Delphine Stuermann began selling “Country Goodies,” her canned goods, at the Columbia Farmers Market more than a decade ago. Back then, “I was the only canner at the market,” she said.
Stuermann has been canning for 60 years. She learned the process in her mom’s kitchen, while growing up in Warren County. “We lived on a farm, and if you wanted to eat in the winter, you had to can.”
She began selling her many mason-jar goodies at the Columbia Farmers Market because “I had too much produce in my garden,” she said. Delphine and her husband, Robert, always kept a garden, until he passed away in 2009. Thereafter, she gave up her garden on her Macon County farm and moved to Centralia. In the spring and summer, she buys her produce, “Wherever I can find it” in local venues. But she does all her canning in her commercial kitchen on her farm.
Stuermann is especially fond of her own jams and jellies, but she has always remained open to customers’ requests, chief among them being her hot salsa. “I said ‘if you want it hot, I’ll make it hot.’” And she did. “I don’t like pickled okra, but I get a lot of requests for pickled okra and pickled asparagus. So I make it.” She also makes other traditional pickles, various mustards, relishes, along with a wide array of fruit jams and jellies.
She doesn’t plan to retire from canning for the market anytime soon, she said. “I like the market. It is a good market.” And besides, “this is something to do. I don’t like to sit around.” She leaves that to the pickles.