Sparc cooks up salmon; Spenard jams with jazz

Steve Edwards

Last Saturday's farmers' markets were only for the hardy -- shoppers and vendors.

Says Sarah Bean of Arctic Organics and the Anchorage Farmers Market: "We and the veggies are loving the lull after the tempestuous storm we had at the end of last week. Beautiful sunny weather paired with dark, moist soil -- what could be better for plant production? "

Says Arthur Keyes of the Glacier Valley Farm and the South Anchorage Farmers Market: "Last Saturday's weather was one for the record books. Customer turnout was surprisingly good; as one customer put it, 'You guys are true Alaskans!'"

Keyes says the South Anchorage Farmers Market will have a pair of special vendors this weekend.

The Arc of Anchorage will be at the market with artwork for sale and working artists from its Sparc art gallery and studio. Sparc opened in early May in downtown, providing a location for Arc artists to get greater exposure.

The second special vendor is the Alaska Marine Conservation Council, which will host a salmon cooking demonstration featuring chef Clayton Jones of Crossbar restaurant.

Among the regular vendors are Rempel Family Farm with "an abundance of greens like arugula, green and purple mizuna, several kales, radishes, our ever-changing salad mix and about eight different kinds of last year's potatoes. The potatoes have an amazing sweetness and flavor from being stored at cold temperatures," Mark Rempel says.

Keyes' Glacier Valley Farm will have English cucumbers and other items. "The hanging (tomato) baskets are either yellow or red cherry tomatoes, the yellow are some of the tastiest cherry tomatoes ever," he says. "Our new item this year is our hanging lettuce baskets. These have nine different varieties of mixed greens; these can be harvested throughout the season for a sustainable salad."

As summer really starts to kick in, Arctic Choice Seafoods will have a nice selection of options. "The sun is back out and Copper River sockeyes are still coming in," Arctic Choice's Kristy Schenk says. "(We) will have a huge salmon selection for this weekend. For starters, we will have the Copper River and Seldovia Point sockeyes. The beautiful Bear Cove kings have found their way back to the market. Don't forget king salmon heads will be available" along with Prince William Sound side-stripes, rockfish, halibut, sablefish and a variety of frozen seafood.

Joan's Jams and Jellies will have local honey, a limited supply of fresh made jams and jellies, barley cereal from Delta Junction, sweet dill pickles, vegetable starts, flower baskets and heirloom tomato plants.

Also look for Gray Owl Farm, Flattop Farm, Non-Essentials, Alaska Vegan & Gluten Free, Alaska Sprouts, Sweet and Sassy Kettle Corn, The Blue Poppy, Northern Lights Mushrooms, Drool Central and several other vendors.

The Anchorage Farmers Market will have Arctic Organics, Bushes Bunches, The Persistent Farmer, Northern Flowers, Vang Family Home Garden, The Magpie, Turkey Red baked goods and ACAT's compost tea.

Bean says to expect pac choi, mizuna, arugula, greens mix and lettuces this week "as we move out of the greenhouse and into the cold frame and field." She will also offer hanging baskets of flowers, herbs, nasturtiums and petunias, some tomato plants and blooming apple trees.

Rob Wells, The Persistent Farmer, will also have hanging baskets - filled with tomatoes and "the last 30 dahlia starts," he says.

While some markets shut down during last weekend's wicked weather, vendors and shoppers at the Center Market enjoyed the comfort of the year-round indoor market.

That market will feature a new vendor, La Grassa, which sells handmade pasta.

Duane Clark's Country Health Foods will have grass-fed beef, jams and Alaska Sprouts products.

Alaska Vegan & Gluten Free will have red lentil dahl, carrot ginger soup, split pea soup, red beans and rice topped with pico de gallo, homemade corn tortilla chips and other items.

A.D. Farm will have fresh eggs, pork chops, roast, steak, sausage, potatoes and beets.

The Spenard Jazz Fest will be one of Saturday's highlights at the Spenard Farmers Market. The Jam Jar will take place during the market. More information on the music festival is available at

As for vendors, look for WoolWood Studios and Gardens with perennials, lilies and herbs; the Ba-Lescas Brothers, Brown Dog Farm, Chugach Farm and Farm Dreams with lots of spring mixes; Mobile Mending with a portable sewing machine; Linda Lew's Tamales with breakfast burritos and award-winning salsa; Fire Island Rustic Bakeshop; and Fishalicious with fresh Copper River smoked salmon sliders, Alaskan king crab and Alaskan smoked salmon chowder.

Three new vendors are lined up for the Mat-Su Farm Market on Monday in Palmer.

River Garden Greenhouse will have basil, tomatoes, strawberries, shooting stars, and lilacs ; La Grassa will have hand-crafted pasta, and WoolWood Studio and Garden will have Alaska grown perennials and herb starts.

Steve Edwards lives and writes in Anchorage. Contact him at

• Monday: Mat-Su Farm Market, 11 a.m. to 7 p.m., Palmer Depot

• Wednesday: Center Market, 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Mall at Sears, Benson Boulevard and Denali Street

• Thursday: Peters Creek American Legion Post 33 Farmers Market, 3-7 p.m., 21643 Old Glenn Highway

• 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., 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 streetsLocal farmers markets


Daily News correspondent