Don't let the fresh snow get you down. That's the attitude over at Fire Island Rustic Bakeshop.
"We're going forward with the traditional Easter and Passover foods, even if it doesn't look like spring outside," said bakery owner Janis Fleischman.
Co-owner Jerry Lewanski has created hot cross buns with a blend of organic flours, butter, milk, a spice blend that includes cardamom, cinnamon and ginger, and hand-zested limes, lemons and oranges. The bun is topped with a white cross and a glaze made with star anise.
"Customers started calling a month ago asking when our first test batch of hot cross buns would be ready," Lewanski says. "Hot cross buns are traditional for breakfast on Good Friday and Easter."
The bakery has plenty of options for those trying to select the perfect holiday treat.
French Easter baskets include cupcakes, decorated Easter cookies and organic marshmallow Peeps. Or create your own basket from some of the holiday specials, including the Greek Easter bread Tsoureki, complete with a red egg and covered in a sweet citrus glaze.
"We have ribbons and a card, so you're all set," co-owner Rachel Saul says.
Another springtime offering is the lemon mousse Charlotte, made with house-made ladyfingers, then filled with lemon mousse and topped with fresh berries. Fire Island also has some flour-free Passover baked goods, including Parisian macaroons, salted caramel tarts, coconut macaroons and chocolate covered macaroons.
"We won't have tulips and daffodils outside, but we will have free-range Peeps and Charlottes inside," Fleischman says.
Dannon Southall of 10th & M Seafoods is keeping it pretty simple -- "They're here!"
That's how he's announcing that first-of-the-year fresh halibut arrived at the store this week. Fresh whole halibut in the 10- to 20-pound range are $10.95 per pound. The fish-cutting experts will fillet or steak for free. Fresh fillets also are available at the store.
"The time is now to enjoy this flaky white fish after the past few days of snow," Southall says. "Starting to pick up in numbers from Southeast Alaska are fresh trolls kings. These winter delights will be in house all week with a few whites mixed in as well and it always best to call ahead about the whites."
Also in the store this week are live Alaska oysters from Kachemak Bay. They are $12.95 per dozen.
The folks out at Mile 5.2 Greenhouse in Eagle River report that despite all the fresh white outside, they have plenty of green inside.
They have a huge selection of herbs available for those who are ready to start growing. The list of available herbs includes: lemon, Genovese and Thai basil; chamomile; chives; cilantro; dill; French tarragon; garlic; French, Goodwin Creek and Hidcote lavender; lemon balm; lemon verbena; marjoram; oregano; Italian and curled parsley pineapple, apple, orange and chocolate mint; peppermint; spearmint; rosemary; and a variety of sages and thymes.
Rob Wells, The Persistent Farmer, reports that his selection of dahlia tubers gets smaller by the week.
"I am down to about 30 varieties of dahlia tubers and will probably be done going to the Sears Mall Market in a couple of weeks," he says.
Wells will be at Wednesday's Center Market with tubers for purchase, and he is taking orders for hanging basket tomatoes.
In addition to Wells' dahlias, there will be the regular lineup of vendors at the Center Market at The Mall at Sears.
A.D. Farm will have fresh chicken and duck eggs, along with pork products (chops, roast, loin roast, steak, breakfast sausage patties, Italian sausage, spicy sausage, ground pork, fresh side slice and slab), carrots, parsnips, barley flour and barley cereal.
Country Health Foods will have its Alaska honey, seafood, grass-fed beef and free-range duck. Earthworks Farm will have honey and beeswax lotions.
The Rempel Family Farm will have red and Chioggia beets; daikon radish; stripetti squash; and nine kinds of potatoes.
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.