Sitka Mermaid Festival and Sitka Seafood Festival combine to host big weekend events

The Sitka Mermaid Festival and the Sitka Seafood Festival are joining forces this year to host several events this weekend. The Sitka Mermaid Festival started last year as a way to celebrate seaweed and other sea veggies, while the Sitka Seafood Festival has been around for about a decade and celebrates the fish in our area.

The Sitka Seafood Festival launched some events as early as July, but for the next week or so the events will be co-hosted by both organizations.

Things kick off from 1-3 p.m. on Saturday afternoon, Aug. 24, with a youth Paint and Snack event featuring Tsimshian artist Mark Sixbey at the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association office at 304 Baranof Street (the former Island Institute office). The cost for this event is $10.

Meet from 11 a.m. to noon on Sunday, Aug. 25, at Halibut Point Recreation Area for a beach clean-up. Participants are encouraged to bring gloves. (The Sitka Kitch class about cooking with seaweed originally scheduled for Monday, Aug. 26, has been canceled.)

At 6 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 27, at Rio’s Wine Bar (above Ludvig’s Bistro), there is an adult Paint and Sip led by Sarah Dart. This event costs $40 and includes one class of wine.

From 6-8 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 28, at Evergreen Natural Foods is a Mermaids Love Seaweed! seaweed cosmetics and bath make-and-take event.

At 6 p.m. on Thursday, Aug. 29, at the Sitka Sound Science Center is a Food For Thought: Where Art and Science Connect panel discussion on drawing creative inspiration from science.

The Umami Banquet: A Tasting Event Sourced From The Sea takes place at 6 p.m. on Friday, Aug. 30, at Harrigan Centennial Hall. This event features guest chef Cassandra Victoria Kelly from California. Tickets are $65 for the full tasting menu and $40 for standing-room only, and are available at Old Harbor Books. This event features performances by the Sitka Cirque aerial silks team, live music and a silent auction.

The big day is Saturday, Aug. 31, with the Marketplace open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. at Harrigan Centennial Hall. There is a Mermaid Promenade costume parade down the Sitka Sea Walk from the Sitka Sound Science Center to Crescent Harbor Shelter that starts at 11:30 a.m. (meet at 11 a.m. at the science center). There are food booths, kids’ games and other activities from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Crescent Harbor Shelter, followed by fish tote races from 4-6 p.m. at Crescent Harbor Shelter. The day closes with the free Rock the Dock concert/dance event from 5-11 p.m. at Crescent Harbor Shelter (this event, which includes a beer garden for adults, is co-hosted by the Sitka Conservation Society).

Don’t forget the Sitka Local Foods Network also has a Sitka Farmers Market scheduled for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 31, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (235 Katlian Street).

The Marketplace continues for a second day from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Sunday, Sept. 1, at Harrigan Centennial Hall.

The Sitka Seafood Festival also includes Wet Feet: Sitka Tells Tales from 6-7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Sept. 17, at Beak Restaurant (co-hosted with ArtChange, Inc.), with a suggested donation of $5. The Sitka Seafood Festival schedule concludes with a marine safety inspector course taught by the Alaska Marine Safety Education Association (AMSEA) from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday, Sept. 23-27, and 8-10 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 28, at the Public Safety Training Academy (this event is free for qualified commercial fishermen and $995 for all others, register at the link above).

For more information, contact Amelia Mosher at sitkamermaidfestival@gmail.com or Tara Racine at director.asft@gmail.com.

 

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CANCELED: Sitka Kitch to host ‘Cooking With Seaweed With Kayla Caprice’ class on Aug. 26

Learn about Cooking With Seaweed With Kayla Caprice. This class takes place from6-8:30 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 26, 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 our classes are fundraisers for the Sitka Kitch. This class also is being held in conjunction with the Sitka Mermaid Festival. (SORRY, THIS CLASS HAS BEEN CANCELED)

The classes in the Cooking With Kayla Caprice class series are open to all residents, and cost $40 per person. The registration deadline for this class is 11:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 24.

Kayla currently works as a line cook at Ludvig’s Bistro in Sitka. In this class, Kayla said he will teach people about aquaculture, seaweed health benefits, and the availability of seaweed here in Sitka. She is still putting together her menu for the class, but she promised some easy recipes involving seaweed from local and non-local sources.

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):

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

  • Cooking A Balanced Meal Featuring Alaska Seafood — 6-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 13, taught by SEARHC Registered Dietitian Katie Carroll ((class canceled due to low registration)
  • 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, Aug. 24, 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 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 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 the week before 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.

Fish to Schools program launches annual coho salmon donation drive for commercial fishermen

The Annual Fish to Schools Coho Donation Drive starts on Monday, Aug. 19.

The Sitka Fish to Schools program brings communities together around a food that is culturally, traditionally, and economically important to Sitka. By integrating locally caught seafood into Sitka school lunch programs, Fish to Schools fosters a deeper youth understanding of local seafood, teaching children that salmon require respect in both harvest and habitat. Coordinated by the Sitka Conservation Society, the hope is this program will lay the groundwork on how fishing works and inspires children to either support or become involved in the industry.

Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School student Naomi Capp, age 9, talks with fisherman Steve Lawrie Wednesday (April 25, 2018) during lunch at the school. The elementary school was hosting fishermen who donated part of their catch to the Fish to Schools program. The program is managed by the Sitka Conservation Society and provides fish dishes as part of the lunch programs at Baranof Elementary School, Keet Gooshi Heen Elementary School, Blatchley Middle School, Sitka High School, Pacific High School, the SEER School, and Mount Edgecumbe High School. (Daily Sitka Sentinel Photo by James Poulson)

The Fish to Schools program (click here to see short video) started as a community wellness project of the 2010 Sitka Health Summit. It quickly spread from providing one monthly fish option in one Sitka school lunch to providing weekly fish options at all Sitka schools (including some not in the Sitka School District). The Sitka Fish to Schools program has been used as a model for school districts all over the state, and helps teachers with lesson plans about fishing in Alaska. The program also seeks photos of commercial fishermen at work, which can be used to teach the students more about how the fish got to their plates.

The program received an innovation award from the Alaska Farm To Schools program during a community celebration dinner in May 2012, and now serves as a model for other school districts from coastal fishing communities. In May 2014, the Fish to Schools program released a guidebook so other school districts in Alaska could create similar programs.

While the donation drive targets commercially caught FAS (frozen at sea) coho salmon, there is room for yelloweye rockfish donations. But please don’t target yelloweye rockfish for the program — it only wants yelloweye that are accidentally caught.

The drive will run from Aug. 19 through Sept. 5. To donate, tell scale operators how many fish you would like to donate as you offload at Seafood Producers Cooperative or Sitka Sound Seafoods. The program can only accept commercially caught fish (no sport or subsistence fish).

If you have any additional questions, please contact Heather Bauscher of the Sitka Conservation Society at (907) 747-7509 or heather@sitkawild.org.

Celebrate the Fourth Annual Wild Alaska Salmon Day on Saturday, Aug. 10, in Sitka

The Fourth Annual Wild Alaska Salmon Day(s) are Aug. 8-11 this year around the state, and Sitka can celebrate Wild Alaska Salmon Day from 5-8:30 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 10, at Beak Restaurant. This event is co-sponsored by the Sitka Conservation Society and Beak Restaurant.

“Salmon bring us together. Catching them, cleaning them, smoking them, and eating them,” event organizer Carly Dennis wrote on the Facebook event page. “Join us Saturday, August 10th at Beak Restaurant for a Wild Alaska Salmon Day celebration. There will be a Wild Alaska Salmon Day special, information, art, and opportunities to learn and take action to protect this resource we all love. Thank you to Renee (Trafton) and Beak Restaurant for co-hosting this event.”

There are a variety of Wild Alaska Salmon Day events around the state this week, including Aug. 8 in Anchorage; Aug. 10 in Sitka, Juneau, Homer, and Fairbanks; and Aug. 11 in Palmer. More events may be added to the slate. Remember, friends don’t let friends eat farmed salmon. We like our salmon wild.

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

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

This month’s newsletter includes short stories about National Farmers Market Week from Aug. 4-10 and our Sitka Farmers Market on Aug. 10, our new Sitka Farmers Market tote bags, a reminder that the deadline to add or change your Pick.Click.Give. donations is Aug. 31, info about new classes 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).

Don’t forget, you still can add Pick.Click.Give. donations to your 2019 PFD application through Aug. 31

If you’re like most Alaskans you probably filed your 2019 Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend (PFD) application before the March deadline and haven’t given it a second thought since. But did you know you still can add Pick.Click.Give.donations to your 2019 application through Monday, Aug. 31? If you haven’t already, please consider making a Pick.Click.Give. donation to the Sitka Local Foods Network.

Here’s how to add or change your Pick.Click.Give. donations. First, go to the Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend application website, http://pfd.alaska.gov/, and find the green “Add A Pick.Click.Give. Donation” bar in the right column. Click the green bar, and follow the directions. You’ll need to enter your driver’s license number, Social Security number, and birthday to access your application, but once on the page you’ll be able to see your current Pick.Click.Give. donations (if any) and you can add or change them. Check the graphic to the right to learn more about how to make Pick.Click.Give. donations.

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This is the fifth year the Sitka Local Foods Network has participated in the Pick.Click.Give. program, which allows people to donate in $25 increments to their favorite statewide and local 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations when they file their PFD applications from Jan. 1 through March 31. We missed 2017 due to a clerical snafu, but we were back in the program for 2018 and again for 2019.

When you choose to donate part of your PFD to the Sitka Local Foods Network, you support the Sitka Farmers Market, St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, education programs about growing and preserving food, the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen, Sitka Community Gardens, matching dollars at the Sitka Farmers Market for SNAP/WIC beneficiaries, the sustainable use of traditional foods, the Sitka Community Food Assessment, the Sitka Food Summit, and a variety of other projects designed to increase access to healthy local foods in Sitka. This year we hosted the second annual Sitka Food Business Innovation Contest to try and encourage more food entrepreneurs in Sitka.

Did you forget to make your Pick.Click.Give. donations when you filed for your PFD this year? Don’t worry, you can still add or change your Pick.Click.Give. donations through Aug. 31 when you go back into your online application (you will need to have your My.Alaska.gov information handy to log into the application). You can’t file your PFD application after the March 31 deadline, but if you filed for your PFD before the deadline you have until Aug. 31 to modify your Pick.Click.Give. donations.

In 2017 Alaskans contributed $2.7 million to 668 Alaska nonprofit organizations, and more than $18.5 million has been donated since the program started in 2009. Some Alaskans choose to donate to just one group, while others may spread several donations around to many groups. There now are more than 600 total 501(c)(3) nonprofit organizations participating in Pick.Click.Give. for 2017 (including multi-location nonprofits), including 23 from Sitka. In 2017, Alaskans donated $100,500 to Sitka-based nonprofits.

So how do you make a donation to the Sitka Local Foods Network through the Pick.Click.Give. program? First, go fill out your Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend application at http://pfd.alaska.gov/. When you get to the section of the application asking if you want to participate in Pick.Click.Give. Charitable Contributions program, click on the PCG link and search for the Sitka Local Foods Network. You also can look for us by using the town search for Sitka.

The Pick.Click.Give. program is available only to people who file their PFD applications online, and not to those who file by mail. Even though you can’t file a new PFD application after March 31, you can go back into your application and update your Pick.Click.Give. donations through Aug. 31 each year.

You still can donate to the Sitka Local Foods Network if you aren’t from Alaska or aren’t eligible for a 2019 PFD. To donate, send your check to the Sitka Local Foods Network, 408-D Marine St., Sitka, Alaska, 99835. You also can donate online by going to our online fundraising page on MightyCause.com (formerly Razoo.com), and clicking the Donate button to make an online contribution. Please let us know if you need a receipt for tax purposes. For more information about donating, you can send an email to sitkalocalfoodsnetwork@gmail.com.

Thank you for supporting our mission is to increase the amount of locally produced and harvested food in the diets of Southeast Alaskans.

Sitka Kitch to host free ‘Cooking For One/Small-Space Cooking With Kayla Caprice’ class for ages 13-25

Learn about Cooking For One/Small-Space Cooking With Kayla Caprice. This class takes place from 10 a.m. to noon on Wednesday, Aug. 14, 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 our classes are fundraisers for the Sitka Kitch.

This is a special class open to ages 13-25 years old only, and this class is free thanks to a sponsorship from SEARHC. We do ask that you pre-register for the class, so we know how many students to expect. The other classes in the Cooking With Kayla Caprice class series are open to all residents ages 13-older, and cost $40.

“In this session, we will be talking about:

  • cooking in a small space — what that could look like, ways to utilize small space cooking, ways to still eat healthfully and deliciously.
  • cooking for one — how to break down ingredients  to make them single-serve friendly, tips for turning large production meals into easy and accessible ones.
  • meal prep — there’s more then one way to skin a catfish, I think is what they say. Everyone does it a little different, tips from my home kitchen.
  • grocery store tips and tricks.
  • single-pan sheet meals and one-pot wonders,” 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):

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

  • Cooking A Balanced Meal Featuring Alaska Seafood — 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 Monday, Aug. 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 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 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 the week before 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.