July has been a fantastic month for us!

Faye paid us a visit this month and attended our preservation class while she was here. We had a great time visiting gardens and meeting a few of our gardeners one on one. our only regret is that we couldn’t visit everyone!

On July, 13th we held our preservation class and distribution. For our class we had three community members give a lesson about a piece of preservation equipment that they felt confident in using. One community member taught water bath canning some hot pepper jelly, one taught us how to use a vacuum sealer properly and how to use a pressure canner safely, and lastly we learned how to use a dehydrator. They each talked about proper storage techniques afterward. I think everyone really enjoyed the class and I feel that we all learned a lot. We had a smaller turn out than some of our other classes but it was okay, the ones who attended enjoyed a better learning experience in a smaller class size. After our preservation class we headed down to my office and handed out one piece of preservation equipment to each Grow Appalachia participant that was eligible. They were ecstatic and very grateful! Our entire community is very grateful for the opportunity to participate in Grow Appalachia.

Everyone’s gardens are looking pretty great. We haven’t had any big issues or anything the weather has been a bit odd here this year but we’re making the best of it. Our harvest numbers have exceeded my personal expectations this year. I’m very proud of all of our gardeners.

Below are some photos of our class, a few gardens, and one of our gardeners. There’s actually a cool story behind her photo and I will include that after the photos. AND saving the best for last! One of our gardeners took their onions to the county fair and won a Reserve Grand Champion ribbon! There are photos of that below as well!

In the first photo you will Carmen, one of our gardeners, standing next to her corn. She hopes to make traditional Guatemalan tamales. She’s using some purple corn that her family has been saving for 20-30 years! She’s incredibly excited and so are we!