Susan Waldon and daughter Rachel have been offering their home made preserves at local markets for more than five years, but for Susan, preserving has been a way of life. Growing up on a farm surrounded by the agricultural bounty of Port Dover, Susan learned to preserve almost anything from her mother. Without a freezer, canning was the answer to “putting food down”, as they used to say. That included poultry and beef, which was stored in jars in the basement along with more traditional local produce including canned peaches and tomatoes. Later in life, the practice helped Susan tame the grocery bills as she raised her own family with eight children.
These days Susan and Rachel concentrate on fruit and vegetable products, relying on old time recipes as well as modern versions of products like relishes, jams and pickles. One of their most popular products is red pepper jelly, available in five different heat levels depending on the customers’ taste.
Operating under the name Beauty Through Taste, these ladies believe that the key to looking and feeling your best starts with what you eat. They use fresh, local produce as much as possible, purchasing their produce from local suppliers, making jams with McCamus strawberries, pickles and jellies from Puddleduck Farm produce and from Margaret and Don Winslow’s farm on Sharpe Line. Because they operate year-round, they rely on local grocery stores during the off season. They are frequently surprised by customers who demonstrate a lack of understanding of the food cycle. In May, their strawberry jam is made from last year’s fruit, much to the consternation of some urban customers.
In addition to offering their wide variety of jams, jellies, chili sauces and pickles at the Millbrook Farmers’ Market, Beauty Through Taste has a regular stall in the Peterborough market and at the Bridgenorth market. When they aren’t preserving, these ladies are active members of St. John’s Anglican Church in Ida, where they prepare a weekly three course dinner for congregation members and the public but take the summer off to focus on their market sales.
Stop by their booth to marvel at the wide range of products they offer and get a sample of the red pepper jelly to test your own heat tolerance. They may use traditional processes but their product line runs from the old familiar bread and butter pickles to modern combinations of fruits and vegetable condiments to spice up your meals. KG