• Evening Star Grutter wins Table of the Day Award from fourth Sitka Farmers Market

Fabian Grutter, left, and Evening Star Grutter, right, of Eve's Farm receive the Table of the Day Award from Linda Wilson during the fourth Sitka Farmers Market of the season on Aug. 29.

Fabian Grutter, left, and Evening Star Grutter, right, of Eve's Farm receive the Table of the Day Award from Linda Wilson during the fourth Sitka Farmers Market of the season on Aug. 29.

Evening Star Grutter and Fabian Grutter of Eve’s Farm won the “Table of the Day Award” for the fourth Sitka Farmers Market of the season on Aug. 29.

The Sitka Local Foods Network selected the table — which featured a variety of fresh produce and homemade jams and jellies — to receive the $25 cash prize, an Alaska Farmers Market Association tote bag and a certificate of appreciation. A similar prize package is awarded to a deserving vendor at each of the five Sitka Farmers Markets this summer.

The fifth and final market of the season takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 12, at Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall. Keep your eye on this site for more information.

Also, a new photo gallery from the fourth Sitka Farmers Market on Aug. 29 has been posted on Shutterfly (an online photo-sharing site). Click this link to check out the photos.

Evening Star Grutter and a rack of her homemade jams and jellies

Evening Star Grutter and a rack of her homemade jams and jellies

Lexi Fish cooks up a crepe

Lexi Fish cooks up a crepe

• Juneau hosts second annual Juneau Farmers Market and Local Food Festival and other news

The Juneau Commission on Sustainability hosted its second annual Juneau Farmers Market and Local Food Festival on Saturday, and the Juneau Empire had plenty of coverage of Juneau’s only farmers market of the summer. Click here to reach the main story about the farmers market in Sunday’s edition of the Juneau Empire. Click here to read an editorial praising the idea of a farmers market and sustainable food.

In addition to the farmers market stories, the Juneau Empire also ran a feature about a Juneau gardener who is using aeroponics to grow his food. Click here to read the story.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner on Sunday ran an article about the Fairbanks Community Cooperative Market, which is an effort to get 1,500 Fairbanks residents to buy $200 memberships in a new store that would emphasize local food and organic food choices (click here to read the story). So far the project has downpayments on about two-thirds of the memberships needed to launch the project.

Finally, this week’s Alaska Journal of Commerce has a feature story about alternative energy guru Bernie Karl, who uses geothermal energy to power 44 buildings over 450 acres at the Chena Hot Springs Resort, including the resort’s large greenhouses that can grow about 150,000 to 175,000 heads of lettuce a year and other crops. Click here to read more about the Chena Hot Springs Resort greenhouses and how they can be a good model for the Sitka Community Greenhouse project.

• SEARHC, Cooperative Extension hosts free garden workshop on Sept. 9

Master gardener Bob Gorman shows off seed starts in wet paper towels during a March garden workshop

Master gardener Bob Gorman shows off seed starts in wet paper towels during a March garden workshop

Do you want to grow some of your own food this summer, so you can have more fresh food choices and eat healthier dinners? Then the fourth and final installment in a continuing series of garden workshops is for you.

The SEARHC Diabetes and Health Promotion programs have teamed up with master gardener Bob Gorman of the Sitka office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service to offer a series of four free garden workshops during the summer of 2009. The last workshop of the series takes place from 1:30 to 3 p.m. on Wednesday, Sept. 9.

The class will be hosted at the SEARHC Community Health Services Building third-floor conference room in Sitka (1212 Seward Dr.). But participants in other communities will join by video or audioconference from the SEARHC Juneau Administration Building Conference Room, the SEARHC Jessie Norma Jim Health Center in Angoon, the Haines Borough Library, the SEARHC Kake Health Center and the SEARHC Alicia Roberts Medical Center in Klawock.

“Even though summer is winding down, people still have a lot they can do in this year’s growing season,” said Maybelle Filler, SEARHC Diabetes Grant Coordinator. “Southeast Alaska is unique in its growing conditions, and it’s great that the SEARHC Diabetes and Health Promotion programs can partner with the Sitka office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service to provide information on growing things in our area.”

The first three workshops in the four-workshop series were March 11, May 6 and July 8. The topics for the remaining workshop are:

* Sept. 9 — Late-winter plantings; trees and shrubs; house plants and indoor gardening; and winterizing your garden.

For more information about this series of free workshops, contact SEARHC Diabetes Grant Coordinator Maybelle Filler at 966-8739 or maybelle.filler@searhc.org. People who aren’t able to attend at one of the listed video or audioconferencing sites, should contact Maybelle for other options. Maybelle also has extra copies of the handouts for those who miss any of the garden workshops.

• Alaska Grown’s Eat Local Challenge is this week

Flier for the Alaska Grown "Eat Local Challenge"

The Alaska Public Radio Network had a story on the Alaska News Nightly show Thursday night about the “Eat Local Challenge,” which takes place Aug. 23-29. Click here to listen to the story, which discusses what’s available around the state and how residents can encourage their local stores and restaurants to carry more Alaska Grown produce. For more information on the Eat Local Challenge, click here to see our post introducing the event last week.

By the way, a good time to buy local food this week is the fourth Sitka Farmers Market of the summer, which takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 29, at Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall (235 Katlian St.). We’ll see you there.

• To extend the lives of berries, give them a hot bath

Picking blueberries in Sitka

Picking blueberries in Sitka

It happens to all berry fans. You pick a bunch of berries, or buy some in the store, and within a day or two you have mold growing on them. Yuck.

Earlier this week, the New York Times ran an article (free registration required to open link) about how to solve this problem. Give the berries a warm to hot bath of about 125 to 140 degrees (depending on the thickness of the berries skin). This process is called “thermotherapy,” and it seems to do the trick.

• Capital City Weekly features Sitka Farmers Market, and other local food stories in the news

Screenshot of Capital City Weekly site with the Table of the Day Winners from the third Sitka Farmers Market

Screenshot of Capital City Weekly site with the Table of the Day Winners from the third Sitka Farmers Market

Click here to see a photo in this week’s issue of Capital City Weekly that shows Table of the Day Award-winners Hope Merritt and Judy Johnstone of Gimbal Botanicals and Sprucecot Gardens receiving their award from Ellen Frankenstein at the third Sitka Farmers Market of the season on Aug. 15. We host the fourth Sitka Farmers Market of the summer from 10 a.m. to 20 p.m. this Saturday (Aug. 29) at Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall, 235 Katlian St.

In addition to the Sitka Farmers Market photo, there were several other local foods stories in statewide news the last few days.

Click here to read a Capital City Weekly story about the second annual Juneau Farmers Market and Local Foods Fair that takes place on Saturday, Aug. 29, at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center.

Click here to read a Capital City Weekly story about using and preserving healthy, delicious rose hips (by Dr. Sonja Koukel of the Juneau office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service, article includes a recipe).

Click here to read a story from Thursday’s Juneau Empire previewing this Saturday’s second annual Juneau Farmers Market and Local Foods Festival.

Click here to read a Fairbanks Daily News-Miner story about the history of sourdough bread in Alaska (article includes a couple of recipes).

Click here to read a roundup from the Anchorage Daily News about what’s available this week in local farmers markets.

Finally, click here to read an article from the Canadian magazine “Up Here” about a Yukon Territory resident’s attempt to eat a 100-mile diet (eg, a locavore diet).

• Fourth Sitka Farmers Market of summer takes place on Saturday (Aug. 29)

SitkaFarmersMarketSign

The fourth Sitka Farmers Market of the summer takes place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. this Saturday (Aug. 29) at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall (235 Katlian St.).

The Sitka Farmers Market features about 20-30 vendors each market who sell locally grown produce, locally harvested fish and locally made arts and crafts. The market features musicians inside, a jam tent outside, local cooks with ready-to-eat dishes and a fun activity for children. The Sitka Farmers Market is the only farmers market in Southeast Alaska authorized to accept WIC vouchers, which can be used by WIC-eligible families to purchase produce.

The non-profit Sitka Local Foods Network accepts donations of garden vegetables for its corner stand. Proceeds from the Sitka Local Foods Network booth go to future markets and to local food projects.

Vendor booths are available for this Saturday’s market at $5 a table. Vendors are encouraged to be set up by 9:30 a.m., and all vendors selling processed food need to complete the state’s online food safety course before bringing the food (and completion certificate) to market, http://alaska.state.gegov.com/foodworker/.

For more information about this week’s market or to sign up as a volunteer, contact Linda Wilson at 747-3096 (nights) or lawilson87@hotmail.com.

By the way, if you haven’t already done so, then click the logo below to cast your vote for the Sitka Farmers Market in the “Love Your Farmers Market” contest, sponsored by Care2.com and LocalHarvest.org.

The contest will award the voters’ favorite farmers market the grand prize, which could go a long way toward helping the Sitka Farmers Market support local family farmers and gardeners provide Sitka with fresh, healthy, locally grown food. Voting opened on June 19 and closes on Sept. 17. In addition to the $5,000 grand prize for the top farmers market, there are several other prizes including weekly $250 prizes for a random market and some prizes for voters (tote bags, $50 prizes for top recruiters to spend at their market, etc.). We appreciate your vote.

love your farmers market contest - help your market win $5,000 - vote today!