|Photo Credit: Walter C. Black, Sr.|
Black farmers in America faced discrimination by the U.S. Department of Agriculture loans for decades. Women both black and white faced a discrimination as well. It is good to see men like Ernest carry the family tradition of farming on today. My maternal grandfather Jasper Harrell, Sr., and his mother Emma Mead Harrell were farmers. Jasper's brother Palmer Harrell also farmed, I hold fond memories of farming with my great uncle Palmer. For the newly freed slaves, owning your own land meant freedom and a ticket to becoming independent and self-sufficient. One thing is for sure a farmer will never go hungry and they know what they are eating. Ernest enjoy watching the vegetable grow and certainly enjoy the fresh taste of squash, cucumbers, corn, beans, tomatoes, strawberries and sweet potatoes. He is the kind of man that shares with his neighbors just like his father did. After all the planting and picking, his wife Jo-Ann, cans the vegetables and make some of the best tasting homemade jams you want to taste.
She learned how to can from the women who came before her. I was very happy to hear that she held on to the tradition. It isn't that many women who are still canning. When I was little girl, I remember my mother and grandmother canning. Although I have never canned any fresh fruits or vegetables. I am willing to learn because there is nothing to compare to the taste.
Thank to both Ernest and his wife Jo-Ann for holding on to those value lessons of farming and canning. It would be good to see them both co-author a book on farming and canning and how the tradition was passed on to them by their ancestors.