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It's not too late to start planting

Steve Edwards

Memorial Day is past, but planting season is still ongoing.

All the local farmers markets include plenty of vendors selling flower and vegetable plants.

One example is Tom and Trish Lee of Heart of the Mountain Organics. The Lees will be at Saturday's South Anchorage Farmers Market and they encourage shoppers to "eat fresh, clean and organics foods this summer."

Their assortment of options includes vegetables, herbs and flowers. Among the vegetables are six varieties of lettuce; two tomato types, Cherokee purple heirloom and a productive Chadwick cherry; four varieties of kale, including blue, green, red and curled; collard greens; Brussels sprouts; rainbow chard; celery; and broccoli. Herbs include cilantro, Italian large leaf parsley, Genovese basil, arugula, thyme, Thai basil, dill, marjoram and spearmint ("Mojitos were a common top of our conversation last year," the Lees say). Plants include hardy Katmai chives, black currant bushes, Cerinthe, white fireweed and iris perennials.

There are plenty of other vendors at the market, including: the Blue Poppy; Earthworks Farm with cut tulips; Gray Owl Farm with flowers and plants; Glacier Valley Farm with hanging tomato baskets; Arctic Choice Seafood; Los Tacos; Southfork with heirloom tomato plants, along with some specialty vegetable starts; Northern Lights Mushrooms; Alaska Hens with broiler chickens and lots of fresh eggs; Alaska Sprouts; Mat-Valley Meats; Country Garden farms with sod, hay and straw; along with kettle corn, gluten free treats, jams, jellies, breads, cinnamon rolls and other items.

At the Anchorage Farmers Market, Sarah Bean of Arctic Organics says this week "will look a lot like past weeks at the market, except the volume of basil and arugula is increasing. The cold nights this spring have slowed the growth of the field crops, so we'll be waiting for them another week or two."

In addition to the basil and arugula, the Beans will have potatoes; vegetable and flower seedlings; tomato plants, including those designed to be grown outdoors in Alaska conditions; hardy apple trees; hanging baskets; and fertilizer blends.

Rebecca Langton from Fee's Custom Seafoods says they will have fresh Prince William Sound spot prawns and fresh Copper River sockeye salmon at the market this week, along with smoked salmon and fudge.

Other vendors scheduled for the market include: Bushes Bunches, Seldovitsch Farm, Persistent Farmer, Matanuska Creamery, Floriponics, Arctic Sun Gardening perennials, ACAT compost tea and Turkey Red Cafe.

Again this week, the Center Market has both Wednesday and Saturday options for shoppers.

Duane Clark says this week marks the 1-year anniversary of the market at The Mall at Sears. Clark's Country Health Foods with cuts of Alaska grass-fed beef and he is taking orders for ¼ and ½ beef and plants from Mile 5.2 Greenhouse. Clark also will have products from A.D. Farm, including pork cuts and plenty of eggs, both chicken and duck, along with carrots and beets.

The Wednesday market will also feature Northern Lights Mushrooms and Sleeping Lady Alaskan Foods.

"Chicken and duck eggs are abundant and are great as deviled eggs or, as my mother-in-law prepared, a great potato salad on Memorial Day using eggs," Clark says. "The possibilities are endless for the great uses of fresh free-range eggs."

And the Spenard Farmers Market is bursting with flower and veggie starts, along with loads of other items. Matanuska Creamery will be on hand with fresh cheese, curds, ice cream and broiler chickens; Arriaga Barber Salsas will have special salsas, including a carrot salsa; fresh Prince William Sound shrimp; chicken and quail eggs; and fresh greens from Chickaloon.

And come to Spenard hungry. Here is a sample of some of the food vendors: Red Beet Bakery from Palmer will have a trailer full of baked goods including glutten-free cookies, muffins and breads; baklava from Antonio's Greek Bakery; Da Kine BBQ; Tacos Emparios; Linda Lew's Tamales, Organic Oasis with soups and breads, and Marshmelanie's with gourmet marshmallows.

This week, the market will host graphic artist Robert Duckett, who will be drawing caricatures.

With all the eggs available at various markets, check out this week's recipe. Some of the vegetables may need to come from the grocery store, but the eggs and herbs are available at the markets.Steve Edwards lives and writes in Anchorage. If you have a suggestion for a future Market Fresh column, please contact him at sedwards@adn.com.

Angela's vegetable frittata

2 large leeks

2 tablespoons olive oil, divided

1 cup diced cooked potato

1 pound summer squash, sliced

2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley

½ teaspoon chopped fresh thyme

½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

¾ teaspoon salt, divided

8 large eggs

½ cup milk

¾ cup (3 oz.) shredded Parmesan cheese, divided

Preheat oven to 450F. Remove and discard root ends and dark green tops of leeks. Cut in half lengthwise, and rinse thoroughly under cold running water. Thinly slice leeks.

Saute leeks in 1 tablespoon hot oil in a 10-inch oven-proof skillet over medium-high heat 4 to 5 minutes or until tender. Remove from skillet. Saute potato in remaining 1 teaspoon oil in skillet 3 to 4 minutes or until golden. Add squash, and saute 10 minutes. Stir in leeks, parsley, thyme, pepper and ½ teaspoon salt until blended.

Process eggs, milk, ½ cup Parmesan cheese, ¼ cup water and remaining ¼ teaspoon salt in a blender until blended; pour over leek mixture in skillet. Cook over medium heat, without stirring, 2 minutes or until edges of frittata are set. (Edges should appear firm when pan is gently shaken; the top layer should appear wet.) Sprinkle with remaining ¼ cup cheese.

Bake at 450F for 10 to 12 minutes or until center is set.

Yield: 6 to 8 servings.

Source: "Farmers Market Cookbook: A Fresh Look at Local Flavor" by Southern Living (Oxmoor House, $29.95)

Local farmers markets

WEDNESDAY: Center Market, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., The Mall at Sears, Benson Boulevard and Denali Street

Friday: 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, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., The Mall at Sears, Benson Boulevard and Denali Street; 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


By STEVE EDWARDS
Daily News correspondent