Sitka Kitch to host ‘Preservation/Fermentation 102 With Kayla Caprice’ class on July 29

Learn about the science behind fermentation and its benefits to your body during the upcoming Sitka Kitch class, Preservation/Fermentation 102 With Kayla Caprice. This class takes place from 6-8:30 p.m. on Monday, July 29, at the new location of the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen at the Sitka Lutheran Church (224 Lincoln Street, please use the back entrance through the alley by the former location Bev’s Flowers & Gifts, off Harbor Drive). This class is part of a new Cooking With Kayla Caprice class series this summer, and is a fundraiser for the Sitka Kitch.

“We will go back over the information from Preservation/Fermentation 101, about the science of fermentation and bacteria, and gut health. We will talk about local ingredients, foraging, and preserves. We will preserve lemons, and one preserved seafood,” Kayla wrote in her class description. Kayla currently works as a line cook at Ludvig’s Bistro in Sitka.

Kayla, hails from the Southeast coast, more specifically, Florida. She grew up around the ocean and fishing. Her mother was a chef and Food Network was her favorite channel growing up. She has a background in early childhood development and school-age instruction, with an emphasis on cooking and nutrition. She moved to Seattle three years ago to pursue her love of cooking, learning, teaching, and community involvement.

She has been helping educate adults and youth on cooking, nutrition and the food system with The Beechers Foundation in Seattle for more than two years. There she runs before- and after-school programs with cooking and baking clubs, as well as the school garden. She also assists in classes at Culinary Essentials in Ballard under Chef Nora Dummer, cooked at the Artist Home for the Doe Bay Music Festival on Orcas Island, worked at Firefly Kitchens (a fermentation company in Ballard), and taught the culinary summer camp at The Stroum Jewish Community Center on Mercer Island in Washington. She is currently a line cook at Ludvig’s Bistro in Sitka.

“Cooking for yourself is very important to me, as is loving good food,” Kayla wrote. “I believe everyone and anyone should have access to good food and be able to feed themselves, and the tools they need in order to do so.”

Other classes in the Cooking With Kayla Caprice series include (more details and registration information about these classes will be posted later):

  • ‘S’Lightly Southern Cooking — 6-8:30 p.m. on Monday, July 8 (this class was postponed and will be rescheduled for later this summer or fall; more details TBA)
  • Preservation/Fermentation 101 — 6-8:30 p.m. on Monday, July 22
  • Preservation/Fermentation 102 — 6-8:30 p.m. on Monday, July 29
  • Cooking For One/Small-Space Cooking — 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, Aug. 14 (class targeted to teens and adults)
  • Cooking With Seaweed (in conjunction with Sitka Mermaid Festival) — 6-8:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 26

In addition, the Sitka Kitch has other classes coming up. They include (more details and registration information about these classes will be posted later):

  • Seafood Cooking — 6-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 13, taught by SEARHC Registered Dietitian Katie Carroll
  • Cooking With Wild Mushrooms — Time and date TBA in early September, taught by UAS Sitka Campus Biology Assistant Professor Kitty LaBounty and Beak Restaurant Owner/Chef Renée Jakaitis Trafton

The registration deadline for the first Cooking With Kayla Caprice cooking class is 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 27, so register now since space is limited. We need at least eight students to register and pre-pay to make this class happen. The class costs $40, which is part of our new all-inclusive fee system (you no longer have to pay a class fee to register, then a separate food/supply fee). You can register and pre-pay using credit/debit cards or PayPal on our EventSmart page, http://sitkakitch.eventsmart.com (click on class title). For those wanting to pre-pay with cash or check, please call Claire Sanchez, Chandler O’Connell or Clarice Johnson at Sitka Conservation Society (747-7509) to arrange a payment. For more information about the class, contact Jasmine Shaw at 747-9440. We do offer one potential scholarship spot per class for people with limited incomes, so long as we have enough students registered to make the class happen. Contact Claire or Chandler at SCS for more details about the scholarship. This class is a fundraiser for the Sitka Kitch.

Students should enter the Sitka Lutheran Church through the back entrance (through the alley off Harbor Drive by the old Bev’s Flowers and Gifts location). The door on the right should be open for students to enter. Please do not park in the church’s back parking lot. Please use the public parking lots off Harbor Drive.

The Sitka Kitch also has a new class cancelation policy. If you register for a class, then find out you can’t attend, please email us at sitkakitch@sitkawild.org and we may be able to help fill your slot through our waiting list. If you cancel from the class at least five days in advance (eg, by Wednesday for a Monday class), you are eligible for a partial refund of your class fee, minus $5 for processing (in this case, $35). If you need to cancel with less than five days advance notice, there is no refund.

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Free webinar offered on crop insurance options for shellfish and aquatic plants in Alaska

AgriLogic Consulting LLC, the USDA Risk Management Agency, and the Alaska Farm Bureau will host a free online webinar on crop insurance options for shellfish and aquatic plants in Alaska at 8 a.m. Alaska time on Thursday, July 25.

Ben Thiel from the USDA Spokane Risk Management Agency Regional Office and Nicole Gueck, a Risk Management Specialist with AgriLogic Consulting will discuss the Whole Farm Revenue Protection Crop Insurance Program as it applies to the shellfish/aquaculture/mariculture industry in Alaska.

Please register in advance for this meeting at https://zoom.us/meeting/register/c60c9ald28f926bd7c24e00bf0acd2b8. For more information, go to https://www.facebook.com/events/303267853958012/

Sitka Kitch to host ‘Preservation/Fermentation 101 With Kayla Caprice’ class on July 22

Learn about the science behind fermentation and its benefits to your body during the upcoming Sitka Kitch class, Preservation/Fermentation 101 With Kayla Caprice. This class takes place from 6-8:30 p.m. on Monday, July 22, at the new location of the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen at the Sitka Lutheran Church (224 Lincoln Street, please use the back entrance through the alley by the former location Bev’s Flowers & Gifts, off Harbor Drive). This class is part of a new Cooking With Kayla Caprice class series this summer, and is a fundraiser for the Sitka Kitch.

“We will be talking about the science behind fermentation and the benefits it has on your body. We will make a classic cabbage ferment to be taken home and ferment and bubble away. We will make a vegan version of kimchi, and some other fermented veggies. We will also go over ways to incorporate these foods into your everyday life,” Kayla wrote in her class description. Kayla currently works as a line cook at Ludvig’s Bistro in Sitka.

Kayla, hails from the Southeast coast, more specifically, Florida. She grew up around the ocean and fishing. Her mother was a chef and Food Network was her favorite channel growing up. She has a background in early childhood development and school-age instruction, with an emphasis on cooking and nutrition. She moved to Seattle three years ago to pursue her love of cooking, learning, teaching, and community involvement.

She has been helping educate adults and youth on cooking, nutrition and the food system with The Beechers Foundation in Seattle for more than two years. There she runs before- and after-school programs with cooking and baking clubs, as well as the school garden. She also assists in classes at Culinary Essentials in Ballard under Chef Nora Dummer, cooked at the Artist Home for the Doe Bay Music Festival on Orcas Island, worked at Firefly Kitchens (a fermentation company in Ballard), and taught the culinary summer camp at The Stroum Jewish Community Center on Mercer Island in Washington. She is currently a line cook at Ludvig’s Bistro in Sitka.

“Cooking for yourself is very important to me, as is loving good food,” Kayla wrote. “I believe everyone and anyone should have access to good food and be able to feed themselves, and the tools they need in order to do so.”

Other classes in the Cooking With Kayla Caprice series include (more details and registration information about these classes will be posted later):

  • ‘S’Lightly Southern Cooking — 6-8:30 p.m. on Monday, July 8 (this class was postponed and will be rescheduled for later this summer or fall; more details TBA)
  • Preservation/Fermentation 101 — 6-8:30 p.m. on Monday, July 22
  • Preservation/Fermentation 102 — 6-8:30 p.m. on Monday, July 29
  • Cooking For One/Small-Space Cooking — 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, Aug. 14 (class targeted to teens and adults)
  • Cooking With Seaweed (in conjunction with Sitka Mermaid Festival) — 6-8:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 26

In addition, the Sitka Kitch has other classes coming up. They include (more details and registration information about these classes will be posted later):

  • Seafood Cooking — 6-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 13, taught by SEARHC Registered Dietitian Katie Carroll
  • Cooking With Wild Mushrooms — Time and date TBA in early September, taught by UAS Sitka Campus Assistant Professor of Biology Kitty LaBounty and Beak Restaurant Owner/Chef Renée Jakaitis Trafton

The registration deadline for the first Cooking With Kayla Caprice cooking class is 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 20, so register now since space is limited. We need at least eight students to register and pre-pay to make this class happen. The class costs $40, which is part of our new all-inclusive fee system (you no longer have to pay a class fee to register, then a separate food/supply fee). You can register and pre-pay using credit/debit cards or PayPal on our EventSmart page, http://sitkakitch.eventsmart.com (click on class title). For those wanting to pre-pay with cash or check, please call Claire Sanchez, Chandler O’Connell or Clarice Johnson at Sitka Conservation Society (747-7509) to arrange a payment. For more information about the class, contact Jasmine Shaw at 747-9440. We do offer one potential scholarship spot per class for people with limited incomes, so long as we have enough students registered to make the class happen. Contact Claire or Chandler at SCS for more details about the scholarship. This class is a fundraiser for the Sitka Kitch.

Students should enter the Sitka Lutheran Church through the back entrance (through the alley off Harbor Drive by the old Bev’s Flowers and Gifts location). The door on the right should be open for students to enter. Please do not park in the church’s back parking lot. Please use the public parking lots off Harbor Drive.

The Sitka Kitch also has a new class cancelation policy. If you register for a class, then find out you can’t attend, please email us at sitkakitch@sitkawild.org and we may be able to help fill your slot through our waiting list. If you cancel from the class at least five days in advance (eg, by Wednesday for a Monday class), you are eligible for a partial refund of your class fee, minus $5 for processing (in this case, $35). If you need to cancel with less than five days advance notice, there is no refund.

Scenes from the first Sitka Farmers Market of the 2019 summer

PHOTO COURTESY OF SITKA LOCAL FOODS NETWORK
TABLE OF THE DAY: Sitka Local Foods Network board member Amanda Anjum, right, presents the Table of the Day award to Kate desRosiers of Rainforest Rose Creations during the first Sitka Farmers Market of the 2019 summer season, held July 6, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall. Kate sold healthy treats, made without refined grains or refined sugar. Her products change each market, and this market she had carob peanut butter cups, caramel date carob cups, sunflower carrot bites, tigernut bites, cashew cheesecake with salmonberries, nightshade-free taco seasoning, and fresh rhubarb and yarrow from her garden. She received a tote bag filled with a bag of salad greens, a jar of Barnacle kelp salsa, a Redoubt Rhubarb t-shirt, a few Alaska Grown stickers, a Chugach Chocolate bar, and some Bridge Creek birch syrup sample straws. The next Sitka Farmers Market is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 27, at ANB Founders Hall (235 Katlian St.). Other markets this summer are Aug. 10, Aug. 17, Aug. 31, Sept. 7, and Sept. 21. For more information, go to http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org, or like our Sitka Local Foods Network page on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/SitkaLocalFoodsNetwork, and our Sitka Farmers Market page on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/SitkaFarmersMarket.

We kicked off the 12th season of Sitka Farmers Markets on Saturday, July 6, with a full market and a bit of sunny weather after the morning clouds burned off.

Our produce supply was wiped out early, which sometimes happens during the first market or two of the season as we wait for more produce to mature for harvest. But our vendors had a wide range of other products for sale. We had vendors selling homemade pancakes, eggs and bacon; reindeer hot dogs; home-baked bread; fresh, frozen or jarred seafood; garlic scapes, lettuce, carrots and other produce; arts and crafts; face-painting; musicians; and more. We also had a couple of food trucks outside. And we introduced a couple of new Alaska Grown product lines at the Sitka Local Foods Network’s farm stand.

The next Sitka Farmers Market takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 27, at the ANB Founders Hall. There also are markets scheduled for Aug. 10, Aug. 17, Aug. 31, Sept. 7, and Sept. 21. To learn how to be a vendor at the marketor how to be a volunteer, contact market manager Nina Vizcarrondo at (907) 738-9301 or assistant manager Charles Bingham (907) 623-7660, or email us at sitkafarmersmarket@gmail.com. We also have a kids vendor program at the market for young entrepreneurs age 12 or younger. Don’t forget to like our Sitka Farmers Market page on Facebook.

A slideshow of scenes from the first Sitka Farmers Market of 2019 is posted below.

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Check out the July 2019 edition of the Sitka Local Foods Network newsletter

The Sitka Local Foods Network just sent out the July 2019 edition of its monthly newsletter. Feel free to click this link to get a copy.

This month’s newsletter includes short stories about the first Sitka Farmers Market on Saturday, the Sitka Local Foods Network applying for Certified Naturally Grown status for St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, a new Cooking With Kayla Caprice class series at the Sitka Kitch, and an invitation to join the Sitka Local Foods Network’s board of directors. 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. Don’t forget to like us on Facebooklike our Sitka Farmers Market page on Facebook and follow us on Twitter (@SitkaLocalFoods).

Sitka Local Foods Network applies for Certified Naturally Grown status for St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm

The Sitka Local Foods Network is in the middle of the application process for a Certified Naturally Grown status for St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm communal garden and its satellite gardens.

We had an inspection on Tuesday, July 2, and as soon as the inspection paperwork is submitted showing we follow the CNG principles, St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm will become the fifth, sixth or seventh farm in Alaska to earn the status (there also are farms in Juneau and Palmer awaiting the results of their inspections).

“This certification will show our commitment to making sure Sitkans are able to buy naturally grown produce at the Sitka Farmers Market, and they can know it’s being grown without chemical fertilizers or other additives,” Sitka Local Foods Network board president Charles Bingham said. “Nearly all of the produce we sell at the Sitka Local Foods Network farm stand at the Sitka Farmers Market is grown at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm communal garden and its satellite gardens, and now people will have more assurances that the food they are buying is grown in a natural and sustainable manner, and that it’s the healthiest we can provide.”

The Certified Naturally Grown program is fairly new to Alaska, but many farms are turning to the CNG program because of the difficulty receiving an USDA organic certification in Alaska. Right now there are no USDA organic certification inspectors in Alaska, so it is costly to bring an inspector from the Lower 48 to Alaska and usually only happens when a couple of farms in one area get together and split the cost. The Certified Naturally Grown program has similar principles about not using chemical fertilizers and other enhancements, but uses a peer review inspection process where other local  farmers (even those not in the CNG program) who follow these principles can perform inspections. It also costs less money.

For this inspection, Andrea Fraga of Middle Island Gardens worked with St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm lead gardener Laura Schmidt to go through a multi-page checklist that asked questions about how you prepare your garden beds, how you compost, what types of fertilizer and other enhancements you use, what types of crop covers you use, how you rotate crops, and more. There are separate certifications for produce, livestock, apiaries (beekeeping), aquaponics, and mushroom farming.

There currently are four farms in Alaska that have passed their CNG inspections — Faith Farms in Kodiak, Four Winds Farm in Haines, Wilderness Earth Farm of Soldotna, and Wilderness Greenhouse of Anchor Point. The three Alaska farms waiting for CNG inspection results include Sitka Local Foods Network/St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm in Sitka, Orsi Organic Produce in Juneau, and Seeds and Soil Farm in Palmer.

Some photos from the St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm communal garden inspection are posted below.

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Sitka Local Foods Network to host seven Sitka Farmers Markets during the 2019 summer

The Sitka Local Foods Network is kicking off its 12th season of markets from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 6, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (235 Katlian Street). We rebuilt some of the vitality of the market over the last couple of years, and now we’re hoping to build on that momentum.

“We learned a lot over the past couple of years, and we hope we’ve been able to move on from our mistakes and make the markets better,” said Sitka Local Foods Network president Charles Bingham, who is assisting Sitka Farmers Market manager Nina Vizcarrondo for the third year.

“We regained a lot of the vendors we lost in 2016, and that brought back a lot of the community-gathering-place feel to the market. We still want to see more local food producers at the market, but we know now we need to develop those outside the market, which is one reason we launched the Sitka Food Business Innovation Contest in 2018. We want the market to be a great way to connect with neighbors and support local entrepreneurs.”

New this year is the Bicycle Benefits program, where people who ride their bikes to the market and show their Bicycle Benefits helmet stickers can get 20 percent off produce at the Sitka Local Foods Network farm stand at the Sitka Farmers Market. The Sitka Local Foods Network also has applied for a Certified Naturally Grown status for St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm communal garden, where most of the produce sold at the SLFN farm stand is grown.

Other new innovations started in 2017 included a kids vendor program for youth ages 12 and younger, and new Alaska Grown food products for sale at the Sitka Local Foods Network’s farm stand. Both are continuing in 2019. In addition to freshly grown produce from the St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm communal garden, there will be Alaska Flour Company barley products from Delta Junction, Evie’s Brinery fermented foods from Anchorage, Barnacle Foods kelp salsa and kelp pickles from Juneau, Bridge Creek Birch Syrup from Homer, and Chugach Chocolates from Girdwood.

We also have fish vendors back this season. There still is a focus on local and Alaska food products, with the Alaska Grown products being a way to inspire Sitka food entrepreneurs to try making new food items locally. The more local products we have, the more the money circulates in Sitka’s economy.

“Come support your community at our farmers markets,” Vizcarrondo said. “By working toward Sitka’s food sovereignty, shopping local reduces our food miles. Food doesn’t get any fresher than this.”

The first Sitka Farmers Market of the season takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 6, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (235 Katlian St.). The other markets this summer take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, July 27, Aug. 10, Aug. 17, Aug. 31, Sept. 7, and Sept. 21, at ANB Founders Hall. The markets feature a variety of locally grown produce, seafood, cottage foods, a hot lunch, locally made arts and crafts, live music and fun.

The Sitka Farmers Market was the first market in Southeast Alaska to accept Alaska Quest (SNAP) electronic benefits transfers (EBT) and WIC farmers market coupons. We have a matching program where SNAP and WIC clients can double up to $20 of their benefits in local produce. We are the only farmers market in the state authorized to match WIC farmers market coupons. The past two years we received grants from the Sitka White Elephant Shop (the White E) to help with the matching program.

“In recent years we’ve been proud to welcome Alaska Quest EBT and WIC shoppers at the market, and the last two years the White E has helped us match those produce benefits,” Bingham said. “It is so important to make sure local food is accessible to everyone, not just the wealthy.”

The April 2008 Sitka Health Summit planted the seeds for the Sitka Farmers Market, as Sitka residents chose starting a local foods market as one of their community wellness initiatives for the year. About the same time, St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church was looking for a way to put some recently cleared land behind the church’s See House into use for a community project. St. Peter’s offered to lease the land to the group that became the Sitka Local Foods Network for $1 a year, and in May 2008 a group of Sitka residents built raised garden beds and planted a variety of crops. Later that summer, there was enough produce grown at St. Peter’s to supply our first three Sitka Farmers Markets starting in August 2008.

There were five markets in 2009, followed by six markets each year from 2010-15 and now seven markets since 2016. Led by lead gardener Laura Schmidt, the production of local produce at St. Peter’s has grown each year, and there now are satellite gardens, such as one on land owned by Pat Arvin. Most of the food grown at St. Peter’s and the satellite gardens is sold at the Sitka Farmers Market, but there has been enough for the Sitka Local Foods Network to also have a table when Chelan Produce is in town and to sell to local school lunch programs and restaurants. The money raised helps support the Sitka Local Foods Network, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit, in its mission “to increase the amount of locally produced and harvested food in the diets of Southeast Alaskans.”

To learn more about the Sitka Farmers Market and how you can become a vendor or volunteer, contact Nina Vizcarrondo at (907) 738-9301 or Charles Bingham at 623-7660, or email us sitkafarmersmarket@gmail.com. The Sitka Local Foods Network website, http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org/, has more info on the markets and links to vendor rules and registration forms. In addition to vendors, we always need volunteers to help us set up and take down the market and to sell food at the SLFN farm stand.

The Sitka Local Foods Network receives sponsorship funding from the Alaska Comprehensive Cancer Partnership, the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC), the Sitka White Elephant Shop (the White E), the Sitka True ValueHarry Race PharmacyALPS Federal Credit Union, Sea Mart, Market Center, and a host of individuals.

Also, don’t forget to vote for the Sitka Farmers Market in the 11th annual American Farmland Trust Farmers Market Celebration. The Sitka Farmers Market was the top market from Alaska in 2017 and 2018.