Spring brings fresh halibut, but prices might be steep

Daily News correspondentMarch 13, 2012 

Spring is less than a week away.

In Alaska, the coming of spring - even with mounds of snow still covering the ground - means fresh halibut.

Halibut season opens Saturday.

"Depending on the effort and weather, there should be fish in house by mid-week and earlier if we are lucky," said Dannon Southall of 10th & M Seafoods. "Pricing is still up in the air with all of the changes to quotas from last year."

Based on last year's prices, the fresh halibut will probably be costly once it arrives in stores. However, Southall is promoting fresh Gulf of Alaska cod as a nice alternative, either for those impatient for halibut or those looking for a better deal. Cod fillets are $5.95 per pound at 10th & M.

Other seafood options include fresh rockfish ($9.95 a pound) and sole fillets ($8.95 a pound). Fresh king salmon should be available by the weekend, Southall said. Live Manila clams are $6.95 a pound and live oysters are $12.95 a pound. Also this week are cleaned fresh, live mussels for $4.95 a pound.

At the farmers market

Just because it's March doesn't mean there aren't plenty of farmers market options.

Duane Clark of Country Health Foods and the Center Market reports that last week, "the market was at full capacity with seven vendors ... and we are scheduled to have the same number of vendors" this week.

The Rempel Family Farm will be one of the vendors at Wednesday's market. Mark Rempel warns that one of Alaska's true treats - sweet, orange carrots - is starting to run out. He said this could be the final week he has them in stock. In addition to the popular carrots, Rempel will also have parsnips, three varieties of beets and seven kinds of potatoes.

Other vendors at the market include A.D. Farm, Northern Lights Mushrooms, the Persistent Farmer and Sleeping Lady Alaskan Foods.

Clark's Country Health Foods will have his regular product line, which includes goat cheese, locally produced honey, Alaska grass-fed beef, free-range chicken and frozen Alaska seafood. This week, he also will have spring flowers from the Mile 5.2 Greenhouse in Eagle River, including hyacinth and amaryllis plants.

Rob Wells' Persistent Farmer will be back at the market with dahlia tubers.

"My inventory is getting low and as spring is officially just a week away, it is time to get the dahlias planted," he said. Wells will be selling the tubers and there are specials for purchases of five or more. He also will deliver tubers to those who have pre- ordered. More information is available at www. Thepersistentfarmer.com.

Clark said Sleeping Lady Alaskan Foods will have a variety of products, including smoked salmon and breads and cookies from the House of Bread. Her bread options include raspberry swirl, blueberry crumb, apple cinnamon swirl, sourdough, Irish soda bread and some quick breads. Northern Lights Mushrooms will have a variety, including oyster, king, shiitake and elm mushrooms.

The Center Market is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday at The Mall at Sears. They are located on the Benson Boulevard side of the mall.

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Steve Edwards lives and writes in Anchorage. If you have a suggestion for a future Market Fresh column, please contact him at sedwards@adn.com.

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