• Second Sitka Farmers Market of the summer takes place this Saturday (July 31) at ANB Hall

The Sitka Local Foods Network will host the second Sitka Farmers Market of the 2010 summer from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 31, at Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall (235 Katlian St.). This is the second of this summer’s five big markets that started on July 17 and take place on alternate Saturdays through Sept. 11. The remaining markets will be Aug. 14, 28 and Sept. 11 at ANB Hall. A smaller market will be held on Sept. 25 at the Crescent Harbor shelter as part of the annual Running of the Boots fundraiser for the Sitka Local Foods Network (more details on this event later).

The Sitka Farmers Markets give Sitka residents a chance to buy and sell locally produced food and crafts. The markets feature wild local seafood (fresh, frozen, and cooked, ready to eat), locally grown and harvested fruits and vegetables, baked bread, locally picked berries, jams and jellies, cooking demonstrations, live entertainment, locally brewed and roasted coffee, music, local arts and crafts, and a variety of other items gathered or made in Sitka. We emphasize local products and lots of fun.

Because many Sitka residents had concerns about food security and how they could access more local food, the Sitka Farmers Market and Sitka Local Foods Networks started out as community projects that came out of a health priority planning meeting during the 2008 Sitka Health Summit. The markets are sponsored by the Sitka Local Foods Network, Alaska Native Brotherhood Camp No. 1, Alaska Native Sisterhood Camp No. 4, Baranof Island Housing Authority, Sitka Conservation Society, the Alaska Farmers Market Association and the SEARHC Health Promotion and Diabetes Prevention programs.

Vendor fees are just $15 per market. Due to construction in the parking lot, only indoor booth space is available this year. We are the first farmers market in Southeast Alaska to accept WIC coupons. To learn more or to sign up for a table, contact Sitka Farmers Market Co-Coordinator Linda Wilson at 747-3096 (evenings and weekends) or e-mail lawilson87@hotmail.com. Vendor rules, registration forms and other information for potential vendors can be found at this link.

Also, don’t forget that you can vote for the Sitka Farmers Market in the America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest, sponsored by the American Farmland Trust, by clicking this link or the logo in the right-hand column and following the prompts. As of Thursday night (July 29), the Sitka Farmers Market was the leading vote-getter among Alaska’s markets participating in the contest, but we only had a five-vote lead over HomeGrown Market of Fairbanks. You can vote through the end of August, but only once per computer.