Bradley County Cannery in full swing

By EVANGELON JAMES
Posted 8/2/20

Summer is here and with it comes snow cone trips, fireflies, weekends on the Ocoee, and of course, summer harvest! The fruits and vegetables of summer give us all sorts of fun opportunities from trying new recipes and visiting the farmers market to stopping by the Bradley County Cannery. 

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Bradley County Cannery in full swing

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Summer is here and with it comes snow cone trips, fireflies, weekends on the Ocoee, and of course, summer harvest! The fruits and vegetables of summer give us all sorts of fun opportunities from trying new recipes and visiting the farmers market to stopping by the Bradley County Cannery. 

Honestly, it's been a joy visiting the cannery and spending time with the wonderful people who keep that place running. Oh, and did I mention that it’s free to Bradley County residents? If you want to know more about our county's cannery and how it benefits you, then read on my friend!

To be honest, when I first heard of the Bradley County Cannery my initial thought was soup … that’s right, I assumed soup is basically all you would make at a cannery — but it didn’t take long until I realized all the potential there is when it comes to canning. During my time at the cannery I’ve seen apple butter, pickles, pinto beans, salsa, jams, pickled vegetables, sauerkraut, and yes, of course, soup. And as I saw (and taste-tested) all these wonderful items, I was able to meet the kind people behind the recipes and learn of all the amazing reasons people can.

I came across families who wanted to teach their children something new and granddaughters assisting their grandmothers with their yearly tradition of summer canning. I also met mothers who were able to save a lot of money by canning pinto beans for their families. I also came across avid gardeners eager to save their excess harvest that couldn’t be eaten right away. It’s been really nice meeting the people who visit the cannery.

And of course, Mary Loue, who keeps a tight ship running, is always happy to help for those who are first-time canners. She has a room full of spices, recipe books and all the ladles, knives and tools you could need. I myself have canned vegetable soup, pickle, and onions there and — I’m not gonna lie — it was a process but I learned so much, am more grateful, and can’t wait to go back.

So, at this point, I’m going to assume you have a recipe in mind and a hankering for some canning — I can’t say that I blame you.

You can find our county cannery (which I will remind you is free to Bradley residents) at 1055 Peerless Crossing N.W., tucked right behind the farmers market. The cannery is open Tuesday to Saturday from 5:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., so put on your morning pants if need be!

Also, if you’d like to can you’ll need to schedule an appointment with Mary Loue by calling (423) 728-7031.

Please be sure to wear a mask during your appointment and — as fun as canning is — please stay home if you are experiencing any COVID-19 symptoms as we want to protect you and those in our community.

I hope at least one person reading this is inspired to can, if you do, send me your canning story at ej@utk.edu. I hope to hear back from the wonderful town of Cleveland and, as always, happy gardening!

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