Canning Project Gives Needy A Chance To Stock Food

Training, Produceoffered Free Saturdays

September 11, 1991|By Cindy Parr | Cindy Parr,Contributing writer

WESTMINSTER — For some, canning vegetables is a seasonal tradition. For Carroll County Canning Project participants, it is learning to help put nutritious food on the table for their families.

The Carroll County Canning Project, a self-sufficiency program sponsored and supported by a grant from the Maryland Food Committee, helps people learn how to stretch their food budget by canning local produce.

"Our objective is to provide food for lower-income families by helping them do something for themselves," said Cyndi Miller, one of three project supervisors.

Miller, who has worked with the project for all of its three years, meets with about 10 people every Saturday morning in the kitchen of the New Windsor Service Center to can food.

Each Wednesday during canning season, Miller makes her way from her home in Reisterstown to the soup kitchen at Ascension Episcopal Church in Westminster to get a feel for how many people will can the following Saturday.

"Actually, we have trouble recruiting people to come out," Miller said.

"This disappoints me because it is accessible to so many people, and they don't use it.

"We usually have some people from the soup kitchen that will come out. But for the most part it is the same people."

Rebecca Kailing of Westminster said she and her husband, Paul, have been participating in the canning project for the past two weeks.

"He really enjoys it, and we're able toget an abundance of food," she said. "This is something that we willcontinue to do."

Program supervisors received required training in food preservation and the use of heavy kitchen equipment before working with the project. The training is "really quite extensive," saidDaphne Herling, director of coalition development for the Maryland Food Committee.

Food Preservation Systems, formerly of New Windsor,taught the canning process and proper use of industrial equipment inone week of eight- to 10-hour days, Herling said.

The program, which usually runs July through October, got a late start this year because of drought damage on some produce used for canning.

"We experienced an average of 50 (percent) to 60 percent loss on our sweet corn and tomato crop and about a 20 (percent) to 30 percent loss on snapbeans due to the drought," said David Greene, an agricultural science agent with the county's Extension Services office.

"We started in August this year, because of the drought," Miller said. "Tomatoes have been one of the items that we haven't gotten, and they are usually a big item to put up since they can go into a lot of things.

"Also, the bulk has been affected," she said. "We are not getting the type of bulk we have gotten in the past."

Once Miller has determinedhow many people will attend a Saturday canning session, an order is placed with Baugher's Orchards, which donates the produce for canning.

"We try to get started about 8:30 a.m. and get done as soon as we can because it really gets hot in the kitchen," she said. "We will put up all kinds of vegetables like zucchini, tomatoes, corn, green beans and carrots. At this time of year we do a lot of peaches and apples."

Once the canning is complete, the finished products are divided evenly, usually sending each person home with nine to 20 quarts of food.

Miller said that last year more than 1,100 quarts of localproduce were canned by participants.

"Anybody who is in need of food and wants to work to put it up can come and join the group. Thereare no requirements that have to be met," she said.

For information, write the Maryland Food Committee, Western Maryland Regional Office, 178 E. Main St., Westminster, 21157; or call 876-3637.


Day.. ..Time.. .. .. .. .. .. ..Place.. .. .. .. .. ..Contact

Sun... 1:30 p.m.. .. .. .. .Ascension Episcopal.. .Bill Sears

.. .. . .. .. .. .. .. .. ..23 N. Court St... .. ... 876-3729

Mon... 12:00 p.m.. .. .. United Methodist.. .. .. Jean Herr

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. ... .Center and Main streets... 848-9014

Wed... 12:00 p.m.. .. .. Ascension Episcopal.. Judy McPherson

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..23 N. Court St... .. .. 848-4744

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. ..(Run by St. John's).. .. .. 848-9399

Thur....12:00p.m... .. .. St. Paul's United.. . Gay McCormick

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. Bond and Green streets.. .. .. 848-5975

Sat... 12:00 p.m... .. Church of Brethren .. Carl, Betty Yount

.. .. .. .. .. .. Bond and Chase streets.. .. .. .. .. 848-9399

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .... .. .. .. .. .. .. .. or Sue Rinehart

.. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .. .848-8019

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