Frog and Swallow Gourmet Preserves is the result of turning a passion into a successful business. Utilising local, seasonal produce fresh from the farm gate, Jackie Robertson has built a following with a taste for her gourmet preserves.
Hi, my name is Jackie Robertson. I operate Frog and Swallow Gourmet Preserves and I'm on the northern tip of the southern Darling Downs.
I would describe my business as a boutique food manufacturer. My catch phrase is 'grown up flavours for grown up palates'.
The best way to learn about my line of work is to read, have a go, make a few mistakes, and burn some jams.
My background is quite diverse, it's all from commerce. So I've had many careers, actually. I think this is my sixth, and I've loved every role I've had, but for me at my stage of life, being a grandparent, and being a very proud Nanna, I much prefer having the space, the choice, to do what I want to do.
And one thing you do have to realise very quickly as a small business or as a solo operator, is, times will be great, you'll have great times. But you'll also have some pretty lousy times too. You've got to take the good with the bad, roll with the punches, stay focused, don't compromise, and stay true to your vision.
Jackie had spent 14 years building a local not-for-profit enterprise into an organisation with 14 multi-disciplined staff. She was burnt out and knew it was time for a change of pace. The self-confessed foodie had always loved cooking and found it very calming. With support from her family, Frog and Swallow Gourmet Preserves was born.
Word quickly spread and within 1 week of her website going live the business received a huge order from Melbourne. Jackie was dumbfounded, realising her small home business had the potential to grow a lot larger than her initial expectations.
Jackie fulfilled the order and also started selling her growing range of seasonal homemade jams and preserves at markets and fairs on Queensland’s Darling and Southern Downs, as well as in Brisbane. With her success, she was profiled by both international and local magazines.
It was when Jackie partnered with another small Brisbane-based business supplying the wedding sector that things really took off. At its height, Frog and Swallow Gourmet Preserves supplied 1000 units a month - Jackie supplying the preserves in bulk, and her Brisbane partner packing, personalising labels and delivering.
In 2014, Jackie and her husband opened a cafe in Allora with the aim of having a retail outlet for her preserves. Her menu and coffee became so popular that her products took a back seat. Deciding to close the cafe in 2017, she returned to her greatest passion in Frog and Swallow and back to a better work/life balance.
Jackie strives to maintain the integrity of the traditional, small batch, handmade dairy-free and gluten-free products, utilising the freshest local seasonal produce. Jackie opens her kitchen and her recipe book for anyone who wants to learn her secrets in a series of seasonal workshops and cooking classes.