As go the vegetables, so go the markets.
This week, there is another growth spurt for the markets, with new options Wednesday, Friday and Saturday.
Opening Wednesday is the Wednesday South Anchorage Farmers Market in the Dimond Center parking lot near the Dimond Center Hotel. Expect four vendors -- Glacier Valley Farm, Stockwell Farm, Kenley's Alaskan Vegetables and Mat Valley Meats. The market is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Opening Friday is a market in front of Mat Valley Meats, 6175 East Palmer Wasilla Highway. The market will feature produce and local baked goods. It is open 11 a.m. to 6 p.m.
On Saturday, the Center Market will add its second day of the week at The Mall at Sears. Expect many of the same vendors as the Wednesday market. Saturday hours are 10 a.m. to 7 p.m.
Duane Clark says he will have roasting chickens at Saturday's Center Market, along with jams, salsas, grass-fed bee, Alaska seafood, duck and products by Alaska Sprouts.
Saturday's South Anchorage Farmers Market will feature a wide variety of vendors. Glacier Valley Farm will have bunched beets, strawberries, zucchini, tomatoes, English cucumbers, bunched turnips and bunched green onions. Rempel Family Farm will be at the market with carrots ("Those small, sweet ones that are just fun to munch," says Mark Rempel), along with arugula, green onions, chard, tatsoi, mizuna, green mustard, salad mix, spinach, radishes, cress, kales, rhubarb, mint, small turnips and potatoes from last fall. (Rempels will also be at Wednesday's Northway Mall Market.) Southfork Jams and Jellies will have fresh zucchini relish this week. Rise & Shine Bakery is back this week with 100 percent whole wheat levain, spent grain, flax seed, rosemary, and raisin and toasted pecan loaves.
Other vendors include Three Bears Farm, Non-Essentials, Joan's Salmon Burgers, Alaska Sprouts, Sweet and Sassy Kettle Corn, Stockwell Farm, VanderWeele Farm, Mat Valley Meats, Earthwork Farm and Arctic Choice Seafood.
The Spenard Farmers Market is celebrating Alaska Botanic Gardens and Gardening Day on Saturday.
"We've got a fun gardening-themed market on Saturday, with everything from new starts, rare varieties, annuals, perennials, cut flowers, containers, baskets, trellises and even metal garden sculptures," says Cindy Shake, Spenard Farmers Market community and media relations volunteer. "We're seeing nice sizes in all leafy greens and even the root veggies are kicking in and are ready to pick."
Julianne McGuinness, Alaska Botanical Garden's executive director, and ABG volunteers will be at the market to share information on their upcoming Secret Garden Series "Homegrown," offer gardening advice, current research findings and answering Alaska gardening questions. P&M Gardens will be on hand with flower baskets and colorful perennials; and Shake will be at the market with her original metal garden art.
Some vendor highlights include: Glacier Valley Farms with yellow and green summer squash; Seldovitsch Family Farm with zucchini along with sweet, pesticide-free grown carrots from the Butte area; Wildrose Natural Harvest will have a limited quantity of wild rose petal jelly and wild blueberry vinaigrette and jams; F/V Early Times will have Prince William Sound Alaska spot shrimp; and Alaska Gourmet will be selling fresh, never frozen crab sections.
The Anchorage Farmers Market is expecting a full list of vendors, including Bushes Bunches, Arctic Organics, Persistent Farmer, Seldovitch Farm, LivenGreen, Fee's Seafood, Turkey Red baked goods, ACAT compost tea and Magpie Sue @ the Market.
Among the highlights are fresh broccoli and turnips.
"The cloudy weather finally gave way to a little rain, which has been badly needed," says Sarah Bean of Arctic Organics. "It will certainly take the pressure off the irrigation schedule, and will help the germination of any new crops. The first of the broccoli is coming in, along with the snow apple turnips, watercress, tat soi and rainbow chard. We've even seen a few zucchini developing, which is very exciting."
And things are still exciting in the basil world.
"It's still pesto time," Bean says. "People tend to wait until fall to put things up for the winter. But when it comes to basil, the best crop is in mid-summer, during the month or so after solstice. The basil is in its prime; the leaves are huge, dark green, sweet and tender."
If you want to order 10 bunches or more, Bean asks that you pre-order by calling 907-746-1087.
From the sea
Dannon Southall of 10th & M Seafoods says the fish world is hopping too.
"We are in the middle of the summer salmon push and are receiving fish from all over the state," he says. "Fresh sockeyes have been coming in daily with headed and cleaned fish averaging 5 pounds apiece, going for $6.50 per pound and wonderful vibrant fillets for $8.95 per pound."
10th & M also has Southeast troll-caught king salmon, with head-on and cleaned fish going for $10.95 per pound and fillets for $18.95 per pound. Halibut is $17.95 per pound for fillets.
Southall says "the treat of the summer -- fresh Alaskan shrimp" should be available starting Thursday, with both spot and side stripe shrimp available.
Zucchini chocolate chip cake
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk
21/2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon allspice
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons baking soda
4 tablespoons cocoa
21/2 cups grated/shredded fresh Alaska zucchini
1 cup mini chocolate chips
w Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 9x13 pan.
w Cream sugars, butter, and oil. Add eggs, buttermilk and vanilla. Stir to mix.
w Sift together dry ingredients. Mix all together except chocolate chips.
w After mixing well, gently fold in chips. Pour into pan. Bake for 45 minutes until toothpick comes out clean when inserted in center. Dust with powdered sugar or a fluffy light cream cheese frosting!
Source: Cindy Shake, Spenard Farmers Market community and media relations volunteer
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.
TUESDAY: EAGLE RIVER FARMERS MARKET, 3-7 P.M., VFW POST PARKING LOT
WEDNESDAY: CENTER MARKET, 11 A.M. TO 6 P.M., THE MALL AT SEARS, BENSON BOULEVARD AND DENALI STREET; NORTHWAY MALL FARMERS MARKET, 9 A.M. TO 4 P.M., NORTHWAY MALL; SOUTH ANCHORAGE FARMERS MARKET, DIMOND CENTER, 10 A.M. TO 4 P.M.; WASILLA FARMERS MARKET, 11 A.M. TO 6 P.M., BEHIND THE WASILLA PUBLIC LIBRARY
THURSDAY: PETERS CREEK FARMERS MARKET & CRAFTS, 3-7 P.M., 21643 OLD GLENN HIGHWAY
FRIDAY: MAT VALLEY MEATS, 6175 EAST PALMER WASILLA HIGHWAY, 11 A.M. TO 6 P.M., 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, THE MALL AT SEARS, 10 A.M. TO 7 P.M.; 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 STREETSLocal farmers markets