Last month, while Scott and I were on vacation out in Lancaster County, we paid a visit to one of my very favorite source of jars, Fillmore Container (you may have heard me mention them before). They’re a family-run jar, bottle, and closure distributor that carries both traditional canning jars and smooth-sided jars of all shapes and sizes for commercial producers (as well as home canners who want a more sleek look).
Because I’m oddly fascinated by all aspects of jars, I asked owners Keith and Lisa Reinhart if they’d give me a tour of the warehouse during my visit (we also spent some time dreaming up some fun collaborations). They said yes and so, armed with my camera, I got a peek into the space where all the jars live.
Just to orient you, these top two jars were taken in the reception area at the front of their office space. They have samples of the jars they carry displayed there, which is incredibly useful when you’re trying to determine what shapes and sizes you want.
From there, you walk into the warehouse space, which is impeccably clean and organized (even the brooms and dustpans are well tended!). It also felt so very familiar to me because it smelled just like the warehouse that was once part of the business my parents ran for most my childhood. Who knew that the scent of cardboard boxes and packing tape could be so evocative?
The boxes along these shelves are full of lids. There are a very great number of jar closures in a dizzying number of shapes, sizes, and colors on these shelves. Keith told me that when they were first getting started, they counted every single lid out by hand for each order. Happily, they now have scales that make much faster work of that task.
Despite the fact that they’re working daily with fragile glass, Fillmore’s breakage rates are actually extremely low. Part of the secret is that each order is hand-picked and hand-packed (no mechanization here!). Last year the warehouse staff picked and packed a boggling 23,000 packages.
The folks at Fillmore are working hard to be green wherever possible. Jars are always going to need to be cushioned for shipping, so they make sure to use biodegradable packing peanuts. What’s more, they reuse shipping boxes wherever reasonable and applicable.
So many canning jars. The wide mouth half pints over in the far left of this shot are my favorite size and shape for canning jam and so I got an odd thrill to see so many of them in one place.
Jar shaped salt and pepper shakers! There’s a restaurant in Philly that has these on every table and a friend is always trying to wheedle them out of the servers for me. I betcha they got them from Fillmore! You can get them here if you’re equally charmed.
A pallet of the new blue heritage jars. From the looks of the stack, it appears that they’ve been mighty popular. Have any of you canned in them yet?
In addition to their stock of jars, containers and lids, Fillmore also sells an assortment of canning books and recently added my book to their stock. Right now, they’re offering my readers a deal.
When you order a case of jars and a copy of Food in Jars, you’ll receive a $5 off your order if you enter “FIJ” in the comment field at checkout (the adjustment will be made when order ships). Best of all, I signed every book they had in stock when I was there, so chances are good that you’ll get an autographed copy if you order soon.
I hope you enjoyed the tour!