Last week's Copper River salmon opening left many people wanting more. With another opening this week, farmers' markets and fish shops hope to be packed to the gills with Alaska's bounty.
John Jackson of New Sagaya Markets says he's expecting good results from Monday's 12-hour opener.
"The first opener was not as successful as many people wanted it to be as far as catches went; hopefully it was better this go around," he says.
He expects to have Copper River king and sockeye salmon in the store this week. Additionally, troll king salmon from Southeast have been consistent. Those fish "are looking very nice; sizes have been good. Great value on some beautiful Alaskan salmon," he says.
Ling cod is in the store at $7.99 per pound. Rockfish will be $7.99 per pound for fillets, and Jackson also expects to have side stripe shrimp for $10.99 per pound. Other fish include fresh marlin, albacore, big eye and yellow fin tuna.
Dannon Southall from 10th & M Seafoods echoes Jackson's take on things this week: "With the Copper River fishery kicking off last week and continuing this week, and troll kings coming in strong this week, the focus is the beautiful ocean and river gem of Alaska -- salmon."
Southall says his stores will have Copper River kings and sockeyes all week, and the fish are available both as fillets and headed and gutted. The troll kings from Southeast are $14.95 per pound for fillets and $11.95 for head-on fish.
Halibut will be in the stores at $13.95 per pound, with halibut cheeks going for $11.95 per pound. There are plenty of groundfish options, with rockfish, Dover sole and cod fillets available this week. Live oysters are $10.95 per dozen and live littleneck clams are $6.95 per pound. He'll also have fresh Alaska razor clam meat for $10.95 per pound.
If you're looking for fresh fish at the farmers' markets this weekend, you're in luck. Fresh seafood will be available at both the South Anchorage Farmers Market and the Anchorage Farmers Market.
Arctic Choice Seafoods will have lots of options at the South Anchorage Farmers Market. Seafood includes fresh Copper River salmon fillets, troll-caught king salmon fillets, side stripe shrimp, large spot shrimp, sablefish, rockfish, cod fillets, Alaska clams, scallops, ikura (salmon caviar) and king crab.
Jean Debruler of Alaskan Seafood Specialties plans to have Copper River salmon and Prince William Sound oysters at the Anchorage Farmers Market on 15th Avenue and Cordova Street.
New on the farmers' market scene this week is the new Spenard Farmers Market in the parking lot under the windmill along Spenard Road. The market is open 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. More information is available at www.spenardfarmersmarket.org or on the market's Facebook page. Leading up to the market, there will be a fundraising concert from 7 to 9 p.m. tonight at Organic Oasis featuring Pretty Birds That Kill and Fairview Angels.
The established markets have plenty on tap this weekend.
In addition to the seafood at the South Anchorage Farmers Market, Nancy Lampman says "plant starts are definitely the main focus for the next few weeks and as the weather warms up people are definitely getting more excited about planting."
Tom and Trish Lee of Heart of the Mountain Organics will be at the market with starter plants including veggies, flowers and herbs. Most of the plants have been hardened off and are ready to put in the ground. Items include six varieties of lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli, kale, rainbow chard, arugula, collard greens, cucumbers, basil, thyme, cilantro, second-year foxglove and hollyhocks, bachelors buttons and white fireweed.
Gray Owl Farm will have beautiful container gardens and hanging baskets, along with many individual plants, including grasses, cordylines, bright osteos, torenia and euphorbias. Beardsen Gardens will have hanging baskets and 4-inch pots of herbs, annuals and perennials. In addition to the traditional items like geraniums and begonias, they will have stevia and epizote.
The market will also feature potatoes from Vanderweele Farms and bread and bakery items from the French Oven Bakery.
Over at the Anchorage Farmers Market, organizer Sarah Bean says to expect plenty of vendors, including: Arctic Organics, Johnny Moose Farm, L&R greenhouses, Bushes Bunches, Turkey Red Cafe, Sedovitsch Farm, Matanuska Gardens, Floriponics, 3 Bears Farm, ACAT, and Alaska Seafoods.
Bean says Arctic Organics will have arugula, basil and a few heads of lettuce at the market, along with basil plants, vegetable and flower seedlings, hanging baskets (including mixed herb, mixed flowers, petunias, nasturtiums and lobelia/marigold), nearly full-sized tomato plants for $12 each and fertilizer blends. Other vendors will bring fresh rustic breads, local dairy products, compost tea for stored root crops.
Duane Clark and Alex Davis had a successful day last weekend at the Center Market at the University Center mall, and they are ready for another this week. Davis put it this way: "Anchorage has spoken, and I'm listening. I'll be bringing twice as much pork this week to the (market)."
Davis of AD Farms will be bringing his pasture-raised, USDA certified pork cuts and 50 dozen fresh eggs, fertilizer, soil amendments and three types of organic starts -- broccoli, cauliflower and cabbage. Clark will have USDA certified cuts of beef that are pasture-raised in the Palmer area. "No growth hormones or antibiotics are injected into these animals," he says. Additionally, he'll have locally raised honey. Clark is working with J&R Fisheries from Seward and will have shrimp, scallops, rockfish, halibut and sablefish at the market too.
Since Davis has high-quality pork available at the market, it seems like a good time for a pork-on-the-grill recipe. Enjoy.
Pork and mango kabobs
1 cup fresh orange juice
2 tablespoons honey
Finely grated zest of 1 lime
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1/2 teaspoon finely grated fresh ginger
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon thinly sliced fresh mint
2 pounds boneless pork loin chops, trimmed of excess fat and cut into 1- to 1 1/2-inch cubes
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 teaspoon pure chile powder
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon granulated garlic
1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 large mangoes, 12 to 16 ounces each, peeled and cut into 1/2- to 1-inch chunks
• In a small saucepan combine the orange juice, honey, lime zest, lime juice, ginger and salt. Bring the mixture to a simmer over medium heat. Simmer gently until the mixture thickens to a syrupy consistency and 1/2 cup of the liquid remains, 20 to 30 minutes. Allow to cool. Add the mint.
• Place the pork in a medium bowl. Add the oil and mix to coat evenly. In a small bowl mix the rub ingredients. Sprinkle the rub over the meat and mix to coat the chunks evenly.
• Thread the pork cubes and the mango chunks alternately onto skewers. Allow the skewers to stand at room temperature for 15 to 30 minutes before grilling.
• Prepare the grill for direct cooking over high heat (450 to 550 degrees).
• Brush the cooking grates clean. Grill the kabobs over direct high heat, with the lid closed as much as possible, until the pork is barely pink in the center, 6 to 8 minutes, turning once and swapping their positions as needed for even cooking. Remove from the grill and serve warm with the sauce drizzled on top.
Source: "Weber's Charcoal Grilling: The Art of Cooking with Live Fire" by Jamie Purviance ($19.95, Sunset Books)
Steve Edwards lives and writes in Anchorage. If you have a suggestion for a future Market Fresh column, please contact him at email@example.com.