Food and Drink

Alaska’s heat wave has supercharged summer vegetable crops

Much like Alaskans, our veggies reacted one of two ways to the record-breaking heat: They loved it or they hated it.

This week’s farmers markets will show which vegetables thrived and which wilted.

“We are certainly finding many surprises in the field thanks to this heat wave — both good and bad,” says Sarah Bean of Arctic Organics, which will be at the Anchorage Farmers Market and Wednesday Market at Airport Heights. “Some crops thrive while others are really feeling it! I can see why they say you can’t grow some greens in the Southwest in the summer. Crops like spinach are suffering.”

Bean says garlic is one of the plants thriving, and she expects to have a special treat this week.

“An exciting new addition to the market this week is garlic scapes,” she says. “The few pounds of garlic we planted in the high tunnel last fall have done exceptionally well, and we are happy to be able to share their scapes — fanciful flower bud stems. Use them as you would scallions, for a wonderful, green garlic flavor.”

Arthur Keyes of Glacier Valley Farm and the South Anchorage and Midtown markets says the heat is boosting production.

“This incredible weather we have been having is supercharging the crop production, everything right now is popping all at once out of the field,” Keyes says. “Due to this unprecedented crop production, we will have a special deal for shoppers at the Midtown market this week. VanderWeele Farm will be offering a buy one/get one free cabbage!


“This will be the week for cool coleslaw and everything cabbage.”

More market highlights follow.

South Anchorage and Midtown farmers markets: Barb Landi says the Midtown market is getting its first mobile food vendor — Casa Pepe and chef Jay Mullen. “His specialty is preparing big paella platters on site,” Landi says. “And he uses locally sourced Alaskan salmon and vegetables from market vendors.”

Landi says “lots of zucchini and other summer squash varieties are coming into abundance thanks to the prolonged hot weather.” Those, along with broccoli and cabbage, are available at both markets.

Glacier Valley Farm will have sweet Yensis onions at both markets, while Rempel Family Farm is bringing its first-of-the-year cauliflower and purple onions to the South market.

Muldoon Farmers Market: Jerrianne Lowther says several veggie vendors — Arctic Wonder Marketplace, Brown Bear Farms, Dinkel’s Veggies, Bhai & Menuka Gardens, Fresh International Gardens, Phul Garden and Subba Garden — are at the market “with everything from arugula to zucchini … and ripe tomatoes.” Other highlights include strawberries, onions, green beans, broccoli, snow apple turnips and radishes, along with jams, jellies, pickles and Alaska seafood.

Anchorage Farmers Market: In addition to the new garlic scapes, Bean says other new items they will have this week include broccoli, Chinese cabbage, rainbow chard, collards, baby mustard greens and little gem lettuces.

“It’s also a great week to think about making those batches of basil pesto for the freezer,” Bean says. “The basil is abundant and has started its midsummer flourish.”

Center Market: At the indoor market, Alex Davis says red and green romaine lettuce and zucchini will make their first appearance at the market. And, honestly, he says, “this time of summer we never know what we will find until we walk the field,” so there could be more surprises.

Steve Edwards lives and writes in Anchorage. Contact him at

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; Northway Mall Market, 9a.m.-4 p.m., 3101 Penland Parkway; South Anchorage Wednesday Market, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., near Dimond Center Hotel; 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/Wonderland 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

Steve Edwards

Steve Edwards lives and writes in Anchorage. He writes the Market Fresh column weekly and can be reached