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Muldoon farmers market debuts to enthusiastic response

Frank Zappa once said that for a nation to have truly arrived, it needs a beer and an airline.

If Anchorage's version is a farmers market, then count Muldoon as the most recent neighborhood to rack up the distinction.

East Anchorage's first formal farmers market debuted on the last Saturday of June, on Begich Middle School property with a view of the mountains.

It offered locally grown radishes and spinach, face painting, breakfast burritos and fancy pour-over coffee, homemade soaps and scarves.

Organizer Carla McConnell said she thought more than 500 people walked through over the course of the first day.

"It was really a community thing," she said. "People were just stopping and talking to each other."

The project had been in the works since late last year, when state Sen. Bill Wielechowski, who represents the area, floated the idea at a community council meeting to an enthusiastic response, McConnell said.

A group of volunteers, advised by Spenard Farmers Market organizer Mark Butler, took on the project.

Organizers hope that in the long term, a vacant parcel of land on the corner of DeBarr and Muldoon roads that some have long been trying to transform into a park could be a future market home.

They also want the market to take on the distinctly multicultural flavor of Muldoon. So far, organizers have reached out to a group of Hmong gardeners.

"It's our goal," McConnell said. "I can't say we've been completely successful in reaching out to all the communities."

One issue is that there are already established -- if under-the-radar -- informal immigrant markets, such as one that has operated quietly in Centennial Park for years.

Organizers are charging $20 for a booth space at the Muldoon market.

The market will operate 9 a.m.-2 p.m. every Saturday this summer in the same location at 7440 Creekside Center Drive.

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