Southcentral Alaska's hard-working farmers are in a year-round business, even when it's cold and snowy.
Alex Davis of A.D. Farm and the Center Market at The Mall at Sears is a good example. Months removed from harvesting crops, he's still plenty busy.
"Did you know that we have come into Anchorage every week at least once a week since April of 2010 to bring you the best in pork and fresh eggs year-round and veggies in their growing season as well as their storage season?" he asked.
Weekly trips to Anchorage with a truckload of products will keep a farmer busy. And then there's all the behind-the-scenes work, which is really where a farmer makes hay.
This week, Davis has about 70 dozen chicken and duck eggs available, along with his pork products and storage vegetables. Vegetables include carrots in three colors, three varieties of potatoes, beets, cabbage, Brussels sprouts and parsnips. His pork lineup looks like this: pork chops, roast, loin roast, steak, breakfast sausage patties, Italian sausage, ground pork and spicy sausage.
And Davis carries barley flour and cereal provided by growers in Delta.
Davis isn't alone at the market or in the hard-working department. Joining him this week at the market are several other vendors:
Rempel Family Farm: The Valley farmers will have carrots, red, chioggia and golden beets; carrots; Snow Apple turnips; daikon radish; green cabbage; stripetti squash; sugar pumpkins; and 10 varieties of potatoes.
Country Health Foods: Duane Clark will have plenty of options, including grass-fed locally raised beef, local free-range chicken and duck, Alaska shrimp and scallops, local honey, goat cheese and the locally produced sprouts, tofu and other items from Alaska Sprouts.
Earthworks Farm: The Valley farmer will have locally produced beeswax and honey body care items.
Northern Lights Mushrooms: A wide variety of Alaska-produced mushrooms grown on the Kenai Peninsula.
The Persistent Farmer: Rob Wells is still taking orders for Alaska-grown dahlias.
"Orders are coming in and I plan to be at the March 6 Wednesday Sears market to start distribution of early orders," he says. "Because I am still relatively small, there are a few varieties that are already close to selling out."
For more information, visit thepersistentfarmer.com or call 1-907-745-2789.
The harvest season for Alaska pollock, the nation's largest fishery, opened Sunday.
The 2013 Alaska pollock Total Allowable Catch (TAC) for the Bering Sea/Aleutian Islands and Gulf of Alaska is 1,387,146 metric tons, 3.8 percent higher than last year's total. Alaska pollock accounts for approximately 30 percent of all U.S. seafood landings by weight, according to a press release by the Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute.
The mild whitefish is a popular ingredient in a variety of seafood dishes and consumer products such as breaded fish sticks, fish sandwiches, and Alaska Surimi Seafood products. More information is available at www.wildalaskaflavor.com.
The Alaska pollock fishery is a model of sustainability for the world, according to the institute. Harvested using mid-water trawls designed to minimize the effects on the marine environment, the Alaska pollock fishery is one of the cleanest in the world, averaging 1 percent of non-targeted species, or bycatch, annually.
Alaska pollock pho
î´ 1 quart (32 ounces) chicken or vegetable broth
î´ 1 cup sliced white onion
î´ 11/2 teaspoons fish sauce
î´ 1/2 to 1 teaspoon chili oil
î´ 1-inch piece of fresh ginger, peeled and sliced
î´ 1/4 teaspoon chili flakes
î´ 1/4 teaspoon ground coriander
î´ 1/8 teaspoon ground cloves
î´ 4 Alaska pollock fillets (4 ounces each), fresh, thawed or frozen
î´ 2 cups (about 8 ounces) fully cooked rice noodles
î´ 1/2 to 1 cup enoki mushrooms
î´ 1/2 to 1 cup mung bean sprouts
î´ 1/4 to 1/2 cup each Thai basil leaves
î´ 1/4 to 1/2 cup cilantro leaves
î´ 4 lime wedges
w In a large (12-inch) nonstick pan or stockpot, heat broth, onion, fish sauce, chili oil, ginger, chili flakes, coriander and cloves over high heat until simmering. Cook 5 minutes or until onion is soft. Rinse any ice glaze from frozen Alaska pollock fillets under cold water. Turn off heat and gently add seafood to liquid, skin side down. Return heat to a simmer.
w Once simmering, cover pan and cook 4 to 5 minutes for frozen seafood or 2 minutes for fresh/thawed fish. Turn off heat and let seafood rest 5 minutes or until seafood is opaque throughout.
w To serve, place 1/2 cup noodles and a seafood fillet in a soup bowl. Ladle on 1 cup broth. Garnish with mushrooms, sprouts, basil leaves, cilantro and lime wedge.
Source: Alaska Seafood Marketing Institute
Steve Edwards lives and writes in Anchorage. If you have a suggestion for a future Market Fresh column, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.