Some people cook with smoke all year long. But the grilling season traditionally opens on Memorial Day weekend — and the Copper River fishery is ready to provide.
"You could not have a more exciting week in the seafood world," says Dannon Southall of 10th & M Seafoods.
Fresh kings and sockeyes from the Copper River will be sold as fillets or as whole, headed fish. In addition, fresh troll-caught kings from Southeast are averaging about 15 pounds. A fair number of white king salmon have been among the catch, according to Southall; call ahead for availability.
From the Prince William Sound area come spot and side-stripe shrimp, and 10th & M will also be selling fresh halibut and true cod from the Gulf of Alaska.
Seafood will also wind up at the South Anchorage and Spenard markets; see below for details.
A new downtown market
Apparently, half a dozen farmers markets just weren't enough to keep us in cabbage and potatoes. A new one, the Fourth Avenue Indoor Market, opened recently in downtown Anchorage.
As its name indicates, the market operates inside the Fourth Avenue Marketplace, 33 W. Fourth Ave. That's good news, given our recent drizzly days. In the summer, the vendors are expected to move out to the wide sidewalks behind the building.
Just as with the other markets at this time of year, the fresh-produce pickings are a little slim. Expect to see the vegetable offerings pick up here (and elsewhere) in the next few weeks as Southcentral Alaska greens up.
For now, A.D. Farms will be selling fresh lettuce and eggs, along with purple carrots and Yukon Gold, Fiesta and German Butterball potatoes from the root cellar. NonEssentials will bring items like birch syrup, Alaska Pure salts, gourmet teas and coffees, and Alaska gifts. Voodoo Chocolates will sell handmade truffles and chocolate bars, and Jonesers Alaskan Valley Nectars will offer jellies, teas and, of course, nectars.
In the non-food categories, you'll see things like handmade cards from L Cheapo Cards Co.; prints and books from Wayward Winds Studio of Art; organic sugar scrubs from Judy's Homemade; and glass ornaments, baby blankets, Alaska Native jewelry, knitted items and quilts.
The market operates from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Friday through Saturday.
Don't want fish for Memorial Day? Try pork. At the Center Market, Alex Davis is selling ribs, fajita cuts, chorizo, pork chops, loin roasts, several kinds of sausage and other products from his heritage breed, pasture-raised pigs.
Among the veggie choices: microgreens and tofu from Alaska Sprouts; fresh lettuce, several varieties of potato, purple carrots, and krauts, kimchi and flavored carrots and kale from Evie's Brinery. Also available are grass-fed beef, fresh lettuce, raspberry jam, barley products, Tonia's Biscotti, local honey, Squeal dog treats, and eggs from ducks, geese and chickens.
On "Thankful Thursday" at The Mall at Sears, Julie Meer of Farm 779 will have her original kimchi recipe, made with a long, low-temperature lactofermentation method, along with other cabbage-based krauts and kimchis. In addition she'll offer four types of coconut kefir, ginger-turmeric kombucha, beet kvass, and vegan and gluten-free snacks.
Anxious to get your hands in the soil? Meer will have veggie starts and sunflowers and dahlias.
Duane Clark will be on hand with grass-fed beef and yak, along with scallops and black cod fillets. He'll also stock chicken and duck eggs, zucchini relish, salsa, jams, and local honey and honeycomb.
Spenard Farmers Market
It's all greens all the time when Alaska Seeds of Change sets up shop under the white windmill. This week's offerings include butter crunch and Salanova lettuces, Siberian and red Russian kale, rainbow chard and bok choy. Add interest and flavor to your salads with fresh dill, chives, chervil and Genovese basil. Or toss on some of the Prince William Sound shrimp offered at the market.
Non-food items include handmade soap, artwork, clothing, garden decor, jewelry and kuspuks.
South Anchorage Farmers Market
Farm 779 will bring the same kinds of goods to South Anchorage on Saturday. Drool Central will also be on hand with dog food and treats made with Alaska-grown barley and vegetables and Alaska-caught fish – but without salt, corn, soy, wheat, or artificial preservatives, colors or flavorings.
Arctic Choice will set up shop with Copper River sockeye and king salmon and many other fishy options. Among them: side-stripe and spot shrimp, halibut, cod, rockfish, sablefish, oysters, scallops, red king crab legs (and "broken pieces" of same), and a variety of smoked and stuffed fish.
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
Friday through Sunday in Anchorage: Fourth Avenue Indoor Market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m. all three days, Fourth Avenue Marketplace, 333 W. Fourth Ave., Suite 200
Saturday in Anchorage: Center Market, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., The Mall at Sears, Benson Boulevard and Denali Street. Also: Anchorage Farmers Market, 15th Avenue and Cordova Street, 9 a.m.-2 p.m.; Anchorage Market & Festival, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Third Avenue between C and E streets; South Anchorage Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., O'Malley Sports Center; Spenard Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., 2555 Spenard Road.
Saturday outside of Anchorage: Highway's End Farmers Market, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Delta Junction; Tanana Valley Farmer's Market, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., 2600 College Road, Fairbanks
Sunday in Anchorage: Anchorage Market & Festival, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Third Avenue between C and E streets
Sunday outside of Anchorage: Tanana Valley Farmer's Market, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., 2600 College Road