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Now is the time to stock up on farmers markets items

Steve Edwards

Arthur Keyes of Glacier Valley Farm has good news from the Valley: "We dodged the frost bullet last week. No frost yet!"

Sarah Bean of Arctic Organics added this as we move into September: "Now's when we all get serious about fresh vegetables! All the summer produce is still available and the late season produce is beginning to come in -- it's the best of both worlds, the peak of the season. The good news is that we made it through the blue moon of Aug. 31 without a frost, and the cloudy weather forecast for this week is actually a welcome alternative to clear and cold."

If you're a farmers market regular, now is the time to stock up. If you're a novice, head to a nearby market for a huge selection of fresh Alaska produce, seafood, locally raised meats, breads, craft items and other goodies.

Keyes said one of the best items to look for at the market are onions: "It is worth mentioning that this year's onion crop is producing the sweetest onions I've ever eaten, garnering lots and lots of positive comments from customers!"

His onions, along with strawberries, zucchini, cucumbers and tomatoes will be at the South Anchorage Famers Markets (both Wednesday and Saturday), along with the Spenard Farmers Market, the Eagle River Farmers Market and a farm stand in front of the Iditacup Espresso Stand weekdays and Sundays through the end of September. Hours at the stand are 3-7 p.m. weekdays and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays.

Other vendors at Saturdays South Anchorage Market include Rise & Shine Bakery with flax seed, levain and spent grain pan loaves and onion rye and fruited almond hearth loaves; Northern Lights Mushrooms; Arctic Choice Seafoods; Alaska Sprouts; Joan's Jams and Jellies; Los Tacos; and lots of produce vendors, including Rempel Family Farm, which will have carrots, cauliflower, beets, tat soi, collard greens, onions, arugula, kale, salad mix, cabbage, zucchini, kohlrabi, new potatoes and maybe some sugar pumpkins. The Rempels will also be at Wednesday's Northway Mall Market.

Joining Bean and Arctic Organics at the Anchorage Farmers Market will be Bushes Bunches, Seldovitsch Farm, Persistent Farmer, Matanuska Creamery, Hett's Peas, Stockwell Farm, VanderWeele Farm, LivinGreen heirloom tomatoes, Vera's Greenhouses and Turkey Red Cafe baked goods.

Bean said there will be plenty of items available Saturday, including carrots both loose and in 5-pound bags ($12.75), new potatoes, three varieties of beets, zucchini, broccoli, daikon, pac choi, peas, cauliflower, green and red cabbage, fennel, celery, four varieties of kale, rainbow chard, spinach, salad greens, arugula, herbs, cut flowers (sunflowers, zinnias, asters, snapdragons, larkspur, fragrant stocks, cosmos, Russian and purple stattice, helipterum, strawflowers and calendula) and lots of other items.

At the Center Market this week, look for fresh shelled peas, beef cuts, chicken and duck from Duane Clark. Alex Davis said he should have plenty of pork products (chops, side pork, bacon, steaks, ground pork, breakfast sausage patties and Italian sausage), jams, fresh chicken and duck eggs, carrots, beets, salad mix, lettuces, zucchini, broccoli, four varieties of cauliflower and hopefully potatoes.

And Davis has this story to share from the farm: "Butterscotch, one of my sows, got a metal end cap from some sort of post stuck on the end of a toe. The longer it stayed on the more jammed on her toe it became. The second day she was wearing her new toe ring I fed her and climbed in her stall while eating. I scratched her tummy picked up her foot and grabbed that bling and she would have none of me steeling that precious ring. She got mad and whenever I touched her she would leave her breakfast and stomp off into her pasture.

"So we waited a day or two, and then Kathy suggested we either call the vet or find a different way to sedate her. Butterscotch is not the biggest pig, about 220 pounds; I run about that size on a bad day, so we decided that whatever would make me sleepy should make her sleepy. So off to the liquor store my brother and I went. We decided we would get her something that was low in volume and high in alcohol. After much debate we decided on a big bottle of Jagermeister -- figuring if it would put me out it would do her as well.

"So when we got home I started to mix it with the milk. 500ml later she was still standing, but the fight had been taken out of her. ... I got a hold of her front foot and was able to get a good grip on her ring; off it came. She didn't even say thank you for the drinks and the help, but that is one of the prices you pay for pasture raising pork."

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.

Farmers markets

Wednesday: Center Market, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., The Mall at Sears, Benson Boulevard and Denali Street; Northway Mall Wednesday Farmers Market, Northway Mall parking lot, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; South Anchorage Farmers Market, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., behind the Dimond Center; Wasilla Farmers Market, 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., behind the Wasilla Public Library

Thursday: Peters Creek Farmers Market, 3-7 p.m., American Legion Post 33

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; Eagle River Farmers Market, in front of Mike's Meats, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.; Farm Market at the Barn, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Glacier Valley Farm, Glenn Highway and Inner Springer Loop Road; 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