The kids’ version of the Wild Oats Bakery & Café Bingo Card. Sande Updegraph / For The Forecaster

You have probably heard of Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), where consumers purchase a portion of a farm’s seasonal harvest in advance. The benefits include providing customers with regular boxes of just-harvested produce along with eggs, meats, flowers, etc. Farmers get paid upfront so they can plan their operations and both develop a relationship with one another, enhancing the buying and selling process.

Sande Updegraph lives in Brunswick and is a longtime food writer. She can be reached at [email protected]

The pandemic has created the opportunity to expand this concept into the realm of retail restaurants.

With Community Supported Restaurant (CSR) models, customers purchase a share of an establishment’s meal production on a regular basis. As one example, customers pay in advance for a set number of takeout meals every week for three months. Complete meals are picked up at the restaurant at a fixed time. The meals are ready to eat with perhaps only reheating required. This is not a collection of ingredients; it’s a prepared meal. Menus likely vary from week to week, affording both the staff and the consumer the chance to experience a variety of different meal options and a sense of community.

The arrangements and offerings vary among restaurants, but each model brings a sense of stability to the business and a feeling of adventure and fun to the consumer.

I have found two local restaurants that have fashioned their own CSRs. I would be interested in hearing from readers about other food or beverage establishments that do something similar. Please email me at [email protected] with leads.

• Vessel & Vine, 4 Pleasant St., Brunswick, has created a wine club that works like this: Purchase a monthly or annual subscription that provides two curated wines each month to be picked up at V & V. The wines are small-scale production using sustainable practices. Subscribers will be invited to Zoom tastings to learn more about the wines. Any purchases made when picking up the wines receive a 10% discount. The cost is $40/month or $480/year. Subscriptions at vesselandvine.com can be canceled at any time.

• The Odd Duck FSE, 11 Pleasant St., Brunswick, has a different approach. The Tour de Monde offers a weekly prix fixe three-course dinner from a different part of the world each week. The menus are portioned for two or four people. The Pacific Islands menu, for example, is $32 for two and $52 for four. The items are prepared for takeout. Those who participate for six weeks will be entered in a drawing for a $50 gift card. theoddduckfse.com.

Food News

Wild Oats Bakery & Café in Brunswick has launched a bingo game; the free cards are available in the store at the cashier’s station, and there’s even a kids’ version. Using the honor system, cross off every item completed on the game card, drop the cards at the store by 4:30 p.m. on Feb. 28 and be qualified to win a Wild Oats goodie basket or one of several gift cards. Game cards can also be emailed to [email protected] Every item completed will equal one entry in the drawing  166 Admiral Fitch Drive, Brunswick Landing, 725-6287.

Maine Restaurant Week, March 1-12, will look a bit different this year. Participating restaurants will be searchable by several options, such as curbside pickup, heated outdoor dining and safe indoor dining. See mainerestaurantweek.com. Restaurants are not required to offer three-course, fixed-price meals, but will be creating special menus just for MRW customers. Menu details will be on the website. MRW is celebrating its 13th year of supporting locally owned restaurants during the challenging winter season and during the stress of the COVID-19 pandemic.

I usually don’t talk much about activities in Portland, but this is interesting. The Portland Regency Hotel, 20 Milk St., has opened Ironside Whiskey Bar in the hotel’s lobby. The bar has over 100 whiskeys along with cognac and tequila. The bar is open 4-9 p.m. Thursday to  Sunday. 774-4200.

Midwinter Blues Dinner is being served at McAvoy’s on the Green at Brunswick Golf Club, 165 River Road. On Feb. 27 from 5-8 p.m., enjoy appetizers, soup, spinach salad, choice of chicken piccata or scallop and risotto entrée, with cookies for dessert. $50/person at eventbrite.com.

Maine Street Steak and Oyster, 148 Maine St., Brunswick, is open for in-house dining (CDC guidelines in place) for lunch from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday and Saturday and for dinner from 5-8:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday. 844-8275 for reservations.

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