Friday, November 7, 2014

The Lost Art of Canning

I just can't tell you how many times I get asked at the market "Did you make all these yourself?" It's not just the canning, although that is where the majority of the questions come from, it's about the crochet and veggies and fruit also. It makes me wonder if people are honestly shocked that and individual still does these things or if I am pimping out my grandmother..lol. I smile and say "Yes, we did and we also grow a majority of what we can or if we don't have room we always source it locally". Sometimes I get a- Wow that's a lot of work or occasionally I get the really awesome customer who says-I wish I knew how to do that, or I miss getting things like that from my Grandmother/Mother. Those are the ones who make it all worth while.

I know I maybe in the minority now, being one who grows and puts up their own foods, much less one who goes so far as to sell it to others. There was a time, not really that long ago that this was common place. I do know that there are small pockets of people who are still carrying on this tradition. I read articles all the time about how seeds sales are increasing every year, that's very encouraging to me. And good for the people who are working behind the scenes to make it happen. Growers, harvesters and the processors. If you are in the market for seeds for next spring our Favorite seed company is Baker Seed Company, www.rareseeds.com. They have a gorgeous catalog with a wide range of seeds from all over the world. No GMO's and many that are organic. Our favorite Local seed company is Sew True Seeds, they are located in Asheville, NC near the arts district, or find them online at www.sewtrueseed.com. All organic, open pollinated seeds, that are great for our area. Not as big of a selection as Baker but well worth the time.

 I see more and more canning jars and implements on the shelves even at the higher end stores. Is it just a fad? Have we figured out that growing and saving our own foods is beneficial to our families? I for one never took home economics, and I'm not sure with all of the budget cuts that it is still available. How do we bring the next generation back to the idea that gardening and preserving those veggies and fruits can be fun? Is it time consuming, yes. Is it tedious, sometimes. Is it worth it, Definitely. Just ask anyone that has used a jar of tomatoes that they canned back in July for that special sauce for their January dinner party. It's a bit of sunshine in the winter months, and it makes every sweaty minute with wrinkled fingers worth it. It's a labor of love for those around you. It's giving back a bit of yourself with every jar that leaves your table.

I for one, along with all of the others in small pockets all over, will make sure that the Art of Canning doesn't die. We'll pass it along to our kids and to your kids if they are interested. We'll sell at markets and to your friends so they can brag to you about the great Pickled Brussels Sprouts/ Squash Pickles/ Peach Butter they got. Hopefully you'll be intrigued enough to come out to the market and support us with your order, ask questions about the process, be aware of where your food comes from and most importantly help keep canning and other handcrafted items from becoming a Lost Art.