Sitka Kitch to host ‘Indian Cooking With Mohan Raj Arul’ class Jan. 15 as part of Cooking Around The World Series

Learn how to make chicken biryani during the Sitka Kitch class Indian Cooking with Mohan Raj Arul from 6-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 15, 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 Bev’s Flowers & Gifts, off Harbor Drive). This class is part of our Cooking Around the World series.

(NOTE: Due to a death in the family this weekend, Mohan had to return to India for the funeral and we’re having to postpone the class until a time TBA. We’re hoping Mohan will be back in Sitka by the end of the month, but right now we don’t know if or when he will be up for teaching the class. The registered students are being notified, and they should contact Claire at Sitka Conservation Society about refunds. If the class is rescheduled, the registered students will get first crack at signing up for the new class date.)

Mohan Raj Arul, left, presents the Table of the Day Award during a Sitka Farmers Market this summer.

Chicken biryani is a classic dish from India and Pakistan, featuring chicken, rice and a variety of spices. Mohan said his version of chicken biryani will be spicier than most. A Pakistani exchange student taught a similar class at the Sitka Kitch in March that was well-received.

Mohan is an AFS exchange student from Chennai, India, who is a junior at Sitka High School. He said his interests are to make scientific new things using old materials. He ran cross country for Sitka High School this fall, and he is playing basketball now and plans to play soccer in the spring. Mohan also helped out at the Sitka Farmers Market this summer.

The registration deadline for the Indian cooking class is 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 12, 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 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 at SCS for more details about the scholarship.

Students should enter the Sitka Lutheran Church through the back entrance (through the alley off Harbor Drive by Bev’s Flowers and Gifts). 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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Check out the January 2019 edition of the Sitka Local Foods Network newsletter

The Sitka Local Foods Network just sent out the January 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 Sitka Local Foods Network’s annual meeting and potluck dinner, the start of Pick.Click.Give. for 2019, an update on the Southeast Alaska Farmers Summit to be held in Sitka, information about the Sitka Food Business Innovation Contest, and an invitation to join our board.  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 to host annual meeting and potluck on Saturday, Jan. 26

The Sitka Local Foods Network will host its annual meeting and potluck dinner from 5-7 p.m. on Saturday, Jan. 26, at the Sitka Unitarian Universalist Fellowship Hall (408 Marine St., parking off of Spruce Street).

Participants are encouraged to bring a dish featuring local foods to share, and please bring your own utensils (note, this is a non-alcoholic event). This is a casual and social event that serves as a good time for people to learn more about the Sitka Local Foods Network and what we do around town. We also hope to have a small silent auction, where people can bid on various gardening and food items (donations are welcome).

Attendees will hear about project updates, plus the current board will vote on by-law changes. We will introduce our new board members for 2019, and we will confirm the election of our officers. We also have a couple of openings on our board, and people wanting to learn more about joining can click this link for info and applications.

Individuals interested in learning more about the Sitka Local Foods Network can email sitkalocalfoodsnetwork@gmail.com to learn about our projects and volunteer opportunities.

Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training to take place Feb. 18 in conjunction with Southeast Alaska Farmers Summit

The State of Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation (DEC) Office of the State Veterinarian is hosting a Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday, Feb. 18, in the Raven Conference Room at the Aspen Suites Hotel in Sitka (210 Lake Street). This course is being held in conjunction with the Southeast Alaska Farmers Summit, which takes place on Feb. 15-17 at various locations around Sitka.

This FDA-approved course satisfies the Grower Training curriculum requirements under the Food Safety Modernization Act (FSMA) Produce Safety Rule.

There is no charge for class participants. Funding is provided by an FDA-State of Alaska Cooperative Agreement. Growers will receive a free certificate of attendance for completing the course.

Who should register for this course? Commercial fruit & vegetable growers, farmers market vendors, and all others interested in learning about produce safety, the FDA Produce Safety Rule, and good agricultural practices should attend. Participants will gain a basic understanding of:

  • Microorganisms relevant to produce safety and where they may be found on the farm;
  • How to identify microbial risks, practices that reduce risks, and how to begin implementing food safety practices on your farm; and
  • Requirements of the FDA Produce Safety Rule and how to meet them.

This class covers these seven modules:

  • Introduction to Produce Safety;
  • Worker Health, Hygiene, and Training;
  • Soil Amendments;
  • Wildlife, Domesticated Animals, and Land Use;
  • AgriculturalWater (Part I: Production Water; Part II: Postharvest Water);
  • Postharvest Handling and Sanitation; and
  • How to Develop a Farm Food Safety Plan

This course is being held in conjunction with the Southeast Alaska Farmers Summit, which has early bird registration deals that end on Dec. 31 (after Jan. 1, the price goes up). This event is hosted by the Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition and the Sustainable Southeast Partnership.

To register for the course or for more information, contact Barbara Hanson at the DEC Office of the State Veterinarian at (907) 375-8278 or barbara.hanson@alaska.gov.

Early registration deadline is Dec. 31 for Southeast Alaska Farmers Summit in Sitka

The Southeast Alaska Farmers Summit will be in Sitka on Feb. 15-17, and the early registration deadline is Dec. 31. After that, the price goes up.

This event takes place every other year in various locations around Southeast Alaska (2015 in Petersburg, 2017 in Haines), and it provides a chance for farmers and backyard gardeners to meet and learn ways to make their businesses more profitable and efficient. More program details can be found at the event’s main link.

Early bird registration currently is available through Dec. 31 on the summit website at $40 per person, with the price rising to $60 after Jan. 1. This fee does not include meals, which are $100 for all three days if purchased before Dec. 31 and $120 after that. Accommodations are $85 a night in the Sweetland Hall dorms, and details can be found on the summit website.

This year’s summit is being coordinated by the Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition out of Juneau (with SAWC local foods coordinator Jennifer Nu being the main contact), and the Sitka Local Foods Network and other Sitka groups are supporting the event. For more information about the summit, contact Jennifer at jennifer@sawcak.org.

The Sitka Local Foods Network has been asked to help coordinate a community potluck or catered local foods dinner on Friday night, and to help provide transportation between the airport or ferry terminal and the summit housing site at Sweetland Hall on the Sitka Fine Arts Camp/old Sheldon Jackson College campus. We will need volunteers to help with these requests. The Sitka Local Foods Network will host a short meeting for Sitka volunteers at 3 p.m. on Sunday, Jan. 13, at 1612 Sawmill Creek Road (Laura Schmidt’s house). Please click this link to RSVP for the meeting

For more information about volunteering, contact Sitka Local Foods Network board chairman Charles Bingham at charleswbingham3@gmail.com.

Scenes from the Sitka Kitch class ‘Making Zarzuela With Chef François Sanchez’

Sitka’s seafood resources are world-class, and several Sitkans learned a new way to use those resources at the “Making Zarzuela With Chef François Sanchez” class Tuesday, Dec. 11, at the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen. The class was part of the Sitka Kitch‘s Cooking Around The World series.

Zarzuela is a Spanish/Mediterranean seafood stew, and the students learned an Alaskan version using shrimp, Dungeness crab, salmon, halibut and cod. Chef Sanchez has owned restaurants in St. Charles, Ill., and was in town visiting his daughter, Claire. He was born in Spain and trained as a chef in France.

Future Sitka Kitch classes include Preserving Leftovers and Making Holiday Gifts, from 1-6 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 15, with Sarah Lewis of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service Juneau District Office (taught by distance delivery, registration deadline is late Thursday night) and Indian Cooking With Mohan Arul from 6-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Jan. 15. Both classes will be at the new Sitka Kitch location at Sitka Lutheran Church. Watch our online registration page, http://sitkakitch.eventsmart.com (click on class title to register), for upcoming class details. The cost is $40 all-inclusive (we no longer have a separate class registration fee and food/supply fee).

A slideshow featuring some scenes from Tuesday’s class on making zarzuela is posted below.

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Sitka Kitch to offer Preserving Leftovers and Making Holiday Gifts With Sarah Lewis class on Dec. 15

After a large holiday meal, many cooks wonder what to do with all the leftover food. This Sitka Kitch class will teach students how to safely preserve the leftovers for later. Instructor Sarah Lewis also will teach students how to make holiday gifts, using water-bath and pressure canners.

Sarah is the home, health and family development agent for the Juneau District Office of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service. She will teach this class by videoconference, and she will teach about 5-8 different recipes so students will be able to take half-pint jars of various products home to sample (the jars are included in the fees). This is a five-hour class.

An expert in safe home food preservation, Sarah will teach students which foods need to be canned in a pressure canner (for example, meats and some soups) and which can be canned in a water-bath canner (eg, jams and jellies).

This will be the third Sitka Kitch class in our new Sitka Lutheran Church location. We opened the series with a Cajun cooking class on Nov. 26, and the second class is Making Zarzuela (a fish stew) With Chef François Sanchez from 6-8 p.m. on Tuesday, Dec. 11. We plan to have additional classes in the Cooking Around The World series in January, February and March. Watch our website and Facebook page for more details when they become available.

The registration deadline for this class is 11:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 13, 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 or Clarice Johnson at Sitka Conservation Society (747-7509) to arrange a payment. We do offer one potential scholarship spot per class for people with limited incomes, so long as we already have enough students registered to make the class happen. Contact Jasmine Shaw of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service Sitka District Office (747-9440) or Claire at SCS for more details.

Students should enter the Sitka Lutheran Church through the back entrance (through the alley off Harbor Drive by Bev’s Flowers and Gifts). 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.