Our hotter-than-normal summer is ready to reveal some surprises at a couple of farmers markets.
Mark Dinkel of Dinkel’s Veggies says they will have zucchini and broccoli at markets this week, starting with the Muldoon Farmers Market, Spenard Farmers Market and the Downtown Market and Festival — all on Saturday.
“May was a so-so weather month but June has been great,” Dinkel says. “We will have lots of zucchini, strawberries, broccoli and lettuce. Our hot June has pushed along the crops.”
Dinkel is one of just a few growers with zucchini and broccoli available this early. He says years of trial and error has resulted in some tricks of the trade to get crops to the market.
“We have developed some techniques over the years that push the crops along faster. I grew up with two of the best mentors someone like me could ever have, my uncle, who had a PhD in botany, and my dad, who is a master gardener.”
Sarah Bean of Arctic Organics says they should have broccoli at the Anchorage Farmers Market on Saturday and the Wednesday Market at Airport Heights. While smaller, the broccoli should be tasty — and will be accompanied by some other first-of-the-year crops.
“The broccoli is of the early, tender variety, and may seem more like broccolini to many,” Bean says. “Also debuting this week are greens mix, rucola, kale, spinach, lettuces and radishes.”
Mark Rempel of Rempel Family Farm says broccoli is likely still a week away for him, but he expects to have some zucchini this week and “much more the following week.”
“With this heat, it is harder to predict because things are maturing faster than with our normal cool summers,” Rempel says. Rempel says he will have basil, cilantro, red and romaine lettuces, “and just maybe some ‘pencil’ carrots.”
Whether you’re a fan of zucchini, broccoli, kale or little carrots, there is one rule with most new items at the markets — get there early. The supply usually doesn’t meet the demand.
Muldoon Farmers Market: Look for loads of Alaska seafood options from The Shrimp Guy (king crab, spot shrimp, side stripe shrimp, razor clams, halibut, halibut cheeks, black cod, Pacific cod and cold-smoked salmon), with plenty of early season vegetables too, including salad mix, spinach, radishes and chives.
South Anchorage and Anchorage Midtown farmers markets: Barb Landi says the opening day for the midtown market included “lots of new faces we never saw before.”
On Saturday, the highlights are “more salad crops mature and ready for greater salad variation,” Landi says. Suus Vanderweele has four varieties of lettuce, Swiss chard and kale, along with strawberries that Landi warns sold out by 9 a.m. at the South market — the same time the market opens. The strawberries lasted a bit longer at the Midtown market.
Anchorage Farmers Market: In addition to Arctic Organics, a variety of vendors will have those early season vegetables. Brown Dog Farm will have local flower arrangements of anemone, ranunculus, stock, ammobium, forget-me-not, snap dragons, and bachelor buttons.
Ben Swimm says one of the market highlights is the addition of Vang’s Fresh Food. “If customers haven’t been to the market since the arrival of Vang’s, they should really stop by,” Swimm says. “Last week, the booth served grilled pork belly and Hmong sausage, along with their spring rolls, egg rolls and salad.”
Center Market: Alex Davis says his highlights from the field include salad mix, spinach, kale, rhubarb, chives and sage. He also has some storage crops, plenty of pork cuts and fresh eggs.
Steve Edwards lives and writes in Anchorage. Contact him at email@example.com.
Local farmers markets
Friday in Anchorage: Center Market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Midtown Mall
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; Anchorage Midtown Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., BP Alaska; Center Market, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Midtown Mall; Jewel Lake Farmers Market, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., 8427 Jewel Lake Road; Muldoon Farmers Market, 9:30 a.m.-2:30 p.m., Chanshtnu Muldoon Park; 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; 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; Wasilla Farmers Market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Iditapark/Wonerland Park
Thursday in Anchorage: Thankful Thursdays market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Midtown Mall
Thursday outside of Anchorage: Peters Creek Farmers Market, 3-7 p.m., American Legion Post 33, 21426 Old Glenn Highway