A sister new to our area recently sent me a list of questions she had about the cannery and its procedures. Following FAQ I have written to answer them. I am certain Lucy will correct me where I'm wrong, so no worries. (I've marked the ones I am really unsure about in red). Once she's finished correcting me, I'll post this on Olde Oaks Weekly Update, and on our ward site at lds.org under news and information so it will be readily available.
Also, if anyone is interested in attending a pouch party, let me know and we will get one on the calendar. Many hands make light work, and it's more fun that way.
- Where is the Church cannery in the Houston metro area? First of all, let's call it The Family Home Storage Center, which is how they do it in Salt Lake. The FHSC (the door deepest into the parking lot) is next door (to the north) to the Hafer Road chapel. If you reference this map, you'll see they have the chapel and the complex reversed, so it's address is: (281) 298-5905
- How is food processed for longterm storage at the FHSC? The FHSC has two methods of longterm storage, sealing in #10 cans, and sealing in Mylar pouches. Both processes are available for use during any given shift. In addition to the the product, you must purchase cans, lids, pouches, clips, and desiccant respectively for a nominal fee. A complete list of products commonly available at the Houston FHSC can be found here. Remember, the laws of supply and demand apply, so not all products may be available at the time of your visit.
- Can I only work at the FHSC on my stake's designated day? To help with crowd control, they prefer that you go on your stake's designated day, but you can also go at your convenience, so long as there's a free shift. The designated day for the Houston Texas North Stake is the first Tuesday of every month. Shifts begin at 9:00 am and 7:00pm. Both run until all orders are filled. Be there 15 minutes early to check in. There are a couple of steps that will streamline your visit to the FHSC.
- Visit providentliving.org and review the order form found here.
- Call the FHSC to ensure that what you want to purchase is available.
- Fill out the order form, save and calculate (each item is calculated after you move out of its quantity field), then print. You may save this form on your own computer for future reference and/or use.
- Have your money and order form ready to hand in upon your arrival, and checking in is a breeze.
- If I go on a different day, must I call ahead? I don't think you need to let them know you're coming, but you definitely need to make sure the equipment is available that day. During the peanut butter season, they run the equipment 24/7, so you want to make sure you don't waste a trip down there.
- Can I buy my product elsewhere and still process it at the FHSC? Yes, you can, but you must purchase the cans and lids as you would normally, and use the machinery at the FHSC. If you do bring your own product, they will run the shift as normal, and process you product at the end.
- Do I have to process the product I purchase? There are several ways to store whole grains long-term, including canning, Mylar pouches, and PVC buckets. You may purchase wheat, rice, beans and oats by the 100 lb bag and choose to store it independently. The Olde Oaks Ward has two pouch sealers available to check out for home use. You purchase the pouches, clips and desiccant from the FHSC. The downside of this is that food does not stay fresh as long as when stored in #10 cans or in PVC buckets.
- Can I purchase pre-processed product from the FHSC? You must work the shift to purchase processed product from the FHSC. The machinery requires multiple people to operate properly, and by everyone pitching in, it gets done quickly. There are a few other alternatives, however.
- First, consider co-opting with someone, e.g., one trip you go to the cannery and package her purchase while she watches your kids and vice versa.
- The second option is more expensive, which is ordering product directly from the distribution center in Salt Lake. In addition to the cost of the product itself, built into the price are the costs of shipping, canning materials, and paying full-time employees to do the work for you. There's also a waiting list on many of the most popular items.
- What is the best type of product to store long-term? Excellent question. Everything you ever wanted to know about food storage and emergency preparedness you can find either at Lucy's Frugal Living or at simplyprepared.com. These sites are authored by our own Lucy Stern, the Houston Texas North Stake emergency preparedness chairman, and Cheryl Driggs, the Klein Texas Stake emergency preparedness chairman. At simplyprepared.com, you will find yourself at CDF publications, which is where Cheryl sells her food storage cook books, but everything else she puts on there (information galore) she does out of the goodness of her heart. The preparedness info I regularly post comes from her mailing list. I've learned there are about as many preparedness/food storage blogs out there as there are stakes in the Church, but by far, the best I have found are these two. Do a bit of digging. You'll be happy with what you find.
Gratitude is the essence of joy.