LOWELL — Mill No. 5 in Lowell will soon have a new tenant up and running as Roots & Spoon moves in from its previous location in Amesbury to sell fresh and locally sourced jellies, jams and pickled produce.
Sales out of the new location are set to begin on Monday.
Roots & Spoon owner and founder Laura Imhoff got into canning foods during the 13 years she spent living in Texas after she moved there from Boxford, learning an art she would later return to as a full-time business.
“It was my grandma’s bread and butter pickles that really got me into it,” said Imhoff in a Nov. 17 phone call.
Imhoff returned to Massachusetts from Texas at the end of 2020, and at the time took on the work of managing smaller local farms. On her own time, Imhoff would make canned goods like her pickled golden beets, which she said were popular enough among her friends that it warranted a change in career.
“A lot of people were trying orange and thyme pickled golden beets, and people said I needed to quit my job and just do this full time,” said Imhoff.
So in October 2022, Imhoff quit her job working on farms, and while she misses the work, she has no regrets about the decision.
“I love farming and miss playing in the dirt,” said Imhoff. “But I enjoy feeding people and connecting with people through food, and with farming you’re out in the field and it can be isolating.”
Imhoff got started in her Amesbury location this past March, making most of her business through local farmers’ markets, including Lowell’s. Most of her canned goods are made from produce from North of Boston Farm.
“I really got to know the community here at the mill, and I thought it would be a good spot to grow the business,” said Imhoff.
Many of Roots & Spoon’s offerings will be seasonal, and with her Lowell kitchen set to open for the holiday season, Imhoff said her debut lineup will include cranberry relish, chutneys, brandy apple butter, pear and cardamom preserves, cranberry orange jam and three different types of pickled beets, cabbage and carrots.
While Imhoff hopes to bring her operations into a dedicated storefront in Mill No. 5, until one becomes available she is working out of the kitchen of Pizzelle Bakery, and has a pickup location across the hall at Over the Spoon.
“I really got to know the community over here at the mill, and I thought it would be a good spot to grow my business,” said Imhoff.
As she gets established in Mill No. 5, Imhoff said she hopes to be able to expand further by offering things like canning classes and workshops for food and wine pairing.
“You can do it,” said Imhoff, with the pun intended. “My biggest piece of advice for people canning for the first time is to go slow, and keep it clean.”
Imhoff will continue to offer her products at the Mill No. 5 Farm Market, which happens every Sunday 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. year-round. While she is working out of Pizzelle Bakery, orders can be taken online at rootsandspoon.com, and can be picked up at Over the Spoon during their normal hours Wednesday through Friday 5 to 8 p.m., Saturday 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. and Sunday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. The first online orders can be taken Nov. 20, and orders can be picked up starting Nov. 22.