Thursday, October 23, 2008

Aunt Who's? Old What? Salad Which?

I've been canning my own jams and salsas for about 14 years. Canning has become a lost art and a practice which is usually found in the heart of the Midwest. I'm not sure what got this born and raised OC/SoCal girl started on it, but it's what I do. I'd only ever made my canned goods for gifts or my own family's consumption until last year. I was looking for a way to help fund my then 8th grade daughter's school trip to DC, and my girlfriend suggested I sell some of my items at her school's fall boutique. I agreed knowing that what I didn't sell I would either give as gifts or we would eat. A win win situation and no real chance of financial loss.

One holiday season and four school boutiques later, I've become a canning mad woman. I wish you could see my kitchen (actually, I don't because it's a horrific disaster)! I have empty jars, filled jars, a canning pot, hot pads, food processor, labels, recipes and mess everywhere. I usually start my canning in the summer when the produce is abundant and the prices are low. My dilemma then comes with what to do with it all prior to selling time. I have found nooks and crannies all over the house and garage to store it. No one in my home knew just how much I'd canned until I pulled it out to inventory it this week.

I was instantly reminded of the "I Love Lucy" episode in which her friends rave about her homemade salad dressing and encourage her to sell it. She and her trusty friend Ethel find a way to advertise (a 1950's version of today's infomercials) on another friend's husband's TV network.

Their million dollar plan was an amazing success and they were frantically making salad dressing to meet the orders they received. Lucy had salad dressing stored everywhere in their New York apartment and delivered it on roller skates using newspaper delivery bags to hold it all.

I almost always sell out of my products and at yesterday's boutique, I actually had a woman ask me if I had a website or mail order catalog in case she needed to get more. My husband was thrilled and the wheels began to turn as he proposed an entrepreneurial plan for me to start a family business that could eventually be run by our two daughters. As flattering and exciting as that is, I could only chuckle and think more of the 'Lucy' episode.

Since Lucy's big plans never go as she would like them to, Ricky eventually discovered that they were actually losing 4 cents per jar! In a ploy to keep more orders from coming in and end their business venture, Lucy and Ethel went back on the air to un-sell their product.

Of course that hilarious infomercial brought in countless more orders for poor Lucy. I realize that is a TV show and not real life, but I can't even imagine what it would be like if I were to take on such an endeavor. Especially since, I had posted a note on Facebook about the boutique and had three people show up because of it. So, I guess I'll just keep canning and see where it takes me. Perhaps, like 'Aunt Martha' I've "had too many old-fashioneds".


Nicole Gniffke said...

i love your salsa, i vaugly remember you having a cranberry/chili one right? more importantly, it was yummy!

i think you should go for it! if not a complete web business, at least sell to botiques who will do all the work for you, except of course making it...

Jennie said...

Please, that would make it easier for me to get my hands on the bean (C-U-Later) dip I am so fond of!

be_a_Mary said...

i want to try your salsa!! :)