The quickly changing colors of the leaves signals the approach of a new season. It also signals an end to some of the local farmers markets.
On Thursday, the Mountain View Farmers Market wraps up its 2018 season with an end-of-season party featuring live music, a Polaroid photo booth, face painting, a firepit and s'mores, free hot chocolate and food stamp purchases that are half off.
Vendors lined up for the final market include the Vang Family Farm, Black Bear Farms, Fresh International Gardens, Seldovitsch Farm, GMA's Café, Kai's Kakes and Easy Peasy Lemon Squeezy.
Anchorage Farmers Market
Sarah Bean of Arctic Organics says there will be new varieties of apples at the market this week, and with the weather in an unusually warm spell, she's not sure what else to expect.
"The weather continues to astound me," Bean says. "We're experiencing the longest reprieve from freezing in the fall that we can remember. Combine that with no termination dust on the mountains, and the 10-day forecast looking incredibly warm for this time of year, and we are trying to resist becoming complacent. There is much left to harvest."
Arctic Organics also will have a wide variety of potato options at the market, including Yukon gold, magic Molly, russets and yellow Finns. Other produce includes carrots, beets, cabbage, celery, tomatoes, zucchini, broccoli shoots, cauliflower, turnips, kohlrabi, mustard greens, collards, kale, beet greens, chard, greens mix, baby lettuce mix and lots of herbs too.
Other vendors lined up include The Persistent Farmer with dahlia blooms, Brown Dog Farm, Happy Valley Chickens' eggs, Mom's Garden, Seldovitsch Farm, Shaggy Mane Shroomery, Stockwell Farm, Sun Fire Ridge, Turkey Red Café breads and treats, VanderWeele Farm and Vang Family Garden.
Muldoon Farmers Market
Jerrianne Lowther says it's time to get to the market: "Only two more chances to fill up your freezer with fresh fall produce from Muldoon Farmers Market. Find specialty items like Korean white cucumbers for salads or pickling from BaLesca's family and delectable Asian eggplant from Phul's Garden. Subba Garden and Bhai Subba are well stocked with all your favorite root vegetables and salad mixes."
Other vendors include Dinkel's Veggies with pumpkins, cabbage, cauliflower, broccoli, zucchini and tomatoes; Arctic Wonder Marketplace has fresh carrots, beets, turnips, onions and potatoes are in plentiful supply; Fresh International Gardens has garlic, dill, greens, tomatoes and fermented items; and Black Bear Farms has sunflowers as well as vegetables.
Shoppers can pull together a full meal with one stop at Alex Davis' booth at the Center Market.
Davis has a wide selection of produce (carrots, salad mix, romaine lettuce, cabbage, potatoes, beets and zucchini), cuts of pork (chops, loin roast, fresh side, ground pork and sausage), eggs, apple butter, honey, corn-and-soy-free chickens and loads of other options.
Other vendors or products at the market include dog treats, Alaska Sprouts items, Alaska Flour Co. barley products, Windy River Farm's grass-fed beef, Tonia's Biscotti, Evie's Brinery, Capriccio Specialties and Fat Corgi Confections.
South Anchorage Farmers Markets
The two South Anchorage markets are still going strong, and Barbara Landi says this week it looks like "more pumpkins and winter squash are coming in." Some farmers have experienced the nip of a frost, so zucchini and onion tops are slowing down, but there are "plenty of onions available, now called 'sweet and dirty.' The skins are left on and dried for longer keeping quality."
Rempel Family Farm will be at Saturday's market with their regular huge selection of veggies, include orange and purple carrots, winter squash, parsnips, broccoli, cauliflower, cucumbers, salad mix and 10 varieties of potatoes.
Daisy Nicolas of Drool Central will have special meals for dogs this week—burgers and meat loafs crafted from organ meat of Kasilof-raised sheep, goats and pigs.
Spenard Farmers Market
Mark Butler echoes the thoughts of most market managers, farmers and shoppers: "We are at peak produce season with every farm booth absolutely piled with wonderful vegetables."
Among the highlights is produce from BaLesca Brothers, Black Bear Farm, Midnight Sun Farm, Four Tern Farm, Dinkel's Veggies, Chugach Farm and Wildrose Harvest.
"This week, we will be selling some fantastic green beans," says Lesley Dinkel of Dinkel's Veggie. "This is the latest we have ever had green beans. Mark reports that the produce is still of exceptional quality for September, the best he has seen."
Butler says other vendors include Arctic Chicken Coops with custom hen houses or greenhouses; Coddle and Cosset with chocolates; D&L with pickled vegetables; Midnight Sun Cakery with baked goods; and food by Peter's Creek Catering, Pikiniki and Tin Roof Alaska.
This week's lineup at the Thursday market includes Harvest Point Farms, Duane Clark, Elderberry Essentials and Farm 779.
Harvest Point will have mini bib lettuce, microgreens, salad mix, carrots and pumpkins. Clark will bring heirloom tomatoes, assorted fresh vegetables, Alaska grown beef and yak, honey and salsa. Elderberry Essentials will have her elderberry glycerites, syrups and gummies. Farm 779 will bring Old World-style ferments including an assortment of original recipe krauts, kvass, triple ferment kombucha, and ketogenic-compliant snacks and cookies.
Steve Edwards lives and writes in Anchorage. Contact him at email@example.com.
Local farmers markets
Wednesday in Anchorage: Center Market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Midtown Mall, Benson Boulevard and Denali Street; 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; 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, 3-7 p.m., 21426 Old Glenn Highway, Chugiak
Friday in Anchorage: Center Market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Midtown Mall, Benson Boulevard and Denali Street
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., Midtown Mall, Benson Boulevard and Denali Street; 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 outside of Anchorage: Tanana Valley Farmer's Market, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., 2600 College Road, Fairbanks