It’s a fact of life in Maine. If you want to eat local foods year-round, you’ve got to put up some of the harvest bounty to use during the long winter months. “You’ve got to root cellar, preserve or do both,” said Cheryl Wixson, who works for the Maine Organic Farmers and Gardeners Association and lives off the grid with her husband in Stonington.

What if you lack the time, inclination or kitchen space to can tomatoes, pickle beans or slowly simmer apples into apple butter? Consider joining Wixson’s three-year-old canning CSA (community supported agriculture), Cheryl Wixson’s Kitchen.

In a traditional CSA, farmers sell shares of their fruit and vegetable crop ahead of the growing season to generate cash flow that can carry them through to the harvest. As the crops get picked, the farmer provides regular boxes of seasonal produce to shareholders. These days, people are offering all kinds of creative CSAs. For her canning CSA, Wixson buys produce in the spring, summer and fall from Maine organic farmers. She uses it to cook and can small batches of pasta and pizza sauces, condiments, jams, pickled vegetables, marinades and salad dressings. She also uses Maine grains to make bread, muffin and biscuit mixes.

“I have people … who depend on this CSA from both a production and a consumption standpoint,” Wixson said. “I am already in the kitchen making 12 jars of whatever for my own use, so I might as well make 72 jars for the folks who want to be locavores, but canning doesn’t quite fit into their lifestyle.”

Shares cost $300 upfront, which entitles you to 48 jars of Wixson’s products, in monthly increments from November through April. Members pick up their shares at one of eight drop-off points between Bangor and Portland. To enroll, go to cherylwixsons and search for “Our CSA.”

Christine Burns Rudalevige is a food writer, recipe developer and tester, and cooking teacher in Brunswick. She writes about feeding her family Maine seafood at Contact her at

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