Most Valley farms are still waiting for autumn’s first frost. But it’s coming. And probably soon.
That means this week might be your last chance for tender veggies like zucchini, celery and beans. Farmers and market operators alike shared the same warning: Get ’em while you can.
Barbara Landi at the South Anchorage and Midtown farmers markets says the calendar simply doesn’t lie.
“Always in September is the danger of frost — the instant killer of zucchini and green beans,” she says. “Only Mark Rempel has had a frost as far as I know, and his zucchini and beans are done. Zucchini are still coming in for Arthur Keyes, Vern Stockwell and all the others.
“But the further into September we get, the more likely for frost to occur. So, this could be the last market to get those most tender crops. Berries are also fewer each week.”
Sarah Bean of Arctic Organics has a lengthy list of tender crops that are still hanging on.
“In the field, the most frost-sensitive crops are celery, mustard greens, dill and rhubarb,” Bean says. “The cold frames will only fend off cooling nighttime temperatures so long, so shoppers will be seeing the last of the crops like zucchini and cherry tomatoes. We are harvesting the last plantings of spinach and arugula.
“So, the short-term shopping list, for various reasons, looks like this: celery, mustard greens, dill, rhubarb, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, spinach and arugula. Plenty of incentive to go to the farmers market this weekend.”
Mark Dinkel of Dinkel’s Veggies says a well-timed planting of green beans is paying dividends with the still-warm nights.
“We will have awesome, last-chance-until-next-summer green beans,” he says. “We planted a late crop and they are just coming on. Tomatoes, carrots, Walla Walla onions, and new broccoli will highlight our markets.”
The Dinkels will be at the Spenard and Muldoon farmers markets on Saturday. Valley shoppers will find the at Wasilla WonderLand and Wasilla Lake.
Anchorage Farmers Market: In addition to the tender crops, Arctic Organics will have cabbage, carrots, broccoli, cauliflower in multiple colors, snow apple turnips, purple top turnips, kohlrabi, rutabaga, tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers, greens, lettuces and herbs.
South Anchorage and Midtown farmers markets: Landi says the markets are packed with “more and more winter squash, potatoes, beets and carrots rolling in.”
Muldoon Farmers Market: Jerrianne Lowther says “tis the season for roasted vegetables, soups and stews.” Produce to help includes herbs, cabbage, cauliflower, squash, broccoli, onions, carrots, beets and many varieties of potatoes.
Center Market: Alex Davis of AD Farm says his new hens are starting to lay eggs, which means “our egg count will continue to climb.” In addition to scores of chicken eggs, Davis has quail and duck eggs, too.
From the fields, Davis plans to have Brussels sprouts, a variety of potatoes, beets, fennel, broccoli, cauliflower, kohlrabi, zucchini, carrots, cabbage and other produce. He also has cuts of his pasture-raised pork.
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
Saturday in Anchorage: Anchorage Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., 15th Avenue and Cordova Street; 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; Soldotna Saturday Farmers Market, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., 193 E. Corral Ave.; Tanana Valley Farmer’s Market, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., 2600 College Road, Fairbanks
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 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; 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