Lauri Jo's Southern Style Cannery

Some of the finished products from the cannery. / Melanie Kendall

Two years ago Lauri Jo Bennett was a school teacher. Today she is the co-owner of an award winning canning business. It all started as a hobby, following her grandmother's recipes at the Colquitt County High School canning plant.

"I would go there and maybe pick 50 gallons, 55 gallon buckets of tomatoes and go there make my own salsa, sauces, veg. soup and I would go and give it away," said Bennett.

Their products are sold across the county and the world but Lauri Jo's heart stays in South Georgia as the cannery grows their own produce and uses as much local as possible.

"Certain times of the year we have to get stuff sent in but most everything, if we don't grow it, it's grown right here close," said Mark Bennett, co-owner of Lauri Jo's Southern Style Cannery.

They are a licensed co-packer and will use the same care to make your recipes.

"You could bring your recipe in if you wanted to market it, we would go through the process of cooking it for you, getting your analysis on the product so you can put it as a shelf stable product to sell," said Lauri Jo Bennett.

Although Lauri Jo's loves canning, she needed a sign before quitting her teaching job.

"It was two days after we had the labels on our first jar, they won best of the national gourmet food show in Atlanta," said Bennett.

Despite success, Lauri Jo's Southern Style Cannery still cans everything by hand and will never go to an assembly line process.

"The taste just isn't the same," said Bennett.