First fresh halibut of the season has arrived in stores

Troll-caught kings are also available.

Daily News correspondentMarch 20, 2012 

It's spring and the sun has been shining.

After shoveling snow off your roof and deck and driveway, perhaps you're dreaming of a time when all the snow is gone and you're enjoying spring and summer activities.

Dannon Southall from 10th & M Seafoods says there is plenty of seafood available now to get any appetite ready for warmer weather.

"This is a very exciting week for fresh Alaskan seafood, he says. "As you know halibut started on Saturday and we have seen our first fish already. These amazing flat fish will be available all week long as headed and cleaned fish or fillets and as always we will fillet the whole fish.

"Also coming out of the pristine waters of Alaska are fresh troll-caught king salmon. These winter treats will be here all week with a few whites mixed in and please call for white status.

"With the selection of fresh Alaskan seafood this week you could have a different fresh species every day."

Halibut fillets are $19.95 per pound and, as Southall says, "would look wonderful on any grill covered in snow in town." In addition to the halibut and kings, Gulf of Alaska cod fillets are available for $5.95/pound and fresh yelloweye rockfish fillets are $11.95/pound.

At the market

Farmers continue to bring last year's storage crops to the Center Market at the Mall at Sears, but spring means it's time to seriously begin thinking about the 2012 season.

And to begin assessing what may be an unusual spring, says Mark Rempel of Rempel Family Farm.

"The snow is of great concern for the farmers that I know," he says. "Normally by this time of year the snow is starting to go away and I am dreaming of planting sometime in late April. This year due to the low temperatures and still 2 feet of snow on the fields, I wonder if we will be able to plant in the ground before mid-May. The other problem is that because of the cold temps, heating the greenhouse where we do starts, is costly, especially with energy prices where they are.

"Farming is far from a science. Much of it is by feeling and experience. I've heard it said that a surgeon takes about 12 years to learn his trade but a farmer takes about 25 years on his site to learn his. I've spent about 50 years on this farm with the last 22 as manager, and only recently have I begun to feel a little bit comfortable with the inevitable variableness."

Rempel is certain of one thing -- what he'll have at Wednesday's market: carrots, three varieties of beets, six varieties of potatoes and perhaps some green cabbage.

Duane Clark, one of the Center Market owners, says there should be several vendors there this week.

"Last week was well attended by shoppers and vendors," he says. "We expect a full house of vendors this week again."

Clark's Country Health Foods will have local honey, Alaska grass-fed beef, local free-range chicken, Alaska seafood, goat cheese and spring flowers from Mile 5.2 Greenhouse.

He says Sleeping Lady Alaskan Foods will be on hand with a number of items, including breads from House of Bread. Alex Davis of A.D. Farm will have fresh eggs, a variety of cuts of pasture-raised pork, jams and some produce -- parsnips; carrots; three varieties of beets;, German butterball and French fingerling potatoes.

"We're coming down our home stretch on 104 weeks straight" at the market, Davis says.

Rob Wells will also be at the market to deliver dahlia tubers that were previously ordered. He also will have a selection available for sale Wednesday. Additionally, he will have Matanuska Creamery products, including aged cheddar and garlic dill cheeses, along with ice cream.

The market is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday.

Bread bakers are back from break

After a lengthy mid-winter break, Rise & Shine Bakery is back to baking.

Orders can be placed starting Thursday, and delivery will take place next Wednesday, March 28. Loaves include: spent grain and levain pan loaves, along with toasted walnut, fresh rosemary and fruited almond hearth loaves.

For more information, visit www.riseandshinebread.com.

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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