Good Ol' Mum's fig jam delivers sweet taste of success

A red ribbon from The Sydney Royal Easter Show is a celebrated accolade for Pat Byram and her Good Ol' Mum's Fig Jam.
A red ribbon from The Sydney Royal Easter Show is a celebrated accolade for Pat Byram and her Good Ol' Mum's Fig Jam.

THE kitchen of Pat Byram is a fragrant hub of jam, marmalade, pickle and sauce production.

Pots bubble with molten liquid on the stovetop of her Forster home and each season will determine what sweet or savoury condiment is being cooked.

Today it is a breakfast marmalade made of lemons, oranges, grapefruit and mandarin and as we talk on the phone she asks to leave our conversation quickly so that she can stir the pot of sweet, citrus marmalade.

"I'm back, it needed a stir but I've turned it down so we should be right to chat for a little while."

Pat is 60 years old and the woman behind 'Good ol' Mum's' with her friendly face and tables laden with products set-up at most farmer's markets in the region.

Manning River Times photographer, Scott Calvin recently found Pat at Wingham Farmer's Market and spotted a bold red ribbon from the 2014 Sydney Royal Easter Show. The coveted highly commended prize was for Pat's fig jam and the accolade warranted a trip to Sydney to collect the ribbon.

"Fig, sugar and lemon juice. That's it. What you see is what you get," Pat laughed.

The fig jam was one of 10 products that Pat carefully packed in bubble wrap and posted to Sydney for judging in the Sydney Royal Easter Show.

Plum, blackberry and raspberry jams as well as lemon, lime, ginger marmalade and a cumquat and ginger marmalade were entered in the show.

Despite best efforts with bubble-wrap, one of Pat's marmalades didn't survive the journey and as two varieties had to be entered to contest the title, she was disqualified from the section.

Pat says she was disappointed by the disqualification. She had high hopes for her marmalades as she recently claimed a second place at Stroud Show.

For Pat, Good ol' Mum's is a cottage industry business that connects her to the seasons and the community of people who support agricultural shows and local farmer's markets.

She happily pays the $20 postage fee to send her products to the show, happily pays the $110 entry fee to submit her products for judging as it is part of keeping "a dying skill alive" in our society.

A ribbon from the Sydney Royal Easter Show is a wonderful reward but Pat says it is her customers that constantly reward her work in the kitchen with repeated custom.

She pauses to ponder which products are the local favourites and says it would be her rosella jam, a lemon, lime and ginger marmalade and a beetroot relish.

However, the answer is different when you ask what her three adult children, Matthew, Mark and Rebecca love the most from the Good ol' Mum's range. It is the strawberry jam.

Pat says she is at a market at least three weekends out of four and this Saturday she will take her range of Good ol' Mum's to Forster Farmer's Market on Saturday (May 17) and Newcastle Farmer's Market on Sunday (May 18).


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