It's been a dreadful salmon-fishing season for many anglers.
But there are some bright spots for those unsuccessful catching a fish, or those who simply don't want to take the time to catch and process salmon—but want some on their grill or in their freezer.
Various local operators catch, clean and sell salmon caught from statewide locations.
Small Boat Salmon: The family business operates on Nushagak Bay near Dillingham, catching and selling both king and sockeye salmon. The family has been setnetting for about 30 years.
"Our two sons, both in their 20s, have grown up spending summers fishing with us," says Paula Cullenberg. "About eight years ago, we installed a slush-ice cooling system on our skiff. Our sons are now running the skiff, my husband and I are selling sockeye and king salmon directly to Anchorage residents who pre-order from us.
"They are super high quality and are delivered to our customers at their homes, often within 24 hours of leaving the water. The forecast for Nushagak Bay is strong this year."
Cullenberg says the family doesn't process the salmon, but gills and guts the fish, selling them with heads and tails on. Sockeyes are sold by the box, with five fish included, and generally 25 to 29 pounds. King are sold individually. Sockeyes are $5.50 per pound; kings are $7 per pound.
For more information or to order fish, visit smallboatsalmon.com.
Su Salmon Co.: For those who want their fish from even closer to town, Ryan Peterson and a couple partners "setnet salmon across the Inlet from town … and we're proud to be the city's most local commercial fishery."
Peterson says Su Salmon fishes from a remote site less than a mile from the western bank of the mouth of the Susitna River, fishing on the prescribed openers on Mondays and Thursdays.
"Like most Alaskans, we're total salmon nerds—we love catching them, cooking them, eating them, talking about them, everything," Peterson says. "Basically, we went into business four years ago with a specific aim of heightening appreciation for Anchorage's most local big salmon run. The Susitna constantly gets short shrift in Cook Inlet fisheries and resources policy discussion and we're trying to get at people's hearts through their stomachs."
Peterson says Su Salmon prides itself on the way the fish is handled—picking fish as they hit the net, breaking the gills, icing the fish and flying them "16 minutes by Cessna to the Lake Hood airstrip." Sockeye are $6.50 per pound and silvers $4.75 per pound for fresh-caught and gutted whole fish. They also catch and sell whole chum salmon for $8 per fish.
"In the same way people say they like to know where their food comes from, we like to know where our food goes," Peterson says. "Over the years, it's become apparent we're often a backup for dipnetters who couldn't get out or did but got skunked. It's also been surprising to learn there are plenty of Alaskans who simply have no interest in fishing at all but still want a freezer full by fall."
For more information or to order fish, visit susalmonco.com.
Mountain View Farmers Market opens on Thursday
The popular Mountain View Farmers Market joins the summer rush from 3-7 p.m. Thursday.
New market manager Khalid Abdulahi says the market is a reflection of the community. "The special thing about Mountain View is you can find lots of different people and cultures," he says. "This market so friendly, we will have stuff for kids to play with and entertainment."
Vendors include Fresh International Gardens with Mexican spiced muffins, peanut butter cookies, pickled products and an assortment of produce grown by the neighborhood's refugee residents; Vang Family with fresh produce and herbs; vegetables from Black Bear Farms; SweetStache with baked goods, including gluten free items; and other vendors and activities.
A special event this week is the celebration of Grow North Farm at the market location. Grow North is an opportunity for refugee clients of Catholic Social Services to farm at the location and sell through Fresh International Gardens.
Muldoon Farmers Market
The market is back at its new location at Chanshtnu Muldoon Park, and Jerrianne Lowther says "the new venue was a big success and we're expecting lots more vendors this week."
Among the vendors are Fresh International Gardens with salad mix, spinach, radishes, chives, fermented and pickled products, spice blends, cookies, and muffins; BaLescas Brothers with Mexican bread; Subba Gardens; Arctic Wonder Marketplace; Lost Peak Fermenting and plenty of other options.
Anchorage Farmers Market
Sarah Bean of Arctic Organics says it's "still the early summer crops" getting most of the attention at the market, including greens mix, pac choi, rhubarb, arugula, mizuna, lettuce and basil.
Other vendors include: AD Farm, Ed & Tina's Kraut & Pickling, Happy Valley Chickens' eggs, Mom's Garden, Seldovitch Farm, Sun Fire Ridge, Turkey Red Café breads and treats, and VanderWeele Farm.
Spenard Farmers Market
Fresh seafood, pickled veggies, fresh veggies, kombucha and other treats will all be available at the Spenard Market. Some vendors highlights: Glacier Seafood will have fresh Prince William Sound shrimp; Chugach Farm will have field greens, snow apple turnips, vegetable starts, mixed greens and kombucha; BaLescas Brothers will have produce, chive starts, raspberry starts, native spruce trees and salsa; Four Tern Farm offers grass-fed beef, fresh chicken eggs, salad greens, radishes and turnips; and Dinkel's Veggies will have zucchini, lettuce and strawberries.
Duane Clark says English cucumbers are thriving with the extended sunlight and he'll also have new cuts of beef, including "all the favorite steaks and roasts as well as ground beef and soup bones." He also has ground yak, honey, birch syrup, Alaska Sprouts, salsa, jams and raw dog food.
Farm 779 will have coconut kefirs and reductions, krauts, kvass, kombucha, ketogenic snacks and cookies. Farm 779 will also be at Saturday's South Anchorage Farmers Market.
Steve Edwards lives and writes in Anchorage. Contact him at email@example.com.
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; 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; 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; 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.; Muldoon Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., 1301 Muldoon Road; 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 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 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.
Sunday outside of Anchorage: Tanana Valley Farmer's Market, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., 2600 College Road, Fairbanks