Before canning, the only method of preserving fresh produce was to commission a Flemish artist to paint its likeness on the walls, then allow only the most imaginative children to lick it. Sink your teeth into year-round bounty with today's Groupon: for $20, you get a two-hour holiday jams canning and preservation class with all supplies included at Garden Inspirations in Waxahachie (a $45 value). Upcoming classes are scheduled on Saturdays at 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. and on Mondays at 10 a.m. and 7 p.m.
Garden Inspirations' green-thumbed mother-and-daughter team, Marilyn Simmons and Donelle Simmons Smith, ply the Waxahachie community with pesticide-free veggies and train new green thumbs in the gardening arts. The holiday jams preservation and canning class imparts the know-how to transform fresh and seasonal produce into long-lasting time capsules of taste to be devoured at any time of year. The class merges a lecture-style overview with a mostly hands-on approach as preservationist apprentices try their hands at a variety of food-storage rituals. Students emerge from the kitchen with the canned, jammed, or jellied fruits of their labor in hand, which may include pear honey, green beans, or pickled pickles.
"Gardens are a lot like people,” Marilyn Simmons told Now Magazines. “As they grow and mature, they come into their own.” Marilyn and her daughter Donelle, owners of Garden Inspirations, have their own unique plot. “A Radio Flyer wagon is home to an assortment of flowers and trailing potato vines and an herb garden is flourishing in a nonfunctioning barbecue grill.”
At their farm, the two work to show pupils how to plant their own beds with pesticide-free veggies, which blossom into sources of personal pride. The full schedule of classes includes introductory courses on overcoming the gamut of challenges that aspiring gardeners face, such as inhospitable soil, lack of time, and accidentally planting their car keys. Knowledgeable about diverse garden types—including rooftop, field, and aquaponic—the instructors impart their wisdom on the best kind of garden for each grower’s individual needs, as well as which vegetable varieties grow most readily in North Texas and how to plant them. When not brewing compost tea or working beneath trellises tangled in emerald wisps, the crew does a radio show which talks about how to obtain baskets of naturally grown peaches, cucumbers, and squash.
Twin Lakes Estates
108 Ridgecrest Dr.
Waxahachie, Texas 75165