Cheap, local, controlled
Published in November, 2008
Ann Arborites are rediscovering the art of preserving their own fruits and vegetables. "Everybody's doing it," says Mark HoŽdesh of Downtown Home & Garden. "We normally get in hundreds and hundreds of cases of canning jars. This year, we ordered fifty percent above last
year, and we've had to reorder on top of that." At Ace Barnes Hardware on Stadium, "sales are up at least twenty percent," says housewares manager Jan Magielski. "And we've always done well with canning supplies, so that's saying something. This year we've sold so many pressure canners we can't keep them in stock, and our own warehouse is behind on back orders. Even jars and lids, something we always order a lot of, are going out as fast as they come in."
Hodesh cites three reasons for the surge: "There's the locavore movement-and what could be more local than eating out of your backyard? Then there's the concern with controlling what's used in your food chemicalwise-and how better to control it than to do it yourself? And, finally, with headlines so dour, it just makes you feel good to can. In this topsy-turvy world we're living in, people like the comfort."
"The economy has a lot to do with it, too," adds Ace's Magielski. "The cost of groceries in general is a big factor-and then when you put in the freight charges and the gas to get to the store on top of that, it's cheaper to do it at home."
[Originally published in November, 2008.]
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