A Connection to Our Food – From Seeds to Canning – Cache Valley Daily
What makes people feel empowered? An anonymous author wrote, at least for the most important: the money, the status and the cultivation of a tomato.
For those who grow their own produce, there is a personal sense of pride and satisfaction that comes from planting, tending, harvesting, and conserving. For those who don’t or can’t garden, Utah is home to an abundance of local growers, and supporting and buying them from farmers’ markets and community-supported farming programs results in the same result of having delicious food. , healthy and fresh. It also promotes a sense of community by supporting local producers.
Now more than ever, people are interested in obtaining or growing their own food supply and preserving it for the future.
For those in need of gardening advice, whether it’s early or late in the season, the Utah State University Extension website, garden.usu.edu, is full of resources to help you have your best garden. and your best garden yet, even if you have struggled in the past. The website includes links to the Gardener’s Almanac with a Monthly Gardening Checklist, a list of online gardening courses developed by USU professors, who collectively have thousands of hours research, the Utah Gardening Experts Facebook group, the Gardening Tips Podcast, a video library, and information on the Master Gardener program. You’ll also find information on water efficient landscaping, pest control, applications, tips and more. Almost any gardening question you might have will be answered in this great research-based information store. In addition, the new Drought Extension website at dry.usu.edu contains resources and tips for water conservation.
For those who prefer to support and enjoy the fruits of the labor of others, Farmers’ Markets are a wonderful place to visit and shop. Supporting local producers by purchasing local food and products helps strengthen the local economy, creates local jobs and increases food security. It also helps preserve farms, ranches, small businesses, and farmland, ensuring Utah has farms and ranches for generations to come.
Visit Utah’s Own for a general list of state farmers’ markets. The website will also help you find and support local producers, learn about the farm-to-plate process, and understand the rigorous food safety protocols for the local food supply. Also included are FAQs and tips to help support local producers.
Community Supported Agriculture (CSA)
Since many areas of Utah do not have access to local farmers’ markets, community-supported agriculture is a way for citizens to directly support farmers in their communities. Members buy a share of a farm’s produce for the growing season. Shareholders pay their money up front and then typically receive a weekly delivery of what’s in season and available at that farm. The benefits include reduced transport costs, a varied diet from a local source, and a direct and positive impact on communities. Click here for more information on Community Supported Agriculture.
Preserving the harvest
Once you have your produce on hand, you’ll likely have more of it than you can eat before it spoils. This is where food preservation comes in – allowing you to enjoy the harvest year round. Fruits and vegetables, jams and jellies, pie fillings, jerky, salsa and other products can be preserved by freezing, dehydrating and pressure canning.
When canning and using other methods of preserving food, keeping it safe with scientifically tested recipes should be the top priority. No one wants to waste their time and effort preserving foods that will spoil before consumption, that won’t be sealed properly, or that will create accidental foodborne illness or toxin in the product. Also be aware that recipes passed on by families and neighbors or found on Google searches may not be safe.
Reliable resources for food preservation include:
* The USDA’s Complete Guide to Home Canning, which provides a free download of an eBook. The information is based on research conducted by the National Center for Home Food Preservation in cooperation with the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, USDA.
* The Ball Canning Company website provides recipes, canning tips, and product, service and support information.
* The Extension Canning Resources website includes information supported by crop preservation research, food preservation fact sheets, and the main food preservation program. Visit canning.usu.edu.
Although the harvest lasts only one season, the urge to eat does not. The more we learn and become connected to our food supply, the greater our ability to provide for, strengthen and nourish our families and communities.