Thursday, July 9, 2009

The "Real" Farmer's Market and More

Today our Mom's Nurturing Mom's Group - MnM's met for a stop at Preservation Station. Our theme for our Childhood Ministries this summer is "All Aboard the FBC Express"! We normally try to theme our summer off our Vacation Bible School theme- (Boomerang Express).
Here was our description of today's meeting-
"Don't you wish you had paid better attention in your grandmother's kitchen? Ever wonder why she always had fresh veggies and fruit? Or were your favorites her homemade jellies and jams? Come learn all the secrets of how to properly store home grown (or fresh brought) foods. We'll see and hear about how the things of yesteryear are becoming the "new" thing!"

Our first stop was checking in at the church, dropping off children in childcare, sharing tips and ideas (especially frugal finds) with each other and THEN I shared we were going on a field trip. Mrs. Robin R. from the Bradley County Extension and Mrs. Kathy from there as well- took us to the Bradley County Farmer's Market off Peerless Road. We visited several vendors and were given tips and pointers on knowing the difference in types of produce- like the types of corns, beans and squash. We also were given some help on knowing when something is ripe or to know if you are getting "good" produce. It was a lot of fun. We then went shopping to the different produce stands.

THEN we went to the Cannery that is located behind the Farmer's Market. You can schedule to use this facility free of charge. When you call Mrs. Odoms will give you an appointment and ask what you would like to can (or as my grandmother called "put up" ). She will in turn tell you based on the amount of produce you have what supplies you will need. She will also tell you what you need to have prepped before hand- i.e. breaking your beans before arriving. Two reasons for this are so they can schedule more people to use the facility and because there is no air conditioning- just fans (it is hot).
The staff and volunteers at the cannery will help you know what to do if you have never done this before.

We then returned to the church and ate the yummy snacks the moms brought and heard a presentation on canning. We were also given some great gifts from the Bradley County Extension-
1. Handout on A Quick Consumer Guide to Safe Food Handling ( an incredible piece)
2. July's Newsletter on Safe Food for Tennessee (Wit, Wisdom and Practical Advice on Food Safety)
3. Canning Foods Booklet (79 page booklet w/ guides, recipes, etc.)
4. Preserving Food: Freezing and Drying (47 pages of tips, guidelines and advice)
5. Fridge / Freezer Thermometer

What a fun time!

Potatoes going into the cans - getting ready to head to the steamers!

MNM participants listening and taking notes!
Learning how to tell if a watermelon and cantaloupe is ripe.
Seeing how to "pick" a good ear of corn. I also learned a really good way to "Freeze" corn- cut the ends off the ear of corn, put corn (shuck and all) in a paper bag. Double bag the paper bag and roll up and put in the freezer. Mrs. Robin says the shuck / silk will come right off when you go to use the corn. I thought I would try it so I bought a dozen for $3 of "peaches and cream corn" . I also wanted this farmer to know we appreciated him letting us camp out at his truck bed.
Here we are learning about beans.
We had a smaller group this month but a fun group. I know this isn't for everyone but what a great time. We also had door prizes due to Resourceful Amy's ability to pick out great prizes and get a great bang for our buck. As it ended up everyone who returned for the presentation ended up with a door prize. YIPEE!


Tara said...

Thank you so much for sharing about MNM! I wasn't able to make it because I was working:(

Virginia said...

Oh, I wish I would have known about this...I would have loved to participate. I've got green beans to can and am planning on calling Mrs. Odoms this week. Glad you all had a good time.

Amanda said...

I wish I had known, too! I never got my fencepost! What other good stuff am I missing????

So glad the summer is going so well at FBC!

Miss you!