Clay County Extension Visits the Early College

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On Friday, January 12, Tri-County Community College in Murphy hosted a Heritage morning for the students. It was a wonderful way for the students to visit different booths and obtain information that related to local heritage. Clay County Family and Consumer Science Agent, Teresa Goley, presented information on the precursor to 4-H in North Carolina. This was the Tomato Club for girls and the Corn Club for boys. She also presented information on Pemican and how it was used by Native American hunters on their hunting expeditions. The Pemican consisted of ground jerky, fruit, like blueberries, and was held together with some sort of rendered fat. Goley explained how lard could be used in Pemican recipes. The process of rendering lard was then explained to students. They were able to see and smell the difference between the first lard to be rendered and how the lard became more “porky” as the leaf lard was rendered to the crackling stage.Cracklings were used by many Appalachian families when baking cornbread.

Some of the students who had moved to this area were particularly intrigued with the information on local heritage. While speaking to students one student had moved to the area from Chicago and another student from Texas. They had never heard of lard, cracklings, or Pemican.

As an educator, it is particularly interesting to talk to students and compare the heritage of their previous home with the Mountain Heritage that is such a part of Cherokee and Clay Counties.

All of the students seemed to leave with a greater appreciation of the area where they live. Whether new to the area or a part of a family that has been here for generations, it was a very rewarding Friday morning.