• Sitka Local Foods Network to host six Sitka Farmers Markets in 2012

The Sitka Local Foods Network will host its fifth summer of Sitka Farmers Markets with six markets that start on July 7 and take place on alternate Saturdays through Sept. 15. The Sitka Farmers Markets give Sitka residents a chance to buy and sell locally produced food and crafts.

The Sitka Farmers Markets take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, July 7, 21, Aug. 4, 18, Sept. 1 and Sept. 15 at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall (235 Katlian St.). The markets feature local seafood (fresh, frozen, and cooked, ready to eat), locally grown and harvested fruits and vegetables, baked bread, locally made 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. We are the first farmers market in Southeast Alaska to accept WIC coupons. You also can vote for the Sitka Farmers Market in the America’s Favorite Farmers Markets contest by following the links at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org/.

“The Sitka Farmers Market is like a carnival every other Saturday,” Sitka Local Foods Network Board President Kerry MacLane said. “It’s a fun community space to enjoy with your family or to meet your friends for fresh coffee and baked goods. There is live music, cooking demonstrations, art, and, of course, fresh veggies, fruit and seafood.”

The Sitka Farmers Market started as a community project that came out of a health priority planning meeting at the 2008 Sitka Health Summit. This event is 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.

“Thanks to our creative and enthusiastic vendors, the Sitka Farmers Market will be celebrating its fifth successful year.” said Johanna Willingham, Sitka Local Foods Network Board Member and Sitka Farmers Market Coordinator. “We have delighted in watching our market grow over the years and due to popular demand we are beginning our market two weeks earlier this year. Outdoor vendors and musicians will still be able to enjoy the newly paved parking lot with landscaping, thanks to BIHA. A tent will be set up for outdoor dining where you can listen to live music and enjoy some great food. Some new items will be added to some familiar vendors’ tables — dried sea veggies, sea asparagus and sea salt. Look forward to fresh snap and snow peas for snacking, ready-to-eat salads, handmade tamales and, as always, fresh black cod tips.”

Vendor fees are $20 for a 6-foot table, $30 for an 8-foot table and $15 for a 4-foot table. Vendors with their own tents pay $2 per foot. As always, we offer cost incentives for vendors growing locally produced food. The fees will help us cover the costs of renting ANB Hall and its kitchen, hiring musicians and other expenses. To learn more about being a vendor or to sign up for a table, contact Sitka Farmers Market Coordinator Johanna Willingham at 738-8336 or by e-mail johanna.willingham@gmail.com. Vendor rules, registration forms and other information for potential vendors can be found at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org/.