Labor Day weekend is upon us, signaling the end of a wild Alaska summer and turn toward autumn.
And there is something for everyone at the markets and local shops to help mark the holiday. Maybe it’s successful hunters looking to add some fat to their meats, grillers setting up for a long weekend or veggie-loving fans.
For the hunters
Alex Davis of AD Farm and the Center Markets says he has plenty of pork fat to mix with wild game. He suggests “15 percent fat to meat.” Davis has fat in 3- to 5-pound packages.
Of course, Davis has plenty of pork cuts, too, from chops to hocks. He also has hens laying eggs, along with a few turkey eggs for those looking for something a little different.
And from his fields, Davis reports: “No frost yet!” And that means a wide selection of fresh vegetables.
From the sea
Dannon Southall of 10th & M Seafoods recommends a holiday celebration with the best of Alaska seafood. “We are dubbing the long holiday weekend as ‘grace your grill top weekend,’ ” he says.
Southall says fresh 10-to-20-pound headed and cleaned halibut will be available to the weekend at $8.50/pound. “What better way to wrap up a wonderful summer than the lowest price of the season on fresh headed and cleaned halibut?” Southall asks.
Other fresh seafood options include headed and cleaned coho salmon will be in house all week for $6.50/pound while fillets going for $8.95/pound. Southall says there “have been a few sockeyes still mixed in with the cohos, so they maybe a few around as well.” Rockfish and cod are available as fillets for $9.95/pound and $8.95/pound. Live oysters from Southeast Alaska will be in house starting Thursday and are $15/dozen.
New vegetable continues to show up at the various Southcentral farmers markets. At the South Anchorage Farmers Markets, Rempel Family Farm will have both acorn and spaghetti squash for the first time this year. And all the markets are plump with produce.
Mark Dinkel of Dinkel’s Veggies says it’s the perfect time to head to the markets. “No place grows finer produce than Alaska. The days are getting shorter and the local, fresh produce will be gone all too soon,” he warns.
Muldoon Farmers Market: Jerrianne Lowther says the market is alive with a huge variety of produce, from Asian eggplant to zucchini and pumpkins to vine-ripened tomatoes.
“Golden beets and plump carrots come in bunches or bulk and lots of potatoes, cabbages, cauliflower, broccoli and kohlrabi are here,” she says.
Anchorage Farmers Market
Ben Swimm of Brown Dog Farm says the unprecedented summer weather has more crops showing up earlier than expected, including onions, leeks, winter squash and pumpkins.
Sarah Bean of Arctic Organics says changing weather has the farm producing well. “We loved the short but sweet hail downpour we got last Friday,” she says. “It seems that little boost in moisture has been sustained by the increase in morning dew that has begun now that it's late summer. The overnight temperatures are descending into the high 30s, but I’m still hoping for a good, long Indian summer in September. We have cauliflower, beet, Brussels sprouts, and broccoli crops that could use the extra warmth to mature.”
Bean says Arctic Organics has “started our real carrot harvest,” so there will be multiple bins of carrots in a variety of colors. Also look for cabbage, zucchini, snow apple turnips, rutabaga, radishes, peppers and cherry tomatoes, alongside loads of greens and herbs.
South Anchorage and Midtown markets: Barb Landi says there is “not a lot new coming to market, just more of everything. Especially increasing are Brussels sprouts and various winter squash and pumpkins. These are bigger and earlier this year due to the incredible summer we've had.
“Things that are waning are zucchini and beans, due to cooler nights. Tomatoes and cucumbers are grown in the greenhouse, so they will keep on coming.”
Steve Edwards lives and writes in Anchorage. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Local farmers markets
Friday in Anchorage: Center Market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Midtown Mall
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; South Anchorage Wednesday Market, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., near Dimond Center Hotel
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; 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