Tribal Cannery hard at work for a healthier community

by Jun 27, 2024COMMUNITY sgadugi0 comments


One Feather Asst. Editor


CHEROKEE, N.C. – On a drizzly afternoon in Aniwodihi (Painttown), two women are hard at work preserving food for the Cherokee community.  The Tribal Cannery of the Eastern Band of Cherokee Indians (EBCI), which serves everyone, is located in the new Tribal Foods Distribution building at 2260 Old Mission Road in Cherokee, N.C.

Christine Kanott, with the EBCI Tribal Cannery, shows a jar of powdered eggs they made recently at the facility. (SCOTT MCKIE B.P./One Feather photos)

Christine Kanott and Lisa Taylor operate the Cannery with a love and zeal for helping people preserve foods that are healthier than options they might purchase in a store.

“Since we opened on June 10, we have done probably 500 jars of jam and jelly,” said Kanott who noted they can all sorts of fruits and vegetables and can also make powdered eggs and milk. “Some of them have their own recipes because of diabetes and sugar so we try to make sure to go by what they need.”

Kanott, whose grandmother taught her to can, commented, “We need to teach the younger generation. We need to pass on that because food is getting so expensive…but it doesn’t have all those preservatives in it. We just use canning salt. And you would be amazed. Some people are allergic to dyes and are allergic to whatever else is in there. But you don’t get that. You know where your food comes from and you know that you’re not getting all that.”

“The old crowd, they’ve done it their whole life. But, we’re trying to reach the 20s, 30s, 40s…we need to get people back to saving their own food.”

Taylor added, “It’s rewarding when you see the finished product.

She enjoys canning and preserving many different items, but she does have a favorite.  “I like making jam. Strawberry is the easiest, but I got sick of it though after making it for two weeks! I’ve got my own process so I can keep it going. I’ve got it down now, so that’s my favorite thing to do.”

Kanott said her favorite is pie fillings.  “I like all the pie fillings. We do blueberry, blackberry, strawberry, rhubarb, all of them. Those are so easy. You can open the apple pie filling and put it on your pancakes and the kids go absolutely crazy.”

EBCI Tribal Cannery staff is shown on the afternoon of Thursday, June 27 including, left to right, Lisa Taylor; Boo Davis, WIA worker; and Christine Kanott.

The larger area of the new Cannery space has allowed them to expand their operation and equipment.  They now have eight big burners, seven large pressure canners holding 16 jars each, two 40-gallon kettles, a freeze dryer, and a machine for processing apples.

“We offer a lot,” said Kanott.  “Once people get into it, they love it, and they usually keep doing it.  We try to encourage everybody. We know that they don’t have a big spot for a garden, but if they could just do two or three raised beds around their house, you would be surprised at how much you can get out of two or three beds.”

While they preserve many foods, there is one in particular that they avoid.  “We don’t do broccoli. I don’t think anybody does that because it gets really strong in the jar. Then when you open it, you won’t want to eat it.”

While most of the food preserved at the Cannery comes from family gardens or area farms, they do preserve some foraged foods as well.  “When the mushrooms come in, we can those,” said Kanott.  “And you always save your juice that you cooked them in and you save that to put as broth in your soup.”

Taylor noted, “We’ve canned the wild greens.”

Everyone will need an appointment for the Cannery’s services.  To schedule an appointment, contact Kanott at (828) 736-9203.

Visit this link to download the free Tribal Foods Canning Cookbook: Canning-cookbook-2023.pdf (

Shown are multiple jars of blackberry jam made and canned at the Tribal Cannery.

Following is the price list for the Tribal Cannery:

Jelly Jars: $.50

Pint Jars: $.75

Quart Jars: $1

Half Gallon: $2

Gallon: $2.50

If product is kraut, pickled beans/corn, or hominy/pintos, add $1.50 per jar for processing fee.

Dehydrated Product: $1 per bag/bottle

Freeze-Dried Product: $2 per bag/jar

Jerky: $1 per bag/jar

Vacuum Sealing: $2 per bag

Chestnut Peeler: $2 per quart bag

Black Walnut Chopper: $2 per bag

Sweetcorn Cutter: $1 per pint bag, $2 per quart