[quote]At the ANLA Management Clinic, I heard a lot of people talking about the generation gap. Some were mystified about these foreign entities called Gen Y, and wary of the untold damage they will do to their business in the next few years. Others enjoyed batting around statistics and sharing opinions. Others dismissed the idea of a gap as overblown and as something that would have very little effect on garden centers.
The reason the topic stirs so much anxiety is that retailers don’t have concrete ideas of how to attract younger gardeners. More money on marketing? Better signs, more color in the store? Those ideas are good ones -- and frankly, something stores should be doing anyway. But they are kind of nebulous, not solid in the way that will reassure retailers.
I think I know of a good, tangible way to draw in younger gardeners: Vegetables.
Are veggies the answer?
Growing veggies at home meets a lot of different needs for young homeowners and even apartment dwellers with a sunny balcony.
* Economic. Homegrown veggies are cheap. Prices are soaring at the grocery store, and the first group to feel the pinch are those on their own for the first time and new homeowners.
* Buy local. One of the mantras of the sustainability movement is to favor local vendors first. When it comes to food, this is even more explicit. Consumers are urged to consider “food miles” when they buy their meat and produce, the distance the food had to travel to reach the stores. Stores popular with the younger crowd, like Whole Foods, have really embraced this trend. And what could be more local than growing the vegetables at home?
* Cooking is hot. This generation is really into cooking shows. The hosts are superstars, and many are their peers, like Rachael Ray, Jamie Oliver and Giada. And those customers that are just a few years older have their own peers in Bobby Flay and Mario Batali. Cooking is sexy. And each of these chefs emphasizes good food requires good ingredients. What’s better than freshly harvested?[/quote] http://www.branchsmith.typepad.com/open_register/2008/02/a-call-to-veggi.html
There's hope! Thanks for sharing that with us, darius!
I also think there's an increasing desire, among some folks, anyway, to step back from all the technology that's so much a part of our daily lives, and do something that reconnects with the basics a little. Obviously, given how many folks tackle gardening projects in the spring, there's still some primal urges towards food production left in homo sapiens!
I do it because I like to watch it grow. I also like going to the garden before dinner and making a salid out of 5 minute old veggies. Corn on the cob is best when it is 2 minutes from the stalk to the boiling water. I snack during the day on baby carrots and cherry tomatoes. I can't say enough about a truely vine ripe tomatoe.
I dehydrate lots of onions and peppers which are great to cook with. I freeze apples for use all year. I never have to buy garlic. I make all the tomatoe sause we could ever use. I freeze tomatoes because we don't can much which is a shame given the amout of food my garden produces. Maybe this year I will have time to learn to can.
We benifit from my garden and so do family and friends. Last year we went to Seattle to my daughters lives in a huge housing development and they have a huge garage sale where people just drive by and stop where it looks interesting. As a joke I took her a box of beef stake tomatoes. They lasted about 15 minutes. some people just started eating them right on the spot they all loved the fact that these were home grown and did not come from the cardboard tomatoe farm the super markets buy from.
The point is even with very little garden space most people could plant a little that would give them great returns. Ernie
Eweed, canning is not difficult. You just need to use common sense and make sure you have the equipment you need ahead of time. It's hot work, but seeing all those lovely jars on the pantry shelf makes it all worth it. Plus nothing tastes better in the winter than fresh, homemade tomato sauce or tomato soup.
Pinger 42 apples are peeled and cored then sliced and dropped into a bowl of salt water untill bowl is full. Next give a quick drain and vaccumm pack in amount you intend to use and put in freezer. Great for making a small batch of sause or to bake with.Will keep a long time this way. You can use zip loc bags but they wont keep as long. I freeze onions to but omit the water bath just slice and bag, put them in the pan or skillet frozen and all the juice will remain.
Doccat5 I know how I just haven't done it. I have experience with salmon canneries our retorts were like pressure cookers only five feet wide and forty two feet long. I just need to get a good book and read it. I remember my mother canning hour after hour and when she was done she had hundreds of jars of everything to help feed me and my five sisters with. I can still remember my dad supervising untill she gave him that look that said go someplace and stay there.Ernie
You Mama sounds like my kinda gal...LOL Only need the extra hands, not the mouth. I find it verrrrrrrrrrrra interesting that the Gov't (you know them folks that are here to "help" us) is more and more recommending using pressure cookers rather than a water bath to preserve foods. I can and do agree with the idea that this is and should be a safe food issue. All of sudden, the tomatoes don't have enough acidity, yada, yada, yada. Just weird.
doccat5 wrote;" All of sudden, the tomatoes don't have enough acidity, yada, yada, yada. Just weird."
Considering some of the discussions I've overheard from people around where I live, I don't blame the gov't for erring on the side of caution :).
Things like, "well, my mama use'd ta boil the jars for a while, but i don't see why, the stuff's plenty hot when I pour it in. I just slap the tops on and they're just fine". That's one I remember in particular, we were in the kitchen aisle (with canning supplies) at the Ace Hardware.
I had something else to add, but can't find the quote. As I recall, it was an article about the newer hybrid tomatoes, and a lessening of their acidity. This is not about the Heirlooms that are sweeter from more brix, but some that really are less acid. If i find it, I'll be back :)
Just remember when the strawberrys and blackberrys are piling in you have to show me how to make jelly. I am NOT buying a pressurer cooker because the hubby will not let me. He says I will blow myself up! HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA
*grin*. If I gave you the impression that I have any idea how to make jelly, I apologise! I simply look at all the shiny canning stuff and dream...:) Seriously, I haven't tried yet, but intend to this year.
And, I'm with your hubby on the pressure cooking. I remember when my Mom used hers, but somehow I'm terrified of the whole thing. I have all the stuff to "water-bath", and it's been waiting for so long that I'll have to wash them first...
Sigh, don't be silly. A pressure cooker is just another tool. You need to pay attention to what you're doing with it and use common sense. The newer ones have even more safety features built in.
And yes, you can use a water bath for jelly. That's not hard to make either. ;)
This is not a complete and total hijack of the thread, but comes close...
Making jelly is really easy if one (no gender specific pronouns) uses the calcium-activated pectin. There are several people that describe using it over on the canning and preserving forum. One available brand is Pomona's Universal Pectin.
I used it last year to make peach jam, having never made jam before. It was my peach trees' first crop. I used half-pint jars and sealed with a hot-water bath. Every jar we've opened or given away has been perfect. The batch I tried before the calcium-activated pectin was a delicious peach syrup that was great on waffles. I also made fig jam from my brown-turkey tree. Hopefully I'll get more figs this year.
I found the boiling water process easy enough for pickles and tomatoes, too. I didn't have enough other vegetable to can or freeze because we ate all those fresh.
I've heard good things about that pectin, David. I understand it's possible to use that when making diabetic friendly jelly and get good results. I want to get more information on that. I have several good friends who would love some homemade jelly, but are diabetic.
[quote]And, I'm with your hubby on the pressure cooking. I remember when my Mom used hers, but somehow I'm terrified of the whole thing.[/quote]
I'm with Doccat5; the modern pressure cookers are so well engineered that I personally think they are safer than other appliances--I routinely burn myself on my oven-shelves, for instance, because I'm not paying attention, and talk about little knife-cuts! But they have this reputation from the 1940s for spewing spaghetti sauce all over the kitchen (My Aunt Gwen did this exact thing, in fact) and in this country, that rep has been hard to shake. The Europeans have used them for years--in fact, one of the best makes, Kuhn Rikon, is Swiss--because they use much less energy and you need less liquid, and thus, conserve the juices and vitamins and . . . I'll get off my soapbox now!!! Sorry for the mini-hijack!!
(I presently have three PCs in different sizes, and use them all the time.)
My mother bought hers in 1949 I remember the day we bought it you would have thought we were the Beverly Hillbillys we were so excited because my mother talked about the things she could make with it. I remember she cooke old tough stewing hens in it for a while then removed it and put in it in the oven to brown.she used it untill she quit cooking around 2000. The point is it is not just a canner it is a fast food cooking tool to.Ernie
I may be the one responsible for starting the early discussions on Pomona's Pectin some years back. For years I have made lots of jelly for my diabetic friends by using Pomona's. You can cut the sugar or even eliminate it all together and it will still jell. Just one aside... jelly or jam with NO sugar loses some of the fruit color in processing. Most folks don't mind.
Another consideration is cost. One box of Pomona's is a few cents more than Sure-Jell BUT it will make 3-4 runs rather than the single run Sure-Jell makes. The calcium water, made from the packet in each box, keeps several weeks if refrigerated.