Snow on the mountains -- and perhaps in your yard -- puts a chill not only on fingers and noses but in the hearts of farmers' market lovers.
As the cold spreads, farmers start packing up. This week is the final markets for a couple popular Anchorage-area markets: the Wednesday South Anchorage Farmers Market and the Saturday Spenard Farmers Market. (The final Eagle River Farmers Market was Tuesday.)
"This Wednesday will be the last Wednesday market at the Dimond Mall until next season. We have three more Saturday markets," said Arthur Keyes of Glacier Valley Farm and the South Anchorage markets. "It might be cooling off outside but the market is heating up. The root crops and winter squash are here in full force. There will be literally tons of these late season crops -- carrots, potatoes, winter squash, onions and Brussels sprouts."
Here are some of the market highlights.
South Anchorage Farmers Market
Keyes said to expect Stockwell Farm and Glacier Valley Farm for the last Wednesday market with "lots of veggies."
Saturday's market will have many of the regular vendors, including Dart Farms from Manly Hot Springs.
"Dart Farms is the ultimate geothermal farm, they grow on geothermal heated ground producing an amazing variety of crops," Keyes said. "John will be bringing pumpkins, hard winter squash and corn stalks for decorations and possibly more variety depending on the room available in the truck!"
Rise & Shine Bakery will be making its final market appearance of the year. They will have Alaskan baked potato sourdough, spent grain sourdough, 100 percent whole wheat toasted walnut sourdough, onion rye sourdough and the dairy-free dark chocolate and cherry sourdough.
After Saturday's market, Rise & Shine bread is available via order through the website (riseandshinebread.com). They bake once or twice a month and the bread is picked up Wednesdays. It must be preordered.
"But this week you can still pick up whole grain sourdough bread and stock up for the winter," said Alison Arians. "The loaves really do freeze and thaw nicely because of their three-day fermentation, so it's not a problem to freeze them for later.
"We've had a lot of questions about making gluten-free breads lately, and while the bread is made with wheat, and therefore contains gluten, the long action of the sourdough on the dough consumes a lot of the glutens that people can be sensitive to. So if you're celiac, you won't be able to eat the bread. But if you're just looking to cut down on gluten in your diet, our whole grain sourdough offers a healthy, whole-grain alternative to regular bread."
Spenard Farmers Market
Vendor highlights for the last market include: Bistro Red Beet, Fishalicious grilling up Copper River smoked salmon sliders and a Pie Stop with fresh baked whole pies and pie by the slice for sale.
Garden vendors include P&M Garden Services with vine ripened tomatoes, fresh herbs and jasmine house plants; Chugach Farm with monster cauliflower, leeks, celery, beet greens, pestos, rosehip kombucha, seasonal cranberry rose and a special lemonbalm vinegar; Black Bear Farm with zucchini, kale and collard greens; Glacier Valley Farm with beets, sweet salad onions, Yukon gold and purple potatoes; Wildrose Natural Harvest with a batch of freshly made raspberry jalapeno vinaigrette along with blueberry bread, hand-milled apricot cornbread, lavender plants and a new honey infused soap; Brown Dog Farm will be harvesting jumbo carrots, beets and kale; Ba-Lescas Brothers will have salad greens, tofu, beans, lettuce, white sweet chard and a sweet, intense garlic; Dinkel's Veggies will have potatoes, cauliflower, vine ripened tomatoes, cabbage and tender green broccoli florets; and Midnight Sun Farm will have purple potatoes and honey.
Wednesday Northway Mall Farmers Market
Among the vendors at market is the always busy Rempel Family Farm. Look for the Rempels to have a large selection of potatoes (nine varieties), carrots, Brussels sprouts, sugar pumpkins, broccoli, cauliflower, Romanesco cauliflower, beets (red, golden and Chioggia), green onions, chard, tatsoi, green mustard, salad mix, spinach, radishes, kales, bok choi, Napa cabbage, green cabbage, kohlrabi, daikon radish, winter squash, celery and snow apple turnips.
The market continues through Oct. 2.
Anchorage Farmers Market
"Nothing like snow to motivate us to get the crops out of the field," said Sarah Bean of Arctic Organics. "So far we're keeping ahead of the most sensitive crops, and the root crops are just about all in, with the exception of the potatoes, which can be harvested through the next week or so without too much concern about freezing."
New at the market this week are pimpernel and German butterball potatoes, Brussels sprouts and a new crops of "intensely sweet baby carrots," Bean said.
Other items to look for include other potato varieties, turnips, rutabagas, daikon, fennel bulbs, celery, red onions, leeks, dense winter storage cabbage ("the best for sauerkraut," Bean said), summer green cabbage, red cabbage, three varieties of beets, baby zucchini, broccoli shoots, kohlrabi, tomatoes, lots of greens (including four types of kale) and herbs (cilantro, basil, parsley, thyme, sage, chervil, oregano and marjoram).
While other markets are shutting down, the indoor Center Market at The Mall at Sears continues on.
Alex Davis said to look for some of the great late-season crops. They include Brussels sprouts, cabbage, beets, carrots, broccoli, pool ball zucchini and potatoes. Davis also has plenty of pork products, including chops, steak, sausage and roasts. He also has plenty of eggs for both Wednesday and Saturday.
Raw beet salad
1 shallot, minced
2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
1 pound beets (the larger the better)
1 teaspoon coarse ground salt
1/8 teaspoon cracked black pepper
11/2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
11/2 Tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon chopped fresh herbs (parsley, thyme, chives, chervil or rosemary)
w Place shallot in the bowl you'll prepare the dressing in. Pour sherry vinegar over shallots and let stand 30 minutes to several hours.
w Using a carrot peeler, peel the beets and trim their ends. Julienne or grate beets and place in salad bowl.
w Add salt, Dijon mustard and olive oil to bowl with shallots. Whisk until combined. Add fresh herbs and mix once more. Pour over beets. Serve immediately or refrigerate.
Source: Sarah Bean, Arctic Organics
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.
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.
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.
SATURDAY: ANCHORAGE FARMERS MARKET, 9 A.M. TO 2 P.M. AT 15TH AND CORDOVA IN THE CENTRAL LUTHERAN CHURCH PARKING LOT; 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 AVENUELocal farmers markets