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Submitted by Slow Food Chicago Leader Jennifer Breckner. Photos by Megan Larmer

The Summer months here in Chicago are definitely bountiful. And, through a partnership with Slow Food USA, Anolon Cookware is helping us extend that bounty to the other seasons. Slow Food Chicago hears all the time that our community wants hands-on food production workshops; they want a sense of self-sufficiency and they want to learn! Particularly important to us are affordable opportunities that demystify the canning process, extend the harvest throughout the year, and that connect individuals with local produce on an intimate level.

Anolon stepped in to support this great cause, generously providing Slow Food Chicago with over $1,000 in cookware and utensils to start up a pilot canning and preservation program, which will be held seasonally, throughout the year. The first two workshops, organized by Megan Larmer, Slow Food Chicago board member, and Samantha Radov, workshop instructor, were held over the summer at Logan Square Kitchen, a “shared kitchen” that supports local entrepreneurs getting their start. As a bonus, it’s the only LEED Gold private event space in Chicago.

“Anolon’s donation is invaluable. By not having to purchase cookware, we made a profit on the first workshop. We also were able to plan the entire series at once, knowing the equipment will last. Now we can begin improving the workshops with the very next installment. This gift ensures the longevity and success of the workshop series,” explained Larmer.

Slow Food Chicago received an enthusiastic response to the canning classes, which sold out quickly. Thirty people joined instructor Radov, a Slow Food enthusiast and pastry chef at Publican, to can tomatoes. The workshops were fun, informative, and absolutely messy. As one person said, “I’m interested in the sourcing of my food, and preserving it for myself. I never knew [that] I liked tomatoes until I had “real” one. FOOD IS SO COOL!”

We agree! Holding these canning workshops was for some a way to connect with near-forgotten family traditions, and for others a time to start a new one. Slow Food Chicago is excited for its future workshops: apples in November, citrus in February, and rhubarb in May. Onward!