October is right around the corner. With the changing of the calendar come changes at farmers markets too.
Saturday is the final Spenard Farmers Market of the season. Market volunteer Katheryn Powers says "the market will still be full of fresh vegetables. While the fresh greens are starting to thin down, there will be an abundance of root veggies like carrots, radishes and beets perfect for your next batch of stew of roasted veggies."
Also, Wednesday's Center Market is moving inside. "We have had our fill of inclement weather," says Duane Clark of Country Health Foods. "Wednesday we will set up in the Benson entrance at The Mall at Sears." The Center Market will include Clark's grass-fed beef, chicken, duck, salmon, goat cheese, apples, sprouts and honey, along with gourmet cupcakes from Tiers from Heaven and Alex Davis' regular supply of pork products and produce from the field.
But the sometimes rough weather hasn't been all bad news. "This may be some of the wettest, windiest weather we have experienced at this time of year but it is also the warmest and that has been very nice for the farms and the markets," says Arthur Keyes of Glacier Valley Farm and the South Anchorage Farmers Market.
"We have three more weeks to go, our last market date will be October 13th. It is a great time to come to the market, the last of the summer produce is still there and all of the root crops are in full swing. Lots of yummy goodness available right now!"
Here is a peek at some of the vendors Keyes is talking about that will be at Saturday's South Anchorage Farmers Market:
Two Sisters' Greenhouse will have an assortment of jams and pickled goods and some fresh vegetables. New this week are Alaska Norland spiced apples, Siberian crabapple jam and heirloom pickled spice beets. They also will have wild blueberry, highbush cranberry and rosehip jams, along with strawberry and raspberry jams. Pickled carrots and spicy dilly beans will be at the market with some heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers, herbs, kohlrabi, kale, rhubarb and potatoes.
Alaska Sprouts will have a large selection of sprouts and shoots, including micro-red beet greens; clover, bean and onion sprouts; sunflower, daikon radish and pea shoots; freshly made tofu; and basil plants.
Mark Rempel from the Rempel Family Farm says things have been busy, but that's good news for shoppers.
"Many of our greens took a bad thrashing, but the carrots and Snow Apple turnips continue to grow. Our faithful crew has just finished an heroic day of harvesting potatoes, all by hand. There are some very tired muscles tonight from the repeated forays with fingers into the cold moist soil to retrieve the thousands of little nuggets we call potatoes. Tomorrow we all will be back in the field harvesting greens and other veggies fresh for the Wednesday Market. The pace can be grueling, but there is a finish in sight."
Among the produce the Rempels will have at the market are potatoes, carrots, cauliflower, golden beets, mizuna, tatsoi, collard greens, green onions, arugula, kale, spinach, Napa cabbage, salad mix, turnips, broccoli, daikon radish, chard, beet greens, spaghetti squash and sugar pumpkins. (They will also be at Wednesday's Northway Mall Market.)
Earthworks Farm will have Alaska honey in 8- and 13-ounce containers.
"This is our second year with what we think is a really unique honey resulting from our hives sitting at the doorstep of a quarter acre of cut flowers," says Bruce Hougan. "We should continue to have a good selection of cut flowers for our popular 'make your own bouquet,' 10 stems (on select flowers) for $8. People have been building some great bouquets featuring the mini foxglove, malva, lavatera Irish bells, dianthus and many more, and even including large dill stems to great effect."
They also will have young carrots, our four varieties of mini-cabbage, greens and mini lettuce.
Joan Johnson will have a good supply of jams and jellies from fall fruits such as currant, pear/raspberry, cranberry and rose hip. She also will have apple butter, chunk honey and the last of the heirloom tomatoes.
Arctic Choice will have a wide seafood selection, including oysters, shrimp, razor clam meat, scallops, golden king crab, halibut, cod, rockfish, coho and sockeye salmon, and other options.
Over at the Anchorage Farmers Market, Sarah Bean of Arctic Organics says the wacky weather has made for some interesting planning: "This has been a week of constantly changing weather forecasts, which has made the planning a little tricky, especially since we're trying to juggle the harvesting of crops that can't freeze, and those that are best to harvest when the soil is not muddy."
And, she says, "it's truly autumn harvest season when the apples come in! This week we'll have bushels of them." Apples include Hyer 12 and 20, rescue, Geneva early and Norland. Other items to look for include Brussels sprouts, carrots, potatoes, zucchini, broccoli, daikon radish, cabbage, turnips, fennel, celery, herbs and loads of greens -- chard, kale, collards, mache, arugula, greens mix, sorrel and leaf lettuces.
Maple roasted carrots
1 pound diagonally sliced carrots
1 tablespoon olive oil
A sprinkling of salt
1 pat of butter
1 tablespoon maple syrup (local birch syrup provides a great alternative flavor)
Preheat oven to 475 degrees.
In shallow baking dish, toss carrots with oil and salt to coat. Roast in oven for 10 minutes. Heat butter in small saucepan until golden brown (don't burn!), remove from heat and add maple syrup. Drizzle over carrots and shake pan to coat.
Return to oven and continue to roast for another 8 minutes, or until brown and tender. Serve immediately.
Source: Kate Powers, Spenard Farmers Market
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.