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Canning CSAs Help Locavores Survive the Winter

Canning at home is easier than you think

Community supported agriculture, aka CSAs, is evolving! Recently, some canning enthusiasts have started to copy the traditional CSA model. They're using their canning skills to provide the community with locally grown produce during the long, cold winter.

According to NPR’s The Salt, these canning CSAs sell preserved, locally grown goods once the fresh produce runs out. Here's what several of these re-imagined CSAs are offering:

  • Dried beans
  • Grains
  • Baking mixes
  • Frozen meats
  • Farmhouse cheese
  • Salsa
  • Jams
  • Syrups
  • Pickles
  • Fermented vegetables

The NPR article highlights Cheryl Wixon’s Kitchen as one of the businesses that is taking part in this new CSA structure. Wixon’s Kitchen is part of an organization called Coastal Farm and Foods, located in Belfast, Maine. Coastal Farm is an incubator for commercial small-scale food processing, according to The Salt.

The price for a share at Wixon’s canning CSA is $300. That fee pays for the following: Fifty-four “jars of pasta and pizza sauces, cranberry ketchups and fruit jams and butters.” All canned goods are delivered by the CSA between November and April.

So what's the main difference between fresh produce CSAs and pantry-type CSAs? Commercial food processing needs to be done in a licensed kitchen, which is costly to rent, reports The Salt.

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From the Organic Authority Files

According to the article, other states are adopting a similar CSA style, too. There is one other drawback to CSA canning though: The pantry shares can take consumers further away from the farmer who originally grew the produce.

Would you participate in a canning CSA? Tell us in the comments!

Related on Organic Authority:

Preserving 6 Summer Favorites for Winter: Freezing, Canning and More!

Yes We Can! 9 Ideas and A How-To for Canning Your Favorite Foods

A Guide to Planning Your Vegetable Garden for Food Preservation


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