I did a double-take while sorting through the farmers market information last week when I ran across Peanut Butter Chicken Gizzard Cookies. "Hallelujah!" I thought. "Someone finally figured out how to combine the two best ingredients in the world!"
Turns out that the delicacy is intended for dogs. It comes from Drool Central, which makes canine treats that include Alaska vegetables and barley when they can get it, no salt, refined sugar, corn, soy or wheat.
"Can you taste these products yourself? Sure," writes owner Daisy Nicolas. "They're all human grade, clean and safe. I dare you to... so I can post in Facebook."
The courageous can find out for themselves at South Anchorage Farmers Market on Saturday. Which brings us to people food.
"Despite this current bit of rain, everything continues to be on or ahead of schedule," writes Arthur Keyes, whose Glacier Valley Farm produce is sold at both South Anchorage market days, in front of Mike's Meats in Eagle River and at the corner of Inner Springer Loop and the Glenn Highway on Saturdays. The Yensis onions are coming on in "an ever growing supply," for instance, and he expects to have them through October.
The rain following weeks of sun has been a boon, writes Carol Kenley. Kenley Farms is seeing early crops, including the first pickling cucumbers and leeks, which usually don't show up until mid-August. "Leeks in July is a first for us," she writes. Baby carrots will also be on hand at Kenley's stand at the Wednesday South Anchorage Market and so much kale that they'll be giving away a bag with every $25 purchase.
At the Center Market, A.D. Farm has new varieties of sugar snap peas, kohlrabi and several cauliflowers. Saturday would be a good time to buy broccoli, if you put it up for the winter, since it's being sold by the case at a discount.
New this week from Rempel Family Farm are artichokes and Romanesco cauliflower, along with asters for flower-lovers. Arctic Organics is also bringing in Romanesco cauliflower and "may have baby carrots and beets," next week if not this.
Arctic Organics is now accepting Quest cards at the Saturday Anchorage Farmers Market and they invite shoppers to get "first pick" at their stand at 1305 N. Smith Road in Palmer, open 5-7 p.m. Fridays.
Dinkel's Veggies has beans from young plants just bringing on their first crop. These are said to be very tender and "a little sweeter than our last crop." In addition to participating in several Anchorage markets, you can find Dinkel's at Wasilla Lake 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Saturday and 11:30 a.m.-4 p.m. Sunday.
There are a couple of new venues to report. Alaska Pacific University is hosting a market on Wednesdays from 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m. in front of Grant Hall, with produce from APU's own Spring Creek Farm and Anchorage Cooperative Extension International Gardeners. The Willow Farmers Market is open 2-7 p.m. at Mile 68 of the Parks Hwy., across from Newman's Tesoro. Vegetables, berries, candy, honey, salsa and baked goods made with Alaska barley are available.
Alaska Vegan and Gluten-Free advises patrons that a sidewalk sale at the Mall at Sears on Wednesday will mean that some farmers market regulars will be shifting their normal spots. AVGF will be a little closer to the entrance at Carrs, for instance. Stock up on Wednesday, since they're taking a couple of weeks vacation after that.
Recent arrivals at the Muldoon Farmers Market -- all of whom are already involved at other markets -- include Arctic Wonder Marketplace, Seldovitsch Farm and Country Health Foods of Palmer, bringing in beef, eggs, turnips and seafood.
Speaking of seafood, Arctic Choice, at the South Anchorage site on Saturdays, has cod, lingcod, rockfish and large oysters coming in after an absence over the last few weeks. Sockeye season is coming to an end, says Kristi Schenk, making now a good time to get some to put up for winter. We're also in the last weeks of sidestripe shrimp season. The next chance for fresh shrimp won't come until October.
Fisherman's Express is advertising the "last fresh King Crab of the season," red king crab from Norton Sound. You can order it for $38.95 at fishex.com.
Not to be confused with peanut butter cookies for dogs, one of the featured items at Sweet Caribou this week is German Husky Cupcakes -- intended for people. You'll find them at the Center Market on Wednesday and South Anchorage Market on Saturday, where they're expanding their menu with more confections than we can list here.
Getting back to the gizzard cookies, they were too intriguing to pass up. But even Nicolas said they were bland. And gizzards aren't everyone's favorite food. The very word seems to get stuck in some people's craw, so to speak.
But I've had good luck with peanut butter cookies that included bacon bits and smoked salmon cupcakes have become a hit. So I stepped into the Market Fresh test kitchen to see what I could come up with, using plenty of sugar and salt, because people are pickier than pooches.
I'll spare you the recipe. It's not one I'll make again. Not that the cookies were bad. In fact the test crew declared them fit for man or beast -- though the beasts were more enthusiastic in their verdict. You might mistake the chewy, chopped gizzards for currants; you can't really taste them. You do need to masticate them.
My advice is don't bother. Separate the two culinary wonders with fried gizzards as an appetizer and plain peanut butter cookies for the main course. If you want something fancy, leave it to the professionals, like Sweet Caribou.
Local farmers markets
Monday in Palmer: Depot Farm Market, noon-6 p.m., Palmer Depot
Tuesday out of town: Eagle River Farmers Market, 3-7 p.m., VFW Post Parking Lot, Eagle River; Farmers Fresh Market, 3-6 p.m., Kenai Peninsula Food Bank, Soldotna
Wednesday in Anchorage: Center Market, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., The Mall at Sears, Benson Boulevard and Denali Street; Northway Mall Wednesday Market, 9 a.m.-4 p.m., Northway Mall; Alaska Pacific University Farmers Market, 11:30 a.m.-7 p.m., APU campus in front of Grant Hall; South Anchorage Wednesday Market, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., Dimond Center;
Wednesday out of town: Homer Farmers Market, 3-6 p.m., Ocean Drive; Soldotna Wednesday Market, 11 a.m.-5 p.m., Soldotna Creek Park; Tanana Valley Farmers Market, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., 2600 College Road, Fairbanks; Wasilla Farmers Market, 11 a.m.-6 p.m., Nelson and Weber streets intersection
Thursday in Peters Creek: Peters Creek Farmers Market, 3-7 p.m., American Legion Post 33, Old Glenn Highway
Friday out of town: Friday Fling, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., across from the Palmer Visitor's Center; Willow Farmer's Market, 2-7 p.m., Mile 68 Parks Hwy.
Saturday in Anchorage: Anchorage Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Central Lutheran Church, 15th Avenue and Cordova Street; Anchorage Market and Festival, 10 a.m.-6 p.m., Third Avenue between C and E streets; Center Market, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., The Mall at Sears, Benson Boulevard and Denali Street; Muldoon Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Begich Middle School, 7440 Creekside Center Drive; South Anchorage Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., O'Malley Sports Complex at the corner of Old Seward Highway and O'Malley Road; Spenard Farmers Market, 9 a.m.-2 p.m., Spenard Road and 26th Avenue
Saturday out of town: Central Kenai Peninsula Farmers Market, 10 a.m.-2 p.m., Kenai Spur Highway and East Corral Street, Soldotna; Homer Farmers Market, 10 a.m.-3 p.m., Ocean Drive; Kenai's Saturday Market, 10 a.m.-5 p.m., Kenai Chamber of Commerce and Visitors Center; Tanana Valley Farmers 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
Sunday in Fairbanks: Tanana Valley Farmers Market, 11 a.m.-4 p.m., 2600 College Road