By Marin Lissy
Supporting local businesses is vital to maintain a stable economy and to create a sense of community among neighbors. November 26, 2016, the Saturday after Thanksgiving, was “Shop Local Day.” Community members were encouraged to “shop local” by supporting businesses in their home town or city. Although every day isn’t “Shop Local Day” (“Shop Local Day” is November 25 this year), it is still important to try to support people of your community as often as possible, including farmers. Even though they may seem removed from some people's every life, they contribute to a large part of it -- especially our diets and nutrition. Even items as simple as ketchup are made with ingredients grown by farmers. That is why organizations, including Farmer Foodshare, are there to not only assist those struggling with hunger, but to also promote the well being of farmers. Believe it or not, there are farms nearby that can educate us all about the value of “staying local”.
At Fiddlehead Farm in Pittsboro, owner Emily Boynton and her husband, David, make a variety of flavored salts, hot sauces, jams, jellies, and preserves. I was lucky enough to visit the farm and participate in a jam making class hosted by Emily. She helped my friends and me through a simple strawberry jam-making process. After chopping off the tops of fresh strawberries (also called ‘hulling strawberries’), we added and mixed in fresh lemon juice and sugar. This concoction was transferred to a jam-making pot where strawberries cooked down in the sugar. In the meantime, mason jars were sterilized in preparation for canning the jam. Multiple rounds of tasting allowed us to adjust the recipe with more lemon juice (to make the jam more tart) or more sugar (to make it sweeter). At last, we poured our freshly made jam into the mason jars. Using tongs, we carefully placed the closed mason jars in a large pot of boiling water. This step sealed the jam jars to keep them fresh and shelf-stable for the coming year. We each took home two jars of our very own strawberry jam. Yum!
You can find Fiddlehead Farm’s products at the Pittsboro, Chapel Hill, and Carrboro Farmers Markets. To learn more, visit www.fiddleheadnc.com.