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Food and Drink

Vegetables are mature earlier than farmers have ever seen; flowers are ready to go

Bouquet from Brown Dog Farm.

Want potatoes? Got them. Full-sized carrots? Yep, those too. How about beans, or sugar-snap peas or cauliflower? No problem.

It’s that already time of the year at farmers markets. The abundance is a little unprecedented.

“Alaskan farmers have always benefited from Alaska’s high-latitude agriculture, which gives us our long day lengths and moderate temperatures,” says Arthur Keyes of Glacier Valley Farm and the South Anchorage and Midtown farmers markets. “This recent sustained spike in extremely hot, sunny weather has compounded our already long days and given us even more amazing crop production than we normally receive. The growth-cycle this year is unprecedented.

“I think I’ve seen potatoes before in mid-July, so I don’t think it’s a first. However, the size and quantity of the potatoes at this time in the season are what makes this so noteworthy. These spuds are early, large, plentiful. And they taste great!”

Anchorage Farmers Market: Sarah Bean of Arctic Organics says the summer heat put “a lull in lettuce production, which is a result of the heat wave. The current stand has bolted, and the next planting is not ready yet.” But other than lettuce, look for lots of fresh crops, including loads of basil, which Bean says is “big and lush and vibrant.”

Ben Swimm says the market saw its first carrots last week and vendors are bringing more this week, along with strawberries, rhubarb, onions, green onions, radishes, lettuce, zucchini, herbs and more.

Swimm’s Brown Dog Farm has flower bouquets, including a buy-two-get-one-free promotion on its $10 bouquets, and Hatcher Pass Dahlias has blooms starting to arrive, too.

Muldoon Farmers Market: Jerrianne Lowther says the Muldoon market is the full of “carrots, beets and oh-so-delicious local strawberries.” The produce continues with “broccoli heads as big as a platter from Dinkel’s Veggies or petite ones from Arctic Wonder Marketplace.”

Dinkel’s also has full-sized carrots, tomatoes, snap beans, potatoes and pickling cucumbers.

South Anchorage and Midtown farmers markets: Barb Landi says the “vegetable production coming in greater amounts now with bigger sizes. We are seeing the first cauliflower and red cabbage. Beautiful beets in various colors are good size now. Tender green beans are available from several farmers — earlier than ever.”

And there are plenty of flower options, too. Brown Dog Farm is offering a buy-two-get-one-free promotion on its $10 bouquets at the Midtown market on Saturday. Peonies from several vendors are at the market and Landi says Opa’s Garden, a new vendor at Midtown, has peony plants and roots for the gardeners.

At South, Rempel Family Farm will have its first-of-the-year sugar snap peas, along with plenty of other items, including lettuces, greens, baby carrots, squash blossoms, zucchini and herbs.

Center Market: Lots of new items at the indoor market this week. Alex Davis says for the first time this year he has red and green Romaine lettuce, cabbage, kohlrabi, three varieties of beets, zucchini and sugar snap peas.

Mat-Su Farm Bureau Farm Tour

The 10th annual Mat-Su Farm Bureau Farm Tour is just around the corner. The tour is Aug. 1 and this year’s theme is Meet Alaska’s Livestock.

“This full-day tour is highlighting the livestock industry that is growing and thriving in and around Palmer,” says Margaret Adsit of Alaska Farm Tours. “You’ll visit the last remaining dairy cattle farm in Alaska and learn about their milking operation, visit a bison farm to learn about these uniquely beautiful animals, and visit an elk and dude ranch where you’ll learn about what it takes to run an elk operation.”

The tour starts in Anchorage and includes transportation to the Valley farms and lunch. Cost is $75 per person. For more information, visit http://www.alaskafarmtours.com/tour/farm-bureau-farm-tour/.

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

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