With the resurgence in pickling and preserving, Los Angeles County's revived Master Food Preserver (MFP) program is all the rage. The MFP, which we first reported on back in January, is taking applications for the spring 2012 class. Open to L.A. County residents, the 12-week session covers canning, pressure canning, freezing, drying and fermenting.

This isn't for the casual jam-maker. This is a serious course of study that requires a serious commitment. The class runs Tuesday nights (5:30 – 9:30 p.m.) from March 20 to June 5. After completing the class, graduates are expected to perform at least 30 hours of volunteer work a year. Apply online by February 10 at 5 p.m.

For the first class (last spring), there were 76 applications for only 18 spots, and the student list read like a who's who of sustainable food in L.A.: Stephen Rudicel, owner of The Press in Claremont and co-owner of Mariposa Creamery; Rachael Narins from Chicks with Knives; Alexandra Agajanian, Assistant Market Manager of the Hollywood Farmers Market; Karen Klemens of Mothercluck Jams and Preserves and Mother Moo Creamery; Milli Macen-Moore, Master Gardener at Milagro Allegro Community Garden; Meg Glasser from Food Forward; and on and on.

Ernest Miller, executive chef at Farmer's Kitchen and Master Food Preserver instructor, told us back in April: “This first group of trainees was specifically chosen to be a core group to build the Master Food Preserver organization here in Los Angeles.” So if you're selected, you'll be in great company.

For the fall class, there were 118 applications for 18 positions and graduates included Joseph Shuldiner (Institute of Domestic Technology); wild food gourmet Pascal Baudar, Craig Ruggless of Winnetka Farms and Jessica Koslow of Sqirl. All of this is to say, you'll be in good company.

For more information on the program, contact Brenda Roche at (323) 260-3299.

Elina Shatkin is a staff writer at LA Weekly. Follow her at @elinashatkin or contact her at eshatkin@laweekly.com.

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