If your house is anything like our house, we’ve been fighting a steady stream of colds all winter long. That’s why when I came across J’s Homemade Elderberry Syrup, I was totally intrigued by the product, but also about the story behind the brand. Today, meet Bethel’s Julie Messina, kindergarten teacher, mama of two, and owner of J’s Elderberry Syrup. 

Where are you originally from and how long have you lived in Bethel?

I am originally from New Fairfield and my family moved to Bethel in October 2018.

Child(ren) and Age(s)? 

Hudson- 2 years old and Avery – 3 months old

One thing people would be surprised to know about you…

Although I enjoy and promote living a healthy lifestyle, I am a foodie! I love to try every local restaurant / eatery and indulge!

Favorite things to do with your kids? 

Anything outside! In the nice weather you can find us exploring new local parks, playing outside, gardening in a community garden, visiting farmer’s markets, and checking out cool restaurants. We love to be out and about!

Favorite spot in Bethel?

My favorite place in Bethel is J Lawrence. The atmosphere is very relaxed, it has beautiful, rustic décor, and delicious food. They even make an elderberry kombucha margarita (with J’s Homemade & Cross Culture Kombucha – Danbury, CT) that is out of this world. I love their creativity with their menu and that they support local businesses.

What is your proudest mommy moment?

I have to say my proudest mommy moment(s) is watching my feisty, energetic toddler love on his baby sister. It is so sweet to see the bond they have!

What is the one thing you’ve worked on that you are most proud of? 

My business! I officially launched J’s Homemade in October 2018 though we have been making the syrup for about two years now. It was definitely a crazy time in my life as we were moving, keeping busy with an energetic toddler and I was 8 months pregnant. Within 3 months we began selling in a dozen retailers and became a vendor at a local farmers market.

Ok so now, let’s talk about J’s Homemade Elderberry Syrup… 

What inspired you to start batching your own elderberry syrup?

I am a Kindergarten teacher in Bethel, CT. After having my son in March 2017 and returning to work, I became very concerned with keeping my family healthy! As you know, germs fly around a kindergarten classroom, and I was terrified of baby getting sick. My pediatrician recommended elderberry syrup – an all natural and effective remedy. I immediately ran out to grab some! We tried all of the brands at the store and were far from impressed. They were filled with junk and tasted like medicine, yuck! My son hated them! I decided to purchase organic ingredients and tried recipe after recipe. Finally I created one that everyone in my family loved! We began taking it daily and sharing it with family and friends. They began sharing it with their family and friends, and that is when I decided to make a business and share my delicious syrup with everyone!

For those who are reading this and wondering about the Elderberry Syrup, can you share the main benefits? How quickly will someone see a change after integrating it into a daily routine?

Elderberry syrup is an immune booster that is meant to be taken daily. Elderberry syrup has been proven not only to prevent the cold and flu, but to cut the duration and symptoms of illness in half. Due to it’s high vitamin C and antioxidant content, it is used daily to promote overall wellness. Elderberry syrup is an anti inflammatory and anti viral that is also known to aid in digestion, balance blood sugar, alleviate seasonal allergies, help lower cholesterol, and more. J’s Homemade has organic ingredients and raw, local honey. We incorporate organic rosehips, cinnamon, and astragalus root to boost the health and wellness properties of our syrup. We also use raw, local, Connecticut honey, which helps alleviate seasonal allergies. The typical recommendation is 1 tbsp for adults and 1 tsp for children (over 1 year old due to RAW honey) per day. If sick, consuming elderberry syrup 3 times a day can help fight illness quickly! Our customers always rave about how great they feel after incorporating J’s Homemade Elderberry Syrup into their daily routine. Many say they haven’t gotten sick all winter, their children seem healthier overall, and/or they recover quickly from illness. We even have some people who notice a boost in their energy after the first day!

Wow! So I’m sold and willing to try this to see if it keeps the preschool cold plague at bay. Where can I find your product? And how much does it retail for?

I am so excited for you to try our delicious elderberry syrup! Prices vary from store to store, but our small is typically $16-19 and large $28-30. You can find J’s Homemade at..

Mothership Bakery & Cafe, Cross Culture Kombucha, & Halas Farm Market – Danbury, CT

Sherman IGA – Sherman, CT

LaBonne’s Markets – Woodbury & Watertown, CT

Molten Java – Bethel, CT

The Local Gourmet – Southbury, CT

The Hickories – Ridgefield, CT

The Food Center – New Fairfield, CT

Natural Marketplace – New Milford, CT

Hidden Valley Eatery – Washington Depot, CT

Pound Ridge Organics – Pound Ridge, NY

Hudson Valley Regional Farmers Market (Sundays 10-2) – Brewster, NY

The first time we chatted, we talked about doing a giveaway so that more people in our area can try your product. Can you share what we’re giving away?

I am excited to give away a large (16 oz) bottle of J’s Homemade Elderberry Syrup to one lucky winner!

Don’t forget to visit our feed tonight for more details on how to win a bottle of J’s Homeamde Syrup. You can follow J’s Homemade Elderberry Syrup on Facebook or on Instagram

All photos courtesy of Michele Iljazi Photography.

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