The stunning summer weather has local growers falling all over themselves with adjectives and such.
"This great weather is bringing into full production Alaska's abundant crops. This week -- Wednesday and Saturday -- at the South Anchorage Farmers Market it will be a strawberry-palooza," says Arthur Keyes of Glacier Valley Farm and the South Anchorage markets. (I'm not sure what a strawberry-palooza is, but it must be good.)
"New to our line-up this week are our sweet white onions. And finally we have our fabulous vine-ripened tomatoes. Yum! Come to markets early for variety and quantity," says Lesley Dinkel of Dinkel's Veggies. "If you want to make pickles, don't wait until the temperatures cool off and the daylight wanes. This is the time of the season for making your pickles. It's very important to arrive early so you can get the size you prefer and the amount you need. Get out those favorite family recipes and make up some fresh pickles to give as gifts over the holidays this year."
"Broccoli and zucchini will be in abundance," says Mark Rempel of Rempel Family Farm.
And from Alex Davis of A.D. Farm and the Center Markets: "Our zucchini supply is doubling every time we go out to pick. I don't know at what point we hit critical mass and change the tilt of the earth."
Here is a rundown of some vendors at the local markets.
South Anchorage Farmers Market
(Wednesday and Saturday, vendors vary)
Saturday's market will be Family Food Fun Day at the market. "The young and young at heart can learn how to properly clean veggies and go on a Pizza Quest to discover the many healthy pizza toppings the market has to offer," says Keyes.
The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extensive Service will be at the market for the day. And WineStyles will also be on hand.
The market will add a new vendor, with Two Sisters Greenhouse showing off new potatoes and pickles. Other vendors include Rempel Family Farm with carrots, arugula, green onions, chard, tatsoi, green mustard, red, romaine and butter lettuce, our salad mix, spinach, radishes, cress, kales, bok choi, Napa cabbage, green cabbage, zucchini, kohlrabi, daikon radish and snow apple turnips; Rise & Shine Bakery will have whole wheat sourdough levain, spent grain, toasted walnut, Alaskan potato and chive, and dark chocolate and cherry loaves; VanderWeele Farm; Mat Valley Meats; Earthworks; Three Bears Farm; Arctic Choice Seafood; and others.
Spenard Farmers Market
It's Plein Air Day at the Spenard market on Saturday.
"En plein air is a French expression which means 'in the open air' and is used to describing painting outdoors and what better inspiration than the vivid and abundant colors of all the produce that is now piled high on vendor tables," says Cindy Share, the market's community and media relations volunteer and an artist herself. "Artists are encouraged to bring their own easel and supplies while the market supplies the inspiration!"
Some of the inspiration includes: Fresh International Gardens with kale, mustard greens, chives and cilantro; Chugach Farm with celery, parsley, arugula, chard, kale, collards, garlic, vinegars, kombucha and pesto; Vitali and Monica Seldovitsch Family Farm with carrots, beets, turnips, garlic, eggs, cabbage, lettuce, zucchini, cucumbers and tomatoes; Glacier Valley Farm with strawberries, cauliflower, celery, beets and turnips; Dinkel's Veggies with white onions, tomatoes, green and yellow zucchini, leaf lettuce, strawberries, green beans, broccoli, new potatoes, pickling cucumbers and cabbage; Wildrose Alaska Natural Harvests with honey soap, rose petal jelly and honey jelly; Alaska Gourmet with fresh crab; Brown Dog Farm with spring mix, arugula and kale; Ba-Lescas Brothers with garlic and white radishes; and Farm Dreams with fresh cut flowers and herbs.
Davis mentioned the zucchini supply at A.D. Farm, but there are plenty of other reasons to stop by either Wednesday or Saturday at The Mall at Sears.
Davis' farm is also producing plenty of lettuce, spinach, beet greens (with baby beets), rhubarb, eggs and a full lineup of pork products. Pork includes roast, chops, steak, breakfast sausage patties, spicy sausage, Italian sausage, ground pork, hocks, liver, fat and "even some feet," he says.
Mat-Su Farm Tour
The Fifth Annual Mat-Su Farm Bureau Farm Tour is Aug. 1. Find out where your local veggies come from, talk to the farmers and eat an all-Alaska-grown lunch.
The tour visits six farms, including: VanderWeele Farms, Havemeister Dairy Farm, Pitchfork Ranch, Pyrah's Pioneer Peak Farm and Rempel's Family Farm. Lunch at Pitchfork Ranch includes all-Alaska grown stew, barley flour rolls and Alaskan sweetie pies. Participants also receive a goodie bag that includes $50 in "Market Bucks" for produce at the participating farms.
Tour day pickups begin at 8 a.m. at the Carrs on Muldoon Road in Anchorage, returning at 6 p.m. Cost is $65 per person and the tour is limited to 95 people. For more information, email: Akfarmtours@gmail.com (this is a correction to the email address in last week's column).
Grilled Spenard veggie roll-ups
2 yellow squash
3 carrots julienne style
1/2 cup diced green onions*
1/2 cup finely chopped radish*
1/2 cup fresh cilantro chopped*
1/2 cup roasted red peppers bathed in flavored olive oil
Olive oil or non-stick cooking spray
4 ounces goat or feta cheese (herb, garlic or dill flavored)
*Optional veggie ingredients
w Using a very sharp potato peeler, cut each zucchini and yellow squash into thin, log strips. Spray a grilling mesh with nonstick cooking spray and set on a foil-lined baking sheet.
w Arrange squash and zucchini strips on grilling mesh and baste with olive oil on both sides. Season with salt and pepper, garlic or your favorite seasoning. (Specialty bread dipping seasonings work great too.)
w Place the grilling mesh on hot grill, close the lid and grill for 3 to 5 minutes. Place a slice of grilled squash on a flat surface, sprinkle with goat cheese and any of your desired veggie ingredients. Top with another strip of grilled squash or zucchini. Roll up layered strips and secure each with crisscrossing toothpicks. Place on tray and drizzle with roasted red pepper olive oil and serve outdoors in the beautiful fresh, Alaska air!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org.
LOCAL FARMERS MARKETS
TUESDAY: EAGLE RIVER FARMERS MARKET, 3-7 P.M., VFW POST PARKING LOT
WEDNESDAY: CENTER MARKET, 10 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 STREETS