There’s a building in our area that sits quietly nestled behind a hill out of site and out of mind for most of the year.. But for atleast one week out of the year it comes alive with activity.. The first people arrive at 5 each morning and the last leave around 11.. Meat Canner Week.. It is an amazing community experience.. Are you familiar with it? Come on in and look around.. I’d love to give you a tour..
Directly inside you’ll see the “Welfare Table”.. Standard procedure is a carry in.. Some days there’s more to eat around here than others.. They say Wednesday the table nearly groaned under all the food.. Because there is no designated break time- feel free to come out and help yourself whenever..
Grab one of those beautiful white aprons and we’ll head into the cutting room.. This is a requirement.. The inspector shows up occasionally and we try to be law abiding.. 🙂
I end up spending most of my time in here.. The idea is to cut 48,000 lbs of turkey into bite size pieces.. This is not the most thrilling job, but what I love about this week is the opportunity to spend time with people from our area that I wouldn’t typically.. For instance- I discovered that the stranger across the table from me was my mom’s cousin.. Got in a big discussion with the Horning deacons wife on the 5 love languages.. And traded trapping tales with a neighbor all in about an hrs time.. You’d be amazed at what all world problems get solved over canner week 🙂
Next the meat is carried back to the canner.. This is an actually trailer that is owned by MCC.. It goes 33 places during the season and is manned by a crew of 4 men.. IT’S LOUD BACK HERE-SORRY FOR SHOUTING, BUT.. THE TURKEY PIECES ARE COOKED RAPIDLY FOR A FEW MINUTES AND THEN THE ASSEMBLY LINE BEGINS..CANS ARE FILLED, WEIGHED, THE LIDS ARE STOMPED ON AND THEN THEY ARE CAUGHT AND PLACE IN A METAL BASKET ..
THERE ARE 144 CANS IN A BASKET, 6 BASKETS IN A BATCH.. EACH BASKET GETS CANNED FOR 2 HOURS.. THE CANNER IS WHERE THE PARTY USUALLY IS.. THE GRAVY JOB YOU MIGHT SAY.. EVERY YEAR THERE’S ALL THESE AMAZING RECORDS THAT GET THROWN AROUND.. THIS YEAR THE STANDING RECORD IS 4 MINS AND 9 SECS OF PUTTING MEAT INTO CANS.. IMPRESSIVE..
We’ll leave the noise of the canner area.. Next stop is where the cans get washed and labeled.. We used to use hot water, but rules have changed to where they can’t be immersed.. So now we wipe them with microfiber towels.. This takes another small army, and more time for random discussions.. The cans are boxed and stacked in the corner ready to head out to feed the hungry..
Also volunteers spend time stamping our areas stamp on the MCC logo and flipping labels.. This is something I never was able to conquer.. But those who are more skilled than I, have this technique where they flip the labels and end up with them spaced evenly for gluing.. Emily was going to impress me with her new trick and so I watched totally impressed while she raced the one canner boy.. Unfortunately for Horst the canner boy smoked her.. But I was still charmed that she competed.. Like I mentioned.. This is not my forte
And now we are back around to the break room.. More time for story telling.. Every year there’s some sort of a mind boggler type question.. This year it’s ” 6 men, 6 sacks, each sack contains 6 cats, who each have 6 kittens.. How many legs are there?” So everyone is brushing off math skills.. And that completes our tour.. As I mentioned-I love this week- a community working together because we have been blessed with the resources to be able to make a little difference..
26,795 cans of turkey heading out into the world.. ” In as much as you have done it unto the least of these my brethren, you have done it unto me..” Matt 25:40
Blessings on your week, Kendra
Bonus pics from my Pa travels this weekend: