Sunday, May 20, 2018
News Roundup

Hernando's Little Rock Cannery needs just one more thing to survive — you

Hernando County is paying Jennifer Raines' salary — at least for now — but her training came free.

Raines' mother, Flossie, ran the Little Rock Cannery for nearly 20 years, often with her daughter at her side.

"I was here all the time," said Jennifer Raines, 29. "I used to get off the school bus here."

She learned to sterilize the glass canning jars and to screw the lids on just firmly enough to guarantee a good seal. As a kid, she wasn't crazy about spending her afternoons at the cannery, but came back regularly as an adult and, for example, cooked and put up baby food for her daughter, who is now 9 years old.

Another bonus that comes with Raines: her mom's consulting services. Raines calls her mother "whenever something isn't working right. ... She knows every little sound (the equipment) is supposed to make."

All this is a way of saying that the county has found a good person to run the cannery, which is just off U.S. 98, about 8 miles north of Brooksville.

Also, there's a good group of volunteers, working hard to figure out how to keep the cannery running without the county's help.

When the Leadership Hernando class of 2013 stepped forward several months ago, I figured its interest would wane when it realized what a big commitment it had taken on. At a media open house on Wednesday, I was glad to find I'd been completely mistaken.

The number of folks who have paid to use the cannery this year has climbed in recent weeks from 96 to 113, nearly half of whom have paid the $50 fee for a one-year membership rather than the $10 for a single day.

Leadership Hernando's plan to make the cannery pay for itself includes attracting a lot more members, which is why it staged a Family Fun Day on Saturday, and this coming Friday will host Christmas at the Cannery. It's an all-day event, which will include, among other highlights, a free haircut, manicure or pedicure for anyone who buys a one-year membership.

The group also hopes to work with the Hernando County School District to find educational grants to help fund the cannery — appropriately, I'd say, because of all that can be learned about how food is grown, prepared and preserved.

With a few modifications, the cannery also could be approved as a commercial kitchen, meaning Leadership Hernando could raise money by selling, for example, salsa or spaghetti sauce. If these taste like the other cannery products I've eaten, they should fly off the shelves.

What else is going the cannery's way? What else makes me think that this plan to keep the cannery running — unlike two earlier attempts since the county stopped funding it four years ago — can be permanent?

Well, the County Commission is also fully supportive. It earlier budgeted $20,000 to keep the cannery open through Jan. 1. Last month, it agreed to extend the date through the end of September if Leadership Hernando can come up with a viable budget, which it hopes to present to the commission in a few weeks.

But for all that the cannery has going for it, it still needs one more thing — you, your neighbors, your friends. Visit the place and pay your $50, maybe this Friday, so you can get a haircut as part of the deal.

You'll not only be helping to fund the operation; you'll be showing you believe in it. You'll tell the commissioners and Leadership members that their faith in the place is well deserved.

You'll show that you value fresh food and the skill to preserve it and that you realize there is something special about learning this, face to face, from Raines or working shoulder to shoulder with experienced canners who always seem happy to help.

You can confirm the appeal of the cannery to members not only from Hernando but — as has already happened — from Tampa and even Sarasota County.

And you'll show you believe in tasty food, such as the batch of carmel-apple jam that novice canner Rachel Watler whipped up — under the direction of Jennifer Raines — on Wednesday.

"Oh, my goodness," Watler said, after dipping a spoon into a pot of fruity, sugary, spicy goo. "That's so good."

 
Comments
Rays hang on to beat Angels 5-3 behind Robertson slam, get back to .500

Rays hang on to beat Angels 5-3 behind Robertson slam, get back to .500

ANAHEIM, Calif. – Playing .500 ball is obviously no goal, and the Rays certainly know that.But given where they came from, that terrible 1-8 start that oozed into 3-12 and 4-13, climbing back to the respectability of .500 would be an accomplish...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Rays journal: New pitching plan worked so well Romo starts again Sunday

Rays journal: New pitching plan worked so well Romo starts again Sunday

ANAHEIM, Calif. — The first part of the Rays' new and unusual pitching plan worked so well Saturday, as game "opener" RHP Sergio Romo struck out the first three Angels hitters, that the Rays will do it again on Sunday.That's right. Romo will st...
Updated: 2 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay withstood Washington’s barrage

Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay withstood Washington’s barrage

TAMPA — A two-goal lead was suddenly only one, and the Washington Capitals, having pulled their goalie, had a furious 96-second siege.Andrei Vasilevskiy made the last three of his 28 saves to preserve the Lightning's 3-2 victory Saturday in Gam...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay’s early surges carried the day

Lightning-Capitals: How Tampa Bay’s early surges carried the day

TAMPA — Dan Girardi knew where the puck was heading. It was heading to Alex Ovechkin for a one-timer on net, so Girardi did the only thing he could do. He blocked it.With his rump."It hit me right in the cheek," said Girardi, the Lightning defe...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: Grading Tampa Bay’s 3-2 victory in Game 5

Lightning-Capitals: Grading Tampa Bay’s 3-2 victory in Game 5

TAMPA — Faster than Justify down the stretch at the Preakness, quicker than Harry and Meghan walked down the aisle at Windsor Castle, the Lightning jumped on Game 5 of the Eastern Conference final. No runaway gallop. No funny hats. Just ho...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: How Ryan Callahan and his linemates overwhelmed the Caps

Lightning-Capitals: How Ryan Callahan and his linemates overwhelmed the Caps

TAMPA — They're called grinders. Pluggers. Checkers.They're lunch-pail guys. Like 9-to-5ers. They get up every day and go to work. They punch in and punch out for no glory or credit. But the business would fall apart without them.They're the fo...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Justify wins foggy Preakness, keeps Triple Crown bid alive

Justify wins foggy Preakness, keeps Triple Crown bid alive

BALTIMORE — Justify rounded the final turn and hit the top of the stretch winded but with the lead. The roar from the crowd was delayed, hushed by the thick fog that enveloped the track. When Justify emerged from the haze in view of the grandstand, t...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Lightning-Capitals: Quick strike, but not the quickest ever

Lightning-Capitals: Quick strike, but not the quickest ever

TAMPA — Cedric Paquette needed only 19 seconds to put the Lightning on the scoreboard Saturday night, coming up with the second-fastest playoff goal in franchise history.The only goal faster? Tampa Bay's Adam Hall needed only 13 seconds to scor...
Updated: 5 hours ago

Rowdies tie in debut of new coach Neill Collins

St. PETERSBURG — Neill Collins, the former Rowdies defender who this week abruptly replaced Stuart Campbell as coach of the team, was a bit ambivalent about his debut, but he sure liked the way his club played in the second half of Saturda...
Updated: 5 hours ago
USF softball team’s season ends in Gainesville

USF softball team’s season ends in Gainesville

The USF softball team's season ended late Saturday in the Gainesville Regional with a 3-2 loss to Ohio State, its second NCAA Tournament loss to the Buckeyes in as many days.OSU (36-15) must defeat No. 2 overall national seed Florida (52-8) twice Sun...
Updated: 6 hours ago