The Sitka Farmers Market will kick off its 15th summer this Saturday, July 2, when it returns to its roots at Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall, its home for its first 12 summers of markets. The first market of the season is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 2, with six other markets scheduled for the same time on alternate Saturdays, July 16, July 30, Aug. 13, Aug. 27, Sept. 10, and Sept. 24, at ANB Founders Hall (235 Katlian Street).
“Since the COVID-19 pandemic limited our markets the last two years, forcing us to move and change our formate, we’re happy to be getting back to some normalcy this year,” Sitka Local Foods Network board president Charles Bingham said. “Our seven markets this year will still have some COVID safety measures, such as being held entirely outdoors and encouraging everybody to use face masks. But we will have our usual variety of fresh local produce, fish, homemade baked goods, cottage foods, cooked food, arts and crafts, and more. It will be nice to return to our roots at ANB Founders Hall this summer.”
The Sitka Farmers Market is a community event hosted by the Sitka Local Foods Network, whose mission is to increase the amount of locally produced and harvested food in the diets of Southeast Alaskans. Our focus is on local — fresh produce, fish, baked goods, prepared foods, cottage foods, arts and crafts — and all products must be made in Alaska (preferably in Sitka or Southeast Alaska, cooked foods may use non-local foods so long as the food is cooked on site). Since our mission is geared toward food security and our space is limited this year, if we have too many vendors try to register our food booths will have a higher priority over arts and crafts. We will try to accommodate as many vendors as possible, but some may need to be outdoors.
The Sitka Farmers Market gots its start from the second Sitka Health Summit, held in April 2008, when Sitka residents chose two food-related community wellness projects to work on for the next year — to create a local foods market and to start a community greenhouse. Later in April, St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church made its backyard available for growing produce, which became St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm communal garden, and by August the first of three Sitka Farmers Markets was held. Those projects led to the creation of the Sitka Local Foods Network.
After having to relocate for two years due to COVID-19, we are back where we started out. We will have indoor and outdoor spaces, inside ANB Founders Hall and outside in the Baranof Island Housing Authority parking lot next to ANB Founders Hall.
Since COVID-19 is still around, we will require masks inside the ANB Founders Hall when Sitka is at the Moderate/Medium or High risk levels. While most people now are vaccinated against the coronavirus, there still are people who aren’t vaccinated and there are periodic hot spots when the illness flares up. We don’t want the market to be a place that spreads the coronavirus. Even with our outside booths, we encourage vendors and customers to wear masks, to use hand sanitizer, and to avoid bunching up while giving others six feet of space.
Last year we launched our online vendor registration website, http://sitkafarmersmarket.eventsmart.com, and we will continue to use that this year. Vendors need to register by the Thursday morning before each market to be guaranteed a spot. Tables/booths are $40 each, with a special of $240 (instead of $280) for someone registering for all seven markets before the first one takes place. We also have a youth vendor program, where youth ages 14 or younger can reserve a table for $20 for the full season. Due to Covid and the need for personal space indoors, we are not selling half-tables this year.
Please read the market vendor rules and responsibilities and Covid-19 protocol documents linked below. All vendors using this site to register for the market will be held to these rules. Unless you specify you want to be outside, we will try to find room for you indoors. We are not selling half-tables this year because we need social-distancing to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
Vendors can pay using PayPal or credit/debit card. When you get to the Payment options, click PayPal (not Invoice) and it should give you the option of using a PayPal account or four different types of cards (Visa, MasterCard, AmEx, Discover). If you prefer to pay by cash or check, contact Charles Bingham at 907-623-7660. We will provide a $35 refund for cancellations, but to get the refund you are required to let us know before Wednesday of the week of your registered market that you can’t make it. This is $5 less than the $40 table fee since we are billed for transaction fees and other expenses. There is no refund if you don’t let us know until after Wednesday.
Nalani James is the Sitka Farmers Market manager this summer (she’s on the left in the photo above). Laura Schmidt (center in photo) is our lead gardener at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, where the Sitka Local Foods Network grows most of the produce it sells at the market. Charles Bingham is the assistant market manager and the president of the Sitka Local Foods Network.
In addition to vendors, we also are looking for volunteers to help us set up the markets, take down the markets, and sell produce at the Sitka Local Foods Network farm stand during the market. You can get more information about how to volunteer at this link, https://sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org/2022/06/15/sitka-local-foods-network-seeks-volunteers-to-help-with-sitka-farmers-markets/.
For questions about the market, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (907) 623-7660. More details about the market will be posted on the Sitka Local Foods Network website, http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org, and shared on its Facebook pages — https://www.facebook.com/SitkaLocalFoodsNetwork and https://www.facebook.com/SitkaFarmersMarket — and on Twitter, https://www.twitter.com/SitkaLocalFoods.