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Food and Drink

A happy hour at one of Alaska’s biggest vegetable farms

  • Author: Steve Edwards
  • Updated: April 4, 2018
  • Published April 3, 2018

Alaska Farmland Trust is celebrating happy hour at the VanderWeele Farm's greenhouse on April 14.

The afternoon event features local food, music by The Carhartt Brothers and a variety of beer, cider and wine from local breweries. Forty VIP tickets are available for a behind-the-scenes tour with farmer Ben VanderWeele, beginning an hour before the doors open to general admission attendees.

There will be "all Alaska grown food, drink and music in the greenhouse of a farm that put Alaska grown on the map," says Amy Pettit, executive director of Alaska Farmland Trust. "This is a unique opportunity to get a close-up look at one of the largest and most successful vegetable farms in Alaska."

This fund-raiser includes one-of-a-kind door prizes, a live auction featuring gift baskets procured from local businesses and tasty desserts. General admission tickets are $50 per person, which includes one drink ticket and one door prize ticket. The VIP tickets are $75 per person and include one drink ticket and one door prize ticket. Tickets are available to those 21 and older.

"Ben VanderWeele was a founding board member of the Alaska Farmland Trust and is excited to host Happy Hour for the third year," Pettit says. "Enjoy a rare glimpse of their production greenhouse, whilst enjoying incredible all-Alaska-grown appetizers, local beverages and the unique and entertaining music of The Carhartt Brothers!"

Doors open for VIPs at 2:30 p.m. and at 3:30 p.m. for general administration.

The nature of this venue (working farm and production greenhouse) make this event not suitable for children; tickets are available for patrons 21 and over.

Thankful Thursdays

Julie Meer of Farm 779 says it's Dragon Kraut time at the Thankful Thursdays market.

"Sweet red cabbage fermented to perfection with a breath of jalapeno fire," she says of the kraut. "Beautiful magenta-colored whole food probiotics, perfect for a salad mix-in or the base for a delicious Oriental chicken sesame salad."

Meer will have plenty of other krauts, along with fermented onions and lemons, beet kvass, kombucha, a variety of coconut kefir options, cacao chip cookies, snacks and coconut-bee body products.

Rosie's Pasta will be at the market with vegan soup bowls, fettuccine and veggie blend spirals.

Duane Clark will have fresh eggs, local honey, birch syrup, jams, salsa, Denali dog treats, zucchini relish, Alaska Sprouts items, grass-fed beef and plenty of Alaska seafood, including scallops, spot shrimp, black cod, Pacific cod and sockeye salmon.

Center Market

Rob Wells will have his Alaska-grown dahlia tubers on Wednesday and Saturday on sale this week.

"The garden show is this Saturday, and I will run clearance sales also that day—the more you buy the better the price, including a free mystery tuber with each purchase," he says. "If you don't have a place to start them, let me do it, and pick up a healthy plant in May."

Alex Davis of AD Farm will be at all three markets with some of last year's storage crops—German butterball and fiesta potatoes, and purple and orange carrots. Pork cuts include loin roast, chops, sausage, chorizo, ribs, bone and other options. He also has raspberry jam, pumpkin butter and apple butter and fresh eggs.

Rempel Family Farm is at the Saturday market with cuts of yak meat and storage vegetables. The veggies include orange and purple carrots, stripetti squash, four varieties of beets, purple onions, green and purple cabbage, and nine varieties of potatoes.

Davis says these items or vendors will also be at the market on various days: Alaska Flour Co.'s barley products; Evie's Brinery items, including krauts; Alaska Sprouts with micro greens, sprouts, tofu and basil; Wild Child fermented salsa; Far North Fungi's mushrooms; Mosquito Mama balsamic vinegar; Windy River Farm grass-fed beef; Tonia's Biscotti; Jonsers' hand-crafted nectars; and Doggy Decadence treats.

Steve Edwards lives and writes in Anchorage. Contact him at akmarketfresh@gmail.com.

Local farmers markets

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; Fourth Avenue Indoor Market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., 333 W. Fourth Ave.

Saturday in Anchorage: 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.

Sunday in Anchorage: Fourth Avenue Indoor Market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., 333 W. Fourth Ave.

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