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Food and Drink

Want to grow something beautiful in your garden this year? Farmers markets are flush with plant starts

Kate Timmons and Elderberry Essentials is joining the Thankful Thursdays market this week inside the Mall at Sears.

Timmons says she started the business after working in the medical field for years. According to a variety of studies, elderberry has many natural health benefits, including as a cold and flu fighter and an aid in fighting sinus infections.

"Elderberry and its incredible healing abilities have been traced back to Hippocrates," Timmons says. "He described the plant as his 'medicine chest' because it seemed to cure a wide array of health concerns. This medicinal berry is a real powerhouse for good health."

Elderberry Essentials emphasizes incorporating local Alaska ingredients into their products, she said.

Timmons' product line includes three varieties of elderberry syrup—one made with raw, local Alaska honey, another with raw manuka honey from New Zealand and a vegan-friendly honey-free alternative made with raw Alaska birch syrup. The syrups are available in three sizes—4, 8 and 16 ounces. Elderberry Essentials also has elderberry gummies and suckers.

Duane Clark will be at the market with raw dog food, grass-fed beef, honey, birch syrup, zucchini relish, jams, salsa, Denali Dog Treats, items from Alaska Sprouts, Rosie's Pasta and seafood, including black cod, smoked black cod, halibut, scallops, cod and shrimp.

Farm 779 is unveiling a new version of its coconut kefir, along with kombucha, beet kvass, vegetable krauts, snacks and ferments specific for dogs. Farm 779 is also at the South Anchorage Farmers Market on Saturday.

Anchorage Farmers Market

Memorial Day weekend is quickly approaching, and Sarah Bean from Arctic Organics says that means "it's time to plant your garden. Let's hope the weather has finally settled into spring!"

To support gardeners, Arctic Organics will have a large selection of tomato plants, vegetable and flower seedlings, hanging baskets and fertilizer blends. "It's time to get your zucchini, beans, tomatoes and other tender varieties hardening off," Bean says.

For those looking to fill the fridge and table, Arctic Organics will have their first harvest of lettuce mix and more arugula.

Other vendors scheduled this week include AD Farm, Ed & Tina's Kraut & Pickling, Happy Valley Chickens' eggs, Matanuska Gardens, Persistent Farmer, Seldovitch Farm, Shaggy Mane Shroomery, Sun Fire Ridge and Turkey Red Café breads and treats.

Spenard Farmers Market

Mark Butler says the market will be packed with more vendors this week.

Highlights include: Ba-lesca Brothers with chive starts, raspberry starts, native spruce trees and salsa; Four Tern Farms with field greens and grass-fed beef; Glacier Seafoods with shrimp from Prince William Sound; Northern Flowers with large hanging flower baskets; Wildrose Harvest with herb starts and honey; Midnight Sun Farms with honey, jams and rhubarb starts; D&L with seven varieties of pickled vegetables and Arctic Chicken Coops is taking orders for customized chicken coops.

South Anchorage Farmers Market

Market organizer Arthur Keyes was excited to see Wild Scoops back at the market last week, and he's already looking forward to this week.

"Wild Scoops and Little Dipper Donuts will be offering a cold scoop of ice cream over a bowl of hot fresh donuts—more yummy gooey goodness than should be legal," Keyes says.

Elissa Brown says some Wild Scoops flavors this week include AK Honeycomb, Coffee and Donuts, and a vegan Coconut Birch.

Of course, it's not all about sweet treats.

"We have been having this market now for 13 years and this is the first season we have this great of a variety of fresh veggies," Keyes says. "Harvest Point Farm is bringing radishes and fresh greens. Seeds of Change also has a large selection of greens. Northern Fungi has fresh oyster mushrooms, and Pam's Veggies had tomatoes and cucumbers."

Some of the other two dozen vendors include: Drool Central, Sweet and Sassy Kettle Corn, Earthworks Farm, Wild Child Salsa, Gold Nugget Farm, The Blue Poppy, Country Garden Farm, Butcher Block #9 and Arctic Choice Seafoods.

Center Market

Got an egg craving? Alex Davis of AD Farm can help. He will be at all three indoor markets with chicken, duck, goose, turkey and guinea eggs. Davis also has his regular lineup of pork cuts, including chops, sausage, loin roast, ribs, bone, fat and more, along with potatoes and carrots, raspberry jam, pumpkin butter and raw honey.

Davis says to look for these items and vendors at the market: Alaska Sprouts, Alaska Flour Co., Evie's Brinery, Mosquito Mama, Windy River Farm, Tonia's Biscotti, Jonsers and Monica's Confection Connection.

From the sea

Not surprisingly, "Copper River is the talk to the town right now," says Dannon Southall of 10th & M Seafoods about the salmon fishery in Prince William Sound.

"They have fished last Thursday as well as (Monday) and the fishing was not the best." Despite slow fishing, Southall says 10th & M will have both kings and sockeye in the store.

Troll-caught kings from Southeast are also available, along with halibut, cod, rockfish and Prince William Sound shrimp.

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: Anchorage Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., 15th Avenue and Cordova Street; Anchorage Market and 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., 333 W. Fourth Ave.; 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

Sunday in Anchorage: Anchorage Market and Festival, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Third Avenue between C and E streets; Fourth Avenue Indoor Market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., 333 W. Fourth Ave.

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