Thursday, August 27, 2015

All About Home Storage Centers (LDS Cannery)

Next on the list in the "which food storage company is right for you" series are Home Storage Centers.
**If you've missed the two previous companies, you can follow the links to read more about Thrive Life and Zaycon Fresh.

Home Storage Centers
Often referred to as LDS Canneries, these centers are locations used to sell, package and distribute food storage.  The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints built these centers to help members and others build a basic supply of longer term home storage needs.

Photo courtesy of provident living.lds.org


What is a Home Storage Center?
Home Storage Centers are locations where the packaging and distribution of longer term food storage items are available for purchase from the LDS church.  Though run by a religious faith, these buildings are not "member only" resources, and are available to the general public.  Several full and part time volunteers and/or missionaries allow these centers to run at very low cost, since they are genuinely interested in promoting self reliance more than they are about making a profit.

In addition to this, several of these centers allow you to can your own product, providing a sterilized facility and all of the necessary equipment to do so, free of charge.  If canning your own isn't an available option at your nearest storage center, you have the ability to purchase pre-canned items. 

What Do They Offer?
The basics.  They focus primarily on long term food storage items, and have a very small selection of foods available.  Though they may add or remove items in the future, currently they offer:
hard white and hard red wheat
regular and quick oats
sugar
white flour
white rice
macaroni and spaghetti bites
white, black, pinto, and refried beans
non-fat dry milk
onions, carrots and potato flakes

They also carry a limited selection of preparedness items like water bottle filters and mylar bags, in addition to several self-reliance pamphlets.

How Does it Work?
There are 3 options for purchasing product from these centers:
1) Buy bulk items
Just like a grocery store, you are able to go in and purchase all of the items they offer in bulk quantities (usually sold in 15-35 lb. bags).

2) Buy packaged items
You can also purchase these same items that have been packaged in #10 cans.

3) Package and purchase your own items
Certain facilities allow you the opportunity to can these items yourself, providing all of the equipment and training necessary.

Where are these Storage Centers Located?
There are 101 locations across the United States and Canada.  Hours of operation vary, as well as availability and purchasing requirements, so it is best to call your local storage center before visiting.
Click here to see the complete list of centers available. 

How do I order at the Storage Center?
You can always walk right in to a storage center and ask for assistance in how the ordering process works, or you can fill out a Home Storage Center Order Form before going in.  Prices and availability will vary by location, so I recommend calling first to see what options are available to you at the moment.
Pricing will vary depending on what you will be purchasing (bulk items, packaged items, or packaging items yourself).  You can click the order form link above to view different options.

Can I order online?
Yes!  If a storage center is not located near you, or you simply prefer not to go, you still have the opportunity to order.  Everything purchased online is sold by the case (6 cans), so be prepared for that.  If you are only interested in 1 or 2 cans of each item, you will need to go into a center.  
(Also be aware that prices are more for online items than if you were to purchase directly from one of their facilities).

Which centers allow you to can items?
In locations with self-packaging options, you may purchase bulk commodities at the center and use provided equipment to package the food in #10 cans.  The following 12 home storage centers offer opportunities to package your own products:
Lethbridge, Alterba, Canada
Mesa, Arizona
Boise and Idaho Falls, Idaho
Carrollton, Texas
Lindon, Logan, Ogden, Salk Lake City, Sandy, Springville and St. George, Utah

What do I do if I want to can the items myself?
Photo courtesy of providentliving.lds.org
Call your local storage center first.  In some cases you may be required to set up an appointment, while others are simply first come, first served.  Though workers will be there to assist you, you will want to recruit at least one other person to come with you.  There will likely be a short presentation/video to train you on how to use the equipment.  Aprons and hairnets will be provided.  Remember to wear close toed shoes!
The amount of time it takes will vary depending on how many people you have in your group, and how much food you are canning.  Plan on 20 minutes for each type of food you plan to can.

Can I bring my own items and can them at their facility?
No.  FDA regulations restrict you from bringing outside food items to storage centers for personal canning.  However, several locations do allow you to borrow their canning equipment for home use.  This allows you to can whatever you would like if you are able to do so at a different location.  Be sure to check with your local center to see if this is an option, and remember to bring a valid drivers license if you plan to borrow a canner.

When are they open?
Each storage center has various hours of operation, which change occasionally depending on availability of workers and management.  Here are the current hours of operation for the Lindon and Sandy Utah centers:
The Lindon, UT cannery is open every Tuesday and Thursday from 9am - 7pm, and after September 12, will be open on Saturdays from 9am - 1pm.
The Sandy UT cannery is open Monday/Wednesday/Friday from 11am - 3pm, and Tuesday/Thursday from 11am - 6pm, and 10am - 2pm on Saturdays.
I always recommend calling first to see for sure when they are open.

Storage Center Pro's:
Pricing.  This can be a great resource for excellent pricing on items that are exponentially higher elsewhere.  For example, powdered milk is going for upwards of $25 these days in local grocery stores as well as specialty food storage locations.  You can get them for $15 here.

Experience: It isn't just anywhere that you get to actually can your own product.  Doing so is a fun and rewarding experience, and I highly recommend trying it at least once.

Home Canning: Remember that you are able to borrow canning equipment for home use.  This allows you to can anything and everything you'd like.  And it's free!

Storage Center Con's:
They have a very basic, limited supply.  If you are looking for anything above and beyond the essential's, and you don't want to can it yourself, you'll need to search elsewhere.

All in all, this is a great resource to know of when considering where to purchase food storage items. Aside from these Home Storage Centers, the LDS church also has several helpful resources.  If you have the time, head over to their provident living webpage and check it out!

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