It's a colorful time in Alaska. The birch and cottonwood trees are turning a beautiful yellow. And the mountains have a reddish hue.
And the farmers markets are following nature's lead — purple potatoes; carrots in orange, purple, yellow and white; cauliflower in colors way beyond the traditional white; and heirloom tomatoes in just about every imaginable shade.
And, of course, flowers always pack a beautiful array of colors.
"As with most crops this year, the dahlia bloom has been slow, but there are many amazing flowers opening now," says Rob Wells, The Persistent Farmer. "I will be at the Anchorage Farmers Market every week until mid-October with the colorful flowers. I will also have stems at the Spenard market for the next few weeks."
Get your color fix at your local market. Following are some highlights.
Mountain View Farmers Market
The season is coming to a close at the Mountain View Farmers Market this week.
"Fresh International Gardens will be hosting a fall party with Anchorage Community Land Trust as we celebrate the end of a great season, and our partnership with Catholic Social Services to develop an urban farm on-site," says Market Manager Mahdi Akal.
The Fresh International Gardens will have broccoli, radishes, salad mix, chard, kale, collards, cucumber, lettuce, herbs, sugar snap peas, turnips and a variety of other items.
Anchorage Farmers Market
Sarah Bean of Arctic Organics says she was caught a little off guard by a quick dip in temperatures.
"We had a surprise light frost last Friday," Bean says. "But the crops pulled through just fine, and have had plenty of overnight temperatures over 40 degrees since then to regain their vigor."
Arctic Organics will be joined at the market by Brown Dog Farm, Ed & Tina's Krauts & Pickles, Happy Valley Chickens' eggs, Mom's Garden, Seldovitsch Farm, Stockwell Farm, Sun Fire Ridge, Turkey Red Café breads and treats, Vang Family Farm, and VanderWeele Farm.
Some fresh-from-the-field produce includes potatoes, zucchini, two varieties of turnips, three varieties of beets, orange and purple carrots, onions, leeks, four varieties of kale, mache and plenty of other options.
South Anchorage Farmers Market
The Wednesday and Saturday markets will feature a variety of vendors.
On Wednesday, look for Two Sisters Farm, Stockwell Farm, Earthworks Farm, Glacier Valley Farm, Farm 779 and Far North Fungi.
On Saturday, it's Northern Flowers with heirloom tomatoes, cucumbers and peppers; Zoi Food for Life with breads, butter and baklava; Rise & Shine Bakery with levain, spent grain, Alaska potato and chive, fresh rosemary, and raisin and toasted pecan loaves; Sweet Caribou with loads of sweet macarons; and plenty of farmers with a huge selection of produce — some farms include Black Bear Farm, Rempel Family Farm, Sun Circle Farm, Two Sisters Farm, Earthworks Farm, Glacier Valley Farm and Pam's Veggies.
Alex Davis of A.D. Farm will have fresh eggs, pork cuts, grass-fed beef, live lettuce and loads of vegetables. From his fields this week are red and green cabbage, zucchini, green beans, cucumbers, kohlrabi, sugar snap peas, red beets, golden beets, four varieties of cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce, collards, kale, strawberries, rhubarb, snow apple turnips, salad mix, purple carrots, spaghetti squash, acorn squash and a huge variety of potatoes.
Davis also has products from Evie's Brinery, Tonia's Biscotti, Alaska Sprouts, Mosquito Mama and Alaska Flour Co.
Muldoon Farmers Market
Jerrianne Lowther says that "root crops shine as fall crops come in — multiple colors of carrots and beets and potatoes."
Other produce includes cabbage, kohlrabi, picking cucumbers, tomatoes, peas, huge broccoli, squash, pumpkins, fresh bread from Paris Bakery, vegan breads, chocolate chip cookies and spice blends.
Duane Clark says he will have "apples for eating, sauce and pies." Along with the apples, he will have tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, zucchini, cauliflower, broccoli, cabbage, local honey, jams, salsa, and grass-fed beef and yak.
Julie Meer of Farm 779 says the market "is the place to find your ketogenic compliant snacks and cookies. If you're missing the simple pleasures of rich, satisfying chocolate and bacon and savory flavors, we have you covered."
Meer also plans to have Old World-style ferments including kefirs, krauts, kimchi and preserved lemons. Look for Farm 779 at both South Anchorage Farmers Markets too.
Spenard Farmers Market
It's definitely harvest season for the farmers at the Spenard Market.
"Now is the time to check out the biggest supply of produce that the Spenard Farmers Market has seen all season," says Market Manager Andrea Trent. "Our farm booths are overflowing with Alaska grown greens, herbs, apples, berries and vegetables of all varieties. You'll also find Alaska raised beef products, brined pork chops, eggs by the dozen and kombucha on tap."
Trent highlights Dinkel's Veggies, Chugach Farms, the Ba-lescas Brothers, Brown Dog Farm, Midnight Sun Farm, Wild Rose Natural Harvests, Four Tern Farm and Alaska Seeds of Change, along with The Persistent Farmer and his fresh-cut dahlias.
Steve Edwards lives and writes in Anchorage. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Local farmers markets
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.; Northway Mall Wednesday Market, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Northway Mall; South Anchorage Wednesday Market, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., near Dimond Center Hotel
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; Tanana Valley Farmer's Market, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., 2600 College Road, Fairbanks; Wasilla Farmers Market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Iditapark.
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.
Saturday in Anchorage: Anchorage Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., 15th Avenue and Cordova Street; 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., 333 W. Fourth Ave.; 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; Tanana Valley Farmer's Market, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., 2600 College Road, Fairbanks.
Sunday in Anchorage: Fourth Avenue Indoor Market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., 333 W. Fourth Ave.
Sunday outside of Anchorage: Tanana Valley Farmer's Market, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., 2600 College Road, Fairbanks.