• State grants available for summer ‘Chef at the Market’ program at 2015 local farmers markets

Suzan Brawnlyn, the Chef at the Market, holds a sample cup of honey miso-glazed black cod with broccoli and bok choy stir fry during a cooking demonstration on July 21, 2012, at the second Sitka Farmers Market of the season.

Suzan Brawnlyn, the Chef at the Market, holds a sample cup of honey miso-glazed black cod with broccoli and bok choy stir fry during a cooking demonstration on July 21, 2012, at the second Sitka Farmers Market of the season.

The state’s Chef at the Market program is accepting grant applications from Alaska chefs interested in providing demonstrations at local farmers markets between May and September this year.

The Chef at the Market program began in 2011 to promote fresh Alaska Grown specialty crops and teach Alaskans new ways to prepare them. The program has also provided a new opportunity for chefs to develop relationships with the local food vendors who supply restaurants and with Alaskans interested in cooking Alaska Grown at home.

In the summer of 2013, six Alaska chefs performed a total of 27 demonstrations at nine local farmers markets and special events. In 2014 there were 39 demonstrations at nine local farmers markets around the state. In addition to hosting demonstrations at the local farmers markets, chefs prepare recipes and other information about how to use the local produce they highlighted each week.

The Sitka Farmers Market hasn’t had a Chef at the Market since 2012, when Suzan Brawnlyn hosted four Chef at the Market presentations. We weren’t able to host a chef in 2013 because the kitchen was closed due to construction at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall, and no Sitka chefs applied in 2014. The ANB Hall construction is finished and the kitchen is open again, so Sitka chefs are encouraged to apply for 2015.

The Chef at the Market program is part of the federal Specialty Crop Block Grant administered by the Alaska Division of Agriculture, so it will have 2015 funding (despite budget cuts to other state-run programs). To apply for a 2015 summer program grant, go to http://dnr.alaska.gov/ag/ag_grants.htm or download the application at http://dnr.alaska.gov/ag/Grants/2015CATMRFP.pdf. Grant applications are due on Tuesday, March 31.

To find out more information about the Chef at the Market grants and demonstrations, contact Jacquelyn Schade at jacquelyn.schade@alaska.gov or 907-761-3858.

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