Piedmont Provisions is based in lovely Athens, GA.
Piedmont Provisions handcrafts small batch preserves, herbal vinegar infusions, old-fashioned drinking vinegars (shrubs), bitters, pickles, relishes and all things fermented. Using regionally sourced and organic ingredients whenever possible, we create our preserves using traditional methods with hand-hammered copper pots, which allow the true fruit flavor to shine without being overly processed. We never use any preservatives, synthetic materials, or high-fructose corn syrup. Our ingredients are fresh and simple.
Based in Athens, GA, Piedmont Provisions is named after the region from which we source our produce and where we make our home, the Piedmont. Our mission is to provide the community with organic, heirloom, and locally sourced food products that invoke memories of childhood, grandmother’s kitchen, and a time when people took things a little more slowly while enjoying the bountiful harvest of each season.
About our Ingredients
We grow most of the herbs and peppers that we preserve, sourcing what we don’t grow from Georgia-based farms or nearby distributors when needed. Our mission is to support local growers, reduce transportation costs, and lessen the environmental impact by sourcing organically and sustainably. We prefer to use organic and Certified Naturally Grown produce whenever possible, but make substitutions from farms that practice sustainable and good growing techniques when necessary. We try our best to strike a balance between the use of organic foods and support of the local food economy. Customer demand far exceeds what is available locally; once we exhaust the local supply we must move on to other sources. Our sourcing tree is as follows: Northeast Georgia Farmers, Georgia State Farmers, Regional Farmers, and sourcing of items from the closest location possible.
Heather Russell is the founder of Piedmont Provisions which launched in 2013 . Although Heather was born in Tulsa, Oklahoma, her family moved to South Georgia when she was four years old and as such she considers herself a Georgia girl at heart. She comes from a long line of preserving artisans, notably her cousin Daniel, who once won a blue ribbon at the county fair for his ‘Tadpole Jelly’, a beautifully delicious spread made from kiwis.
Heather received Bachelor of Science degrees from the University of Georgia in Ecology and Geography, and a Masters of Science degree in Geography with a focus on Geographic Information Systems. After spending 10 years as a Cartographer and Spatial Data Analyst, she realized she no longer found middle-management and office work fulfilling. As she spent most of her spare time gardening and every Saturday morning at the farmers market, she found she was happiest in the garden or the kitchen creating new pickle and preserve recipes. A dear friend encouraged her to follow her dreams and with enough cheerleading and support, the seed was planted and thus Piedmont Provisions was born.
Heather attended the Better Process Control School, a requirement of the US Federal Drug Administration and USDA Food Safety and Inspection Service, administered by the University of Georgia, College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences, Department of Food Science and Technology in November, 2013. She is certified to process acidified foods and holds a Retail Food Establishment and Certified Commercial Kitchen license through the Georgia Department of Agriculture. Although she does not have a background in food science, her training in the biological sciences is advantageous for new recipe creation and testing. While Heather’s distinctive palate is the driving force behind these truly authentic flavors, her upbringing, scientific training, and business experience has coalesced into what is now her perfect passion, Piedmont Provisions.
In Heather’s Words
“Farming, raising livestock, and preserving the harvest has always been a way of life for my family. My Grandparents were tomato farmers, they kept bees, horses, chickens and quail, and grew most of the food they ate. They ‘put up’ the harvest out of necessity, to provide for a large family. I have fond memories of summers spent with granny, eating biscuits with homemade preserves and honeycomb, being delighted by the tiny quail eggs, terrified by roosters as I helped collect eggs. Summers spent at home meant tilling the garden, planting seeds, watching everything grow, and bountiful harvests due in part to my mother’s gardening skills and the long growing season in the south. A good harvest meant long, hot days in the kitchen, slicing okra and squash for the freezer, canning beans and tomatoes, pickling okra and cucumbers, creaming corn, and making apple sauce and pear preserves. We shelled peas and beans and shucked corn on the porch, played hide and seek amongst the corn rows, and pulled countless blackberry thorns out of purple stained fingers. The dinner table was never complete without a quart jar of spring onions, a plate of sliced tomatoes, and a pail of quick pickled cucumbers and sliced onions.”
“I moved to Athens to study at the University of Georgia and found myself living along the Oconee River with a group of friends. We planted a garden and soon found we were overflowing with an abundance of vegetables, and so began my own love affair with preserving. I love the feeling of a hot, steamy kitchen, the sound of water boiling in a canning pot, falling asleep exhausted but satisfied by the sound of lids popping. I began gifting jars, giving them away to anyone that would take them after my pantry was filled beyond capacity. Finding myself disenchanted with my chosen career path, I finally took the first steps in the fall of 2013 to follow my calling. I chose to pursue my true passion in the summer of 2014 and couldn’t be happier and more inspired about what’s still to come.”