Before Knott’s Berry Farm was a theme park it was…a farm. Big surprise, I know. But, it was a farm that helped make the boysenberry that we know today. Since the 1920’s, Walter Knott and family had developed boysenberry products on their farm, and it all gave way to the Knott’s Berry Farm we know today.
For many years the Knott’s Berry Farm label produced products like preserves and seedless jellies and jams, and many other berry concoctions. But, in 2008 the label and products were sold to Smuckers. Though the name and label Knott’s Berry Farm persisted for a few years Smuckers discontinued the Knott’s specific label two years ago. The theme park couldn’t use the label either, as part of the whole deal. It seemed like the original Knott’s Berry Farm products would become extinct. The great berry food that made the park what it is would vanish.
Within the last year of going to Knott’s, I started to notice something in the Berry Market in the Knott’s Marketplace. Yes, gone were the Knott’s labeled seedless jams that I used to purchase, but something else popped up in its place: Berry Market labeled products. More and more started appearing and in the fashion of the old, famous preserves and jellies and jams that made Knott’s famous. Are these the same as the recipes of old?
Last month I discovered an article in my hometown newspaper, the San Luis Obispo Tribune. The headline read “Linn’s ties knot with Knott’s.” First, you may ask, who is Linn and what does this all mean?
Linn, namely John Linn, is a longtime berry farmer and restauranter entrepreneur in Cambria, in northern San Luis Obispo County. For many years Linn’s has been a steadfast company and restaurant in the city, and they started with something called an Olallieberry. Pies have been the most famous treat among items at Linn’s Bin in Cambria. Their berry products have even expanded into many grocery stores.
So, there is a common denominator with both Knott’s and Linn’s having berry foundations, but what does it all mean?
Well, the article in the Tribune let Linn make the formal announcement that they had taken over production of Cordelia Knott’s famous berry recipes. They were the ones making the Berry Market products! What a great connection for me! I have grown up with both Knott’s Berry Farm items and Linn’s Bin pies, and now the two are in unison!
According to the article, this has upped the ante for what Linn’s is used to in production. It said that their Linn’s labeled products have been in about 50 grocery stores, but Knott’s has about 4 million visitors a year. In all it’s a big step for them to create the volume of demand. New equipment has been purchased and implemented to meet the demand.
It is to greatly note that these are not Linn’s products. In the agreement, Linn’s is manufacturing the original Cordelia Knott recipes. They are bonafide Knott’s products, not Linn’s. But, it’s acknowledged that Linn’s is the manufacturer of the great line.
I am glad for both Linn’s and Knott’s that this line is able to continue. And, it’s being utilized by a great tradition of berry growers and manufacturers. It is a great business marriage. And, it warms my heart knowing the history of Knott’s is being preserved in preserves.
So, next time you sample the fruit preserves at Knott’s Berry Farm, not only are you tasting Southern California history, but you also get a taste of the Central Coast of California.
If you would like to read The Tribune article, it can be found here.