By Heather Foran
Preserving food can be a mystifying and daunting endeavor if you’ve never done it before. But have no fear. Maine has many resources to help you get started. Learning some of the myriad methods for preserving produce, meat, and dairy allows us to have access to locally sourced food year round, despite short growing seasons and cold winter months. Here are some resources to get you started in basic food preservation skills.
University of Maine Cooperative Extension
The Cooperative Extension provides up-to-date information on food preservation based on university research. Their website is full of resource sheets and how-to videos and they offer a series of hands-on workshops on basic food preservation. For those who want to take their food preserving to another level (and volunteer their expertise to help others learn) check out the 5-month Master Preserver program.
Headquartered in Orono, with offices in each county
Frinklepod Farm is a small diversified farm in Arundel growing vegetables, fruits, herbs and flowers, and distributing with a CSA model. They offer a variety of events that are free and open to the public – specifically, classes on what to do with your harvest: cooking, drying, fermenting, and other preservation methods. Call ahead, as space is sometimes limited in classes.
244 Log Cabin Road, Arundel
Saltwater Farm is a recreational cooking school located on the coast in Lincolnville on an old sheep farm. They run classes in traditional cooking methods: bread baking, preserving fruits and vegetables, knife and butchery techniques. And all of their classes end with a communal feast!
25 Woodward Hill, Lincolnville
Ten Apple Farm
Ten Apple Farm is a diversified homestead in Gray, Maine, featuring a small herd of Alpine dairy goats, assorted poultry, and a large kitchen garden. They try to do several workshops in basic homesteading skills each season. Workshops include Basic Home Cheesemaking, Baking, Poultry Slaughter & Processing, and Preserving & Canning. Join them for a “goat hike” while you’re at it!
241 Yarmouth Road, Grey
In addition to the resources listed here, be sure to check with your local adult education department for additional local classes on food preserving topics.