• Sitka-based film, ‘Eating Alaska,’ goes international for screenings, national for PBS premieres

“Eating Alaska,” a film by Sitka filmmaker Ellen Frankenstein about local food and how Alaskans make their food choices, is going international with screenings in Poland, Croatia, Scotland and Canada in the next two months. The film also will be making its PBS premiere with broadcasts on various public television stations around the country during September, including two in Alaska (one with a live Skype interview).

The international screenings will be highlighted when Frankenstein and associate producer Valerie Lipinski attend the Kuchnia TV Food Film Festival and National Broadcast Sept. 30-Oct. 9 in Warsaw, Poland.

The film also will be shown (without the filmmaker in attendance) Sept. 16-19 at KinoOkus (Cinetaste), which is Croatia’s first gastronomic film festival that will focus on food education, environmental protection and sustainable development. Eating Alaska will be shown on Sept. 30 as part of the Reel Food Film Festival sponsored by the Ottawa Main Public Library in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada. During September and October, “Eating Alaska” will be shown as part of the Cineco Environmental Film Festival sponsored by the University of Edinburgh, Scotland.

In addition to the international showings, “Eating Alaska” will be shown for two live audiences in New York — on Oct. 5 as part of the Meet the Filmmaker Series at the Hewlett/Woodmere Public Library (Nassau) and on Oct. 6 at the Port Washington Public Library. “Eating Alaska” also will be shown a little bit closer to home, on Nov. 5-7 in Fairbanks, at the Far North Conservation Film Festival for those people looking for a live screening in Alaska.

While it won’t be broadcast nationally, “Eating Alaska” will make several premieres on local public broadcasting TV stations around the country during the month of September (click here for full schedule). The film will be aired in Houston, Texas; Evansville, Ind.; Austin, Minn.; Broomfield, Colo.; Charleston, Columbia, Spartanburg, Allendale, Beaufort, Florence, Sumter, Greenwood, Conway, Greenville and Rock Hill, S.C.; Greenville, N.C.; Anchorage, Alaska (at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 14, on KAKM Channel 7, featuring a live Skype online video interview with Ellen Frankenstein); Durham, N.H.; Keene, N.H.; Littleton, N.H.; Eureka, Calif.; Elmira, Syracuse and Utica, N.Y.; East Lansing, Mich.; Milwaukee, Wis.; and Fairbanks (KUAC), Bethel (KYUK), Juneau (KTOO) and other Southeast Alaska communities including Sitka (at 9 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 30, and again at 3 a.m. on Friday, Oct. 1, on AlaskaOne).

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• A reminder about Saturday’s Sitka Farmers Market and other items

Don’t forget, we have a Sitka Farmers Market from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 28, at ANB Hall (235 Katlian St.). We’re getting a little bit later in the summer, so hopefully we’ll have some root vegetables available this week, such as potatoes, carrots and turnips, that weren’t available earlier this summer.

Also, this is the last week to vote in the America’s Favorite Farmers Market contest. Voting closes at midnight (Eastern time, 8 p.m. Alaska time) on Tuesday, Aug. 31. Click the logo in the right column or click the link above and vote for the Sitka Farmers Market.

Finally, Saturday is the last day of the Alaska Grown Eat Local Challenge. This event runs from Aug. 22-28 and encourages Alaskans to eat meals made with local food. We live in an area with lots of salmon, halibut and other fish, plus people with gardens should have lots of greens, potatoes and other veggies in season right now, with lots of berries for dessert.

If you don’t have your own garden, there will be lots of local veggies and fish for sale at Saturday’s Sitka Farmers Market. Eating local food means the food is fresher, so it tastes better and it has more nutrients. Also by eating local food you eliminate thousands of miles of transportation costs bringing your food to your plate.

• A Sitka 4-year-old tries her hand at potato sculpture

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After harvesting some potatoes with her mother earlier this week, Sitka 4-year-old Violet Harrison let her creativity flow and she created several potato sculptures. Thanks to Violet’s mother, Erin Rofkar, for sharing these photos of Violet with her sculptures of a scorpion, a moose, a bridge, the sun, a frog and a house with dogs.

• How does your garden grow? Sitka wants to see its best gardens

Does your neighbor have an incredible garden? Do you think your own garden looks pretty impressive? Then help the Sitka Local Foods Network find out who grows the best gardens in Sitka.

If you know of someone with an impressive garden,  take a picture or two and e-mail the photos by Sept. 11 to charleswbingham3@gmail.com. Tell us why you think the nominated garden is one of Sitka’s best, and don’t forget to tell us the owner of the garden and address (NOTE: if you’re nominating a neighbor, please double-check with them to make sure they want their garden nominated). The Sitka Local Foods Network focuses on food production, but there is a category for flower gardens.

Hopefully we’ll get enough nominations so we can create an informal garden tour of Sitka to show how people are growing their own food. The better gardens will be featured here in a photo slideshow toward the end of September.

Here are some categories to consider:

  • Best of show (top overall gardens in Sitka)
  • Biggest variety of food (most different kinds of food)
  • Most productive garden (which garden produces the most food)
  • Best looking food garden (for productive gardens that really look nice)
  • Most unique plants (who grows stuff in Sitka nobody else grows)
  • Best use of limited space (for apartment dwellers and container gardens)
  • Best greenhouse
  • Best flower garden

Again, e-mail a photo or two to charleswbingham3@gmail.com to nominate your favorite Sitka gardens, then I’ll post them on the site. Please help the Sitka Local Foods Network recognize the best gardens in Sitka.

• Feedback provided during debriefing meeting for inaugural Sitka Seafood Festival

Here is a run-down of the Tuesday, Aug. 17, debriefing meeting for the Sitka Seafood Festival. The following notes were provided by Alicia Peavey, who chaired the steering committee that organized the festival.

Thank you to those of you who were able to make the debriefing meeting for SSF. It went fairly well, and we were able to discuss quite a few aspects that we liked, or want to change about next year. I will list the highlights below. The biggest topics discussed were our first
meeting for next year’s festival, and our celebration/party for all
volunteers for this year’s event.

The celebration will be held on Sunday, Aug. 29th (EDITOR’S NOTE: Event postponed to a time TBA). SSF will provide drinks and some food. The Rec is already reserved, so we are looking into the Fly In Fish Inn or Talon Lodge. If anyone else has ideas let me know, and I will let everyone know as soon as I hear.

The first committee meeting will be held at 7 p.m. on Monday, Oct. 4, at Harrigan Centennial Hall. We will discuss next year’s event, but a
large part of the meeting will be devoted to figuring out committee
chair positions. Everyone who is interested at all in helping next
year should TRY their hardest to make this meeting please.
Thanks again to everyone who helped this year, what a fantastic event!!!

  • Not enough food vendors during the Saturday event
  • The fishing community was not asked about a specific date (we did try to address this, and we were told they did not know when the closure would be, but we are sending out info to all the fishing community now for next year’s event, and if you know anyone please ask their opinion on a date)
  • We are leaning toward the first week in August again for 2 reasons: 1) there are no other large events going on at this time other than Coast Guard Day and 2) We can piggyback off the Haines fair again and fiscally this is the only way we will be able to pull larger name people up
  • Need to advertise/organize salmon canning class better, and have a sign-up so people aren’t filtering in and out
  • We played with the idea of paying the head organizer position, or possibly paying a couple positions…we will talk more about this during the first meeting in October
  • We discussed continuing to use Sitka Conservation Society as a non-profit umbrella or trying to form our own. I am checking if we can use SCS again in that this seems like the easiest choice for this next year.
  • We need a head of the culinary committee position (hopefully someone involved in the culinary profession, but not actively cooking during the summer so they have the time for the festival)
  • We need to have solid committee chair people for each committee
  • We also discussed the budget, which was amazing!!!! We did such a fantastic job for the first year…I attached this, but as of now, we grossed about $12,000. You can look through and see what were the best money makers: the banquet brought in the most money, followed by the passport event. NANDA didn’t bring in any money, but I have not stopped hearing people talking about how great they were and how it was such a highlight. We decided something like that was the point of
    our festival, to offer an affordable celebration for all to take part in. So, although this didn’t make money, we decided it was an important part of the festival.

Much more was discussed, but these were some of the main topics.
Hope to see everyone at the party…you all deserve a LARGE celebration!

• Sitka Seafood Festival budget for 2010 festival

• Sammee’s Creations wins Table of the Day Award at third Sitka Farmers Market of the summer

Sitka Local Foods Network board president Kerry MacLane, left, and secretary/treasurer Linda Wilson, right, present Sammee Falk of Sammee's Creations with the Table of the Day award at the third Sitka Farmers Market of the summer on Saturday, Aug. 14, at Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall in Sitka.

Sitka Local Foods Network board president Kerry MacLane, left, and secretary/treasurer Linda Wilson, right, present Sammee Falk of Sammee's Creations with the Table of the Day award at the third Sitka Farmers Market of the summer on Saturday, Aug. 14, at Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall in Sitka.

Sammee Falk of Sammee’s Creations won the Table of the Day award at the third Sitka Farmers Market of the summer on Saturday, Aug. 14, at Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall.

The local jewelry maker was presented with a certificate, $25 cash and a farmers market cookbook by Sitka Local Foods Network board president Kerry MacLane and board secretary/treasurer Linda Wilson. Sammee has been at every market for the last two years. She uses beads and a lot of found objects in her jewelry, such as broken glass found on the beach.

One vendor at each of the five scheduled Sitka Farmers Markets this season will receive a similar prize. The next markets are from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on alternate Saturdays, Aug. 28 and Sept. 11, at historic ANB Hall. We look forward to seeing you at our next market.

A slideshow of photos from the third Sitka Farmers Market is posted below, and a similar slideshow can be found on our Shutterfly site.

By the way, if you haven’t already done so, please go to the America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest site, run by the American Farmland Trust, and vote for the Sitka Farmers Market.

Voting is broken down into four categories based on the number of vendors at each farmers market. The four categories are Boutique (15 or fewer vendors), Small (16-30 vendors), Medium (31-55 vendors) and Large (more than 56 vendors). The Sitka Farmers Market competes in the Boutique category, and we need about 50 votes to climb into the national top-20 ranking for our category.

Even though the Sitka Farmers Market is in the smallest size category, it was the leading vote-getter for Alaska as of Thursday, July 29. But a flurry of voting that night vaulted HomeGrown Market of Fairbanks (originally listed as a Medium market, but now listed as Boutique) well ahead of us in the battle for the top market in the state. Voting continues through Aug. 31 so we need your votes to close the gap.

And don’t forget, the Alaska Grown Eat Local Challenge takes place on Aug. 22-28 and our next market is on the last day of this special week that promotes eating locally grown and harvested foods. Stop by the Sitka Farmers Market on Aug. 28 to buy what you need to make a local meal.

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• Sitka Seafood Festival to hold debriefing meeting on Tuesday (Aug. 17)

Now that the inaugural Sitka Seafood Festival is over, the steering committee will host a debriefing meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday night, Aug. 17, at the wine bar at the New Bayview Restaurant. The debriefing session will be informal and shouldn’t last long. People who can’t make it, but have comments, can contact festival coordinator Alicia Peavey.

To learn more about the Sitka Seafood Festival or to find out how you can be a part of the second annual festival, send an e-mail to sitkaseafoodfestival@gmail.com. You also can contact Alicia Peavey at alaska_al33@hotmail.com or 1-928-607-4845.

Anyway, here is a slideshow of scenes from the inaugural Sitka Seafood Festival. A similar slideshow can be found at the Sitka Local Foods Network’s photo site on Shutterfly.

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