The sun is shining a little brighter these days.
The Tour of Anchorage and the Iditarod Trail Sled-Dog Race start are this weekend. Spring must be in the air.
Of course, the reality is that Alaskans are a long way from digging in the dirt. But good farmers market news is still available.
Fresh this week at the Center Market at The Mall at Sears are three new items offered by S.J. Klein of Alaska Sprouts. He will be offering micro-arugula greens ("These are baby first mature leaves of arugula. Really peppery and fun!" he says), rainbow beet greens ("Deep green leaves with multi-colored veins") and corn shoots. "This is really just an experiment," he says. "We'll only have five containers or so. Corn shoots are super sweet and tender -- somewhere between wheatgrass and table sugar in flavor."
The regular items offered by Alaska Sprouts include butter and Romaine lettuce; bean, clover and onion sprouts; sunflower and pea shoots; micro mustard greens; three-bean mixture; fresh tofu; and live basil plants.
The market will have its regular lineup of vendors.
Rempel Family Farm: snow apple turnips; daikon radish; green cabbage; stripetti squash; sugar pumpkins; red, Chioggia and golden beets; and nine varieties of potatoes.
Country Health Foods: Grass-fed beef, Alaska seafood, local duck and chicken, raw honey and goat cheese. "The chickens that lay our eggs are molting so the availability of chicken eggs is lower," says Duane Clark. "This is a great time to try duck eggs. Duck eggs are sometimes a good fit for people that are sensitive to chicken eggs."
Earthworks Farm: Beeswax and honey skin lotions and products.
AD Farm: Duck and chicken eggs; barley flour and cereal; pork chops, roast, loin, steak, breakfast sausage patties, Italian sausage, spicy sausage, ground pork, fresh side slice and slab; carrots; golden beets; cabbage; parsnips; and fingerling and peanut potatoes.
Clark, one of the market organizers, says that chef Flora Deacon will be at the market on Wednesday preparing Alaska root vegetables for shoppers to sample. It's a great opportunity to see how to use those beets, carrots, parsnips and other tasty treats.
Spenard Farmers Market opens May 18
The Spenard Farmers Market, which recently had its first volunteer meeting of the year, has established its summertime schedule and will open the year Saturday, May 18. The last market is Sept. 28. Market hours are 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. The market takes place in the Chilkoot Charlie's parking lot on Spenard Road at 26th Avenue.
"The Spenard Farmers Market is proud to announce we received the 2012 Grass Roots Initiative Award from the Alaska Chapter of the American Planning Association and was voted Best Farmers Market by Anchorage residents," says Cindy Shake, Community and Media Relations Volunteer. "The market will have many new and returning vendors selling a variety of goods from some of our finest farmers, growers, food vendors and artisans. We have scheduled a full calendar of events and entertainment for 2013."
New vendor applications can be found on at spenard farmersmarket.org.
Rob Wells will begin distributing pre-ordered dahlia tubers March 6 at The Center Market.
"March is a good time to get them started in pots for July blooms," he says.
Visit thepersistentfarmer.com for more information.
Get your seafood
Johnson's Seafood, which sets up in parking lots all over Southcentral, will have several options this week including, Kodiak scallops in two sizes, spot shrimp, king crab, headed and gutted black cod, cold smoked king salmon and Cook Inlet razor clams.
They will be at The Mall at Sears on Wednesday, in Big Lake on Thursday, at the Lucky Wishbone in Anchorage on Friday and at the Mercantile in Girdwood on Saturday. They are open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Steve Edwards lives and writes in Anchorage. If you have a suggestion for a future Market Fresh column, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By STEVE EDWARDS
Daily News correspondent