The last week or so has been a whirlwind of activity. Thursday and Friday of last week was spent preparing for the Homemade Vinegar Demo at the Roanoke City Market last Saturday. Turn out was light for the City Market in general because it was competing with the Roanoke Local Colors Festival happening in the next block, but the demo attendees were into learning a new culinary trick and we all had a good time! I want to particularly thank Tracie Hughes, the market manager, and I'm looking forward to working with her again.
The second Boiling Water Bath Canning Workshop was held on the evening of the 21st at Our Savior Lutheran Church in Blacksburg. Our Savior is the home of two very important programs: Micah's Backpack and Micah's Garden. The backpack program fills a schoolchild's backpack with a variety of healthy foods for meals and snacks that a child may not get during the weekend. The gardening program teaches people how to raise some of their own foods. The Master Food Volunteers look forward to providing ongoing help to these programs by teaching folks how to preserve the extra donated bounty for Micah's Backpack and the extra harvested abundance from Micah's Garden. Give a person a sack of food and they'll eat for a week. Teach a person to garden and preserve and s/he and the family will eat for a lifetime. I was especially delighted to have a young person joining us in this class. Preserving is definitely a life skill!
Lastly, I just finished attending two days of intensive classes and exams at Virginia Tech to become certified with the FDA and USDA in the production of Acidified Foods. This course is also known as the Better Process Controls Course or "Pickle School". I've now moved a major step closer to my goal of producing small batch artisan pickles, preserves, jams, jellies, and vinegars for sale at our local farmers markets and at the same time learned a lot more information and detail to pass along to the canning classes.
I'm looking forward to a quiet week or so with no more demands than getting the squash, pumpkins, melons, tomatoes, eggplants, peppers, beans, sweet potatoes, basil, ground cherries, and tomatillos into the garden. Not to mention seeding carrots and parsnips. I'm sure I'm missing something.