Just a week from now, many cooks will be busy preparing a huge feast. Putting together the Thanksgiving meal takes thorough planning.
Here are a few options to make next week's meal come together, but they all take some advance planning.
Rise and Shine Bakery: The South Anchorage bakery doesn't have a storefront. In the summer, bread is available at the South Anchorage Farmers Market, but in the winter orders are made online and the bread picked up Wednesdays at one of two Anchorage-area locations: one downtown and one in South Anchorage. Visit www.riseandshinebread.com to place an order and also to sign up for the email newsletter, which will provide reminders of the bakery's schedule. Generally, they bake twice a month.
Available to order this week starting Thursday are 100 percent whole wheat levain, toasted seed, fresh rosemary, spent grain and fruited almond loaves. The bread will available the day before Thanksgiving.
"Are you setting out an appetizer spread? Thin slices of hearty toasted seed bread make delicious little snacks with cheese and chutney -- or even just with butter," says Alison Arians, co-owner with her husband, Dan. "You also may need dinner bread with your holiday meal. Please pass the fresh rosemary sourdough!
"The last thing you want to do on Friday morning after Thanksgiving is make breakfast for your family. If you happen to have a loaf of fruited almond sourdough on hand, your family members can feed themselves with no help from you. Packed with all kinds of holiday fruits and nuts, (toasted almonds, dried apricots, cranberries, and golden raisins) each slice is a healthy little meal in itself!"
While fresh bread is available only a couple times a month, the bread can be frozen and is thaws out extremely well due to its "three-day cool fermentation," Arians says.
Arctic Organics: The Valley farm, which is the backbone of the Anchorage Farmers Market during the summer and has a long history with a Community Supported Agriculture co-op, provides weekly deliveries through the winter months.
Produce is delivered Wednesdays at 15th Avenue and Cordova Street, in the Lowe's parking lot on Tudor Road, in Eagle River and Chugiak. Produce must be ordered in advance through an online form at www.arcticorganics.com/winter-special-orders.htm. Orders must be submitted by 9 p.m. Tuesdays for Wednesday delivery.
"We are fortunate to have had a wonderfully productive summer for many crops, and have a good selection of produce available this fall," says Sarah Bean. "We purposefully grow extra storable vegetables with the intention of curing and storing them for sale through the fall and winter until they are gone. This year we have an abundance of beets, turnips and carrots, along with potatoes, kohlrabi, collards, rutabaga, etc.
"It is our way of extending the market season for both us and our customers, when it's too cold for an open air market. It's a way for people to continue to eat seasonal, local produce even once winter has arrived."
Order now for pre-Thanksgiving delivery.
Fire Island Rustic Bakeshop: Fire Island always has plenty of yummy holiday treats -- in addition to their regular treats. And for Thanksgiving, one of their best treats is an open door at 1343 G St.
Yes, the friendly bakery will be open 7 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thanksgiving Day for anyone looking for ultra-fresh bread or other baked goods. They will be closed Friday, Nov. 29.
New Valley market
A new winter market has started in the Valley. The Mat-Su Farm Market is open Mondays in Palmer.
Here is a sample of what was available this week:
The Alaskan Sourdough Bread Company: Sourdough and holiday breads (stollen, pulla and bobka), cookies and baklava.
Brooke Family Farm: Quail and chicken eggs and taking orders for free-range chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys and hogs.
Bushes Bunches: Loads of tomatoes; Yukon gold, peanut and red potatoes; pumpkins; squash; and turnips.
Choose Food Wisely: Coconut keifer, kombucha and custom-blend plant foods.
Country Health Foods: Storage vegetables, eggs, grass-fed Alaska beef, Alaska seafood and free-range chicken.
Moonlit Lake Garden: Fermented vegetables.
Voodoo Chocolates: Chocolate bars, spiced apple and fireweed honey truffles, root beer caramels, chocolate squares, chocolate cake and other goodies.
"The mission of the Mat-Su Farm Market is to provide a market venue or area farmers and producers, to provide superior quality good and foods and to provide a business incubator for the Mat-Su Borough," says Carl Brooke of Gee-Haw Realty, the market sponsor, on the market's Facebook page. "This is a plan we can really get behind. There is nothing more important to our health than the quality of the foods we eat."
The market is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Mondays at the Palmer Depot, 610 S. Valley Way.
Anchorage Farmers Markets
Anchorage's two winter markets are humming with activity.
The Center Market at The Mall at Sears is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturdays.
Vendors at the Center Market include:
Rempel Family Farm with 11 kinds of potatoes, sugar pumpkins, a variety of squash options, three varieties of beets, green cabbage, parsnips, rutabagas, daikon radish and carrots.
Kristin Donaldson's Alaska Vegan & Gluten Free is back with fresh items, including carrot ginger soup, split pea soup, roasted beet and sweet potato soup, red beans and rice topped with pico de gallo, homemade corn tortilla chips and pico de gallo.
"This Wednesday, I will be introducing a vegan and gluten-free baguette," Donaldson says. "I have had so many customers ask me if I could make a gluten-free bread, so I'm excited to introduce this week a baguette that is golden crispy, crunchy on the outside, soft and yummy on the inside. It's a good old fashioned French style baguette."
A.D. Farm has the regular lineup with a new twist: "New at the Center Market will be goat meat products -- roast, stew and burger -- we have limited supplies but it is beautiful and savory," Alex Davis says.
The regular items include a variety of storage crops including four colors of carrots and three varieties of beets, along with eggs, pork products and barley, cereal and flour from Delta.
At the South Anchorage Winter Market inside the Dimond Center, Two Sisters Greenhouse is joining the vendor lineup. Also, chef Dave "Delicious" Thorne will be back with a tasty creation from items at the market. Last week, he created a bacon-infused Brussels sprout soup.
Vendors to look for include Arctic Choice Seafood, Mat Valley Meats, Glacier Valley Farm with loads of vegetables and Stockwell Farm with carrots, potatoes and pie pumpkins.
The market is open 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays.
Steve Edwards lives and writes in Anchorage. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Extension Service offers turkey tips
The University of Alaska Cooperative Extension Service is supplying tips on safe turkey-cooking in a new YouTube video. In the four-minute video, Fairbanks Extension agent Roxie Dinstel offers several ways to thaw a bird without going into what she calls "the temperature danger zone" (40 to 140 degrees) and -- for those who put everything off until the last minute -- how to cook a frozen bird.
Proper thawing and cooking of poultry and other meat is advised to avoid foodborne illness. See the video at uaf.edu/ces, where you can also access a publication that covers much of the same ground, "Serving Turkey Safely."
-- Steve Edwards