Farmers markets are bursting with greens, new potatoes, some early-season carrots, meats and other locally grown and produced items.
It's easy to stroll into your favorite market, shop around and go home with something tasty. But sometimes it's good to reflect on where that food comes from.
Enter the Mat-Su Farm Bureau's annual Farm Tour. The ninth annual tour is Aug. 2; the theme is "Old Farms, New Flavors."
"The intention is to expose more Alaskans to products made in Alaska with Alaska grown products," says Margaret Adsit, owner of Alaska Farm Tours. "What could be better than a day spent eating the local products made with produce, seeing farms at their most beautiful and being entertained by local Alaskans?"
The farm tour includes a tasting room visit with some new, Palmer-made products, a tour of three farms and an Alaska-grown lunch. Farms on this year's tour are VanderWeele Farms, Alaska's largest vegetable farm; Juice, Jelly and Jam, a small fruit farm production that does value-added processing; and Bushes Bunches produce stand and farm.
"Meet the farm and food producers that are putting Palmer, Alaska, on the map for our distinctive local food and flavors," Adsit says.
The $75 ticket includes bus transportation from Anchorage and a lunch featuring pulled pork sandwiches or a vegetarian meal. For more information, visit alaskafarmtours.com.
Bristol Bay salmon delivered to Anchorage
The Alaska Marine Conservation Council's Catch 49 program is back and offering Alaskans the opportunity to get responsibly harvested seafood on their tables and in their freezers.
And the best part? Little to no effort.
"Customers can fill their freezer with fresh, wild Bristol Bay sockeye fillets—vacuum-sealed and frozen without ever touching a rod, net or fillet knife," says Katy Rexford, director of the Catch 49 program. "When you buy seafood from Catch 49, you're supporting an Alaskan fishing family, a family-run microprocessor and, the best part, marine conservation efforts that will keep the fishery healthy for years to come."
The council works with local fishermen and businesses to curate seasonal offerings while helping stewardship-minded fishermen get a better price for their catch. AMCC makes three to four annual seafood offerings of species ranging from Norton Sound red king crab, Kodiak tanner crab, Homer Pacific halibut, Alaska sablefish, Copper River coho salmon, Prince William Sound spot shrimp or the currently offered Bristol Bay sockeye salmon.
Order online at catch49.org by July 27. Pickup is scheduled for Aug. 1 at AMCC's office, 106 F St. in Anchorage.
"Catch 49 embodies the Alaskan values we all hold dear—providing fresh, wild seafood by Alaskans, for Alaskans, while supporting the fishing lifestyle and protecting our fisheries for generations to come," Rexford says.
From the markets
The local markets are, of course, hopping in their midsummer glory.
Jerriane Lowther says the "summer abundance" comes to the Muldoon Farmers Market this week, while Mark Butler from the Spenard Farmers Market says there is "lots and lots of produce coming out of the fields now."
Some market highlights include:
Muldoon Farmers Market: Look for "beautiful blossoms from Mountain Bloom Peonies and delicious smoothies from Sweet Berry Yogurt and Drinks," Lowther says. Other highlights include fresh strawberries and new potatoes from Dinkel's Veggies and onions, beets, radishes, kohlrabi and cabbages from other farm and garden vendors.
Spenard Farmers Market: The vendor list in Spenard is lengthy and includes BaLesca's Brothers, Black Bear Farm, Chugach Farm, Dinkel's Veggies, Four Tern Farm, Midnight Sun Farm, Three Ladybug's Farm and Wildrose Harvest. Butler says to look for Prince William Sound shrimp from Glacier Seafood and greenhouses by Arctic Chicken Coops.
South Anchorage Farmers Market: The Wednesday market near the Dimond Center Hotel is adding a new vendor: Alaska Wonder Marketplace. The Saturday market also adds the Alaska Peony Co-op this week. "Local produce is truly exploding," says Barbara Landi. "I counted six varieties of lettuce at the VanderWeele stand last Saturday." Other vendors include Juice, Jelly & Jam; Beach Tribe Soda; Rempel Family Farm, which will introduce "grown in the dirt" tomatoes, cucumbers, cilantro and basil; Drool Central with dog treats featuring salmon, carrots and goat kefir; Farm 779; and loads of other vendors.
Anchorage Farmers Market: Sarah Bean of Arctic Organics says this week's harvest includes zucchini, broccoli, snow apple turnips, rainbow chard, kale, spinach, mustard greens, Easter egg radishes, greens mix, baby lettuce mix, escarole, Chinese cabbage, pac choi, rhubarb, arugula, leaf lettuces, chives and basil.
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., Midtown Mall, 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
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., Midtown Mall, 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., Midtown Mall, 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., Midtown Mall, 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