For area residents and tourists alike, no drive along the Keweenaw Peninsula’s scenic lakefront is complete without a stop at The Jampot. The shop is operated by a small order of Byzantine monks and well-known for everything homemade, from jams and jellies to fresh-baked goods. The signature thimbleberry jam is heavenly.
Monastery founders Frs. Basil and Nicholas arrived in the area in 1983, seeking a place for quiet prayer and peace. Hearing that the Upper Peninsula was “a place of small towns and wilderness,” noted Basil, they purchased a quaint lakeside resort. “The Holy Spirit led us here. The first winter our business was just finding a way to survive,” Basil explains. In order to support themselves, they quickly became familiar with the tradition of harvesting a local fruit—the thimbleberry—long used to make jam for winter sustenance. They decided to try jam-making by default, as there wasn’t much else in the rugged, sparsely-populated land.
Welcoming area residents helped the monks as they worked to establish their business. “Community members embraced us and that made all the difference,” Basil says. “They shared the best locations of berry patches and the local grocer sold us the jars at cost.” That first year, they produced 120 cases of jam, selling them to a local distributor for use in gift baskets. In 1986, they opened the doors of The Jampot, adding unique bakery items to their product line that receive rave reviews.
However, the main focus of their lives remains prayer, to which they devote every possible waking hour, and The Jampot exists to support a place of religious devotion. Visit societystjohn.com to learn more about the monastery’s fascinating story.
The Jampot is located on M-26 between Eagle Harbor and Eagle River. The store’s season is late April through mid-October. Products are also available year-round by online mail order. Store hours are Monday – Saturday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Visit store.societystjohn.com for more details.