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Archive for the ‘Local food in the news’ Category

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Lisa Sadleir-Hart, left center, watches as Julie Platson, Cheryl Call, Libby Stortz and Kristen Homer heat milk during a Nov. 14, 2016, Cooking From Scratch class on making homemade yogurt held at the Sitka Kitch.

(NOTE: The following article appeared in the Daily Sitka Sentinel‘s Weekender section on Friday, Feb. 17, 2017. It was written by Sitka Local Foods Network board president and Sitka Kitch advisory team member Charles Bingham, who also took the photos.)

By CHARLES BINGHAM
For the Daily Sitka Sentinel

kitch_logo_mainWith a mission to “Educate, Incubate, Cultivate,” the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen serves a variety of functions to improve food security in Sitka. It’s a classroom, a maker space and a community meeting place.

The Sitka Kitch project was a result of the 2013 Sitka Health Summit and is coordinated by the Sitka Conservation Society. Located inside the First Presbyterian Church (505 Sawmill Creek Road), the Sitka Kitch is best known for the variety of cooking and food preservation classes it regularly hosts.

Right now, registration is open for five classes in a Cooking Around The World series, where a variety of instructors will teach students international dishes from Morocco, Chile, Thailand, Austria (strudel), and Turkey. Registration also is open for a five-class series called “Nourish: Using Food As Medicine For Optimum Health,” taught during National Nutrition Month (March) by Sitka nutritionist Holly Marban.

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Jasmine Shaw and Joyce Pearson add brine to a jar of squash during a July 18, 2016, Preserving The Harvest class on simple pickles and sauerkraut held at the Sitka Kitch.

The Sitka Kitch plans a series of food preservation classes this summer, and may host a cottage foods entrepreneurship class in the future. It also has offered basic culinary skills and Cooking From Scratch classes in recent months. In addition, the Sitka Spruce Tips 4H Club has hosted cooking and food preservation classes for kids at the Sitka Kitch.

The Sitka Kitch offers a full schedule of classes because learning how to cook and preserve your own food allows Sitkans to improve their nutrition and extend their food budgets.

“The Sitka Kitch programming team already has plans underway for a dynamic 2017 Preserving the Harvest series,” said Lisa Sadleir-Hart, a member of the Sitka Kitch advisory team. “In addition to some old time favorites like pickling, jam, jelly and fruit butter classes, the Sitka Kitch team is hoping to offer classes focused on local foods and medicinals like seaweed, devil’s club, rhubarb and rosehips. June will showcase a ‘Clean Out Your Freezer’ class and an ‘Introduction to Food Dehydration’ class as well.”

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Lisa Sadleir-Hart, left, shows Lavina Adams, Sue Falkner and Cheryl Call how to knead and pinch their dough during a Nov. 28, 2016, Cooking From Scratch class on baking whole-grain breads using the Tassajara bread technique held at the Sitka Kitch.

While it isn’t as well known as the classes, the Sitka Kitch also provides an Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation-certified commercial kitchen for local cottage food entrepreneurs to use as a maker space. One of the businesses that rents the Sitka Kitch (by the hour) is Simple Pleasures, a Sitka company that sells jams, jellies, kelp pickles and other products around the state. In addition, other groups have used the Sitka Kitch as a meeting venue, such as the Sitka Conservation Society, which hosted its 2016 annual meeting in the Sitka Kitch.

“The Sitka Conservation Society is proud of the Sitka Kitch’s work to build community connection and celebrate local, healthy and delicious food,” said Sitka Conservation Society Community Catalyst Chandler O’Connell, another member of the Sitka Kitch advisory team. “We hope that the community kitchen will continue to be a positive space for Sitkans to come together and share their skills.”

The Sitka Kitch has a website where people can learn how to rent the kitchen, http://www.sitkakitch.org/, and a Facebook page which posts class updates and other info, https://www.facebook.com/SitkaKitch. To learn more about and register for classes, go to the online registration page, http://sitkakitch.eventsmart.com/, and click on the class title. You can pay for classes online using credit/debit cards or PayPal, or you can call Chandler or Clarice at the Sitka Conservation Society (747-7509) to arrange a time to pay with cash or check.

Local businesses can sponsor upcoming classes for $300 per class, which helps cover the instructor stipend, facility rental and food/supply costs. Contact Chandler at 747-7509 or email sitkakitch@sitkawild.org for more info.

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Unlock the power of food as a pathway toward optimum health and wellness while learning to make delicious, vibrant meals that you can recreate at home. “Nourish: Using Food As Medicine For Optimum Health” is a five-week culinary nutrition cooking class series led by Holistic Nutrition Coach Holly Marban, MS, at the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen. In honor of National Nutrition Month in March, you’ll explore ways to nourish the body through healthy, delicious whole foods. Each class in this series will combine the science of nutrition with hands-on cooking for a fun, well-rounded experience. All recipes are plant-based and vegetarian, free from gluten and refined sugars, and can easily be made dairy-free.

  • Class 1: Nutrition Foundations — 6-8 p.m.on Monday, March 6
    • In this class you’ll learn the basics of nutrition and how to nourish your body through whole foods. We’ll explore healthy, delicious options for protein, carbohydrates, and fats for overall health, as well as simple guides for food proportions, meal frequency, and a discussion about intuitive eating. We’ll cook black bean and vegetable tacos with homemade roasted tomato salsa, southwestern quinoa, and flavorful guacamole from scratch.
  • Class 2: Balancing Blood Sugar Using Whole Foods — 6-8 p.m. on Monday, March 13
    • In this class, take the opportunity to explore the immense impact of blood sugar on overall health. Learn why balancing blood sugar is so important and how to use food to manage this aspect of health. We’ll make a vegetable frittata, simple green salad with homemade dressing, lentil salad with nuts and fresh herbs, and buckwheat granola. This class is sponsored by Sitka Community Hospital.
  • 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.

About the instructor:

Holly holds a Master’s degree in the Science of Nutrition and certification as a Holistic Health Coach. She runs a small nutrition and wellness business, Holly Marban Wellness, where she combines her knowledge of nutrition with skills in counseling and coaching to support individuals in nourishing themselves and reaching their personal health and wellness goals. A strong believer in the healing abilities of food, she is most at home in the kitchen and enjoys sharing that space with others. Her philosophy is rooted in the belief that food can be medicinal, therapeutic, and immensely enjoyable all at once.

Registration details:

This series consists of five cooking classes from 6-8 p.m. every Monday from March 6 through April 3. The classes will be held at the Sitka Kitch, located in the First Presbyterian Church at 505 Sawmill Creek Road.

The cost of the full five-class series is $117.50 (discounted from $137.50), plus a fee for ingredients and supplies. If you would prefer not to register for the whole series, you can purchase one or more classes individually at $27.50, plus a fee for ingredients and supplies. Registration for individual classes will open two weeks before each class date if space allows.

Your spot is not secured until you pay. You can pay through our online registration site, http://sitkakitch.eventsmart.com, using your debit/credit card or a PayPal account. If you would like to pay via check or cash, please call Chandler or Clarice at the Sitka Conservation Society at 747-7509 to arrange a payment time. Registration for the full series closes at 3 p.m. on Friday, Feb. 24, and registration for individual classes at 3 p.m. on the Friday before each class. Each class requires a minimum of eight students.

If you need to cancel, please contact sitkakitch@sitkawild.org at least 72 hours prior to the start of the class to receive a partial refund.

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Monday, Feb. 20, is the registration deadline for a certified food protection manager workshop being taught on Monday, March 6, by University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service. This is an all-day statewide class that will be offered by videoconferencing to Bethel, Fairbanks, Juneau, Palmer, Sitka and Valdez.

A certified food protection manager (CFPM) is responsible for monitoring and managing all food establishment operations to ensure that the facility is operating in compliance with food establishment regulations.

A CFPM is knowledgeable about food safety practices and uses this knowledge to provide consumers with safe food, protect public health and prevent food-borne illnesses. Alaska regulations require food establishments to have at least one CFPM on staff.

This course takes place from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. (with a half-hour lunch), and participants will take a computer-based exam at the end of the class. The reason the deadline is two weeks before the class is to guarantee course materials reach all the students in time for the class. The cost is $200, and the course will be taught by Julie Cascio of Palmer. Students can register here.

The Sitka videoconference for the class will take place in Room 106 at the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus. To learn more, contact Jasmine Shaw at the Sitka District Office of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service at 747-9440, or contact Julie Cascio at (907) 745-3360 (Palmer number) or jmcascio@alaska.edu. Note, this class is taught in English but textbooks are available in Korean, Chinese and Spanish, just contact Julie at least three weeks before the class.

Also, the ServSafe book ($70) and certification exam ($75) now are available online, if people want to order the book and study independently without taking the class. Just go to this website and purchase the book and exam items.

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

This month’s newsletter includes short articles about our annual meeting and potluck dinner on Feb. 4, a request for new board members, and info about some upcoming classes at the Sitka Kitch. Each story has links to our website for more information.

You can sign up for future editions of our newsletter by clicking on the registration form 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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Salmonberries await picking near the entrance to Sitka National Historical Park

Salmonberries await picking near the entrance to Sitka National Historical Park

Flora of Southeastern Alaska, a biology class taught by University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus associate professor Kitty LaBounty, is back for its third year.

flora-course-update-smThe DNA of most traditional botany classes is to gather students around a table of samples and look at them in a face-to-face classroom setting. By offering Flora of Southeast Alaska as both a hybrid local and distance-delivery (eLearning) class, students from anywhere can get up to speed on how to identify the common native trees, shrubs and herbs of southeast and south central Alaska. Local students can participate in the lectures on campus, while students across Alaska can see the imagery online and hear the lectures either live or via digital recording.

Flora of Southeast Alaska is a one-credit, 11-week workshop. The focus will be on identification of common species and attaining an understanding of their place in the ecosystem of Southeast Alaska. Students will discover how these plants interact with other plants and animals, and how humans use these plants for food, fuel, medicine, or simply enjoyment.

In addition to illustrated weekly lectures, there will be written exercises and “check for understanding” activities. The class is available to any student without prerequisites. It does not count as credit toward a biology major at UAS.

Professor LaBounty brings her lifelong passion as a gardener and scientist to this topic, along with more than 25 years experience working on plant identification for state, federal and nonprofit agencies in Alaska.

The class will meet from 6-7 p.m. on Thursdays from Feb. 16 to May 4 — with time off for spring break. The cost is $187 for local students and $227 for eLearning (distance) students.

For more information, contact Kitty LaBounty at UAS Sitka Campus. 747-9432. To register, call 747-7700. or toll-free, 800-478-6653.

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Share lessons learned and techniques for overcoming challenges of commercially growing food in Southeast Alaska; learn specific skills, technology, and research that contribute to commercial farming success and efficiency; connect with new and experienced farmers to build an inspiring network.

Early bird registration is now open for the Southeast Alaska Farmers Summit 2017, the second biennial summit designed to bring together experienced and aspiring commercial growers and support agencies. The summit will be held Friday through Sunday, Feb. 24-26, at the Chilkat Center in Haines. A discounted registration rate is available to attendees who register on or before Friday, Jan. 20. Travel and registration scholarships are available.

The conference will feature presentations from experienced commercial growers and support agencies, and topical discussions and panels to share resources and lessons learned. Speakers include Doug Collins, Extension Faculty and Soil Scientist with Washington State University’s Small Farms Program; Megan Talley, Farm Manager and Educator at Alaska Pacific University; and experienced farmers from Southeast Alaska; among others.

“This will be an opportunity for commercial growers of Southeast Alaska to learn from each other, find opportunities to collaborate, and build a network that can leverage everyone’s efforts,” said Lia Heifetz, Local Food Director for Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition. “Many resources will be shared over the course of the weekend – from financial planning for small farms to innovative solutions for soil building, policy implications for agriculture, and much more.”

Other topics to be addressed at the Southeast Alaska Farmers Summit include:

  • On Farm Food Safety
  • Building your Farm Community
  • Planning for a CSA
  • The Future of Seed Saving in Alaska
  • High Tunnel Applications and Innovations
  • Electric and Walk-in Cold Storage for your Farm
  • Biomass Heated Greenhouses and Aquaponics
  • Per Foot Crop Values for Market Sales
  • Using Local Amendments to Improve Soil Quality
  • Fruit Trees and Grafting Techniques
  • Policy and Initiatives
  • Building a Future of Farming with Internships and Education
  • Business Planning and Farm Finances

For more information and to register for the conference, please visit this website, http://www.alaskawatershedcoalition.org/safs2017/, or contact Lia Heifetz at lia@growsoutheast.com.

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Since the Sitka School District closed Blatchley Community Gardens in October, the gardeners have been removing their raised garden beds and soil in preparation for finding a new location for Sitka’s community gardens.

Due to a schedule conflict, the Sitka community gardens project meeting scheduled for 6-7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Dec. 1, has been moved to Harrigan Centennial Hall instead of its originally scheduled location of the Sitka Community Hospital classroom.

The Sitka community gardens project is one of the two community wellness projects chosen at the 10th annual Sitka Health Summit in October. Because of the recent closure of the Blatchley Community Gardens by the Sitka School District, Sitka residents are looking for a replacement site and structure for some new community gardens. People are encouraged to bring their ideas about where they think might be a good location for new gardens, and how the gardens should be structured.

All are invited. For more information, contact Dave Nuetzel, 738-8372, or go to community.garden@hotmail.com or sitkagardens@gmail.com. People also can like the Sitka Community Gardens page on Facebook, https://www.facebook.com/Sitka-Community-Gardens-210713299032006/, for more info.

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