“Oh, this is a great idea. My grandmother did it. My mother didn’t. I’d like to, but I’m afraid of killing my family.” It’s a common story, one often heard by Atlanta-based attorney and canning instructor, Martha McMillin.
McMillin, who grew up in a family of canners in rural Spartanburg County, SC, will soon share food preservation know-how at her new retail market and cooking school opening next month. The shop, Preserving Place, will be located just below Abattoir in a 2,200 square-foot space designed by Square Feet Studios.
McMillin says she’s had the idea to open such a spot for several years but has been hesitant to leave a great job at her thriving law practice. The more she led canning classes and demos at local churches and the Peachtree Road Farmers Market, the more she felt called to pursue the possibility.
Preserving Place will house a kitchen supply store, instruction kitchen and private event space. Kitchen goods sold will include heirloom knives from Williams Knife Co., sweetgrass baskets and tools for a variety of preservation techniques.
The retail portion of the shop will also offer a variety of jams, relishes, sauces and other jarred goods. Many of the items will be made in-house, with chef Virginia Willis consulting on those recipes. Additionally, you’ll find products from other small-batch producers like Chinese Southern Belle’s My Sweet Hottie Sauce.
Hands-on classes, which will cost an estimated $80-95, will provide instruction in the six-station rear kitchen on canning, fermenting,cheesemaking, dehydrating and baby-food making.
The center of the store, separating the kitchen from the retail area will feature a large 14-seat farmhouse table reservable for gatherings and private events.
Follow the store on Facebook to learn about impromptu canning parties. McMillin hopes to make arrangements with local farmers to purchase surplus stock after market days , which she’ll offer up for low-cost canning parties.
You can also catch one of McMillin’s canning demonstrations at the Peachtree Road Farmers Market this Saturday.
Preserving Place: 1170 Howell Mill Road, Atlanta. 404-242-9365.
–by Jenny Turknett, Food and More blog