Memorial Day weekend is upon us — and that means gardening and grilling. It’s a perfect marriage to kick off summer and to welcome back the Market Fresh column from a winter hiatus.
When it comes to summer grilling in Alaska, it’s about the seafood. And the Copper River salmon fishery opened last week. The good news, according to Dannon Southall of 10th & M Seafoods, is that the return is stronger than 2018’s abysmal season.
“Last year they had the first opener, which was terrible, and Fish and Game did not reopen again,” Southall said. “This year, they fished on Thursday, which was OK, and then fished again (Monday) with better results.”
There are other seafood options too for celebrating the long weekend. Southall says 10th & M has fresh, headed and cleaned halibut in the 10- to 20-pound range for $9.95 per pound, with fillets available too. Also look for Prince William Sound spot shrimp and oysters from Cordova.
South Anchorage Farmers Market
It’s all about flowers, veggie starts, sweets and other treats at Saturday’s South Anchorage Farmers Market.
“Lots of flowers at the market,” says market spokesperson Barbara Landi. “Tulips by Misty Vanderweele, plus huge flower baskets and flower starts for those who like to put together their own. Our longtime vendor Blue Poppy will bring his hardy perennials always favored by serious gardeners.”
Various farm vendors, including Harvest Point Farm and Three Bears Farm, will have some early-season greens and fresh basil.
Earthworks Farm will have Valley-produced honey, locally harvested chaga, along with salves, moisturizers, lotions and balms crafted from the farm’s honey and beeswax. Also look for seafood from Arctic Choice Seafoods, fresh eggs from several vendors and food vendors, too.
Anchorage Farmers Market
Sarah Bean of Arctic Organics knows what Memorial Day means: “It is garden-planting time!”
Arctic Organics will have plenty of vegetable and flower seedlings available at the Saturday market. Bean says the seedlings are “varieties well-suited to Alaskan growing conditions, i.e., long hours of daylight, northern soils and the short growing season.”
Tomato plants will also be abundant, those that do well in a greenhouse and others that are perfect for outdoor-growing conditions. Hanging-basket shoppers can pick from baskets featuring petunia, nasturtium, cottage garden and herbs.
And early-season produce-seekers can grab some greenhouse-grown arugula.
Rob Wells will be at the market with dahlia starts from Alaska-grown tubers. He also has tomato plants and is taking orders for tumbler cherry tomato baskets that will be ready for delivery in a few weeks.
Other vendors lined up for the Anchorage Farmers Market include Ed & Tina’s Kraut & Pickling, Matanuska Gardens, Seldovitch Farm, Shaggy Mane Shroomery and Turkey Red Café breads and treats.
Spenard Farmers Market
The Spenard Farmers Market is celebrating its 10th year under the windmill.
Organizer Mark Butler says to “expect even more Alaska-grown vendors this Saturday.” Those vendors include Chugach Farms, Ba-Lesca Brothers, Midnight Sun Farms, Tanya’s Flowers, Seldovitch Farms, Wildrose, the Pickle People, Mallard Handcrafted and Tundra Tonics.
Rain or shine, the thrice-weekly Center Market has plenty of options inside the Midtown Mall.
Alex Davis of AD Farm says Memorial Day grills can include food items beyond just Alaska seafood: “I have lots of grill-worthy pork cuts and a couple of barbecue pigs.”
Among Davis’ Valley-raised pork cuts are chops, roast, fresh side pork, breakfast sausage, spicy sausage, Italian sausage, chorizo, hocks, soup bones and fat.
Davis also has storage crops from last fall’s harvest, including carrots, cabbage and potatoes; eggs; honey; grass-fed beef cuts; a variety of homemade jams; and lamb.
In addition to AD Farms at all three markets, Tundra Tonics, Jonesers nectars, Flourishing and Capriccio Specialties will be at the Wednesday and Friday markets, while Fat Corgi Confections will be at the Wednesday and Saturday markets.
Local farmers markets
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; 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; 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: Healy Farmers Market, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Mile 249.2 Parks Highway; Highway’s End Farmers Market, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Delta Junction; Homer Farmers Market, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Ocean Drive; 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