Whole Foods, Univ. of Maine Co-op Extension Team on Food Preservation

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Whole Foods, Univ. of Maine Co-op Extension Team on Food Preservation

Whole Foods Market has tapped the University of Maine Cooperative Extension for food preservation advice. The UMaine Extension’s canning and preserving Web site is featured in “This Is What Summer Tastes Like,” a seasonal entertaining guide available nationally in Whole Foods stores.

“Preserving delicious summer fruits and vegetables is an amazing way to enjoy the tastes of flavors of summer’s seasonal harvest year-round,” noted Barbara Gulino, marketing team leader at the Whole Foods’ Portland, Ore., store. “With UMaine Cooperative Extension’s extensive knowledge of food preservation, we hope the partnership will help educate our shoppers and other people in the community about how simple and cost-effective it can be to preserve locally grown summer favorites.”

Along with to the Web site reference, Whole Foods is sponsoring food preservation outreach throughout southern Maine this summer, including a series of classes at the Portland store. Cooperative Extension educators will hold free workshops at the location from 9 to 10:30 a.m. Saturdays June 27, July 18, Aug. 15, Sept. 12, and Oct. 3; 9-10:30. The classes will address jams and jellies, pickles, tomatoes, apples and root cellaring.

“It’s a partnership,” said Extension educator Kathy Savoie. “This reinforces that we are the go-to place for food preservation information.”

Whole Foods Market’s sponsorship will enable UMaine Extension to hire two program aides to offer food preservation education, including the Master Food Preservation training series. The partnership will continue this autumn with a “5 Percent Day” fundraiser, in which 5 percent of the Portland store’s daily sales will benefit UMaine Extension’s continuing food safety and preservation efforts in Cumberland County.

UMaine Extension leads food preservation workshops throughout the state and offers up-to-date information online and through various publications. The Cumberland County office additionally offers the Master Food Preserver program, a more intensive course that gives participants the expertise to teach others how to preserve, extending the organization’s outreach. This summer UMaine Extension educators will also visit farmers’ markets across Maine to hold informal food preservation demonstrations.