Warmer temperatures are making some locals gaze not upward toward the sun but downward toward the soil. They are local back yard farmers and preservers who store their goods to use year round.
Bay View resident and Master Food Preserver Annie Wegner Lefort is doling out advice about canning, freezing, drying, and other methods to those dreaming of fresh bounties. She spoke recently to the local chapter of the Holistic Moms Network and assured them that even novices can be successful, provided they learn the basics and think it through.
"Start planning now so you're ready to go. Then you can start preserving in May and June--thank goodness it's not all in the fall," explained Wegner Lefort.
Her top five local foods to preserve are apples, cucumbers, green beans, strawberries, and tomatoes.
She had plenty to preserve last year—her family harvested 25 pounds of green beans plus lots of other produce from their small back yard.
"Hands down, dilly beans are the hottest commodity in our pantry every year; we can never make enough," according to Wegner Lefort.
She blogs at http://leforthomestead.blogspot.com/ and is a pastry chef at Sheridan's restaurant. She will teach food preservation courses at local sites such as the Urban Ecology Center, Fondy Farmers Market, and St. Matthew's Evangelical Lutheran Church.
The Holistic Moms Network is a national non-profit organization connecting parents who are interested in holistic health and green living. http://www.holisticmoms.org
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