Market Fresh: Slow Copper River run has fish sellers looking elsewhere

Steve Edwards

The slow-arriving warm weather appears to have the Copper River salmon a bit confused.

The Copper River District's commercial fishery is closed as of noon Tuesday, and there was a 12-hour subsistence fishing opening Monday. The sonar count through Sunday was 73,130 fish, far short of the Alaska Department of Fish and Game's anticipated count of more than 211,000 fish.

"With the Copper River fishery on hold to allow the fish to get up the river and spawn we have had to look other places for fresh sockeyes," said Dannon Southall of 10th & M Seafoods in Anchorage.

The good news, Southall said, is that other fish aren't being as finicky as the Copper River salmon.

"The salmon are starting to show up around the state, allowing the fisherman to target these cold-water beauties," he said. "King salmon are the name of the game this week and will fit on top of any grill top perfectly. We will have net-caught kings in house all week long."

Southall said the kings are $10.95 per pound for headed and cleaned fish and $16.95 per pound for fillets. Troll-caught kings from Southeast are $21.95 per pound for fillets. Sockeye salmon also will be available headed and gutted or as fillets.

Gulf of Alaska halibut are $8.95 per pound for 10- to 20-pound fish or $16.95 per pound for fillets.

Farmers markets

And Southcentral farmers are finally getting things started -- a bit late.

"We're making great progress getting the field planted this week," said Sarah Bean of Arctic Organics and the Anchorage Farmers Market. "The light rain of last Sunday, followed by partially sunny weather is perfect to ease transplant shock, and to coerce the newly planted seeds to germinate.

"Alas, we are still waiting for the first field crops, which were only planted the last week of May, so produce shoppers will have to continue being patient!"

Bean said they will have greenhouse-grown arugula and basil, along with some of last season's potatoes. Gardeners can select from vegetable and flower seedlings, and new options include onion, parsley and fennel. Tomato plants and 11/2-gallon pots are also available, along with hanging baskets.

The Persistent Farmer will have a wide variety of tomato, potato an dahlia starts, along with landscaping ferns.

Other vendors include: Bushes Bunches, Seldovitch Farm, LivenGreen, Fee's Seafood, Turkey Red baked goods and ACAT compost tea.

Joining the party at the South Anchorage Farmers Market is the Rempel Family Farm with "a broad selection of last fall's potatoes along with any greens that happen to be big enough to harvest," said Mark Rempel.

"This is my record year for getting tractors stuck in the field. The cause is, of course, frost still being too close to the surface and holding too much water in the soil above, but things are improving dramatically now. The greens should be in next week."

Arctic Choice will have fresh sockeye salmon, king salmon, halibut, cod, rockfish, sablefish, shrimp, scallops, razor clam meat and other items.

Southfork will have a new supply of salmonberry, cranberry, blueberry and wild currant jellies, all freshly made from frozen berries harvested last fall.

Other vendors include Gray Owl Farm, Glacier Valley Farm, Non-Essentials, Green Winter Farm, Alaska Sprouts, Sweet and Sassy Kettle corn, Mat Valley Meats, Earthworks Farm, Country Garden Farm and The Blue Poppy.

The Spenard Jazz Fest will add to the fun at Saturday's Spenard Farmers Market. Music will be playing all day at the market.

Vendors to check out include the mobile Popcycle with handmade healthy, locally sourced popsicles sold from a retrofitted Schwinn bike with a sidecar attachment; Susan's Berry Patch will have strawberry and raspberry plants and seed potatoes; the Ba-Lescas Brothers booth will be offering Alaska Sprouts with fresh beet and sunflower sprouts; Glacier Seafood is pulling in shrimp pots to bring huge Alaska spot shrimp to the scales, while Alaska Gourmet will have Alaska crab, salmon, halibut, scallops and caviar; Fishalicious will be cooking up local Copper River smoked salmon sliders, Alaska king crab and Alaska smoked salmon chowder with sides of chips from the Alaska Chip Company.

Center Market

There is plenty going on inside The Mall at Sears for Wednesday's Center Market.

Duane Clark said he will have free-range duck; Alaska grass-fed beef; Alaska seafood, including spot shrimp, salmon and scallops; Alaska honey, jams and salsas; along with about 100 dozen chicken eggs and 10 dozen duck eggs.

Alex Davis and A.D. Farm will have pork products, including chops, steak and sausages; barley, barley flour and barley cereal from Delta; salad mix; and eggs.

Other vendors include Alaska Sprouts with sprouts, tofu, lettuces and fresh basil plants; Northern Lights Mushrooms with oyster and shiitake mushrooms; and Earthworks Farm with beeswax and honey skin lotions.

Spenard seafood jazz dip

 2 cups flaked Alaska crabmeat OR Alaska smoked salmon

 1/2 cup finely shredded cheddar cheese

 1/4 cup cream cheese, softened

 1/2 cup mayonnaise

 1/2 cup sour cream

 1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese

 1/2 cup chopped green onion

 1 teaspoon lemon juice

 1 teaspoon dill

 1/4 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce

 1/8 teaspoon garlic powder

 1/4 cup bread crumbs

w In a large bowl, mix all ingredients except bread crumbs until smooth.

w Spread in a 9-inch pie plate then sprinkle with bread crumbs. Cover and bake at 350 F for 15 minutes or until bubbly.

w Uncover and bake 5 minutes more. Serve with toasted baguette slices, crackers, fresh veggies. Makes 6-8 servings.

Source: Cindy Shake, Spenard Farmers Market community and media relations volunteer

Steve Edwards lives and writes in Anchorage. If you have a suggestion for a future Market Fresh column, please contact him at

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

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; 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

Market calendar

Daily News correspondent