Market Fresh: Salmon catches picking up; more vendors joining Center Market

Steve Edwards

The Great Alaska Sportsman Show has come and gone. The snow continues to melt. And there are better seafood options in the stores.

Spring must be close.

"Spring is knocking on the door and it seems winter won't let it in, but we do see changes happening in the seafood business around Alaska," says John Jackson of New Sagaya Markets. "The herring seem to be returning in good numbers, and there have been a lot more catches of troll-caught king salmon along with it. Trolls have loosened up in the last week as they chase their food into inside waters. Pricing is still a little high, but it is dropping a little as more product is available on the marketplace."

So get in line for some fresh king salmon. And there are some other good choices too.

"Black cod has been making an appearance as well and is now available fresh in both stores," Jackson says of New Sagaya. "In my opinion, black cod is one of the best seafood products we have in Alaska, if not the world."

Also look for fresh Alaska grey cod at $5.99 per pound and fresh rockfish fillets at $8.99 per pound or whole fish at $2.99 per pound.

And halibut prices are holding steady.

"Halibut landings have been quiet and the reduction in quota this year of 6 million pounds compared to last year's quota will not help pricing," Jackson says. "That being said, whole 10- to 20-pound-size fish will be at $10.99 per pound and we will cut for free in both stores."

And the stores have some nice exotic fish too. Poki, marlin and swordfish are available.

Center Market

Duane Clark says to look for new vendors this week, including Monica's Confection Connection with peanut brittle in four flavors; Julie Meers and Choose Food Wisely with coconut kefir and other probiotic creations; and Monica Estill with her illustrated book and cards.

Clark's Country Health Foods will have Alaska Sprouts products, along with yak meat, Kodiak scallops, sockeye salmon, fresh shrimp, grass-fed beef and free-range chicken.

Jonsers will be at the market with handmade nectar and loose leaf tea.

"Our product of the week is Hatcher Pass blueberry nectar. ... Picked from the pass and surrounding area," says Gail Jones.

Alaska Vegan & Gluten Free will offer roasted beets and sweet potato soup, carrot ginger soup, tomato vegetable lentil soup, chunky split pea soup, red lentil dahl, spaghetti sauce, red beans and brown rice with pico de gallo, fresh pico de gallo, homemade corn chips, lemon garlic hemp seed salad dressing, breads (with or without rosemary) and lemon cupcakes with vegan cream cheese frosting.

"Starting this week, I am increasing production so there will be more of everything, especially the bread which I can't keep on the shelf," says owner Kristin Donaldson. However, she still recommends contacting her in advance to set aside items. Her email is

Drool Central will have locally made dog treats and food, created with Alaska fish and many Alaska-grown vegetables.

A.D. Farm will have barley products, their regular lineup of pork products, carrots, potatoes and beets.

"My pig population is currently stagnant, meaning that we loaded five in the trailer to be butchered on Sunday night; I went out to the barn Monday morning to check on things to find five new pigs snuggled in the hay next to their mom," Alex Davis says.

Rempel Family Farm will be at Wednesday's market with eight varieties of potatoes, stripetti squash and beets.

This week, Earthworks Farm offers Abeille Alaska moisturizing cream in the tall jars, while supplies last, along with regular-size options too. They will also have their Stinkweed Balm, which Dee Barker describes this way: "We have an Alaska Native recipe for muscle and tendon aches and pains, that we call 'Stinkweed Balm.' Stinkweed is the local term used for a type of wormwood plant that grows here in Alaska. Some of our friends have used our balm for arthritis pains and have found it to be helpful."

In addition to the Wednesday Center Market, Earthworks will also have the body care items at the Exchange Mall on Joint Base Elmendorf- Richardson on Thursdays to Saturdays.

The Center Market is open 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Wednesdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays.

Market is headed outdoors in Palmer

The Mat-Su Farm Market is headed outdoors Monday. To celebrate the fresh air, the market will have a drawing for a basket of market goodies. The market is open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the pavilion near the Palmer Depot.

Two new vendors are joining the market -- Ewe-Topia Farms and Raven Glassworks. Ewe-Topia will have a variety of potted flowers, along with flats of flowers, herbs and vegetables. Raven Glassworks will have Alaska-themed handcrafted glasswork.

Other vendors will have fresh food, including gluten-free baked items; storage vegetables; fresh handmade bread; coconut kefir; smoked salmon; jams; goat milk soaps; and plenty of other items.

Steve Edwards lives and writes in Anchorage. Contact him at

Daily News correspondent