It’s National Farmers Market Week, and one of the best places to celebrate in Alaska isn’t a traditional farmers market.
The Mountain View Farmers Market, operated for three years by Anchorage Community Land Trust, has been replaced by Grow North Farm. Grow North has a monthly themed market and a weekly farm stand at 3601 Mountain View Drive. This month’s market is 4 to 8 p.m. Friday.
Urban farmers at Grow North Farm grow their own produce, which is sold at the market and farm stand.
“We knew for years there was a demand from growers in the neighborhood for more space to farm and ability to vend on-site,” says Emily Cohn, director of communications and development for ACLT. “Transportation is often a barrier for our growers, most of whom are from the refugee and immigrant community. The weekly farm stand model allows for increased opportunity for our farmers to vend directly on-site where the produce is grown and ensures the produce is as fresh as can be — picked and sold same day. The monthly markets are larger community events that bring in a bigger crowd, and opportunity for neighborhood entrepreneurs to test and sell their products.”
Friday’s market highlights the Set Up Shop, showcasing new, food-based entrepreneurs who have graduated from ACLT’s training program. Cohn says a dozen prepared food vendors are lined up for the monthly market. Food vendors will sell tamales, dumplings, barbecue, fry bread, tacos, Somalian food and more.
This month’s market will also have a variety of on-site growers and entertainment from local soul singer Ed Washington.
“We work with many neighborhood entrepreneurs who have been able to utilize the monthly markets as an opportunity to showcase their products and prepared foods and experiment with what works,” Cohn says. “We expect that the first season will be a learning opportunity for all involved, including us, about what works best for our farmers, customers and the farm itself.
“The farm provides the opportunity for our new and seasoned farmers to start and grow their own businesses on land they can call their own. It is an incubator space for emerging entrepreneurs. The weekly farm stand sales allow for regular vending opportunity for our farmers and regular opportunity for the community to engage in the site, without the infrastructure, cost and labor of hosting a built-out weekly market.”
After Friday, the next monthly market is scheduled for Sept. 13. The weekly farm stand is open 4 to 7 p.m. Mondays, Thursdays and Fridays.
From the farmers markets
Anchorage Farmers Market: Ben Swimm says “the summer flowers are here.” Swimm’s own Brown Dog Farm has plenty of bouquet options. They are offering a special: spend $20 and get a $10 bouquet for free. Flower options include sweet peas, sun flowers, statice, straw flowers, snap dragons, stock, bells of Ireland, anemone and aster. Next door is Hatcher Pass Dahlias, with the blooms starting to really show themselves.
Of course, the market is full of veggies, eggs, pickled foods, jams, local mushrooms and artisan breads and baked goods.
Spenard Farmers Market: Mark Butler says the market “has kicked into high gear,” and features a variety of produce and other items from Chugach Farm, Black Dog Farm, Dinkel’s Veggies, Ba-Lesca Gardens, Midnight Sun Farms, Fresh International Gardens, Wildrose and Mallard Handcrafted. Butler says Blue Market AK is debuting this week at the market as “Anchorage’s first ‘unpackaged’ refill store.”
Muldoon Farmers Market: Jerrianne Lowther says the “tomatoes are ripe and plentiful, and purple cauliflower, kohlrabi and string beans are here.” Other highlights are spicy pickled radishes from Cherry’s Garden and “all the leafy greens you can eat.”
South Anchorage and Midtown farmers markets: The first pumpkins of the year are showing up at the markets, Barb Landi says. Beyond that “berries of every variety are early and available. … Farmers are also digging new potatoes, well in advance of the potato harvest next month.”
Landi says peonies are done for the year, but Brown Dog Farm is at the Midtown market with assorted bouquets and All Dahlia’d Up has bouquets at South market.
Center Market: Alex Davis of AD Farm says new this week is fresh honey. How fresh? “This was with the bees last week. It’s fresh, raw, unfiltered Alaskan honey.” Davis also has loads of pork cuts and a wide variety of produce, including beets, lettuce, rhubarb, snow peas and cauliflower.
From the sea
Dannon Southall of 10th & M Seafood says the silver salmon are starting to show up with fresh headed and cleaned coho around for the weekend, adding to the sockeye supply that “is still coming in strong.”
Sockeye are available headed and cleaned ($6.95 per pound) or as fillets ($9.95/pound), along with halibut at $9.95/pound for headed and cleaned fish and Price William Sound side stripe shrimp.
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; 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