Tsyunhehkwa- Cannery Page

cornbreadThe Cannery is the foundation of our program. It was established through a grant in the 1970's to establish a food preservation program to benefit Tribal members and the surrounding community by teaching techniques for processing and preserving traditional foods. The growth of the Cannery’s services and products led to the establishment of tsyunhehkw^. The Self-Sustenance and Self-Sustainability program remains in practice today. We offer on-site tours and do presentations throughout the Oneida Nation, surrounding communities and outside the state. All personnel participate in these educational endeavors. All employees are required to obtain and maintain a Temporary Food Handlers License through the Oneida Environmental Safety Department.

The original intent of developing a community cannery was to help families become food self reliant. Families would make appointments to process, dry or freeze their meat, fish, fruit, vegetables. The Cannery Staff would help them in preparation and processing of their foods. The idea of a community cannery was initiated in by Tribal member who was a Community worker. A grant was written to purchase the cannery equipment, supplies and training needed to establish a facility. In 1977 the Oneida Cannery received a C.S.A. grant for additional canning equipment and its cost for set up. Many meetings took place with Catholic Diocese to get their approval to set up the cannery facility in the Norbert Hill Center (formally owned by the Catholic Diocese.) They recruited Carol Elm (Oneida Tribal Member) from the Brown County Extension Office in Green Bay. While there, she was a Community Nutrition Aid assigned to the Oneida Area to teach nutrition, recipes, canning and teach summer youth groups about nutrition.

The Cannery operation is still located at the Norbert Hill Center N7210 Seminary Road, the same location in which it originated. They handle the processing of our White Corn. Nutritional analysis completed on our Corn has shown a higher value of protein compared with other varieties of conventional corn. They also preserve apple products, and process jams/jellies, salsa, pickles, and other garden fresh fruits and vegetables. They work with the Horticulture personnel to make sure that the produce from our Organic Gardens becomes part of our products available to the Community. The Cannery also provides workshops on the process of preserving and uses of the Cannery Facility, with the goal that we all learn this process for our own benefit. A key area is to preserve and pass on the knowledge of how to prepare your own Corn Bread and Corn Soup. We are looking at a new location, a place where we can expand our services and availability to the community, and handle our increased storage and work space needs.

It is a food production processing, preservation and educational facility that is open for use to the public. The development of the Cannery began in 1976, which it was meant to be a Food Processing training facility and we continue that function today. We process our traditional White Corn into Corn Soup, Pork Corn soup, Smoked Turkey Corn soup, and Corn Bread, Corn Meal, Corn Flour, and Dehydrated Corn. Our own Ag component provides the produce such as Cucumbers, Vine Ripe Tomatoes, Onions, Garlic, Cilantro, Fresh Dill, and a variety of hot peppers and chiles, and our White Corn. Which, the cannery produces into salsa, pickles, and berries for jams/jellies. We also process the Oneida Nation Farms apples into Applesauce, with less sugar and no sugar, Pie Filling, and Dehydrated Apple Chips. We make cookies, which include less sugar and a natural sugar substitute. They will also fulfill orders for Fresh Hulled Corn Soup and traditional corn bread. Cannery items are available at the retail store.

Our cannery operation and its personnel are part of the Workshop series presented every year. We provide our facility for processing products and education in canning, freezing, drying, and preparation of traditional natural foods, including a variety of other garden and orchard items. Workshops are provided on how to make corn soup and corn bread, Salsa Making, Canning Pickles, Apple Processing. Community services and education are provided from our Certified staff in teaching families canning, food preservation, and supplying to community programs, departments and schools. A major factor in the development of our workshops and goals of the Cannery is maintaining our culturally significant foods, such as the White Corn.

Our Canning operation is open all year long, Monday through Friday for normal business hours. The use of outside resources is during special events and for meal preparation and/or service. Food preservation and preparation are completed by all three personnel. Products are prepared for canning, dried goods, and Dehydrated choices for the consumer. White Corn is processed in all manners throughout the year dependent only on product availability. Since the inception of the cannery, we have sold or donated all of our stock. Donations are provided to community events and especially for funerals.

We are less than one mile from State Highway 54, and about 5 miles from the city of Green Bay. Processing of foods is something some of us may do at our homes, with the majority of these items processed we have grown ourselves. We have seen an insurgence of the public want and need for local and natural foods, yet the food processing industry in our area is very small. We can meet many of these needs in our own kitchens, yet the demanding work for these products and services can be time consuming. Our Cannery can provide this opportunity and benefits at small cost. Our prices are based on the local market and we make sure we maintain an affordable range for our customers and clients, yet offset our cost to the Oneida Nation. Our Customers and clients include those that maintain a garden, but may not have the time, knowledge or equipment to process their own products. We also serve many tribal members and their families for their need of cultural products of the White Corn and we may be one of the only larger providers for traditional white corn in our area.

The food processing industry continues to grow in our area on a large scale, yet the major companies in our region exchange ownership several times in the past few years. However, the smaller operations are almost nonexistent. Many of our customers and clients can their own produce at home and use our operation for their larger projects or education. A major differences of our program with other resources, is that we have our own agricultural and retail areas for products and additional services. We are not aware of any other facility that offers what we can. Many of our customer and clients operate on small scale of a family size farm and garden. They designed our facility around this type and size of operation. With the population growth in our two counties (Brown/Outagamie) we predict that they will increase the demand for our services and knowledge. As a rural area, we are in a situation to help the Nation and the Community with their food processing needs. Any questions we can help with please let us know. We look forward to hearing from you

Vickie E. Cornelius, Cannery Supervisor
P.O. Box 365
Oneida, WI 54155
vcorneli@oneidanation.org ~ E-mail

N7210 Seminary Road
Oneida, WI 54155,
(920) 869 - 4379, Cannery
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