As the growing season is slowing down, many of us our working towards preserving as much of our home grown goodies as possible. Grow Appalachia helps with this process by supplying material and funding for specific workshops.

We had planned on doing a freezing and drying workshop. This was to be hosted by a member of our local extension office. Unfortunately, she was unable to make it. Upon finding this out, I called up Evey Frerotte–who is a very loyal member of Grow Appalachia and a retired teacher. On a whim, Evey was able to come up with a plan. She said we could do refrigerator pickles and that she had almost everything that we needed to pull it together that day. And so we did! Our workshop was very successful.

One of the most beautiful and beneficial aspects of GrowAppalachia is that the program connects growers so that we are able to get together and share all of our experiences and wisdom with one another. The older members of Grow Appalachia are able to educate the less experienced gardeners. During our food preservation workshop there was a wealth of knowledge exchanged. I learned that you can put a grape leaf in the bottom of your jar and it will keep your pickles crisp! We did not use the pressure canner, but instead, we made refrigerator pickles–which was also new to me. This was so nice because we were able to take them home and have delicious, crisp dill pickles the following week.

There was also an exchange of produce at this workshop which was really great. Even though there was a lot of improvising, we spent our time laughing, talking, cutting up cucumbers, and helping one another can the pickles.

Without Grow Appalachia experiences such as this would not be possible. I give thanks to this program for helping to bring people together and for enhancing the growing/preserving opportunities in our area.

By: Cassie Williams