You don’t need to grow your own fruits and vegetables to reap the rewards of home-canning. Local canning instructor Caitlin Dorward shares her off-the-’eaten-track spots for sourcing local produce in bulk to preserve for the months to come.
Look beyond the displays at your neighbourhood market and ask the grocery manager about “canning-grade” produce or “number-twos”—blemished or slightly funny-looking fruits and veggies that may be hidden in the store’s backroom or specially ordered. You can also pose the same question to fruit-stand operators in the Okanagan.
Join a local bulk-buying co-op, where you can participate in a group purchase of a fruit or vegetable by the caseload. Sometimes, the supplier may even cut larger groups a deal, saving you time and money and decreasing your carbon footprint.
It turns out Craigslist isn’t just good for apartment-hunting and secondhand bikes. Dorward suggests looking through the website’s farm and garden section, where B.C. growers occasionally post produce for sale. “Just get talking to people,” she says. “Don’t be afraid to go and ask what they have that may not be out on the shelves.”