The harvest season is wrapping up. Not only are several farmers markets closing down, but it's also OxtoberFest time.
Yes, Alaska Farmland Trust and the Musk Ox Farm are celebrating all things musk ox and farming at the third annual OxtoberFest on Saturday. There are just a few tickets left for the "all-Alaska-grown feast," highlighting local cabbage, potatoes and bratwurst, says Amy Pettit, executive director of Alaska Farmland Trust.
Since it's so popular, best to mark your 2018 calendar right now. Visit akfarmland.com for more information about this year's festival.
Farmers and farmers market organizers know that things are drawing to a close on the Alaska growing season.
"It's squirrel-away time at the market," says Sarah Bean of Arctic Organics and the Anchorage Farmers Market.
"Whew, another outdoor season is in the books," says Julie Meer of Farm 779. "Man, summer went by way too fast this time. It's our last Saturday outside for the 2017 season! Come out and celebrate the abundance of the season."
And Barbara Landi says of the final South Anchorage Farmers Market of the year: "We've been lucky with the weather all year, so (we) hope to eke out one more good-weather day this weekend."
South Anchorage Farmers Market
As the South market wraps up, Landi says there will still be lots of items to grab.
"Farmers are still bringing plenty of late-season crops like potatoes, carrots and those terrific 'sweet and dirty' Yensis onions," Landi says. "Carrots will be available in bulk 25-pound bags. Cabbage family crops are plentiful. Our northern farmer friend, John Dart, returns on the long trip from Manley with yet more beautiful pumpkins and winter squash, plus greenhouse tomatoes too."
Among the vendors are Farm 779 with loads of fermented foods, including kimchis, krauts and blends available in half-gallon, quarts and pints. Farm also has coconut kefirs, dips and ginger turmeric kombucha. Farm 779 is also at the Thankful Thursdays market. Arctic Choice has a variety of coho salmon, halibut from Nuka Bay and oysters from Karheen Passage. Rempel Family Farm has loads of veggies, including buttercup squash for the first time this year. Other produce highlights include carrots, parsnips, acorn squash, spaghetti squash, cauliflower, cucumbers and herbs.
Anchorage Farmers Market
Bean says Arctic Organics is "bringing in the last of the basil in bulk quantities for pesto-making, along with loads of cabbages, kale, potatoes and other root crops. We were gratified to have had our first real frost over last weekend once most of our vulnerable crops were safe and sound in our storage shed, and not in the field! We are allowing the crops that benefit from a little frost to stay there, though, like kale, Brussels sprouts and leeks."
In addition to the above items, look for carrots, beets, onions, scallions, red bell peppers, tomatoes, kohlrabi, turnips, rutabaga, arugula, greens mix, baby spinach, rainbow chard, collards, mache, watercress, mustard greens and plenty of herbs.
Other vendors include Ed & Tina's Krauts & Pickles, Happy Valley Chickens' eggs, Mom's Garden, Persistent Farmer, Seldovitsch Farm, Stockwell Farm, Sun Fire Ridge, Turkey Red Café breads and treats, Vang Family Farm, and VanderWeele Farm.
Alex Davis says things continue to be busy on the farm. "The potatoes are picked for the winter and this week we will start pulling carrots for storage," he says.
This week's vegetables include cabbage, cucumbers, kohlrabi, beets, cauliflower, broccoli, lettuce, collards, kale, potatoes, acorn squash and carrots. He also has plenty of pork cuts, including thick-cut chops, along with eggs, grass-fed beef and raspberry jam.
Davis also carries a variety of items from Tonia's Biscotti, Evie's Brinery, Mosquito, Alaska Sprouts and Alaska Flour Co. barley products.
Alaska Seeds of Change will be at Saturday's Center Market with indoor-grown Alaska strawberries, a wide selection of herbs and leafy greens, including arugula, kales, lettuce mix and Swiss chard. Alaska Seeds of Change is also is the APU Farmers Market on Wednesday.
Steve Edwards lives and writes in Anchorage. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Local farmers markets
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
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; 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.; South Anchorage Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., O'Malley Sports Center
Sunday in Anchorage: Fourth Avenue Indoor Market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., 333 W. Fourth Ave.