Tax time is over, the sun is shining, and tasty shrimp are being pulled from Prince William Sound.
It's a great time to live in Southcentral Alaska.
"The spot shrimp fishery in Prince William Sound opened this past Saturday and we have received our first delivery," said Dannon Southall of 10th & M Seafoods. "These amazing cold-water tails will be in house all week.
"There are a few things that make these shrimp so popular. The first is the size; these are a large to extra-large shrimp, so unlike the farm shrimp, where you have to eat a bunch of them for a meal, you only need a few. Also, since they are a cold-water shrimp, they are going to be sweeter and a lot more firm than any farm shrimp."
Joining the spot shrimp at the local fish market are fresh troll-caught king salmon from Southeast Alaska, which includes a nice mix of white kings, Southall said. He says they will have whole fish, which are averaging about 12 pounds, along with fillets. Fresh halibut as whole fish, fillets or halibut cheeks are in house all week too, Southall said. The halibut are averaging 10 to 20 pounds.
The Center Market is open Wednesday, Friday and Saturday. Vendors vary a little, but expect A.D. Farm all three days, while Monica's Confection Connection will be at the Wednesday and Saturday markets, Alaska Seeds of Change will be at Wednesday's market and the Rempel Family Farm will be at Saturday's.
Alex Davis of A.D. Farm is keeping busy "between birthings of goat and pigs." But he'll be at the markets with a booth full of Alaska farm products. He has cuts of his pasture-raised pork, including chops, loin roast, fresh side, ribs, liver, bratwurst, ground pork, a variety of sausages, feet and hocks. Davis also has orange and purple carrots, four varieties of potatoes, goose and chicken eggs, raspberry jam, honey, grass-fed beef, live Alaska-grown lettuce, Alaska Sprouts items, Alaska barley products, balsamic vinegar from Mosquito Mama, Tonia's Biscottis and a variety of items from Evie's Brinery, including Alaska kimchi, lemon and dill kraut and ginger citrus carrots.
Monica's Confection Connection will have gourmet brittles, regular and salted caramels, gummies, marshmallows and fudge. This week's fudge flavors include root beer float and mint chocolate.
The Rempels will be will have grass- and veggie-fed yak meat and a selection of storage crops. The vegetables include purple carrots, green cabbage, purple onions, winter squash, parsnips and 11 varieties of potatoes.
Lyndsey Kellard, farmer and youth coach for Alaska Seeds of Change, said they will be at Wednesday's market from 11 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. with red Russian kale, rainbow Swiss chard, bok choy, butter crunch lettuce, chives, chervil and dill. "We are now featuring a new juicing mix," Kellard said.
Duane Clark said that spring brings out "all of the best things … street sweepers, robins, Easter, geese, Little League Baseball, gardening" and even some great things at the farmers market.
Clark will be featuring Valley-raised meats, potatoes, salsa, zucchini relish and honey and honeycomb.
Julie Meer of Farm 779 said "the weather is beautiful here on Lazy Mountain. … Our overwintered bees are buzzing in the sunshine and my mind dreams of peonies, dahlias, fresh lettuce, some radishes and acres of wildflowers."
She said Farm 779 is restocked with its Dragon and Karnivore Krauts. "These unique-tasting salt brine blends are our original recipes," Meer said. "Each kraut pairs nicely with any diet, vegan or omnivore, for that just right splash of essential probiotic for your meal." She also has coconut kefir, kimchi, kombucha, kvass, and vegan and gluten-free snacks and breads.
Non Essentials will have olive oils, vinegars, birch and berry syrups, fresh-baked pies, zucchini bread, and chicken and duck eggs.
Three Bears Farm will have jams, while Drool Central will have a huge selection of treats for dogs.
Steve Edwards lives and writes in Anchorage. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Local farmers markets
Monday in the Valley: Colony Farmers Market, noon-6 p.m., 610 S. Valley Way, Palmer
Wednesday in Anchorage: Center Market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., The Mall at Sears, Benson Boulevard and Denali Street
Thursday in Anchorage: Thankful Thursdays market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., The Mall at Sears, Benson Boulevard and Denali Street
Friday in Anchorage: Center Market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., The Mall at Sears, Benson Boulevard and Denali Street
Saturday in Anchorage: Center Market, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., The Mall at Sears, Benson Boulevard and Denali Street