In the middle of last summer life as I knew and loved it ended. As Amy Roloff says, "It came out of nowhere...and it feels like death."
But in the midst of such emotional devastation, love and support appears from the most unexpected places and people and I am so grateful to everyone who have and are helping me stand up and move on.
I wasn't totally curled up in a whimpering ball. At least not all the time. I had to scramble to get some income. When you're 57 and have been out of the traditional work force for some time getting hired for any kind of job is pretty impossible. I use to tell the boys that if they had kitchen skills they could always find work anywhere that would hold them over. Little did I know how that would work out for me.
The Floyd Farmers Market was still in swing so I did a quick assessment of my pantry. Thanks to the newly updated VA Home Kitchen Food Processing Exemptions, I could do more than offer a bake sale if I could get a table at the market. Which I did.
I had home-fermented wine and maple vinegars,
several flavors of finishing salts,
dried fruit and vegetable snacks, jams, jellies, and butters,
a changing array of baked goods like stuffed baguettes and decorated cookies,
different flavors of chocolate caramel apples (these were incredibly popular!),
and things I didn't get pictures of like Devil Bites (chocolate cayenne ganache truffles on a stick) and Harvest Mix Popcorn Balls (nuts, seeds, and cranberries stirred through small popcorn balls on a stick. Actually, if you make almost anything edible small and cute and put it on a stick people will buy it.).
In fact, I was doing so well considering that I cobbled this together from what I had that I and Riverstone Farm where the last two standing right up to the Saturday before Thanksgiving. That last Saturday I did so much "I'm getting this to give as Christmas gifts" business that I think I could have sold right up to Christmas if the cold hadn't driven me off. As it was, I did get orders for holiday cookie platters and that was a huge help.
It was all very encouraging and I now have a table at the Floyd Farmers Market for the upcoming 2014 season with expanded offerings on the way!
Preservation and cooking classes also came to a halt last fall. I was simply unable to give students my best at that time and I appreciate everyone understanding when I cancelled the last few classes. However, I've recently put together a series of 8 classes called "Saving the Harvest" to get people ready for the upcoming food preservation season. Those classes will start in April and be available for purchase as the whole series or as individual classes. That schedule will be available tomorrow by clicking on the HFPCAC tab at the top of the home page.
Again, thank you, all of you, for your compassion and patience. Scarlet O'Hara was right - you can rely on the kindness of strangers - but you can especially rely on the kindness of friends.