In Laena McCarthy's hands, chaos is sweet.
An academic by day, McCarthy goes rogue in her spare time by creating eclectic jams, jellies and preserves, which she peddles under the handle Anarchy in a Jar. In the past year, she's turned Brooklyn taste buds on with flavors like pear-ginger, strawberry-balsamic and key lime with smoked salt.
Fiercely dedicated to using local ingredients, McCarthy sources fruit and herbs from Greenpoint's Rooftop Farms to create her lawless line in the kitchen of Carroll Gardens' Chestnut restaurant, where she does her canning in the morning.
Her limited production has meant that, until recently, Anarchy fans had to fight over jars at a handful of stores, like Lucy's Whey and the Greene Grape--or head to restaurants like No. 7 for a taste.
But with the weather warming, McCarthy can deliver more of her products to customers the old-fashioned way, via her "zero emissions" bicycle named Bluebell.
Although delivery is restricted to Brooklyn and Lower Manhattan, Anarchy is slowly spreading to larger markets: Beginning in May, McCarthy's jams will sit on the shelf at Whole Foods' Bowery store.
That said, don't expect Anarchy to supplant Smuckers; McCarthy wants to keep things small. "But who knows," she says, "maybe there'll be a jam frenzy."
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