The canning and preserving of foods was widely implemented as a food storage technique in the late 1700s when militaries throughout the world were desperate to find an effective way to stock foods for their campaigns. According to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, canning foods has become increasingly popular in the home since the 1950s when more information and supplies for food preservation became available to the general public. In the Southern United States, preserving farm fresh produce as jams, jellies or pickles is a particularly important practice that not only meets traditional food storage needs, but also fuels the Southern tradition of passing a skill from generation to generation.
|Photos by Denny Culbert|
“My mom taught me to make pepper jelly and wine jelly a few years ago,” says Emily Bettevy, owner of Green Boot Creations. “I also grew up watching my neighbors in Pineville who were like grandparents to me put away produce that they grew in their large garden every year. When [my neighbor] passed away, her family gave me her pressure canner that she used to put away all of those vegetables. I felt like I was handed a pile of gold coins.”
In 2006, after receiving multiple requests from friends to purchase the pepper jelly she had given as Christmas gifts the year before, Bettevy started Green Boot Creations, an artisanal local foods business that primarily makes jellies and jams. As Bettevy became more proficient and comfortable with preserving foods, she generated her own recipes, like wine, beer and bourbon jellies, with local, farm fresh produce. Her other creations include pickled vegetables and orange marmalades. Now Bettevy sells regularly on Etsy.com, at Arts & Fleas at Downtown Lafayette’s 2nd Saturday Artwalk, and at other markets and local food events throughout Acadiana, such as the monthly Sunday brunch and market at Jolie’s Louisiana Bistro. Bettevy only sources locally grown fruits, herbs, peppers, and vegetables in her products and has found a consumer niche in Acadiana to which she successfully markets her products.
“I buy from Green Boot Creations and other local foods artisans because it not only supports local business, but also supports local farmers,” says Michael Bell, a biologist and slow foods movement supporter. “I like knowing where my food comes from and who is handling it; that adds a level of comfort to the whole buying experience.”
Bettevy shares Bell’s beliefs and purchases produce for Green Boot Creations from farmers she knows at Hub City and Freetown farmer’s markets and other farms throughout Acadiana. She also grows and picks her own citrus, herbs, peppers and more. Bettevy’s newest product is a strawberry basil jam recipe in which she features strawberries from Robin Farms, a family-operated farm located in Church Point, and homegrown basil.
"As a local producer, I want to support local. I know that I can’t compete with big producers, but I also know that I’m putting quality ingredients in my products, as are other local producers,” says Bettevy. “Local means fresh. The whole point of canning and preserving is to preserve the season. With the availability of so many fruits and vegetables in grocery stores year-round, we’ve forgotten about the cycles and seasons of produce. We’ve also forgotten how much better fresh tastes over stuff shipped from another country.”
In addition to continuously working on new recipes that mix local flavors, Green Boot Creations is now exploring vegan and sugar-free products to market to health-conscious local foods consumers with more specific dietary needs.
“This summer I’ll be making a few test runs with a gelatin-substitute made from a sea vegetable called agar-agar kanten,” says Bettevy. “I’m looking forward to being able to serve a wider audience this way.”
Tyler F. Thigpen is a wetland ecologist and president of Acadiana Food Circle (www.AcadianaFoodCircle.org), a community-based nonprofit that connects local food producers to consumers.
"Although the administration is moving forward with climate change regulations at home, we don't consider how policy decisions in the United States impact greenhouse gas emissions in other parts of the world," says Roger Martella, the former general counsel at the Environmental Protection Agency under President George W. Bush.
Louisiana agriculture officials say prices for long-grain rice are projected to drop this year.
First-time claims for unemployment insurance in Louisiana for the week ending July 19 decreased from the previous week's total.
A judge is getting ready to set a new trial date for a former BP executive charged with obstructing a congressional investigation into the 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill.
Midsouth Bank has released its second quarter earnings report, showing a year-over-year increase for shareholders.
The parent of Investar Bank says its second-quarter earnings fell to $1.1 million or 26 cents a share from $1.7 million of 44 cents a share in the same period a year ago.
1,554 rigs were exploring for oil and 315 for gas. Two were listed as miscellaneous. A year ago there were 1,770 active rigs.
Most personal auto insurance policies exclude coverage when people charge money to drive others in their personal vehicles.
Louisiana's 21 casinos took in $203.5 million statewide in June, edging up one-half of a percentage point from a year earlier.
Business First Bank has announced plans for a Baton Rouge market expansion through a merger deal with American Gateway Financial Corp.
Mellow Mushroom Pizza Bakers opens on Johnston.
Acadiana's Top 50 Private Companies
It would be an understatement to say Schumacher Group had a challenging year in 2013.
Hampton Toyota has been serving Acadiana as the premier Toyota dealership for more than 10 years. And now, the glossy Johnston Street dealership is looking forward to a makeover.
Even when Floyd Degueyter is on “vacation” he’s hard at work.
As the second largest metal heat treating company in the country, Analytic Stress Relieving Inc. has grown by leaps and bounds since its inception in 1979.
When the Prohibition era came to an end in 1933, Joseph R. Streva saw an opportunity to make a little extra money to supplement his day job.
When a hurricane hits, Brent Mouton doesn’t run. The convenience store chain owner is proof that the challenges of mother nature can almost break a business, but Mouton learned to grow out of temporary closure from near devastation in 2002 and of lost potential revenue.
By launching a Super PAC to end all Super PACs, our Top 50 keynote speaker hopes to change the game in Washington.
Oil Center-based private facility extends its offerings with special events venue in failed women’s store.
One year later, is his expansion plan paying off?
Newspaper industry insiders question John Georges’ expansion plan.
How the U.S. has gotten itself into another fine mess
The Heymann Center was transformed into a culinary adventure in mid-June for the EatLafayette kick-off event, A Taste of Lafayette, and for the third consecutive year, a sellout crowd filled the Cajundome Convention Center June 19 to hear LEDA chief Gregg Gothreaux’s State of the Economy report.
A look at recent hirings, promotions and other announcements from Acadiana's business community.