Jamming with Rei’O
One of the things that I enjoy the most about non-Covid-restriction Taipei is the feeling of discovery and community I get from visiting the outdoor farmers’ markets, specifically the one that happens nearby the Taipei Expo Park every weekend. In addition to the the weekly Farmers’ Market, there are often nearby pop-up markets that occur periodically in the same area. Businesses and local events make excellent use of the valuable open space, and so there are often events taking place that are only a ten minute walk from my doorstep.
It was at one of these events where I came upon one of my favorite homemade jams, “Rei’O”. I have to say that it was the name of the jam that first caught my attention. Jams are a dime a dozen, and it strikes me that Taiwan has its fair share of pretty good homemade jam brands, something which I take for granted living in this city where seasonal fresh fruit is everywhere. Jam is not one of those things that I need often, more of a sweet afterthought on a Sunday stroll. The day when I bought my “Rei’O” jams it was a combination of the Sun, the brand name, and the smile on the pop-up shop owner’s face that pulled me in.
“I created the logo and name of the brand. It’s a combination of my daughter’s name, 蕾 (“Rei”), and 歐 （“O”). Pure and Simple.” — Gina Tsai蔡佩妗, owner of Rei’O
“Pure and Simple.”
These are the words that one might use to describe his or her ideal life partner, or the lifestyle that they’ve been yearning for after drudging it in the daily 9–6 grind of an office job, pants full of steam and sweat while stepping on the accelerator driving home, or stuck on a bus in rush hour traffic. In a day and age where there is an overload of (mis)information, rediscovering the concept of “pure and simple” might not be such a bad idea. I’ve never really thought about jams that much before buying Rei’O’s, but it seems to me that “pure and simple” are two excellent qualifiers when thinking about which jams to buy.
“I worked as an office worker as well as in the catering industry, and also operated an outdoor campsite with my husband. I never regret the decision to start my Rei’O business.” Gina Tsai蔡佩妗
As someone who has tried (and failed) at entrepreneurship, I’m always quite impressed by those who face the challenge to start a business, as I’m sure they’ve had to overcome bumps and valleys along the way. Gina is no exception, and her story is filled with the flotsam and jetsam of life, much akin to the different textures and viscosities one can find within a scoop of jam. I’m inspired by her grit to stay true to her mission of “pure and simple,” as my taste buds are what reaps the benefits of her success!
Flavors and Where to Order
If in Taipei, Rei’O is bound to make an appearance at pop-up markets and various events, but for making orders, please visit their online Pinkoi store, their website, or follow their Facebook page. Below are some examples of the jams that you can find.