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Preston cannery now in black

Commercial facility is popular with users from far and near

A worker moves a tray of cans containing chickens to be sealed at the Preston Area Cannery.
A worker moves a tray of cans containing chickens to be sealed at the Preston Area Cannery.
Alan Murray, Associated Press

PRESTON, Idaho (AP) — Potatoes, corn, venison, peaches, tomatoes — all are canned at the Preston Area Cannery.

And a surplus, too.

More than two years ago, Franklin County commissioners said the community cannery near the Utah-Idaho border needed to become self-sufficient.

When it closed for the season last week, the cannery will have used 56,000 cans and finished $4,800 under budget, manager Jody Rasmussen said.

She charges a daily fee of $7.50 in addition to a small fee for buying cans.

"You can't make enough on a can when you're paying five employees," Rasmussen said.

People come from Utah and many other areas to can their goods here.

"We enjoy it, and what's more, with all this steam around, you keep your sinuses clear," volunteer Johnny Iverson said.

Barbara Krogue of Preston canned beans and wieners because her kids prefer it over chili. She uses fresh carrots and potatoes in her recipe.

"You don't can because it's cheap," she said. "You can because you want the taste. You want it to taste like homemade."

While Krogue stirred her recipe, others prepared tubs of apples to make pie filling and applesauce, or boiled homegrown beans in large cookers and scooped their latest concoctions into cans.

The cannery allows people to use any recipe they like but adjusts cooking temperatures and times to comply with federal safety guidelines.

The cannery opens in early August and closes when it runs out of cans, typically late October.

"It's fun to be with the people," said Roxanne Mickelson of Preston, who cans everything from spaghetti sauce to chicken noodle soup. "It's just fun to cook, to see what people are cooking."