I have always loved to cook. Growing up eating supper at the table was a priority. Knowing this, I would volunteer to go start supper so I could fix one of my favorites but more importantly it would get me out of the tobacco patch or blackberry field an hour or so earlier! In college, I loved to cook for groups of friends. We lived close to the college of agriculture so we would always have people stopping in especially around supper time. A couple of friends worked in the meats lab so anything left over, they would bring to our house and we would eat like kings. Great memories!
Now that I have a family of my own, mealtime is a priority in our home as well. And I am overjoyed to see the satisfaction and pride on my kids faces when we go harvest vegetables out of our garden, they help prepare them and we get to enjoy them together as a family. Preserving food was a necessity growing up and I thought that making tomato juice with a hand crank food mill, breaking what seemed to be thousands of pounds of green beans, and trying to catch hundreds of pickling cucumbers before they grew too large seemed like torture. I would complain and my parents would assure me that our products were better than store bought and I should be proud of being self-sufficient. Well at the time I was not buying that! It wasn’t until college, I had not been home in a while and my stash of home canned green beans were gone, so I decided to go to the store and purchase store canned green beans for the first time and everything would be great! There was not enough ham, butter, and onions to make those green beans taste like the ones from home. Lesson learned and I never ran out of home canned green beans again! We preserve our own food now and it has really become a family event. Pitting cherries for jam, juicing tomatoes and freezing corn all make some of my favorite family memories last year.
So when my husband and I were discussing building a farm shop last year, we decided to add a canning kitchen to it so we could have more room and have the potential to sell some of our favorite products. We are planting a larger garden this year and adding more fruit trees, so we are excited to get the process started and hopefully we will soon have some of our favorites to share with you!