Friday Book Review and Competition: Money For Jam by Oonagh Monahan

Money for JamI met Oonagh Monahan last October at the National Women’s Enterprise Day conference, she was telling me about her new book and I was trying not to panic that my book had to be out within 5 weeks and I was still writing it! ?I was immediately interested in ‘Money for Jam‘ not because I am thinking of creating a food product myself but I can see it being so useful to many farmer’s wife and who knows, with a little foodie for a daughter, you never know what she might make with our cows’ milk in the future.

Money for Jam is a really easy-to-follow guide to starting up your ?own food business from your kitchen table or from a bigger scale. It’s very encouraging, citing examples and suggesting if your jams or your apple tarts or your chocolate cakes are loved by all your friends and family, they could well be a small business in the making. It also includes recommendation regarding recipes and has plenty of examples that will encourage you to take the plunge and get started.

The book is very strong in its discussion regarding whether your own kitchen would be suitable or not and breaking down the rather complex looking rules and hygience issues into common sense. ?It’s also very useful in breaking down costs – reminding readers that it isn’t just the cost of the ingredients and electricity, there’s also your own labour, packaging and other costs such as distribution / market stall costs and the retailer’s own margin. ?It’s very evident that some local shops and some supermarkets are happy to take food products from local food producers, often on a sale and return basis to start with. However, that depends on whether the market is flooded with that product or not (for example, cup cakes and queen cakes seem to be a tad over subscribed) and if the product fits into a niche e.g. a gluten free or sugar free product.

I enjoyed reading the stories about many of Ireland’s food producers, stories of how they started – often in a converted garage or their own kitchen – and how they have progressed. From tiny acorns do mighty oaks grow. ?It also covers the legislation and the demand for various farm products e.g. goats milk, cows milk, hens eggs, duck eggs – it looks like duck eggs could be a growing industry, I never knew they were considered to be so much better than baking than hen eggs!

Money for Jam is an excellent resource for anyone thinking of starting up a food business. Oonagh is very well qualified to offer this advice and her expertise and enthusiasm bounce off the page. ?However, with my social media hat on, I’d have loved to have seen a larger section showing how social media can help small businesses grow, how it can ?reveal the personality behind the business and after all, people buy from people so it can be a cost effective way of spreading brand awareness. This book is described as an essential guide for anyone starting a food business and I would would agree.

Money for Jam can be purchased in all good bookshops, on book depository and on kindle.

Oonagh and her publishers at Oak Tree Press are offering a copy of Money for Jam as a prize. For a chance to win (winner will be chosen by random number), leave a comment below telling us which Irish food company are food champions as far as you are concerned or share your own food production story with us – we would love to hear it. I will announce a winner next Friday.

28 thoughts on “Friday Book Review and Competition: Money For Jam by Oonagh Monahan

    • Lorna

      Thank you again for offering the book as a prize when I said I was reviewing it Oonagh – it sounds like it is going to be a popular read. Well done too on your recent TV interview on TV3.

    • Mary Gethings

      Thank you Oonagh. I’m absolutely thrilled with the win. It couldn’t have come at a better time … the first step for an idea I’ve been thinking about for some time now.

  • Lorna

    Apologies for the delay in announcing the winner – it is Mary Gethings. Thank you all for entering and I hope you enjoy the book if you purchase it.

  • Doris Cantwell

    I love the apple syrup made by Highbank Orchards in Co. Kilkenny. I have a drizzle of it every morning on my porridge it’s truly yum. Would love to win the book!

  • Donna OShaughnessy

    Each year when I visit I always buy up as much Kinvara Smoked Salmon as I can afford eating it pretty much 3 times a day while holed up in whatever lovely self catering cottage I’ve landed in that year. Here in Illinois far away from any oceans the salmon in restaurants and stores is pure garbage so I find myself craving good salmon year round. Never satisfied until I’m back in my second home,

    Would love the Money For Jam book even though rules may be different, good tips for running a new cottage business can be universal.

  • Pauline Clarke

    I am definetly going to purchase this book (that is if I don’t win it).
    My wee story is how one day I was the mum of 2 boys and 30wks pregnant and had a great managerial position. 2 wks later I off on the sick till baby is born and my eldest gets diagnosed with Asperger Syndrome.
    I never got back to work, that was 7 yrs ago. But I did start to bake cookies every Sat to get my 3 kids playing together.
    From that I started Kookee. I have a line of cafe ready cookies and a Bake at Home dry cookie mix.
    Now there are 4 kids, I’m a carer and I run my own business and hope to grow it to the next level with the help of Oonagh.
    Sometimes what we think are set backs are really just new directions.

    • Lorna

      Many congrats on your four kids and your own business. That’s quite an achievement. I agree, sometimes things go in a particular direction for a reason 🙂

  • Mary Gethings

    I love making my own home preserves, chutneys, jams etc and would love one day to start my own little artisan food business. Until that day arrives I will continue to admire Wild About an innovative Artisan food company situated right on my door step. They make their produce from Ireland’s native, seasonal and wild ingredients. Delicious!

  • Sarah

    I have a soft spot for Cooleeney Cheeses as my grandmother grew up on a dairy farm not far from their and was always so proud of their achievement! That, and their cheeses are delicious!

  • Dee Sewell

    That sounds like exactly the kind of book I’d have found useful last year when I was working with the two community gardens to create social enterprises and we made chutneys!

    I must say I’m impressed with Old Farm as they’ve stuck by their guns in relation to gmo free range pigs and having reared two of their piglets, they were delicious!

    • Lorna

      Are you going to have two more this year Dee? Our lambs will be going for slaughter in 4-6 weeks.
      The book is great the way it profiles so many Irish food businesses, many of which I recognised but many were new to me.

  • Eileen McClure

    Hi Oonagh, Well I guess we have come full circle. Ray and I had a wonderful family made toffee product that we really wanted to bring to market. I went out to try to find a commercial kitchen we could rent by the hour , to test our toffee in and play with the recipe but alas, no kitchen existed that was available for hourly rental in County Kerry, or in Ireland for that matter!!

    We then decided to create a facility that had commercial kitchens for rent by the hour. Kitchen Incubators Kerry was born out of need….the need to make Killarney Toffee. We are glad to announce…we are now in final stages of Product Development and will be available to buy this summer!!

    The adage, “where there is a will, there is a way” certainly holds true for us.

    KIK located at 4Park Business Centre Farranfore, Co Kerry
    Proud home for Killarney Toffee and many more hand made artisan products!!

  • Amanda Webb

    The stall next to me at Naas farmers market used to do the most amazing veggie food. I’d get fat every Saturday filling up on them.

    I don’t know their official name but if they are still At Naas Farmers Market you should give anything and everything they have a go 🙂



Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

XHTML: You can use these tags: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>