Can't wait until the weekend for fresh veggies and other farmers' market items?
It's not a problem. Several markets are available leading up to the big events Saturday.
Once place to start is the South Anchorage Farmers Market behind the Dimond Center. Vendors expected to be at Wednesday's market include Glacier Valley Farm, Stockwell Farm and Earthworks Farm. Expect lots of fresh produce.
"The intensity of the Wednesday market is not like that of the Saturday market," says market organizer Arthur Keyes of Glacier Valley Farm. "We typically have the higher demand items -- strawberries, carrots, spinach, cut flowers -- for much longer, usually they last until midday. It's a bit easier to get into and out of the market because again the traffic isn't as intense and there are more ways to ingress and egress from the market.
"It is a happy, convenient, market!"
Maybe it's time to stop in.
Or visit the Center Market, which is open both Wednesday and Saturday in the parking lot for The Mall at Sears. It opens at 11 a.m. on Wednesdays.
The market's organizers -- Alex Davis of A.D. Farm and Duane Clark of Country Health Foods -- are always on the lookout to add fun events or vendors. In addition to regular vendors, look for cut dahlia flowers from the Persistent Farmer and sprouts and other fresh items from Alaska Sprouts, along with Sleeping Lady Alaskan Foods with Alaska salt and House of Bread products. Also on Wednesday, Iditarod and Yukon Quest musher Newton Marshall will be at the market with his book "One Mush."
Regular items include Clark's grass-fed Alaska beef, salmon, fresh peas, herbs and perennial flowers, along with Davis' pork products, produce (broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, four types of lettuce, cabbage, snow peas) and jams. Davis is running a special on spicy sausage -- 50 percent off the 2-pound packages -- and offering 25 percent off 10-pounds or more of broccoli. "Around here, blanching (broccoli) is pretty serious business, so whatever you don't take, we will put up for the winter," Davis said.
Over at the Northway Mall Wednesday Market, Mark Rempel said: "There is hope! The recent heat has had a good effect on the winter squash prospects."
The Rempels will definitely have carrots, cauliflower, beets, mizuna, tat soi, collard greens, mustard greens, green onions, arugula, kale, spinach, mizuna, bok choi, Napa cabbage, broccoli, zucchini, new potatoes, salad mix and lots of other options. These items are also available at Saturday's South Anchorage Farmers Market.
Other activities at Saturday's South Anchorage market include the Antique Power Club's annual visit with their old-time tractors and Northrim Bank's annual purple plant contest; bring something purple to the market for the competition.
Rise & Shine Bakery will be bringing its dark chocolate and cherry sourdough bread to the market, along with fresh rosemary, Alaskan onion rye, Alaskan baked potato and spent grain.
Alison Arians described the dark chocolate and cherry this way: "It's as rich and decadent as cake, only instead of eggs and butter, the long-fermented sourdough gives the loaf its great texture and delicious flavor complexity. For those of you who have been waiting for it, you might want to stock up with a few loaves and toss the extras in the freezer."
Other vendors this week include Dave's Greenhouse from Fairbanks with tomatoes and Wolverine Farms with fresh peas, along with many regulars like Alaska Sprouts, Joan's Jams and Jellies, Mat Valley Meats, Lewis Farm with multi-colored potatoes (they're highlighting Yukon golds, cherry reds, blue mollies and maybe some baby red fingerlings), Three Bears Farm and VanderWeele Farm.
Sarah Bean of the Anchorage Farmers Market and Arctic Organics says "summer is finally here."
"It helps a lot to have carrots, but we also have three colors of beets, which makes for a pretty colorful display of produce! The real sign of summer is abundant zucchini harvests, which we can finally claim to have. The broccoli is gearing up for another bumper crop, and the cauliflower can't be too far behind."
In addition to those items, expect tender early summer cabbage, turnips, kohlrabi, loads of kale, rainbow chard, spinach, arugula, lots of greens and lettuces. Herbs include Genovese basil, anise basil, lemon basil, dill, parsley, chervil, thyme, marjoram, sage, tarragon, epazote, lovage and chives. And there will be plenty of cut flowers too.
Rob Wells will be at the market with dahlia blooms. "My dahlia crop is almost all in bloom and there will be hundreds of blooms throughout the week and on Saturday," he said. "Many of the varieties are new to me and delightful. I have been providing flowers for weddings and special occasions, so customers may be interested in contacting me at the market for more information." He also will have cheese curds and other Matanuska Creamery products at the market.
From the sea
Dannon Southall of 10th & M Seafood said the "seafood world is a mixed bag this week. Cohos are starting to show up and ... there are a few sockeyes still available."
He says troll kings in Southeast opened for a few days and he expects some fresh fish in this week, along with a "special item" of fresh king crab. They should be available Wednesday and he recommends calling ahead.
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.
Wednesday: Center Market, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., The Mall at Sears, Benson Boulevard and Denali Street; Northway Mall Wednesday Farmers Market, Northway Mall parking lot, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; South Anchorage Farmers Market, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., behind the Dimond Center; Wasilla Farmers Market, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., behind the Wasilla Public Library
Thursday: Peters Creek Farmers Market, 3-7 p.m., American Legion Post 33
Friday: Palmer Friday Fling, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. at the Pavilion across from Visitor's Center
Saturday: Anchorage Farmers Market, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at 15th and Cordova in the Central Lutheran Church parking lot; Anchorage Market and Festival, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Third Avenue between C and E streets; Center Market, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., The Mall at Sears, Benson Boulevard and Denali Street; Eagle River Farmers Market, in front of Mike's Meats, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Farm Market at the Barn, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Glacier Valley Farm, Glenn Highway and Inner Springer Loop Road; South Anchorage Farmers Market, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Subway/Cellular One Sports Center at the corner of Old Seward Highway and O'Malley Road; Spenard Farmers Market, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., Spenard Road and 26th Avenue
Sunday: Anchorage Market and Festival, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Third Avenue between C and E streets