Gonzales Garden Club preserves their harvest

Patti Mouton Gonzales Garden Club
Gonzales Garden Club October hostesses were Conchita Richey, Priscilla Monson, Mary Jo Pohlig, Donna Reynaud, Barbara McCormick and Cynthia Cagnolatti.

The Gonzales Garden Club met on Oct. 5 at member Mary Jo Pohlig’s home in St. Amant. Nineteen active members and two associate members were present. Two guests, local Master Gardener Mika Whittaker and member Gail Lonibos’ daughter Michele Ledet, also attended.

Mary Jo Pohlig, Barbara McCormick, Cynthia Cagnolatti, Donna Reynaud, Conchita Richey and Priscilla Monson hosted the gathering. They provided an array of tasty homemade preserves and salsas with biscuits, rolls, crackers and chips for members to sample while mingling before the meeting began. Convenient recipe copies were on hand beside each dish. For lunch they served shrimp fettuccini, salad, rolls and an assortment of desserts and beverages. During the lunch break, members enjoyed garden chat on the breezy deck of Pohlig’s beautifully landscaped waterfront home on the Diversion Canal.

When Secretary Pohlig called roll, she asked each member to name a fruit, vegetable or herb grown in her home garden that she would like to preserve. This month’s program, “After the Harvest”, included presentations by Barbara McCormick, Mary Jo Pohlig and Myra Mire. McCormick demonstrated how to preserve fruits and vegetables in ball jars using lids with bands. A specific set of canning tools, pots with jar racks, and cooking techniques were discussed.  McCormick emphasized sanitary practices throughout the canning process.  Pohlig then explained easy ways to dry and freeze herbs.  Mire elaborated on practical methods for freezing different citrus fruits and their juices.

Since the club has welcomed four new members in the past two years, longtime member Gail Lonibos requested that they reintroduce themselves for those who may have been missed the meetings when the new members joined.  Beth Beall, Gwen Heck, Donna Reynaud and Dana Teepell each spoke briefly about their lives, families and garden interests.  Lonibos summarized her widespread involvement in garden clubs at local, regional and state levels.

Janis D’Benedetto presented an S-Curve floral design.  She had arranged zinnias, pentas and loropetalum in an antique bucket accessorized with a fishing lore, a sardine can and a “Gone Fishing” sign.  Several members brought small container plants to share. The horticulture hint was to purchase and plant strawberries in October.  President Monson adjourned by thanking everyone involved in the program, meal, floral design, and plant swap to make the meeting a success.