Over the Mountain to Berea, here she comes!

Produce is starting to come in, and preservation classes are beginning here at Rural Resources, in Greeneville, TN.  Debbie Strickland here, reporting in on our classes and activities, and on a future Berea student.  Gardens are beginning to produce food, and harvest numbers are beginning to come in for the teens.  With the anticipation of produce coming in, we have begun teaching some canning classes, and more to come this month.  Teens met last month and had their first lesson in pressure canning as they prepared green beans for canning.  The teens will get their jars of green beans to take home this month.  Green beans are now coming in, and in my own garden they are starting to grow out of my ears!  I have some ready to go into the canners and more to pick.  I am hoping to get at least 96 quarts this year to go into my pantry for the winter.  We will be putting up corn for the freezer, canning pickled beets, and making some pickles this month with the teens.  I think they are most excited about the pickles!  The teens love pickles, I just need to get them to give us plenty of time for the pickles to actually pickle before they try to eat them.  They will get to pickle in crocks, and it will take a couple of weeks for the pickles to be ready, making a nice sweet pickle.  I am also hoping to do some dill pickles that will not use the crocks, but do need to sit for a bit after canning so they can ferment.  These are the ones, it never fails, the teens try to eat them too early and won’t wait till they are at their optimum flavor.  I will have to hide them!

Our teens have also been out at the Jonesborough Farmers Market, making pizzas with the kids.  The teens bought fresh vegetables from the vendors, chopped them up, and help the kids who came to the market top their homemade whole wheat pizza crusts with fresh toppings.  They also prepared a fresh meal for our local soup kitchen, Tabernacle Mission Soup Kitchen, using fresh lettuce from our garden to make the salad for the meal.  They prepared a fresh taco casserole and a lettuce and tomato salad.  They served close to 200 meals!  This was the first meal the teens have prepared and they enjoyed being able to cook and serve a meal to others in need.  They are anxious for their next meal that they will help with next week.  They will be helping prepare a fresh local food meal with a Latin twist for our annual community dinner.  If you are in the area, please join us Wednesday, July 19, 5:30-7:30 for a free community dinner.  See the teens firing up the grills to cook corn on the cob, turning up the turkey fryers to boil potatoes, and working with local chef Gabino from Costa Del Sol to help make fajitas.  The teens are excited about the skills they will learn, the knowledge gained, and the chance to help prep the food Tuesday inside his restaurant.  It will be a fun filled evening with music and activities for the kids.  Join us if you can!

        

Before signing off, I wanted to share our blog on one of our former teens who will be crossing the mountain to Berea College this school year.  She will be the second of one of our teens who have been granted this opportunity to attend and amazing college, and like her predecessor, Faelyn Campbell, both of these young ladies have worked hard to get there.  Veronica Smith will be attending Berea in the fall, and we would like to share her story with you all.  Please check out this link to the blog post on this wonderful young lady and her story, which is much longer than posted her, to her road of success.  We wish her the best of luck, and for Faeyln, another great year in Berea!  .http://ruralresources.blogspot.com/2017/07/farm-and-food-teen-training-program.html?m=1

Here are some random shots from around the farm and of our programming:

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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