Friday is a day set aside for sweets and flowers. But in Alaska, we like to put our own spin on things.
When it comes to flowers, why not plan ahead for an entire summer full of beauty? Alaska-grown dahlias are available from The Persistent Farmer.
"My dahlia tubers are waking up from their winter slumber after taking them out of cold storage into mid-50 degree temperatures," says Rob Wells. "In a couple of weeks they will show sprouts, and I will begin distributing them to folks who have preordered."
While Wells says his pre-orders have emptied his stock on about 25 varieties, he still has 70 other varieties available. For more information, contact Wells through the website, thepersistentfarmer.com , or call him at 907-982-7182 or 907-745-2789.
When it comes to sweets, there are plenty of tasty treats available in Anchorage area stores and shops. Pop in to Fire Island Rustic Bakeshop, Alaska Cake Studio, Modern Dwellers Chocolate Lounge, Sugarspoon or another spot to satisfy the holiday sweet tooth.
But remember, Alaskans do it differently. How about some sweet Alaska crab?
At 10th & M Seafoods, they have jumbo red king crab this week for $20.95 per pound, and large golden king crab for $14.95 per pound.
"With Valentine's Day this Friday, the seafood world is gearing up to celebrate the ones we love," says Dannon Southall of 10th & M.
"The weather has started to turn for the worse on the winter king salmon fishing grounds but luckily the guys were able to get out early and target some of these amazing fish," Southall says. "We will have fresh head-on fish as well as fillets in house all week; a few whites will be mixed in but it is always best to call ahead."
Other tasty seafood options include lobster tail ($24.95 per pound), easy-to-peel shrimp and some Gulf of Alaska cod ($6.95 per pound) and rockfish fillets ($9.95 per pound).
Another seafood option is offered by Johnson's Brothers Seafood, which will be in several Southcentral locations this week. Look for their seafood-filled truck in the Mall at Sears parking lot on Wednesday and Friday, across from Three Bears in Wasilla on Thursday and in Girdwood on Saturday.
They will have four sizes of Kodiak scallops, wild Gulf shrimp, two sizes of king crab from Dutch Harbor and cold-smoked salmon.
At the markets
The Center Market offers several vendors both Wednesday and Saturday at The Mall at Sears. The market is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesday and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday.
A.D. Farm will have purple carrots, orange carrots, peanut potatoes, German butterball potatoes, French fingerling potatoes and three varieties of beets. They will also have barley flour, barley cereal, whole barley and a lineup of pork products that includes chops, steak, fresh side, Italian sausage, spicy sausage, breakfast sausage patties, hocks, liver and fat for rendering.
Alaska Vegan & Gluten Free will be offering cupcakes (if you're still thinking sweets for someone special), spaghetti sauce, carrot ginger soup, split pea soup, roasted beets and sweet potato soup, red beans and brown rice with pico de gallo, fresh pico de gallo, corn chips, fresh salad with hemp seed dressing, petite baguettes and stone baked breads.
The Rempel Family Farm will have 10 kinds of potatoes, three varieties of beets, carrots, sugar pumpkins, stripetti squash, green cabbage, parsnips, rutabagas and daikon radish.
Drool Central will be at the market Wednesday and Saturday with many freshly baked items for pets, including Alaska-grown carrot chips and "Pup Pie" with Alaska grown potatoes, carrots and beef.
Duane Clark will have local grass-fed beef, local free-range chicken, seafood, local honey and items from Alaska Sprouts.
A new vendor this week is Jonsers, which offers teas, rubs and handmade nectars. Also look for the Abeille Alaska lineup of honey and beeswax cosmetics products.
The Mat-Su Farm Market is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday at the Palmer Depot. Look for many of the regular vendors. Some highlights include:
• Three Branches with handmade wild harvest salves, balms and lotions that are all chemical free and made with locally harvested and sourced ingredients
• Bistro Red Beet with a large selection of gluten-free baked goods including breads, cookies, brownies and muffins. Something new is gluten-free olive oil flatbreads and individual size, pre-cooked pizza dough.
• Voodoo Chocolates with locally produced sweets. And look for on-sale leftover Valentine Voodoo Boxes.
• Brooke Family Farm with quail, chicken and duck eggs. They also are taking orders for free-range chicken, ducks, geese, turkeys and hogs.
Steve Edwards lives and writes in Anchorage. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.