It’s been said, “It’s not the years in one’s life that counts, but the life in one’s years.” For Zane Snider, although his life was only 19 years long, he made that time count with his faith, a love of family and friends, and a passion for food and cooking now being lived out by his family, through Zany Flavors, a unique twist on old fashioned flavors.
When Sharon and Greg Snider were expecting their third child, at 16 weeks, they were given devastating news about their unborn baby. “We were told that Zane would be born with half a heart, HLHS (hypoplastic left heart syndrome), and given four options, including ending the pregnancy. Our decision was a series of three surgeries called The Norwood Procedures, the first one when Zane was two days old. When you face a series of surgeries, doctors do a body map to direct them during following surgeries. But he healed a bit differently than expected, so when his third surgery was performed, a nerve was nicked causing his right lung to collapse. From this issue, Zane developed PLE (Protein-Losing Enteropathy), the inability to process proteins in his gut, and as a result, suffered from terminal malnutrition. At the age of four, Zane got a G-tube for his feeding,” recalled Sharon. While Zane could eat food, his inability to always digest it, led to an obsession with food. In his 19 years on this earth, Zane’s love of food, flavorings, and cooking grew exponentially, with much time spent planning meals, cooking, and canning with his mom.
“Zane had times of remission from PLE when he could eat whatever he wanted to eat. He was the one that planned our menus for family dinners on Saturday nights; he also planned our holiday gatherings. Seasonally, Zane and I would make jellies and jams, and can produce. Zane never met a recipe he didn’t want to tweak and experiment with. I made a pepper jam recipe and Zane wanted to make it hotter. My time with Zane in the kitchen was so special. One of his goals was to attend a culinary school. The second was to preach at Christian camps for teens, but that didn’t happen,” Sharon said.
On May 19, 2015, Zane had the first total artificial heart transplant performed at Duke, to address the hypoplastic left heart syndrome with which he was born. After 117 days in the hospital, Zane passed away on September 6, 2015 of complications from PLE. Because Zane was such a part of Sharon’s love of making jams and jellies, she had to step back for a time from the passion she and Zane shared.
October 2020: The Birth of, Zany Flavors!
“Just a few years ago, I started making jams and jellies again, using some recipes inspired by Zane over the years. Our friends Anna and Mark Anders, who own and operate a hydroponics farm in Tobaccoville, NC (Anders Family Farm), shared with me that their customers were asking if they knew of anyone making owner/grower jellies to be used in making vinagrettes. What we didn’t grow at our farm we got from the Anders (sadly, Mark Anders passed away from COVID in August of this year). We did a bit of a test run and sold out quickly. There was definitely a market for my products and in October of 2020, we opened Zany Flavors.
My husband and I have a family farm in Ohio with an orchard of fruit trees, assorted fruits, and berries, as well as the peppers and vegetables we grow here in our greenhouse in North Carolina. We grow as many ingredients as we can to use in our products. This year we grew 30 varieties of peppers which we smoke, dehydrate, and use fresh for our recipes and for Purely Pepper seasonings. We also grow and dry our own herbs.
Customers can purchase our items at Dragonfly Market on Dalton Road in King, NC, Mawmaw’s Market in Kernersville, and Angelina’s Teas on Stratford, as well as through Zany Flavors Facebook and email. I have unique jellies like dandelion with orange blossoms, violet jelly, and other florals to mention a few. A more complete listing of flavors is on our Facebook page. We have two sizes: 4 oz and 8 oz, but apple butter also comes in 16 oz jars. We press our own pear and apple cider made at our orchard in Ohio for use in our jams and jellies. As the holidays approach, we have charcuterie boards we pair with three different flavors of 4 oz jars, Purely Pepper seasoning, biscotti, Grandma’s Gingersnaps, or Zany Gingersnaps, which was Zane’s secret spicy recipe!
My daughter, Mary Kathryn, designed our logo, which is a heart representing Zane’s total artificial heart: Zany Flavors is written in the form of an EKG. Although Zane is no longer with us, he continues to be the inspiration for everything I make,” Sharon commented.
For more info on Zany Flavors, check them out on Facebook or email Sharon at [email protected].