLISHED: 15:18 10 October 2015 | UPDATED: 15:18 10 October 2015

Joanne Harrell

Joanne Harrell

Manu Palomeque 07977074797

Upchurch-based Joanne Harrell makes jam and chutney in her kitchen from the fruit and veg she grows at home

Name: Joanne Michelle Harrell

Job title: Preserve maker

Where? Upchurch, near Sittingbourne


I used to work in an office but after my son was born I was looking for a change of direction. By chance I had a glut of cherry tomatoes spilling over our patio and I made a batch of tomato and chilli jam. Then when I was invited out to dinner, instead of taking flowers or chocolates I took jars of home-made preserves. My friends kept telling me it was so good that I should start a business. An advisor encouraged me to go ahead and I received a small grant to help me set up and I ploughed the money into buying the absolute basics to get started.


My mother, Kathleen, whose garden adjoins mine, has always been a very keen gardener. She inspired me to grow the fruit and vegetables that are the foundation of my business. Joanne’s Preserves is very much a ‘plot-to-pot’ business.


I have been making preserves for 11 years as a hobby and I turned it into a business in 2012. I have loved every moment.


I’ve had absolutely no formal training, although I always enjoyed rural science and cooking at school and this has been a useful background. I learnt a lot about growing from my mother and the rest I learned on the job – and of course, I am always experimenting with new recipes


Raspberries, blackcurrants, redcurrants, gooseberries, tomatoes, cucumbers, chillies, courgettes, apples, pears and more!


A lot of people buy at the door and I also regularly attend Rochester Farmers’ Market and various events such as our village fête, the May Rochester Sweeps’ Festival, Chatham’s Salute to the Forties and the Hempstead Valley Food and Drink Festival. I have many regular clients and demand for my preserves continues to grow.

I have my product on sale in the local farm shop The Barnyard at Gore Farm and a few other local retail outlets.

I’ve produced leaflets and I advertise Joanne’s Preserves on my website.

DO YOU EMPLOY any staff?

I really am a sole trader but I have lots of friends who pop in for a ‘chat and a chop!’ It is wonderful to have them around and their help is invaluable. It helps to make the work even more satisfying and fun.


Every day is wonderfully different. Today I have hulled 40lbs of strawberries ready to be made into jam. I have also prepared 40kilos of shallots which I am making into three different types of pickle – plain, chilli, and chilli and garlic. There are orders to fulfil and I also deal with a lot of telephone enquiries and of course there is always admin and other office work to deal with.


My son George is 12 and at the moment he has absolutely no interest in the business. I would be delighted if that changed.


Every day it’s a 10. Never less! w

Get in touch

Joanne’s Preserves, 2, Marston Close, 
Upchurch, Sittingbourne ME9 7BJ

01634 233630 or


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Kent Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Kent Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Kent Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from People

Kent Life looks at the contribution ellenor makes to patient care at Christmas, in the hospice and through its community palliative care teams

Read more
December 2018

Celebrating the centenary of women being allowed to vote in a UK General Election, we look at leading Kent ladies, then and now

Read more

Nothing beats a unique, hand-picked present from one of Kent’s superb galleries, spciality shops and gift stores. Here are just a few to whet your festive apppetite

Read more
December 2018

In the digital age, it’s good to know there are still skilled crafts being done by hand. Meet four Kent craftspeople keeping traditional methods alive

Read more
September 2018
Tuesday, November 20, 2018

In the fourth of our series, we look at 20 facts, theories and mysteries connected with the always intriguing Garden of England

Read more
October 2018
Wednesday, October 31, 2018

While some of us call nettles and dandelions weeds, others think of them as lunch. We meet Kent’s professional foraging tutors

Read more
October 2018

As the world prepares to mark 100 years since the Armistice was signed and the guns fell silent on 11 November 1918 after four bloody years of war, Kent Life looks at how our county will commemorate this momentous centenary

Read more
November 2018
Monday, October 22, 2018

The film director is inviting people around the UK to mark Armistice Day at the beach

Read more
November 2018

There’s humour galore in the artist’s cameos of Folkestone life

Read more
September 2018

In the third of our series we look at 20 facts, theories and mysteries connected with the always intriguing Garden of England

Read more

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Our Privacy Policy

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory
Kent Life Food & Drink awards 2016. Open for entries.

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Local Business Directory

Search For a Car In Your Area

Property Search