It’s not uncommon to hear someone say, “that’s my jam!” when one of their favorite songs comes on the radio. For Meredith Lockwood, a singer/songwriter and founder of Indie Jams, an LA-based company that produces jams inspired by music, that saying couldn’t be more appropriate.
“I decided to take some classes and experiment and one was a jam-making class at The Gourmandise School in Santa Monica,” Lockwood said. “I just really fell in love with it; I loved that you could create a lot of flavor with wonderful produce.”
After dishing out jams as Christmas gifts for her family and receiving rave reviews, Lockwood began considering additional flavors. But these weren’t purely strawberry or peach; rather, Lockwood wondered what pop jam or blues jam would taste like.
Those new flavors inspired Lockwood to apply for Artisanal LA, an artisanal food show in Los Angeles. During the pre-show meeting, Lockwood met with founder Shauna Dawson, who asked Lockwood if she wanted to bring her jams to Coachella, which was only two weeks away.
Lockwood had always wanted to attend the music festival, but Coachella was two weeks away and she didn’t even have labels for her jams. Fortunately, The Gourmandise School owner Clémence Gossett told Lockwood to “just say yes,” and with a lot of hustle and determination, Lockwood made it to Coachella and was named one of the top five things at the festival by Los Angeles Magazine.
“It kind of came alive on its own in a weird way,” Lockwood said. Indie Jams returned to Coachella in 2016 and was again named a highlight, this time by BuzzFeed. It’s inspired some new ideas along the way.
Indie Jams is also developing riffs—mini versions of their jams—and just this month debuted their first Jam Session, where Indie Jams invited local jazz bands and served brunch inspired by New Orleans jazz. The event was an ode to Jazz Jam, an organic-mixed plum and gin jam. Guests dined on beignets from a food truck and munched on jambalaya frittatas as they enjoyed some good tunes.
Lockwood has dreams of expanding to additional cities. She’d love to make boomboxes that feature local artists across the nation, not just L.A., and develop a traveling Indie Jams food truck/tour bus. For now, she’s focused on making the best jam she can.
“I am pretty specific about my flavors,” she said. “It needs to be as great as I feel it can be. I have three or four versions of country jam. One I had added tea, like peaches and sweet tea. Another was different variations and percentages of sugar. Only the top winner became country jam. The ones that don’t make the cut are b-sides. They’re still tasty.”
Lockwood also has a little bit of a method she follows when making jams.
“I only use local fruit, so I go to the farmer’s market,” she said. “Very cheesily, I listen to the genre of the flavor I’m creating. So when I was creating [newest flavor] reggae, I was listening to reggae. I love Jimi Hendrix, too, so I listen to him when I need to rock out for a bit.”
Each jam has its own playlist that helps inspire the flavor. Lockwood has plans to feature Indie Jams at more concerts and festivals next year, too. And she always loves featuring fellow musicians.