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I’m Chelsea O’Leary! Hello. I am thrilled to soon teach Introduction to Home Food Preservation at Patina Home & Garden.

I begin and end my workshops with a deep gratitude for the value and curiosity we share, an honoring of the food around us and the ground, sunlight, rain, and hands that grow it.

In her foreword of The Wiley Canning Company Cookbook, Caroline Randall Williams, wrote, “What does it mean to take something fresh and decide not to prepare it for immediate consumption, but to say, 'I know I will miss your flavor in times to come. I am going to find a way to keep you. To save your present loveliness in another form, that I might celebrate your abundance alongside my future joys, my future quiet moments, my future late-night pantry rummagings and spoon tastings?' Well, I say that is a different kind of promise. And we’ve already got a word for it: preserve.”

This sentiment is exactly what we will explore throughout our workshop at Patina Home & Garden. What does it mean to save the food before us? How, exactly, do we do this? Where might we start? What meaning might this bring our lives and homes?

I plan to immediately dive into the history, meaning, science, and safety of home food preservation as our workshop begins. Before then, I would love to share more about why I began Wiley Canning Company.

My grandmother, Grandma Trudy Wiley, first exemplified the value and beauty of home food preservation. She canned, pickled, and preserved the fruits and vegetables she grew and sourced throughout the spring, summer, and autumn seasons. She then turned those canned, pickled, and preserved fruits and vegetables into delicious, nourishing, and comforting dishes. I loved everything about her canned goods: the flavorful way they tasted, the colorful way they looked, and the sweet, wholesome way they completed her kitchen.

Grandma Trudy’s love language was cooking her family homemade food. She constantly gathered us around her old, wooden table—one set with quilted napkins, simple serve ware, and chili made from canned tomatoes. I recognize and savor how rare it was to be raised in the presence of someone like Grandma Trudy—someone who kept her life simple and prioritized. She treasured great food and time with family, and she consistently created space for both.

Canning, pickling, and preserving now bring great meaning to my life. Through Wiley Canning Company, named after my grandmother, I now create and teach canning, pickling, and preserving recipes and workshops. In doing so, I honor my grandmother and the long, beautiful life she lived. I also carry forward something I deeply value about my family’s past. What might you carry forward? What a gift it is to continue what worked well and beautifully in past years and generations.

Nashville, Tennessee has been an incredible community to grow Wiley Canning Company. My husband, Jared, and I have lived in Nashville for ten years. We love to take our son to local parks and farmers’ markets, and we can’t wait to plan a summer picnic behind Patina Home & Garden alongside the creek.

I hope to see you at Patina Home & Garden on May 16!


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