• Scenes from the fifth Sitka Farmers Market of the 2015 summer, and the Sitka Slug Races

Sitka Farmers Market Assistant Manager Francis Wegman-Lawless, left, and Sitka Farmers Market Manager Debe Brincefield, right, present the Table Of The Day Award to Rock Peterson of Jam-N-Peppers at the fifth Sitka Farmers Market of the 2015 summer on Saturday, Aug. 29, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall in Sitka. Peterson sells an apricot and pepper jam/glaze. He received a gift bag with fresh chard, kale, beets, and other veggies. The market also featured the inaugural Sitka Slug Races, won by Linda Wilson's slug Moses, with Sophie Nethercut and Maybelle Filler's slug Thug The Slug second, and Thomas Witherspoon's slug Slugzilla third. This is the eighth year of Sitka Farmers Markets, hosted by the Sitka Local Foods Network. The last market of the summer is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 12, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall, 235 Katlian St. For more information about the Sitka Farmers Markets and Sitka Local Foods Network, go to http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org/, check out our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SitkaLocalFoodsNetwork, or follow us on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/SitkaLocalFoods. (PHOTO COURTESY OF SITKA LOCAL FOODS NETWORK)

Sitka Farmers Market Assistant Manager Francis Wegman-Lawless, left, and Sitka Farmers Market Manager Debe Brincefield, right, present the Table Of The Day Award to Rock Peterson of Jam-N-Peppers at the fifth Sitka Farmers Market of the 2015 summer on Saturday, Aug. 29, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall in Sitka. Peterson sells an apricot and pepper jam/glaze. He received a gift bag with fresh chard, kale, beets, and other veggies. The market also featured the inaugural Sitka Slug Races, won by Linda Wilson’s slug Moses, with Sophie Nethercut and Maybelle Filler’s slug Thug The Slug second, and Thomas Witherspoon’s slug Slugzilla third. This is the eighth year of Sitka Farmers Markets, hosted by the Sitka Local Foods Network. The last market of the summer is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 12, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall, 235 Katlian St. For more information about the Sitka Farmers Markets and Sitka Local Foods Network, go to http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org/, check out our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SitkaLocalFoodsNetwork, or follow us on Twitter at https://www.twitter.com/SitkaLocalFoods. (PHOTO COURTESY OF SITKA LOCAL FOODS NETWORK)

For the first time this summer, we had a minimal amount of moisture at the Sitka Farmers Market, with a brief rain during our Aug. 29 market. But the slugs in the Sitka Slug Races love moisture.

The highlight of the Aug. 29 market was the inaugural Sitka Slug Races, which included a preliminary heat before the main event. The top finisher was Moses, handled by Linda Wilson. In second place was Thug The Slug, handled by Sophie Nethercut and Maybelle Filler. In third place was Slugzilla, trained by Thomas Witherspoon.

The next market is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 12, at the ANB Founders Hall. This will be our last market of the summer.

A reminder, due to health codes we can’t allow any pets in the ANB Founders Hall or the parking lot other than service dogs. We also don’t allow tobacco (smoking or chewing) at the Sitka Farmers Market because this is a health event (our event started out as a Sitka Health Summit project).

Finally, if you’ve ever wanted to be a vendor you can learn more by clicking this link or sending an email to sitkafarmersmarket@gmail.com. We always need new vendors, especially those selling produce from their home gardens, commercially caught fish or locally baked bread.

A slideshow from the fifth Sitka Farmers Market is posted below.

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• Sitka Local Foods Network to launch monthly newsletter to help keep people updated on our activities

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At the Sitka Local Foods Network, we know people are busy and they don’t have time to check our website or Facebook page every day to see what’s happening. So we will be launching a monthly newsletter to give folks another way to stay up to date.

The monthly newsletter will feature some brief updates on the top stories from our website, along with information about upcoming classes, the Sitka Farmers Market, St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm garden parties, garden advice, volunteer opportunities, and more. There also will be information about local foods programs offered by other groups, such as classes from the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service or events from the Sitka Seafood Festival, that Sitkans might find interesting. We’ll try to keep things fairly short, with links in the newsletter to the longer stories on our website for those who want more info.

You can sign up for the newsletter by clicking this link and following the prompts on the sign-up form (you also can click on the newsletter image in the right column of our website to register). You should receive an email asking you to confirm your subscription, which will open a link where you can let us know more about your interests. To keep from flooding your email account, we will try to limit the newsletters to just once a month (unless there’s a major news item).

At the bottom of each newsletter is a link that allows you to unsubscribe from the newsletter at any time. We don’t want to spam anybody. Also, we won’t share our email list with outside groups because we know you value your privacy.

Sign up soon, because the January 2015 newsletter will be sent out later this week.

• It’s time to … get down and dirty and plant the veggies at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm

StPetersSignWithToDoListSignThe Sitka Local Foods Network will host planting parties from 2-4 p.m. on Saturday, May 10, and from 2-4 p.m. on Saturday, May 31, to start planting this summer’s crops at the St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm communal garden (located behind St. Peter’s By The Sea Episcopal Church on Lincoln Street).

Produce grown at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm is sold during the Sitka Farmers Markets to help fund Sitka Local Foods Network projects throughout the year. Some of it also is sold to people using SNAP benefits (food stamps) and to local schools for their lunch programs.

In addition to planting, there may be other garden chores to do. During these work parties we usually need people to shovel dirt and sift soil, weed, mulch and spread fertilizer (seaweed) on the existing garden beds. Most garden tools will be provided, but we will need people to bring shovels and pick-axes if they have them. These garden parties are a great place for Sitka residents new to gardening to get some hands-on instruction on how to plant their own veggie garden.

For more information, contact St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm lead gardener Laura Schmidt at 623-7003 or 738-7009, or contact Lisa Sadleir-Hart at 747-5985.