LDS Cannery Visit in Miami

Apr 22, 2012 by

This last week I was privileged enough to visit the LDS Cannery / Home Storage Center in Davie, Florida, just north of Miami.  If you missed the earlier post on what an LDS Cannery offers, they sell basic food staples packed for 20-30 year shelf lives. Sometimes you can buy them prepacked or precanned, otherwise you pack them yourself on site. The prices are wonderful, and by all accounts, the food is both wholesome and tasty.

What follows is our experience, and a brief photo tour of the facility itself.  All photos can be expanded to a larger size.

The Davie Home Storage Center at 5000 SW 52nd St #512 Davie, Florida 33314

The Davie Home Storage Center is located at The Davie Home Storage Center at 5000 SW 52nd St #512 Davie, Florida 33314, which is a little strip of warehouses with easy access off 595 and 441. It's just a couple turns off the Everglades' Alligator Alley for those of us coming from the west coast.

 

LDS Home Storage Center Message from the First Presidency

When we first entered the Cannery, we were met by Teisa Netane, the wonderful woman in charge of the Center that night. She welcomed us, promised us a tour of the facility, and asked that we join her in a brief prayer. Heads bowed respectfully, we did so (though Little Aurora burst into heathen-like tears mid-way through!). She then read the above message from the First Presidency, which is prominently displayed on the office walls.

Prepacked Shelves of Food at the LDS Cannery

The Cannery consists of only 5 rooms - the office, the warehouse, the restroom, the packing room and the "prepacked" room, I'll call it. This is a photo of the prepacked area, where members who wish provide service to the Church come and pre-can some goods you would otherwise can yourself. We were able to pull all but 3 types of foodstuffs from our order right off these shelves (which turns out to be great when there are only a few of you, and limited time in which to can!). These prepacked cans are not always available, and shouldn't be expected to be there. When you can, say you want 3 containers of hot chocolate (yum!), and the original box you open up to make those 3 cans actually contains 6 cans worth, you'll can all 6, and leave the other 3 cans for the next customer to walk in the door. So there are always a few cans of this or that available, just don't expect your full order to be sitting on a shelf waiting for you.

Inside the LDS Cannery Warehouse

The big sacks you see are the bulk foods, which you can buy directly to can or pack at home, or they open for you to can there on site. The boxes on the end (see below) are the pre-packaged foods that come from Utah already canned. They are only slightly more expensive per pound than packing them yourself, and if you are looking for a large order, it is often more efficient to purchase what they have available in prepacked amounts.

LDS Cannery Bulk Foods Closeup

Here's a closeup of the food on the shelves. It turns out that the Potato Pearls are complete "ready to eat" instant potatoes, usually with an expiration date within the year (mine are good through November 2012), whereas the potato flakes are unflavored (but sound like they'd be good to mix with the dried onions and dried carrots), and are good for 30 years.

 

Prepacked food on the shelves at the LDS Cannery in Davie, Florida.

The foods you can buy prepacked in #10 cans include Flour, Quick Oats, Pinto Beans, Hard Red Wheat and White Wheat. Also ready to take home are the prepacked Pancake Mix (mine expires June 2013) and the Potato Pearls (November 2012). Even though they come in boxes like you see here, you can still buy just 1 can at a time if you'd like.

Starter Kits and Rice on the Shelves at the LDS Cannery

The Home Storage Center also sells Starter Kits, which include two #10 cans of Hard Red Winter Wheat, two of White Rice, one of Pinto Beans and one of Quick Oats. The per pound weight is only slightly higher than buying these items seperately. The LDS Church says that this kit contains enough food for one adult for one month (though it would be uninteresting without other accouterments, it would keep you alive).

Pallets of Number 10 Cans at the Mormon Cannery

When asked if they'd have enough cans available for a large group, Teisa said they have over 5,000 cans on site, ready to go.

 

Can Sealer at the LDS Cannery

And now we are moving into the actual canning area of the Home Storage Center. Shown here is one of the Can Sealers that seals the lid onto the #10 cans, thus ensuring your 20-30 year shelf life (depending on the food inside).

Can Sealer and Mylar Heat Sealer

Shown here is the other can sealer (this facility has two), as well as the Mylar pouch heat sealer. During this particular visit, they had a low supply of Mylar bags available, and offered us only the option of canning in #10 cans. That was just fine by us, as we haven't yet acquired any 5 gallon buckets to help make the Mylar bags more rodent resistant. With the cans, you only need to worry about moisture and temperature but not rodents, bugs and other critters, big and small, that like to eat your goodies.

 

LDS Food Labels at the Mormon Cannery

Each can or pouch your purchase comes with a label showing ingredients, calorie counts and instructions for use. They also have a space for you to sharpie on the date packed. The containers above the labels are to hold any excess food that doesn't quite make enough for a can or a pouch. They are used the next time that particular food item is packaged, and are always rotated for freshness.

Cleanliness is paramount at the LDS Home Storage Center.

The Home Storage Center takes cleanliness VERY seriously. We wiped down the cans before use; we wiped down the tables before and after use; we wiped down US before starting; we wore protective clothing and gloves; and of course, we wiped down and washed everything we used or touched before we were finished. I really appreciate their attention to cleanliness - I'm taking food home for my family, and it's very comforting to know that such high standards of cleanliness and organization are followed here.

 

Can Sealer at the LDS Cannery

Here's a closeup of the can sealer itself. You just put the can on the platform, push the lever down tight to lock it into place, and flip the on switch. It takes less than 10 seconds to seal a can. Then UP goes the lever, and you pop the can out and onto the packing cart to go into a box for take-home.

Overflow Bins Closeup

Here's a quick closeup of the overflow bins. I know.. I'm just weird like that. 🙂

Setting up the cans and potato flakes for canning.

The first step when you are ready to do some canning is to put on your hairnet, apron and gloves. Turst me, I looked cute in them. 😉 The second step is gather up the cans you are going to need. There's a nifty little chart of how many cans each bulk item makes; for example, the original bulk box of potato flakes makes 14 number 10 cans of potatoes. So we fetched 14 cans from around the wall in the warehouse side when we were ready to can the potato flakes. We decided to can potato flakes, macaroni and dried carrots. Everything else we ordered had been prepacked within the last few weeks.

Empty Number 10 Cans

We cleaned out the Number 10 cans with paper towels before use, and took away a metalic sort of tinge on the towels. I'd much rather that excess be thrown away on a towel then left to seep into my food for the next 30 years! Cleanliness, cleanliness!

Getting Food Storage Labels Ready

While Teisa brought in more supplies, we also readied the labels we were going to use by sharpieing the month and year packed (this month and year) onto each label.

Suggested Amounts of Basic Foods for Home Storage Chart

This photo shows a couple of things. See the tub on the bottom labeled Dry Pack? That's a food-safe tub, meaning you pour the food, in this case, the macaroni, from the bag into the can in the tub. If any macaroni don't make it into the can, they are still safe to use if they land in the tub. If they fall out of the tub, it's all over for that macaroni! The other important thing in this photo is the chart on the wall. Go ahead, open it up in another window to zoom in. It shows the Suggested Amounts of Basic Foods for Home Storage for one adult for one year, including 400 pounds of grains, 60 pounds of legumes, 16 pounds of powered milk, 10 quarts of cooking oil, 60 pounds of sugar or honey, 8 pounds of salt and 14 gallons of water (per two weeks). That's the BARE minimum to avoid starvation, and surely wouldn't be that interesting without additional foodstuffs and flavor enhancers.

 

Cans of Macaroni Ready for Oxygen and Lids

Once the cans are loaded, a person moves them to the table with the can sealer. The next step is to put the prepared label onto the can. A little trick I picked up from watching a video put out by the Mormon Church was that cans are easier to open on the bottom side - the lid you put on is thicker and harder on your can opener later. I've since tried it, and they're right. So next time, I'm going to put the labels on up-side-down, so that if I open the easier, thinner bottom side, the labels will be right-side-up.

 

Adding Oyxgen and Lids to the Number 10 Cans

Oyxgen packs are added to the cans right before sealing to preserve freshness and make the shelf life extend to 30 years. Because they suck in air, they should be added only at the very last possible moment. Each can has a half inch to 3/4 of an inch of space at the top to accomidate the oxygen pack and the lid. The lids just sit on top in this step; they are sealed on using the can sealing equipment.

 

Sealing a Number 10 Can Using the LDS Can Sealer

Here Teisa demonstrates how to use the Can Sealer - the can goes on the platform, the lever locks down to keep it in place and you turn the machine on.

 

Sealed Can of Macaroni Coming off the Can Sealer

You know the can is sealed when the little gears in the Sealer stop working. The machine is still on and making noise, but it's done. So you flip the switch to off, wait a few seconds for the can to stop spinning, unlock the lever, and pop the can out of the sealer. It's really quite fun, and strangely satisfying to know you just made something that'll last 30 years if need be.

 

Sealed Cans of Macaroni at the LDS Cannery in Miami Florida

Ahhh the finished product. They are moved out of the Can Sealer onto a mobile tray that is wheeled into the next room for boxing up, or adding excess to the storage shelves for the next customer.

Boxes of Filled Cans from the LDS Cannery

If you can on-site, every 6 cans comes with a box and 2 lids. Additional lids are only $0.10 each. We took home 3 filled boxes and an extra half-a-box with some more odds and ends. For this trip, we figured we'd buy one of everything we wanted to try out (and a few extra that our friends and family had requested), come home and eat 'em, and go back in 6-8 weeks with the newly forming local preppers group for a much larger stocking trip.

 

Materials and Books Provided by the LDS Cannery

Before leaving, we were given the above materials. One shows two grain mills suggested by the Cannery for your wheat products, one includes some basic family home storage recipes (more details forthcoming!) and one is a basic home storage pamplet. The fourth is a copy of the Book of Mormon.

You can make your purchase via cash, check or Mastercard or Visa (but not American Express or Discover Card). It is strongly suggested that you have an order form filled out before you arrive.  See my previous post titled South Florida LDS Cannery Information for full details on location, hours, how to make an appointment and visiting requirements.

But just a few other interesting odds and ends…

I asked Teisa what the official policy was on non-members visiting the Home Storage Center. She said that basically, it’s left to the descretion of the person in charge of each cannery. When she’s in charge of the cannery, she encourages and supports visits by non-LDS members. Her philosophy is that when something does happen, it will be better to have prepared neighbors than to have neighbors coming to you for your charity and assistance when they could have prepared themselves ahead of time.  Her philosophy isn’t necessarily shared by others who might run this cannery, so if you call to request an appointment, and you are told that non-members are not able to visit, try again later when you might reach someone more welcoming to non-Mormons.  Teisa herself was quite wonderful, and I strongly encourage you and your family to plan a visit to this Cannery.

Also, the maximum capacity of this Cannery is 10 people. 12 could maybe fit, but not in the canning area all at once. They have a good system worked out; a miniature assembly line, and more than 10 people both exceed the available space and the assembly line’s needs.  Plan to bring no more than 10 people in total when visiting.  And if indeed you wish to visit with that many people, have everyone prepare their orders at least 3-4 weeks ahead of time, and call ahead and relay those orders to the Cannery. They may be able to prepack some cans for you, or set them aside with the purchaser’s name on them. At the very least, this way they’ll be able to ensure they have enough supplies on-hand to meet your combined order.

A Stack of Cans from the LDS Cannery

Our beautiful stack of tasty cans, at home and ready to be eaten! I'll be posting more details on each of the products we brought back, including recipes and reviews.

If you aren’t in South Florida, but would still like to visit an LDS Cannery, see if there is one in your area here.

13 Comments

  1. Scavenger Amy

    I’ve been wanting to add to my food storage for awhile, and there’s an LDS Cannery near me. I’ve been afraid to go because I wasn’t sure what it was going to be like, but after seeing your picture tour, it seems a lot less intimidating. Thanks for posting this. I’m going to see about scheduling a visit soon for my family.

  2. Southern Rosalie

    Thanks for the tour. It does make it less scary to see that it’s a normal place and that they won’t preach to you the whole time. I’m not sure if food storage is worth that. But now I think I’ll find out if there’s one near me.

    • It definitely wasn’t scary for us. I too thought there might be more proselytizing, but there really wasn’t. We did say a prayer together, and I was given a Book of Mormon upon leaving, but I didn’t feel uncomfortable or pressured in any way. If you find one near you, by all means pay them a visit. The worst that can happen is you don’t return. But you’ll take away some good foodstuffs with you! 🙂

  3. Valarie

    How were you able to secure a time to visit? The cannery is very near my home and I would LOVE to visit and can, but do not know how to approach requesting an appointment. Any advice would be really appreciated. Thanks!!

    • Hiya Valarie,

      I just called and asked. Well, OK, it was a little more than that.. I called and asked how it worked, and the Miami Cannery said we needed a referral from an active LDS member. They’ll help connect you with someone in your area you can talk with to get a referral if you need to, or you can find your own person to connect with. I reached out to everyone I knew until I found someone who knew someone who knew someone who was an active LDS member. We talked, and they agreed to refer us into the Cannery. And I called back and made the appointment, and provided the contact information for the referring member. It wasn’t as complicated as it sounds – and they are happy to help you. Email me and I can give you the Miami Cannery’s direct contact information. There’s also a group of Preppers in the immediate Davie area that are planning to go as a group, and perhaps you could join them and go together (on one referral). Let’s connect.

      • arlene

        Would you be able to help me get in contact with someone? I called and was told no non members. This same location. I hate imposing on people, so when I was suggested to go the church and ask people to accompany me to the cannery, it just felt like I would be insulting or imposing on someone.

        • Hi Arlene,

          I’ve sent you a direct email, but yes. I can now refer anyone into the Cannery myself (yes, as a non-member). If anyone else would like assistance visiting this Cannery, or any other, please email me at [email protected].

          ~ Sandy Taylor

    • Ron

      They let me can but not buy the canned goods excpet what was on the shelf already canned. This was due to not having my list of goods I wanted in on time. You can buy from the Bishops Storehouse! Just go to providentliving. dot org and look for their food storage link and pdf file. Have it filled out, walk in during operating hours and hand them the form with the exact cash. Be respectful and ask them about borrowing the canning machine when you go in.

  4. Hunsol

    It’s a good thing you guys went in person to the Cannery. If you buy bulk foods or containers online, or use credit cards, your stored food gets on the government’s list and is subject to confiscation. You do not want a paper trail back to your address! Try to get food storage containers from local restaurants. Pay cash for all bulk food purchases. Also, do not show or tell children that you are stockpiling food-they may blab, and your home may be a target for hunger-crazed people.

  5. LDS Fan

    The LDS Cannery near me is a great source for local bulk foods. I highly encourage everyone to find one in their area and go!

  6. Meep Meep

    Nice place to go visit and buy food from. I can never understand why some people are affraid to go to a STORE to buy FOOD.??? These are decent people. Go buy!

  7. Heather

    Hello Guys! I am looking for a referral so I can purchase products from the cannery. I cannot afford the prices on-line and I am still in need of preparing my long-term food storage. I would like to purchase on a monthly basis and would be willing to work at the cannery in exchange from being allowed to purchase their products. If anyone can point me in the right direction I would greatly appreciate it. I have asked high and low and cannot seem to get an active LDS Member.

    Thank You

  8. Heather

    I was able to get in!!!! This place is awesome. Netane, you rock!! Thank you

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