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Food and Drink

Market Fresh: Colorful produce and fresh fish abound at farmers markets

  • Author: Donna Freedman
  • Updated: August 9, 2017
  • Published August 8, 2017

A table laden with zucchini is offered by Glacier Valley Farm of Palmer, one of three vendors at the South Anchorage Farmers Market on Sept. 4, 2013, in front of the Dimond Hotel. (Erik Hill / ADN archive 2013)

Last week at the South Anchorage Farmers Market, I bought a $3 head of cauliflower that weighed 3.25 pounds. That's cheaper than the supermarket – and miles fresher.

To make that cauliflower and other veggies even more cost-effective, try chef Tamar Adler's recipe for garlicky leaf, stem and core pesto. The dish, from "An Everlasting Meal: Cooking With Economy and Grace," is both simple and delicious. Economical, too, since it uses items that would otherwise be tossed.

Garlicky leaf, stem and core pesto

4 to 5 cups stems, leaves and cores of any combination of cauliflower, broccoli, kale, collards, chard and cabbage

3 cloves garlic

½ cup olive oil

½ teaspoon salt

Slice or dice the vegetables and greens into ½-inch pieces. Put them and the other ingredients into a pan, and add water to cover halfway. Cook at below a simmer until everything is soft, adding water if needed (but only enough to keep the mixture from burning).

Puree in a blender or food processor or smash with a wooden spoon. Serve on toast or crackers (sprinkled with grated Parmesan if you like), or add a cup of grated Parmesan and mix it with hot pasta. You can also serve this as a side dish with meat or fish.

Speaking of fish: The season is transitioning from fresh sockeye to fresh coho. "This week we will have both available, headed and cleaned or as fillets," says Dannon Southall of 10th and M Seafoods.

Fresh halibut is arriving daily and will be available headed and cleaned as 10- to 20-pound and 20- to 40-pound specimens. The Prince William Sound side stripe shrimp season is winding down, however: "This week and next are the last two weeks to enjoy these sweet, cold-water shrimp," he says.

Muldoon Farmers Market

Bring your cameras as well as your shopping bags.

"We've got color!" says market spokesperson Jerrian Lowther.

Think: maroon beets, purple cauliflower, green and yellow zucchini, red cabbage, Yukon gold spuds. Heirloom tomatoes will go beyond the usual stop-sign red. Green will be well represented, in both leaf and herb varieties.

An unusual one, perilla, is a Korean herb in the mint family that's eaten raw in salads and sashimi, pickled with soy sauce, added to hot pots and used as a garnish.

Other fresh vegetables include sugar snap peas, snow apple turnips, green beans, celery and sweet onions. "Our list of farmers and gardeners keeps growing as late-summer crops ripen," Lowther says.

Dinkel's Veggies still has strawberries for sale, along with carrots, pickling cucumbers, green and yellow zucchini, new potatoes, broccoli, cauliflower and sweet onions. The growers will also be selling at the Saturday Market and Spenard Farmers Market on Saturday, and the Northway Mall and Wasilla and Wasilla Lake markets on Wednesday.

Varied crops add color to a farm field on Thursday, August 3, 2017, along Inner Springer Loop in Palmer. (Erik Hill / Alaska Dispatch News)

Anchorage Farmers Market

Although heavy dew signals cooler nights (and impending autumn), Sarah Bean of Arctic Organics looks on the bright side: Sunny days and cool nights will "stimulate more crops to mature."

"It's an exciting time," says Bean, who's bringing a ton of new stuff to market this week.

Plenty of color here, too: baby golden beets and orange carrots, red and green cabbage, five shades of cauliflower, red beets, celery, rainbow chard, broccoli, zucchini, snow apple turnips and kohlrabi.

Look for tons of greens, too: half a dozen lettuces, spinach, broccoli rabe, collards, radicchio, watercress, sorrel, baby and bunched arugula, mixed greens, and Toscano, green and red kale. Expect to see a lot of "big and bountiful" basil plus dill, parsley, thyme, oregano, chives, sage, chervil and cilantro.

South Anchorage Farmers Market

Arctic Choice is bringing in coho and sockeye salmon plus rockfish, sablefish and halibut. This week the stand will also have oysters from Kahreen Passage (off Prince of Wales Island) and Simpson Bay as well as side stripe shrimp from Prince William Sound, in addition to the usual frozen scallops, razor clams and red king crab.

Farm 779 presents its usual array of ketogenic snacks, whole-food probiotics and personal care products. Expect to see krauts, fermented vegetables, kvass, full-fat MCT coconut kefirs, teas and vegan and gluten-free cookies and snack mixes.

Rempel Family Farm is selling certified organic carrots, sugar snap peas, kohlrabi, broccoli, snow apple turnips, white and Romanesco cauliflower, salad mixes, cucumbers, numerous greens, green and purple bunch onions and new potatoes. As usual, the stand will have grass-fed and organic yak meat, with no hormones or antibiotics.

Drool Central dog treats (both fresh and frozen) and dog meals will be available.

Products like Fish Chips (cod skins), "Pupsicles" (homemade chicken and salmon broth, frozen) and Pumpkin Chicken "Muttfins" are made from Alaska-harvested ingredients such as fish, potatoes, carrots, beets, barley and greens and are free of corn, soy and wheat.

Center Market

Browse among the broccoli, red beets, several types of lettuces, chard, spinach, kale, rhubarb, snow apple turnips and sugar and snap peas.

You know what goes well with fresh peas? New potatoes – and the Center Market will have the Yukon gold and German butterball varieties. Or go for animal protein: corn- and soy-free duck and chicken eggs, grass-fed beef, ham steaks, several types of sausage, chorizo, fajita meat and thick-cut pork chops. You can also order a custom box of meats.

Tonia's Biscotti will be selling peppermint, mandarin, chocolate and other flavors. Evie's Brinery offers treats like ginger citrus carrots, lemon dill kraut and Alaska kimchi. Stock up on sprouts, microgreens, tofu and basil from Alaska Sprouts.

Thankful Thursdays

Farm 779 will have citrus kefir for sale this week along with the usual full-fat kefir, and several other citrus-flavored items such as salt-preserved lemons and lemon summer kraut. Valley-grown fermented veggies and krauts, beet kvass and triple-fermented kombucha tea will also be available. The stand features ketogenic snacks in flavors like cacao chip and bacon.

Donna Freedman lives and writes in Anchorage, and blogs at

Local farmers markets

Monday in the Valley: Colony Farmers Market, noon-7 p.m., Palmer Depot.

Tuesday outside of Anchorage: Eagle River Farmers Market, 3-7 p.m., Eagle River VFW Post; Farmers Fresh Market, 3-6 p.m., 33955 Community College Drive, Soldotna.

Wednesday in Anchorage: APU Farmers Market, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., 4225 University Drive; Center Market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., The Mall at Sears, Benson Boulevard and Denali Street; Farmers Market at Airport Heights, 3-7 p.m., 2530 E. 16th Ave.

Wednesday outside of Anchorage: Highway's End Farmers Market, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Delta Junction; Homer Farmers Market, 2-6 p.m., Ocean Drive; Soldotna Wednesday Market, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Soldotna Creek Park; Tanana Valley Farmer's Market, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., 2600 College Road, Fairbanks.

Thursday in Anchorage: Mountain View Farmers Market, 3-7 p.m., 3543 Mountain View Drive; Thankful Thursdays market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., The Mall at Sears, Benson Boulevard and Denali Street.

Thursday outside of Anchorage: Peters Creek Farmers Market, 3-8 p.m., American Legion Post 33.

Friday in Anchorage: Center Market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., The Mall at Sears, Benson Boulevard and Denali Street; Fourth Avenue Indoor Market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., 333 W. Fourth Ave., Suite 200.

Saturday in Anchorage: Anchorage Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., 15th Avenue and Cordova Street; Anchorage Market & Festival, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Third Avenue between C and E streets; Center Market, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., The Mall at Sears, Benson Boulevard and Denali Street; Fourth Avenue Indoor Market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., 33 W. Fourth Ave., Suite 200; Muldoon Farmers Market, 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Begich Middle School; 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; Homer Farmers Market, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Ocean Drive; Kenai's Saturday Market, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitor Center; Soldotna Saturday Farmers Market, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., East Corral Avenue and Kenai Spur Highway; 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; Fourth Avenue Indoor Market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., 33 W. Fourth Ave., Suite 200.

Sunday outside of Anchorage: Tanana Valley Farmer's Market, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., 2600 College Road, Fairbanks.