Monday, October 03, 2022

Mama B’s Jubilee new owners have big plans for the little cherry stand

Bigfork Eagle | July 13, 2022 12:00 AM

Mama B’s Jubilee has been a labor of love for Brenda Koch since the very beginning, when she spent last summer volunteering in the cherry stand. She seized the opportunity to buy it and is breathing new life into the roadside staple with the help of family and friends.

Koch said last summer she decided to look for a part-time job to get out of the house, since her husband worked so much on the weekends. She settled on the idea of working in a cherry stand, but she didn’t know at the time the opportunities that lay ahead.

“I basically volunteered. I said, ‘I don't really need the money, I just want to be with people. I want to help do what I can do.’ Then I ended up falling in love with the family and it just kind of fell in my lap,” Koch said.

After the original owners passing, Koch said it was difficult for the family to keep up with the orchard and stand, so they decided to sell. Koch bought the cherry stand and another woman bought the orchard— but they will still work together. She said Julia, the daughter of the previous owners, will still provide her vinegars, oils and more to the stand, as she has in the past. The recipe for their huckleberry jam, another familiar favorite, was passed down to Koch. She said she will honor that original recipe and keep some other staples of the stand.

But, Koch has big plans for the stand. She said she wants to see it turn into “something fun.” She and her husband have visions of making it into a roadside attraction during the summertime, eventually putting in a full building and expanding their selection. She said they will always have the cherry stand wing, but would like a sit-down place where they could potentially offer ice cream or milkshakes— likening it to the Huckleberry Patch in Hungry Horse. They are also looking to add a photo opportunity in front.

“Where everybody would say, ‘oh, you have to go down to the cherry stand and get your picture taken with the big cherry.’ I really want to have a big fork with a cherry stuck in the prongs and have it be the center of attention. But we haven't figured out how we're going to do that yet,” Koch said.

Until they are able to construct a full building on the property, they have their new and improved stand designed by Kasey. Koch said he’s from a logging family and loves the look of live-edge wood.

“My husband is super creative, and I honestly think that he's always just wanted to build a stand or a house like that with the live edge … he loves wood and the way that you can really see the natural side. He didn't even think about it, he said ‘just let me do it and you're gonna love it.’ And I looked at him and I'm like, ‘really?’ And so I trusted him and when he started putting it together, I'm like, ‘oh my gosh, this is almost exactly what I wanted.’ You know, I love it,” Koch said.

Koch has a long history with canning and making jams. She said she started learning how to do it in her twenties, and now with nearly 30 years of experience she’s bringing her own family recipes to the stand. She said she enjoys being able to bring that part of herself to the business.

Mama B’s Jubilee is a family affair, said Koch. Her mother Denise Carlson has been working in the stand— on the condition that she can bring her puppy to work. Koch said working in the stand has given her purpose after retiring in Colorado.

“She went and worked for Walmart for a couple of years and then she quit. She said ‘nope, I'm ready to retire.’ And then I called her and said, ‘Mom, you're going to start working in my cherry stand. You're not ready to retire,’” Koch said.

Her husband Kasey has been another key player, Koch said the stand has been a team effort.

“My husband is like my rock. He's my hero. He's, like the calm in the storm. I get stressed out all the time, and he's always the one that reminds me that God is in control,” Koch said.

Mama B’s Jubilee opened for business in June, taking in a chilly start to the season, but looking forward to a busy summer. Koch said they are excited to offer their sweet treats— which will include jams, candies, beef and elk jerky, homemade candles, gifts and more. Mama B’s is open seven days a week from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. They are located at 8079 Hwy 35 in Bigfork. To find out more information, check out their Facebook page: Mama B’s Jubilee - Cherries and Gifts.