Caviar was one of the many offerings dished out to the community at last year's market.
A large crowd turned out to last year's market despite sunny weather outside. Below, right: Caviar was one of the many offerings dished out to the community at last year's market.
A vendor displays locally grown roots and tubers at the first annual Farmer's Market and Local Foods Festival.
Story last updated at 8/26/2009 - 2:10 pm
JUNEAU - Most people would rather gather their dinner from a supermarket than a rain gutter, but a meal from the gutter isn't as bad as it sounds.
Suzanne Forsling, a rain gutter gardener, will be one of many presenters at the Juneau Commission On Sustainability's second annual Farmers Market and Local Foods Festival, which will be held from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. on August 29 at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center.
According to Catherine Fritz, a member of the Juneau Commission On Sustainability and co-organizer of the market,one of the missions of the market is to help people understand where their food comes from. In Juneau, most of what we eat is grown elsewhere and shipped to us. Meanwhile, we live in an area abundant in natural resources. Many of us just need some advice on how to utilize them.
"The interest in this is phenomenal," said. "It's not just a few little gardeners anymore. The health aspects of gardening are great. You know exactly what went into making that bunch of lettuce."
According to Fritz, the first annual market, which was held on one of the few sunny days of 2008, drew a large crowd into the Juneau Arts and Culture Center. Market-goers enjoyed fresh baked goods, locally grown produce and educational presentations rather than sunshine.
"This year we've tried to expand on the interest we already had," Fritz said.
Many of last year's vendors will return, though Fritz said produce may be scarce. Last year, the produce that was offered sold out right away.
"People who garden don't have a lot of extra produce to sell," Fritz said. "They're eating it all."
Other locally produced food will be available, including caviar and other fish products, baked goods and preserves.
In addition to edibles, several arts and crafts tables will present food-related items such as kitchen pottery and handmade fabric grocery bags.
This year's market will also increase its number of commercial tables. Many vendors will travel out of town including Pearl of Alaska, one of the state's largest oyster farms, which is operated by Tom Henderson of Kake. Henderson's oysters end up on dinner plates all around the world, wherever fine seafood is appreciated.
A line of all-natural herbal ointments, crafted by Lisa Andersson and Jan Parrish of Hoonah, will be on display at the market. Their product line, called Alaskana Botanicals, includes spruce healing salve, red clover lip balm and devil's club salve.
The market has partnered and received support from the Alaska Division of Agriculture, the Juneau Arts and Humanities Council, the Juneau Economic Development Council and the UAF Cooperative Extension Service.
Organizers would like to facilitate more than one market per year in Juneau, but Fritz said the amount of work and cost make it unfeasible at the current time. Much of the work is provided by volunteers, and operating costs aren't covered by vendor fees alone.
"We hope it will continue to grow," Fritz said. "The people in the community will decide that."
For more information, visit http://juneaufarmersmarket.wikispaces.com.
Sitka Filmmaker Ellen Frankenstein will be present during a showing of her film "Eating Alaska" at the Goldtown Nickelodeon Saturday evening. The documentary chronicles the journey of a vegetarian who moves to Alaska, marries a fisherman and hunter and begins to wonder what the "right" thing to eat is on the Last Frontier.
For show times, call 586-2875.