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Archive for March, 2017

The Sitka Local Foods Network just sent out the March 2017 edition of its monthly newsletter. Feel free to click this link to get a copy.

This month’s newsletter includes short items about spring garden classes, the recruitment of a manager for the Sitka Farmers Market, a new sponsorship program for the Sitka Local Foods Network, a request for new board members, and an item about an upcoming cottage food business basics class. Each story has links to our website for more information.

You can sign up for future editions of our newsletter by clicking on the newsletter image in the right column of our website and filling in the information. If you received a copy but didn’t want one, there is a link at the bottom of the newsletter so you can unsubscribe. Our intention is to get the word out about upcoming events and not to spam people. We will protect your privacy by not sharing our email list with others.

 

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Students learned how to make a Thai chicken coconut soup and panang muu (aka, panang pork curry) on Tuesday, March 28, at the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen. This was the third of five classes in the Cooking Around The World class series offered this spring.

The class was taught by Nancy Knapp, a longtime Sitka health program manager who also spent several years living and working in Laos and Thailand. She also taught a Thai cooking class last year, and both classes were sold out.

Future Cooking Around The World series classes include:

  • Austria6-8:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 12, taught by Suat Tuzlak. Suat is the former owner of the Alpine Bakery in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, and co-author of “Little Cookbook For The Great Outdoors.” For this class he will teach students how to make a savory strudel with two fillings and a sweet strudel with apples that’s great with ice cream. The registration deadline is 9 p.m. on Sunday, April 9.
  • Turkey — 5-7:30 p.m., Monday, April 17, taught by Suat Tuzlak. For this class, Suat, who is Turkish, will teach students how to make a Turkish dinner that is vegan and gluten-free without using sophisticated ingredients. You will learn to make red lentil soup, green beans with olive oil, festive rice pilaf with currants and pine nuts, and a fusion dessert, chia-coconut pudding. The registration deadline is 9 p.m. on Friday, April 14.

When registering, students should prepay for the class through the Sitka Kitch online registration site, http://sitkakitch.eventsmart.com, using PayPal or credit/debit card. If you need other payment arrangements, contact Chandler or Clarice of Sitka Conservation Society at 747-7509 to arrange a time when you can pay with cash or check. To qualify for a partial refund, please notify us at least three days in advance if you need to cancel. The registration deadline is three days before each class so our instructors have time to purchase materials. Please email sitkakitch@sitkawild.org with any questions.

Watch the Sitka Kitch page on Facebook or our online registration page to see when these and any future classes are scheduled (there will be a Preserving The Harvest class series this summer).

A slideshow of scenes from the Thai cooking class follows below.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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(Photo courtesy of Klas Stolpe/Juneau Empire) Bill Ehlers, assistant gardener at the Jensen-Olson Arboretum in Juneau, holds a Tlingít potato next to some of the potato plant’s flowers.

The U.S. Forest Service-Sitka Ranger District and Sitka Tribe of Alaska have joined forces to help create an educational opportunity and traditional food source for community members.

The two groups will show how to grow Tlingít potatoes, and tell about their biology, history and cultural aspects.

The Sitka Ranger District is providing a plot of land to serve as the shared potato garden. The Sitka Tribe’s Traditional Foods Program and the gardening class from Pacific High School will assist on the project, but community involvement also is needed.

Attendees should bring boots, gardening gloves and shovels, and (if possible) five-gallon buckets of kelp to incorporate into the soil. The first work day and educational opportunity is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. on Friday, April 14, at the Sitka Ranger District office, 2108 Halibut Point Road.

Organizers said that members of the community who help tend the shared garden may receive more than gratitude as their reward.

“We hope to share the harvest among those helping out, and possibly share potatoes through the Sitka Tribe’s Traditional Foods Program and Social Services,” Sitka District Ranger Perry Edwards said. “This project will teach people how to grow and sustain a traditional food, while supporting the growing need for food security among Sitka families.”

K’únts’ — sometimes called Maria’s Potatoes — have been present in Tlingít gardens for more than 200 years. The potatoes originate from Mexico or Chile and were a trade item in Southeast Alaska in the early 1800s.

For more information, contact Michelle Putz at 747-2708 or mputz@fs.fed.us.

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Want to learn how to grow your own food? Are you new to Sitka and want to learn what veggies grow in our town? The Sitka Local Foods Network education committee has a list of free 2017 spring garden classes that can help you learn what to do and when to do it so you have a healthy garden.

This spring, all of our classes except one will take place from 6:30-8 p.m. on Thursdays at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine Street, parking off Spruce Street). Each week will feature a different topic, and all classes are free (donations to the Sitka Local Foods Network will be accepted).

The class schedule is as follows:

  • Gardening in Sitka 101March 30, taught by Michelle Putz
  • Cottage Foods Business BasicsApril 6, 6-8 p.m., Room 106, University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus, taught by Sarah Lewis and Nina Vizcarrondo, in partnership with the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service
  • Growing Potatoes in SitkaApril 13, taught by Kathy Kyle
  • Extending Your Garden SeasonApril 20, taught by Kerry MacLane
  • Container GardeningApril 27, taught by Joshua Andresky
  • Raising ChickensMay 4, taught by Joshua Andresky, Nina Vizcarrondo and Brinnen Carter
  • Everything You Need To Know About TreesFriday, May 19, taught by Jud Kirkness
  • Growing Garlic in SitkaDate TBA (toward the end of the summer), taught by Jennifer Carter

For more information about the classes, contact Jennifer Carter at 747-0520. Other classes may be added at a later date if we find volunteers to teach them.

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Heidi Rader shows her new Grow & Tell app. (Photo by Jeff Fay, for the UAF Cooperative Extension Service)

Heidi Rader describes the new Grow & Tell app and website she developed as “essentially Yelp for gardeners.”

Rader teaches gardening and farming as the tribes Extension educator for the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service and the Tanana Chiefs Conference. She also reaches gardeners and farmers from around the state through distance-delivered courses.The free app, which was released Tuesday, allows gardeners in the United States to see what vegetable varieties grow best in their areas based on what other gardeners say. The app also invites gardeners to act as citizen scientists and rate the varieties that they have grown for taste, yield and reliability.

Vegetable variety trials conducted in Fairbanks show what grows well here, she said but not in other areas of the state.

“That works pretty well for me but not for people, say, in Arctic Village or Nome,” she said.

Rader hopes that lots of gardeners will rate crops, which will make the app more useful for others. “It’s citizen scientists conducting variety trials where they live,” she said.

The app is available on the App Store for iPhones, Google Play for android phones or as a website at www.growandtell.us. Development of the app was funded by a grant from the eXtension Foundation to promote innovation in the Cooperative Extension Service. To keep the app free, Rader said, Extension will seek sponsorships to pay for updates, fixes and regular maintenance. Additionally, event advertising can also be purchased and targeted to app users locally, by state or nationally.

Rader hopes to expand the app to capture ratings on other plants used in the landscape and garden, including trees, shrubs, flowers, fruits and berries.

The University of Alaska Fairbanks recognized Rader with a 2016 Invent Alaska Award for her work on the app. Cornell University contributed ratings that it had already collected as well as lessons learned from operating a similar citizen science project. A Boston-based company, Geisel Software, built the app. For more information, contact Heidi Rader at grow.andtell@alaska.edu.

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Students learned how to make a variety of dishes that will help people balance their blood sugar levels on Monday, March 13, at the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen. This was the second of five classes in the Nourish: Using Food As Medicine For Optimum Health class series offered as part of National Nutrition Month this March.

The class series is taught by Holly Marban, a Sitka nutritionist and holistic health coach. In this class, students made a vegetable frittata, a kale salad with an apple cider vinaigrette, a lentil and veggie salad with nuts and herbs, with buckwheat granola, lemon vanilla yogurt, and berries for dessert. Future Nourish classes include (unfortunately, this class series is full):

  • Class 3: Everyday Superfoods — 6-8 p.m. on Monday, March 20
    • In this class we’ll take a look at some nutritional superstars of the plant kingdom and explore ways to boost the nutrient content of everyday foods. Sprouting, soaking, and fermentation will be discussed as ways to amp up the nutritional profile of certain foods. We’ll create a colorful meal of quinoa vegetable “sushi” with sprouts, a super greens salad with hemp-ginger dressing, and chia pudding with herbed citrus compote.
  • Class 4: Foods to Fight Inflammation — 6-8 p.m. on Monday, March 27
    • In this class, we’ll explore the concept of inflammation in the body and how it can impact overall health. Learn what inflammation is, which foods more easily cause inflammation, and how to use food to decrease and/or prevent it. We’ll make a version of the recently popular warm beverage called “golden milk,” coconut-ginger braised leafy greens with chickpeas and steamed buckwheat, and a raw blueberry tart.
  • Class 5: Spring Detox — 6-8 p.m. on Monday, April 3
    • Learn how to use whole foods to support the natural detoxification processes in your body. With a focus on spring greens and other seasonal produce, we’ll make a simple green smoothie, red beet hummus with cruciferous vegetables, green goddess salad, and creamy cauliflower soup.

 

In addition, the Sitka Kitch still has three classes remaining in its Cooking Around The World class series with space available. These classes are:

  • Thailand — 5:30-7 p.m., Tuesday, March 28, taught by Nancy Knapp. Nancy is a longtime health educator from Sitka who spent several years in Laos and Thailand. She still hasn’t announced which dishes she will teach for this class, but she taught a Thai cooking class last year that sold out quickly and had a long waiting list. The registration deadline is 9 p.m. on Saturday, March 25.
  • Austria6-8:30 p.m., Wednesday, April 12, taught by Suat Tuzlak. Suat is the former owner of the Alpine Bakery in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory, and co-author of “Little Cookbook For The Great Outdoors.” For this class he will teach students how to make a savory strudel with two fillings and a sweet strudel with apples that’s great with ice cream. The registration deadline is 9 p.m. on Sunday, April 9.
  • Turkey — 5-7:30 p.m., Monday, April 17, taught by Suat Tuzlak. For this class, Suat, who is Turkish, will teach students how to make a Turkish dinner that is vegan and gluten-free without using sophisticated ingredients. You will learn to make red lentil soup, green beans with olive oil, festive rice pilaf with currants and pine nuts, and a fusion dessert, chia-coconut pudding. The registration deadline is 9 p.m. on Friday, April 14.

When registering, students should prepay for the class through the Sitka Kitch online registration site, http://sitkakitch.eventsmart.com, using PayPal or credit/debit card. If you need other payment arrangements, contact Chandler or Clarice of Sitka Conservation Society at 747-7509 to arrange a time when you can pay with cash or check. To qualify for a partial refund, please notify us at least three days in advance if you need to cancel. The registration deadline is three days before each class so our instructors have time to purchase materials. Please email sitkakitch@sitkawild.org with any questions.

Watch the Sitka Kitch page on Facebook or our online registration page to see when these and any future classes are scheduled (there will be a Preserving The Harvest class series this summer).

A slideshow of scenes from the balancing blood sugars class follows below.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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Join Sitka residents for a discussion about herring, which is the Food Talks topic for Thursday, March 16. This event takes place at 5:30 p.m. at the Sitka Public Library’s Gus Adams meeting room (in the back corner of the library near the water).

This free meeting is open to the public, and people are invited to share their stories about all aspects of herring in Sitka and Southeast Alaska. Please share your stories about subsistence harvests, commercial harvests, eating herring or herring eggs, how you feel about herring, how to maintain sustainable quotas/harvests, and more. Feel free to share photos, too. Someone may be at the meeting filming stories as part of a grant from National Geographic.

For more information, contact Nina Vizcarrondo of the Alaska Native Sisterhood Subsistence Committee at (863) 286-9230. Also, watch for upcoming announcements about the annual Sitka Herring Festival week events in April.

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