Concert and cook-off

Wow, it may be fall, but things are not slowing down here at Rural Resources, in East Tennessee.  Debbie here, and I am exhausted and excited for this week to come!  We sponsored a local food concert this weekend, which went extremely well – excellent food, great musicians, and wonderful conversations.  An event that we have hosted the past three years to increase awareness of eating local food and supporting your local growers.  Rural Resources was honored to cook up locally raised chickens from Kany Farm, apples from Buffalo Trail Orchard, and a local salad mix from Rural Resources.  We were also joined by the Greeneville Farmers Market who served a local chicken wrap and sold some locally grown produce.  Also, George Clems Multicultural Center who served local beef burgers.  The food was excellent and the chicken was flying off the grill!  We finished the evening with a fireworks show, where we tried to burn a tree down.  The evening was wonderful!

I also spent last week ordering items for our teens home gardens.  Fabric cloth has come in, so now it is time to buy some pvc pipes to make some hoops.  We will be placing hoops over their raised beds and giving them fabric cloth to help insulate their precious plant growth from the frosts of late fall/winter.  We will keep an eye on temperatures, and if need be, help them put more protection on if our temperatures become as bad as they were last year, but let’s hope not!

Saturday, we had a group of teens out who learned how to can chicken!  For those who do not know what to do with the 2 – 3 year old laying hens, canning is the way to go.  We were given some old hens and decided to can the meat, since it is too tough to eat roasted.  The canning makes the meat tendor, and we are left with chicken that can be used for pot pies, chicken and noodles (my favorite!  especially with home-made egg noodles), chicken and dumplings, etc.  The girls paid close attention to details and how to handle the chicken, pack it into the jars, and how to process in a pressure canner.  One young lady commented that her mom wanted to her pay attention so they can also can chicken meat in the future for their own use!

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Soooo, what is so big this week?……Our 2nd Annual Teen Chopped Cook-Off.  Teens will compete Saturday to see which team has the best plate.  Judges will be looking at teamwork, presentation, food handling, use of secret ingredients, use of local ingredients, and over all taste of the dish.  Teens will be bringing their all and best to the competition Saturday.  We met this past week to pre-plan their tentative dish they would like to fix, and my mouth waters with ideas of stuffed peppers, meatballs and spaghetti, and gourmet burgers!  Wow, I can’t wait till Saturday to try all these delicious dishes.  If you are in Greeneville, TN, or near by, stop over Saturday at 1130 Temple Street – First Christian Church, 1 p.m. to 4 p.m., watch the show and enjoy the samples!

About the Author:

I am from a farming community in Indiana where my family farmed over 200 acres. As a teen, my family moved to Florida where I became heavily involved in 4-H and developed a love for service and passing knowledge onto others. I graduated and began working at the local girls club while attending college for a Business/Administration degree. I realized that teaching youth was my passion and stayed at the girls club for 12 years before moving to East Tennessee. In East Tennessee I was able to reconnect with my farming roots and began a home garden. In growing, I tapped further into my roots and began canning and freezing food for my family. Really enjoying putting to use all the long hours working on the farm in my youth and realizing how important that was for me to learn, I wanted to get back into teaching youth again! Skimming help wanted adds, led me to Rural Resources who was looking for a coordinator to run their Farm and Food Teen Training Program. All my loves in one - youth at-risk, farming, gardening, cooking, and business planning! What a wonderful life to share my passions with others, play on the farm, enjoy local home cooked food, and advance these youth to a better future! Here I have been for 6 beautiful, happy, and productive years!

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