Most people frequent Farmer’s Markets to meet those who pour their heart and soul into the local produce we purchase. John and Georgia Raap of JR Specialty Foods, are the epitome of friendly, knowledgable and passionate vendors. They worked 25 years in a Texas landscaping business before retiring in 2007. Love for gardening and canning couldn’t be squelched and in 2007 JR Specialty Foods was born.
Prior to moving out of state, my sister was neighbors with the Raaps. Within days of the Raaps moving in, they became fast friends and ideal neighbors. During my brother-in-law’s job transition, his absence made raising three children by a pregnant mom difficult. John mowed the lawn, shoveled snow and dropped off comfort foods to my sister.
Colleen consumed their Bread and Butter Pickles in one sitting. She was pregnant after all! But John frequently hears stories of eating foods right out of the jar – forgetting the recipe they intended to create. Eager to make a fruit pie, customers will buy his Apple Pie Butter, spoon the contents into their mouths. The crust is never made, the jar empty and back to the farmer’s market they go.
The Raaps are equally rabid consumers of their own concoctions. On their 51st wedding anniversary, John asked Georgia to what restaurant he could treat her. She declined a dinner out and requested John make his special Raspberry Pork Loin.
John’s Raspberry Pork Loin
Family Size Pork Loin
2 Tablespoons JR Specialty Raspberry Preserves
JR Specialty Raspberry Syrup
Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 325 degrees. Roast for loin for 30 minutes. Remove meat from oven and coat with raspberry preserves. Roast for additional 30-45min until thermometer reaches 150 degrees. Slice loins and drizzle meat with raspberry syrup prior to serving.
Although this is the Raaps final month at the farmer’s market, no worries if you want to stock up! Between first of April through mid November, John and Georgia are busy with a stainless steel water bath, preparing nearly 565 CASES of mason jars. Of their 30+ items, it is difficult to pin down which to purchase. You might need to try one of each! They also feature raw clover/alfalfa honey from Aberdeen and a difficult to find fajita seasoning well worth the trip to their stand.
Insiders should know the Rapps discount $10 for every case purchased. Also, John gives $0.25 back for all mason jars returned at the farmer’s markets. I witnessed one of their regulars return her washed jar which John cheerfully exchanging with a quarter.
JR Specialty Foods will be at the Callaways Parking Lot, 500 East 69th St, Sioux Falls, SD, Wednesdays & Saturdays 7:30 am to 1pm. If not able to stop by this month, check out their website to order directly.
And please say “hello” from Beth and the folks at Glean for Good!