Thursday, August 16, 2012

Fair Exhibits inspire Master Gardener Class

Gail Webb (Master Gardener), Angela Martin, Belindia Brown, and Judia Gentry.
The theme of the 86th Putnam County Fair was “Tennessee Pride”.  And pride was exhibited!  After touring the commercial booths, one guest exclaimed “…to think we have all of this in Cookeville.”  Produce and farm products demonstrated capabilities of local gardeners and farmers.  Arts, crafts, photography, and culinary pursuits made us proud of hometown talents.  As always, Putnam County Master Gardeners blended their exhibit with that of the Putnam County Fair.  Throughout their “Enchanted Gardens” they showed Tennessee Pride comes from our history and the resources of Putnam County.
Denise Blodgett, Isabella Barona, Adam Boutillette (Master Gardener), 
and Lisbeth Fortuno (Master Gardener)

As usual, the Master Gardener Building was a place where people congregated and talked.  Many guests had been to the Women’s Building where they had seen the fantastic exhibits of canned vegetables.  Thus, as they observed the historic Mrs. McGregor’s Kitchen in the exhibit, their conversation gravitated to canning.  They wanted to know: what was the best technique for this vegetable or another vegetable, do you cook the vegetable before you can it, is a hot-water bath sufficient or should one use a pressure cooker, what pressure, how long, etc.  Invariably they asked, “Will Master Gardeners teach a class on canning vegetables?” 

Master Gardeners is a component of the University of Tennessee Extension and is responsible for educating the general public on gardening related topics.  Working with Michelle Parrott, Nutritionist and Home Economist Extension Agent, Master Gardeners decided to offer a class on canning vegetables using both hot-water bath and pressure canning techniques.  The class and demonstrations will be at the UT Extension Building between 9:00 and 11:00 a.m. Saturday, August 25.  Enroll at the University of Tennessee Extension Office (900 South Walnut Avenue, Cookeville) (526-4561).  There will be a $5.00 fee to cover expenses.  Instructors will be Master Gardeners: Bonnie Coburn, Rosemary Ponte, and Dimple Stewart.

Of course, the canned vegetables exhibited at the Putnam County Fair are the best of the best.  However they all follow the same basic time honored techniques recommended by UT research.  Those exhibitors have honed the science into an art form resulting in a “Tennessee Pride” that is a part of our history, is a part of our present as seen in the exhibits, and will be a part of our future as people learn the science and art of canning.