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Food and Drink

Give rhubarb, get Wild Scoops ice cream. Also, where to get the season’s first strawberries.

  • Author: Steve Edwards
  • Updated: June 13, 2019
  • Published June 13, 2019

Wild scoops tart rhubarb ice cream. (Photo courtesy Wild Scoops)

Does your yard or garden look like a scene from “Invasion of the Rhubarb”? (No, that’s not a real movie, but it might make a good one.) Not sure what to do with all of it?

Elissa Brown from Wild Scoops wants your rhubarb. And she’ll give you ice cream in exchange. (Technically, ice cream coupons, which can be used on any flavor!)

The local ice cream maker’s Rhubarb Crumble flavor is back at the market and Wild Scoops’ in-town store locations. Wild Scoops is at both the South Anchorage Farmers Market and the Airport Heights markets.

Here’s how the rhubarb-for-ice-cream exchange works:

“We trade ice cream coupons for rhubarb that has overrun local gardens, and then we make it into a neighborhood-sourced rhubarb jam,” Brown says. “We swirl this into a cinnamon-nutmeg base and toss in chunks of homemade oat-y streusel. Some of our customers look forward to this flavor all year! We keep making it until we run out of rhubarb.

“We found that rhubarb is one of those things that Alaskans love in ice cream, and it’s awesome how well it grows here. Most people are more than enthusiastic to trade some of their crop for ice cream! Sometimes people have big plans to make jams or chutneys out of their garden crop, but eventually they decide they’d rather just trade it in for ice cream.”

Brown says Wild Scoops accepts red, cleaned, trimmed stalks. The next drop-off time is 3-5 p.m. Thursday, June 20, at the Midtown Scoop Shop, 530 E. Benson Blvd.

“Last year, we received around 800 pounds over the course of the summer,” she says. “Eventually we had to stop accepting since our freezer was so full of chopped stalks!

“We juice some of the rhubarb for our famous Tart Rhubarb flavor, and we turn the rest into jam for Rhubarb Crumble,” she says.

Farmers market highlights: It’s not just rhubarb season at Wild Scoops. Plenty of farmers market vendors have rhubarb for those looking to buy, not trade. Look for rhubarb from Arctic Organics at the Anchorage Farmers Market, A.D. Farm at the Center Market and multiple vendors at the South Anchorage and Spenard farmers markets.

Anchorage Farmers Market: Sarah Bean of Arctic Organics says “it’s finally completely safe to plant tomatoes outside. For those who think they have missed the opportunity to have homegrown tomatoes this year, we have plants that are halfway grown and should yield ripe tomatoes within a month!”

Grab your tomato plants, along with fresh chives, sorrel and arugula, “which we believe to be one of life’s staples,” Bean says. Perhaps she will have lettuce mix by Saturday too.

Brown Dog Farm has more tulips and anemones at the market this week, while Rob Wells at Hatcher Pass Dahlias has dahlia starts at clearance prices, along with tumbler tomato baskets, nasturtium baskets and zucchini starts.

Spenard Farmers Market: It’s heating up at the market, “The sunshine is bringing more, and more produce items — nutrient-dense spinach, salad mixes, kale, arugula, salad greens, radishes, turnips, basil, rhubarb, chives, ferments, honey, jams, herb and medicinal salts and vinegars.”

Center Market: Alex Davis says things are growing wonderfully on the farm. “The carrots are up, along with many other veg,” Davis says. “Unfortunately, so are the weeds.”

Davis has pork cuts, storage veggies from 2018, fresh eggs, jams, grass-fed beef, lamb and other items. Other market vendors and items include Alaska Sprouts, Flourishing, Fat Corgi Confections, Mosquito Mama, Capriccio Specialties and Jonsers nectars

South Anchorage Farmers Market: Looking for fresh, Alaska strawberries? South Anchorage is the place to be. “Suus Vanderweele brought a few strawberries last Saturday, which disappeared within minutes of the market opening,” Barb Landi says. “More should be coming this week.

“If the weather cooperates, the first lettuces will be available Saturday. Meanwhile radishes, white salad turnips, mixed greens and bok choy will be there.”

From the sea: Dannon Southall of 10th & M Seafoods says there is never a better occasion to think Alaska seafood than Father’s Day.

“This week we have a great selection of fish to choose from for grilling,” he says.

Highlights include fresh sockeye and king salmon, as full headed and cleaned fish and also as fillets. The kings are $12.95 per pound for full fish and $16.95/pound for fillets. Halibut is also abundant at the store, with loads of headed and cleaned 10-to-20-pound fish for $9.25/pound.

Southall says Prince William Sound side stripe shrimp will be available and “these sweet, cold-water shrimp are excellent to pair with any of the other fish we have.”

Local farmers markets

Friday in Anchorage: Center Market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Midtown Mall, Benson Boulevard and Denali Street

Friday outside of Anchorage: Palmer Friday Fling, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., South Valley Way

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

Tuesday outside of Anchorage: Food Bank Farmers Market, 3-6 p.m., Kenai Peninsula Food Bank, 33955 Community College Drive, Soldotna

Wednesday in Anchorage: Center Market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Midtown Mall, Benson Boulevard and Denali Street; Wednesday Market at Airport Heights, 3-7 p.m., Fire Island Rustic Bake Shop, 2530 E. 16th Ave.

Wednesday outside of Anchorage: Highway’s End Farmers Market, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Delta Junction; Homer Farmers Market, 2-5 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

Thursday outside of Anchorage: Peters Creek Farmers Market, 3-7 p.m., American Legion Post 33, 21426 Old Glenn Highway