Mountain Feed and Farm Supply has the food preservation supply motherlode. (Chip Scheuer)
Maybe you don't need to win a blue ribbon at the county fair.html. Maybe you'd be happy just to open up a jar of something summery in the dark of January. Well, anyone with a jones to can, pickle or otherwise preserve the summer harvest should make a pilgrimage to Mountain Feed and Farm Supply.html (9550 Hwy 9, Ben Lomond; open daily), where an entire building has been dedicated to food preservation supplies. Canning kettles, pressure cookers, tongs, funnels, thermometers and a gorgeous selection of Kerr, Weck and Quattro Stagione jars will make you want to quit your job and move in. If that’s too far to travel, their booth at the Aptos Farmers Market (6500 Soquel Dr., Saturdays 8am-noon) will most likely cover your needs.
Near downtown Santa Cruz, DIG Garden (420 Water St., open daily) has a small but lovely collection of Weck jars and canning supplies. Additionally, most hardware stores stock mason jars and basic canning tools; Orchard SupplyHardware (1601 41st Ave., Capitola; open daily) has a very good section.
Love Apple Farm (2317 Vine Hill Road) is becoming Ground Zero for the local homesteading movement, in part due to classes like Using A Pressure Cooker (Saturday, Aug. 18, 2-6pm, $95) and Canning Basics (Sunday, Aug. 26, 1-5pm, $75). The farm’s Homestead Options Workshop Weekend, scheduled for Sept. 1-2, will seal the deal. Two full days of workshops for $75 or one day for $45 (and option to camp at the farm for $25) is a good deal. Saturday will focus on home and kitchen, with workshops on canning, pickling, cheesemaking, cidermaking, sauerkraut-making, etc. On Sunday the focus shifts to farm and garden, with workshops on raising chickens and goats, trapping gophers, composting, caring for fruit trees and the like. Learn more and sign up at www.growbetterveggies.com.
Starting in September, DIG Garden will offer canning and preserving classes. Check diggardensnursery.com for schedule. Happy Girl Kitchen Co. is planning classes in the Bay Area, mostly Oakland, this fall (happygirlkitchen.com/), and Mountain Feed and Farm holds a free workshop on making fresh apple cider Oct. 6 at the Aptos Farmers Market.