Edible Maine, part of a network of community-focused food magazines with an attractive handmade aesthetic that are published across the United States and Canada, will launch in June. The Edible magazines, which operate as individual franchises, focus on the “farmers, chefs, food artisans, fishers, vintners and home cooks who feed us,” as their website describes it. They do so with a strong local, seasonal slant.

Christopher Ellis and Dylan Jacobs, a couple who split their time between Boston and Greenwood, bought the Maine franchise from Heather Carroll. She had intended to start a publication called Coastal Maine Edible but never got it off the ground and subsequently moved out of state. A mission statement for the new magazine says it aims to help readers understand their food – such things as where it comes from, how it is made and how far it travels to reach stores shelves.

At least to start, Edible Maine will be published quarterly and will run some 50 pages an issue, according to Michael Sanders, a Maine food writer of more than two decades who will serve as its editor. “This is going to be a magazine you can cook from or look at, read deeply into or read for two minutes for fun things you didn’t know you could do in Maine,” he said. “Most of all, it should help you get out and do things – go to a restaurant, go clamming, cook…

“Particularly in the last five years, the whole Maine food landscape has changed,” he continued. “One of the challenges here is to walk the delicate line between welcoming innovative, absolutely necessary things that people from away bring while not losing what really makes Maine Maine.”

The vision for Edible Maine goes beyond the state’s traditional bake-blueberry-pie-and-eat-a-lobster-roll food coverage, Sanders said. He said he is looking for writers and photographers who think outside the box. Or as Ellis described it: “high-caliber, really strong editorial content that is meaningful. I don’t want it to be all fluff.”

Upcoming stories in the new magazine will focus on rice farming in Maine, and on blueberries and bees.


The state already has a dedicated food magazine, Zest, which was launched in 2014 and aims to help readers “discover Maine’s vast world of food, drink and those who make it all happen up front and behind the scenes,” according to its own website. Sanders launched Zest as editor and produced its first three issues. Today, Nancy Gordon is both publisher and editor in chief; subscriptions to Zest cost $18.95; it’s also available free at specialty food markets and other locations.

Boston, like many other locales around the country, has an Edible publication.

Can Maine, a comparatively small state, sustain two magazines devoted entirely to food and drink? There is both room, Sanders said, and there are untold stories. He also pointed to the success of the Edible franchise. “There are more than 80 around, so they obviously know something,” he said. “I really think that we can do something here that people here want and that visitors here want and that advertisers want.”

Ellis analogized it to the restaurant scene. If you’ve one restaurant on a city block and then a second opens on that same block, “that’s better for both of them.”

Nearby Edible franchises include Edible Boston and Edible New Hampshire. As with all Edible magazines, copies of Edible Maine will be free and placed at coffee shops, bakeries, farmers markets, Whole Food markets and similar locations. It will also be available by subscription for $24 annually. Its website, not yet launched, eventually will offer both the magazine content and extras, such as video, Ellis said, who is also planning a program of special events.

Despite the supposed demise of print, startup food magazines like Edible have enjoyed surprising success in recent years. The most ballyhoo-ed, the New York-based Lucky Peach, recently announced its final issue. But its closure was apparently driven by differences among the partners, despite growing circulation numbers and advertising sales.

“If you can be what people want to read, they’ll read you and they don’t care about the form,” Sanders said. He compared magazines to turntables – no longer the latest technology, not by a long shot, but highly desired again for their warm sound quality and nostalgia quotient. “We may be in this moment where magazine and newspapers become the turntable stuff of the written word,” Sanders said.

Ellis and Jacobs bring a business background to the venture. Ellis had worked front-of-the-house jobs in restaurants in Boston and New York state for some 15 years and has a master of business administration; Jacobs has a background in business and science. Ellis is also a keen cook and vegetable gardener. He said they brought Sanders on board to fill in their gap in editorial experience.

“This is a project of passion, not one of experience,” Ellis said. “It’s a lot of work. Most days I bounce back and forth between anxiety and excitement.”

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