UAF Cooperative Extension Service updates Alaska’s Sustainable Gardening Handbook

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Alaska’s Sustainable Gardening Handbook” has been updated.

This publication was first produced in 2010 as an adaptation of “Sustainable Gardening: The Oregon-Washington Master Gardener Handbook” and this is the first revision. It is used as one component in Master Gardener training programs for University of Alaska Cooperative Extension Service volunteers in Alaska, but is also a must-have for all Alaska gardeners.

UAF Cooperative Extension Service agriculture and horticulture agents have contributed their expertise to provide information on topics such as basic botany, lawns, vegetable gardening, orchards, entomology, pest management and more.

Call 877-520-5211 (toll-free in Alaska) to order the handbook, or check with Jasmine Shaw of the Sitka District Office at 747-9440 to see if she has any copies available locally. The 490-page book costs $50.

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UAF Cooperative Extension Service offers Certified Food Protection Manager class by videoconference Oct. 4 in Sitka

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Tuesday, Sept. 20, is the registration deadline for a certified food protection manager workshop being taught on Tuesday, Oct. 4, by University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service. This is an all-day statewide class that will be offered by videoconferencing to Bethel, Delta Junction, Fairbanks, Juneau, Kodiak, Palmer, Sitka and Valdez.

A certified food protection manager (CFPM) is responsible for monitoring and managing all food establishment operations to ensure that the facility is operating in compliance with food establishment regulations.

A CFPM is knowledgeable about food safety practices and uses this knowledge to provide consumers with safe food, protect public health and prevent food-borne illnesses. Alaska regulations require food establishments to have at least one CFPM on staff.

This course takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (with a half-hour lunch), and participants will take a computer-based exam at the end of the class. The reason the deadline is two weeks before the class is to guarantee course materials reach all the students in time for the class. The cost is $200, and the course will be taught by Julie Cascio of Palmer. Students can register here.

The Sitka videoconference for the class will take place in Room 106 at the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus. To learn more, contact Jasmine Shaw at the Sitka District Office of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service at 747-9440, or contact Julie Cascio at (907) 745-3360 (Palmer number) or jmcascio@alaska.edu. Note, this class is taught in English but textbooks are available in Korean, Chinese and Spanish, just contact Julie at least three weeks before the class.

Also, the ServSafe book ($70) and certification exam ($75) now are available online, if people want to order the book and study independently without taking the class. Just go to this website and purchase the book and exam items.

Scenes from the Sitka Kitch’s fourth Preserving the Harvest class — Simple Chutneys and Salsas

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kitch_logo_mainStudents learned how to make pa variety of chutneys and salsas during the fourth Preserving the Harvest series class of the summer on Monday, Aug. 29, at the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen.

The chutneys and salsas class was taught by Lisa Sadleir-Hart, with assistance from Betsy Decker. It is one of six classes in the Preserving the Harvest class series, which will teach people how to safely preserve the summer’s bounty so it can be eaten in the summer.

Other classes in the series will include simple pickles and sauerkraut, low-sugar jams and jellies, canning salmon, chutneys and salsas, apple and fruit butters, and a community kale celebration. More details can be found at this link.

The Sitka Kitch was a project of the 2013 Sitka Health Summit, and the project is coordinated by the Sitka Conservation Society in partnership with the Sitka Local Foods Network. The Sitka Kitch can be rented to teach cooking and food preservation classes, by local cottage food industry entrepreneurs who need a commercial kitchen to make their products, and for large groups needing a large kitchen for a community dinner. To learn more about how to rent the Sitka Kitch, please go to the website at http://www.sitkawild.org/sitka_kitch.

RhubarbJalapenoChutneyOnStoveThe next class in the series will be apple and fruit butters, from 6-8:30 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 12, at the Sitka Kitch. To register for classes, go to our online registration page at http://sitkakitch.eventsmart.com/ and click on the class name.

We now have a PayPal option so people can pay the registration fees before the class. There are food/supply fees for most of the classes, which are split between the students, and those are paid by cash or check (made out to the Sitka Conservation Society) at the class. Other than for the Kale Celebration event, each class has a limited number of spots available, so register early. Registration for each class closes at 11:55 p.m. on the Friday before the class.

If you have any questions about the class series, please email sitkakitch@sitkawild.org. A slideshow of images from the chutneys and salsas class is posted below.

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Sitka Spruce Tips-Alaska Way of Life 4-H club to host Wild Edibles Series this fall

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The Sitka Spruce Tips-Alaska Way of Life 4-H Club will begin a six-week Wild Edible Series  starting on Wednesday, Sept. 7.

Kids will get outside and explore the bounty of wild edibles in Southeast Alaska. Activities include picking berries, identifying mushrooms, hiking through the muskeg, smoking salmon, and making jam and fruit leather. Get ready to taste the Tongass.

4-H members ages 5-8 will meet from 3:30-5 p.m. on Wednesdays and ages 9 and older will meet from 3:30-5 p.m. on Thursdays (the location will be revealed once you have registered). The registration fee is $20 and scholarships are available. Please register by Sept. 2.

For more information, email Julia Tawney at julia@sitkawild.org or call the Sitka Conservation Society at 747-7509.

UAS Sitka Campus to host annual class on how to identify Southeast Alaska mushrooms

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The University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus Office of Continuing Education will host its annual class “Southeast Mushrooms: How to Identify Them.”

This two-day class takes place from 7:30-8:30 p.m. on Thursday, Sept. 1, and from 9 a.m. to noon on two Saturdays, Sept. 3 and Sept. 17, at the UAS Sitka Campus (with field trips). The course fee is $45 and students should dress for the outdoors, bring waxed paper and a bucket for gathering.

This course is designed to introduce students to the mushroom flora of Southeast Alaska. The focus will be on the use of taxonomic keys for identification of fungi and recognition of both edible and poisonous mushrooms. Cooking and preservation of mushrooms will be discussed. Field trips are followed by in-class identification of collected mushrooms.

There is a maximum of 18 students allowed in this class, and the class may be canceled if at least 10 people don’t pre-register for it. For more information, contact the UAS Sitka Campus Office of Continuing Education at 747-7762. To register, call 1-800-478-6653, Ext. 7762, or go to https://uas.ce.alaska.edu.

Sitka Local Foods Network to host informal garden club for Sitka gardeners on Sept. 2

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Do you grow vegetables or fruit or want to? Would you like to meet and learn from other gardeners in Sitka and visit their gardens?

Then come to Sitka Local Foods Network’s informal, unofficial Garden Club meeting from 7-9 p.m. on Friday, Sept. 2, at the home of Jennifer and Brinnen Carter, 113 Jamestown Drive. This is a chance for Sitka gardeners to share successes and discuss problems they may be having with their gardens. Appetizers will be provided.

Participants will decide the next location and club meeting date (so bring your calendars). If parking looks tight, please walk up the hill. For more information, contact Jennifer at 747-0520.

Patagonia headquarters chef Tracy On in Sitka to develop new Fish to Schools program recipes

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Tracy On shows off a serving of chum salmon fried rice (front) and pink salmon macaroni and cheese that she tested Friday (Aug. 26) at the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen. Tracy is in town for a two-week internship with the Sitka Conservation Society to develop new recipes for the Fish to Schools program.

TracyOnPreparesToSliceChumSalmonIn her regular job, Tracy On is the chef at Patagonia headquarters in Ventura, Calif., serving about 500 breakfasts and lunches a day to Patagonia employees. For her summer vacation, Tracy is in Sitka developing new recipes for the Fish to Schools program as part of a two-week internship with the Sitka Conservation Society.

“I’m working on recipes for Fish to Schools, so we can incorporate a little more local salmon in the school lunches,” Tracy said. “I also had personal reasons for coming here. I wanted to learn more about the fishing industry and how to connect the kids to their local food sources. I’m also a little selfish. I’ve always wanted to come to Alaska and this is my first trip.”

During her first week in Sitka, Tracy spent several days at the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen testing new recipes. She also did a morning interview with KCAW-Raven Radio on Wednesday to help spread the word about her visit. On Friday, Tracy prepared a chum salmon fried rice dish and a pink salmon macaroni and cheese dish, then took a tour of the newly renovated Sitka Salmon Shares plant. She also has been working on a salmon corn dog and other recipes.

Tracy is trying to create recipes the kids will enjoy, what she called “comfort classics kids love,” while also keeping costs down because most school districts don’t receive more than $2 or $3 per student meal for their school lunch programs. That’s one reason she has been working with pink and chum salmon while in Sitka, because the costs are lower. She also is testing recipes that can be cooked from scratch, as well as ones that just require reheating, since school districts use different methods to prepare their meals. The Sitka Conservation Society will host an invitation-only tasting this week where SCS members and guests can try out a few of the new meals.

TrayOfChumSalmon“The main reason to host Tracy is to bring the Fish to Schools program to the next step,” said Sophie Nethercut, who coordinates the program for the Sitka Conservation Society. “We’ve been running this program on donations, and with the funding climate the way it is, we wanted to create a line of minimally processed recipes using pink and chum salmon that can be marketed to schools, nursing homes and hospitals.”

Tracy isn’t the first intern the Sitka Conservation Society has hosted from Patagonia, which has been sending employees to Sitka for the past three years to work on a variety of projects. Other Patagonia interns held workshops on repairing outdoor gear or helped with computer systems while in Sitka.

Tracy will be in town one more week, which will include a couple of sessions working on new recipes at the Sitka Kitch and the tasting event. She also hopes to get out on a commercial fishing boat and possibly visit other seafood processors in town.

Also, local commercial fishermen can still donate coho salmon to the Fish to Schools program, as the annual donation drive has been extended until Aug. 30.