Scenes from the third Sitka Farmers Market of the 2022 summer

PHOTO COURTESY OF SITKA LOCAL FOODS NETWORK
Sitka Farmers Market volunteer Darbi Neilson, right, presents the Table of the Day Award for July 30 to Lisa Teas Conaway of Flying Ravens Art. Lisa sold pen-and-ink drawings, gift cards, and other artwork. She received a Sitka Local Foods Network tote bag, a Sitka Farmers Market special label chocolate bar, a bag of salad greens, a bag of snap peas, a packet of Alaska Flour Company barley flour pancake mix, and other prizes. The next Sitka Farmers Market is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 13, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (235 Katlian Street). That will wrap up National Farmers Market Week, which is Aug. 7-13, so stop by to celebrate. Vendors can register online (by Thursday morning on market week) at https://sitkafarmersmarket.eventsmart.com. More details about the Sitka Local Foods Network and Sitka Farmers Market can be found at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org.

It was gray and drizzly for the third Sitka Farmers Market of the 2022 season, our 15th summer. This market, on Saturday, July 30, had a smaller number of vendors registered, so all of the vendors were moved inside the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall, where the first 12 years of Sitka Farmers Markets were held.

National Farmers Market Week is Aug. 7-13 this year, so stop by the Sitka Farmers Market on Saturday, Aug. 13, to join the celebration.

We appreciate everybody who made this market season a success, especially all of our vendors, volunteers, and our customers who wore masks to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. If the city’s Covid-19 risk level is high, we require masks inside ANB Hall. If the city’s Covid-19 risk is medium, we recommend people wear masks inside.

We didn’t have as many booths as in previous years, but the smaller markets seemed to have worked. We still had fresh local produce, as well as a variety of Alaska Grown value-added products, local eggs, mushrooms, and arts and crafts. The Sitka Local Foods Network farm stand accepts and matches WIC coupons and SNAP EBT benefits.

Our markets the rest of the season are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, Aug. 13, 27, Sept. 10, and 24, at the ANB Founders Hall, 235 Katlian Street. Potential vendors can register and pay their vendor fees by going to https://sitkafarmersmarket.eventsmart.com. More information about the Sitka Local Foods Network and Sitka Farmers Market can be found at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org.

A slideshow of scenes from the third market of the summer is posted below.

Celebrate National Farmers Market Week by attending the Sitka Farmers Market on Aug. 13

National Farmers Market Week is Aug. 7-13 this year, so stop by the Sitka Farmers Market to join the celebration.

The Sitka Farmers Market takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 13, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (235 Katlian St.). This is the 15th season of Sitka Farmers Markets.

The annual National Farmers Market Week celebration is the first full week of August, when growing season is peaking around the country.

The number of farmers markets in the country has more than tripled since 1996, growing from 2,410 markets in 1996 to 8,675 in 2016. There has been similar growth in Alaska, going from 13 markets in 2006 to 56 in 2022, and now markets can be found in many Bush communities from Bethel to Thorne Bay. This growth has improved Alaska’s food security while also serving as an incubator for new businesses.

According to the Farmers Market Coalition, farmers markets (click headers for more info) …

  • Preserve America’s rural livelihoods and farmland. Farmers markets provide one of the only low-barrier entry points for beginning farmers, allowing them to start small, test the market, and grow their businesses.
  • Stimulate local economies. Growers selling locally create 13 full-time farm operator jobs per $1 million in revenue earned. Those growers that do not sell locally create three jobs.
  • Increase access to fresh, nutritious food. Several  studies have found lower prices for conventional and organic produce at farmers markets than at supermarkets. Due to this and other factors, 52 percent more SNAP households shop at farmers markets and from direct marketing farmers today than in 2011. The Sitka Farmers Market was the first market in Southeast Alaska to accept SNAP and WIC benefits, and we have a matching program for SNAP and WIC beneficiaries.
  • Support healthy communities. Farmers market vendors educate their shoppers. Four out of five farmers selling at markets discuss farming practices with their customers, and three in five discuss nutrition and how to prepare food.
  • Promote sustainability. Three out of every four farmers selling at farmers markets say they use practices consistent with organic standards.

UAF Cooperative Extension Service to offer pressure canner gauge testing at Sitka Farmers Market

Jasmine Shaw of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service watches a pressure canner gauge at a Sitka Kitch class on home food preservation. Jasmine will be at the Sitka Farmers Market on Saturday to test pressure canner gauges.

Jasmine Shaw from the UAF Cooperative Extension Service Sitka Outreach Center will do pressure gauge testing at the Sitka Farmers Market, from 10-11:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 30, at ANB Founders Hall. She will be at the Transition Sitka booth with Barbara Bingham for the first half of the market (usually back by the stage).

It is recommended to check dial gauges for accuracy before use each year. Gauges that read high cause underprocessing and may result in unsafe food. Low readings cause overprocessing and may indicate that the accuracy of the gauge is unpredictable. Bring in the lid for your canner for a free test. In just a few minutes, you can make sure your dial gauge is accurate and functioning properly.

Jasmine also can provide pressure canner gauge testing at her office at UAS Sitka Campus, and she can be reached at 907-747-9440 or jdshaw2@alaska.edu to set up an appointment.

Scenes from the second Sitka Farmers Market of the 2022 summer

PHOTO COURTESY OF SITKA LOCAL FOODS NETWORK
Sitka Farmers Market volunteer Corey Accardo, left, and Sitka Local Foods Network board member Edie Leghorn, right, present the Table of the Day Award for July 16 to Charlie Bower III of Natural Artist Enterprize. Charlie sold mushrooms and mushroom products, salmonberry popsicles, local books, and other items. He received a Sitka Local Foods Network tote bag, a Sitka Farmers Market special label chocolate bar, a bag of salad greens, a jar of Moosetard mustard, a jar of Foraged & Found kelp salsa, and a bottle of Moosetard Lead Dog BBQ sauce. The next Sitka Farmers Market is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 30, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (235 Katlian Street). Vendors can register online (by Thursday morning on market week) at https://sitkafarmersmarket.eventsmart.com. More details about the Sitka Local Foods Network and Sitka Farmers Market can be found at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org.

It was gray and drizzly for the second Sitka Farmers Market of the 2022 season, our 15th summer. This market, on Saturday, July 16, had a small number of vendors registered, so all of the vendors were moved inside the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall, where the first 12 years of Sitka Farmers Markets were held.

We appreciate everybody who made this market season a success, especially all of our vendors, volunteers, and our customers who wore masks to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. If the city’s Covid-19 risk level is high, we require masks inside ANB Hall. If the city’s Covid-19 risk is medium, we recommend people wear masks inside.

We didn’t have as many booths as in previous years, but the smaller markets seemed to have worked. We still had fresh local produce, as well as a variety of Alaska Grown value-added products, local eggs, mushrooms, and arts and crafts. The Sitka Local Foods Network farm stand accepts and matches WIC coupons and SNAP EBT benefits.

Our markets the rest of the season are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, July 30, Aug. 13, 27, Sept. 10, and 24, at the ANB Founders Hall, 235 Katlian Street. Potential vendors can register and pay their vendor fees by going to https://sitkafarmersmarket.eventsmart.com. More information about the Sitka Local Foods Network and Sitka Farmers Market can be found at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org.

A slideshow of scenes from the second market of the summer is posted below.

Twelve businesses, including two from Sitka, selected as finalists in Path to Prosperity contest

Andrew Jylkka of the Sitka bakery Southeast Dough Company puts a tray of fresh-baked bread into a rack to cool. His business was one of the 12 finalists in the 2022 Path to Prosperity business development competition.

JUNEAU, Alaska — The Path to Prosperity Business Competition has selected this year’s cohort of 12 businesses to advance to the second round of the competition. This year’s list of finalists includes two businesses from Sitka — Laura Tirman of Alpenglow Adventures and Andrew Jylkka of Southeast Dough Company.

Started by Sealaska and The Nature Conservancy in 2013 and administered by Spruce Root Community Development, Path to Prosperity is an award-winning competition for small businesses and start-ups located in Southeast Alaska. The 2022 cycle of the Path to Prosperity competition aims to assist Southeast Alaskan entrepreneurs in contributing to a sustainable and regenerative tourism industry in the region that is community-led and locally owned.

In Round 2 of the competition, finalists will participate in Path to Prosperity’s innovative Business Boot Camp where they will get access to resources, work with mentors, and receive one-on-one consulting to develop their business plans. Two finalists will be selected to win $25,000 each to grow their businesses. The following businesses were selected as this year’s finalists:

  • Business Name, Primary Applicant, Location
  • Alaska Brown Bear Bread Co., Sean Williams, Hoonah
  • Alpenglow Adventures, Laura Tirman, Sitka
  • Costa Brava, Rebecca Kameika, Haines
  • Fathoms Alaska, Seth Bader, Juneau
  • Instant Vintage Photos, Kimberly Pruitt, Skagway
  • New Earth Fungi, Alannah Johnson, Juneau
  • Rooney’s Roost B&B, Caitlin Cardell, Wrangell
  • Scoot AK, Aaron Angerman, Wrangell
  • SEAK Expeditions, Joseph Oesterling, Haines
  • Silverthorn Charters, James Silverthorn, Thorne Bay
  • Southeast Dough Company, Andrew Jylkka, Sitka
  • The Wheelhouse, Pat Blair, Petersburg

From starting Wrangell’s first electric scooter rental company, to offering experiential three-week canoe trips for Alaska Native youth, to hosting an inaugural catch-and-release steelhead tournament on Prince of Wales Island, the 2022 Path to Prosperity finalists are defining Southeast Alaska’s visitor industry, creating jobs, and driving regenerative economic growth.

“Sustaining healthy communities in the 21st century means translating Indigenous knowledge, community resilience, and collaborative adaptability into sustainable jobs and innovative economic opportunities,” Spruce Root Executive Director Alana Peterson said. “The Path to Prosperity Competition supports the type of place-based economic development where locally owned and operated businesses are given support to be successful and to develop products and services that solve some of our greatest challenges in the region. A total of 23 entrepreneurs from eight communities applied to Round 1 of Path to Prosperity in 2022.”

While the majority of finalist businesses are involved in the visitor industry, there were some food businesses, such as Southeast Dough Company, to make the finals. Southeast Dough Company is a bakery based in Sitka that specializes in sourdough bread and other fermented products. Jylkka and Southeast Dough Company also won the 2020 Sitka Food Business Innovation Contest.

“Participating in Path to Prosperity will help me bring the vision of Southeast Dough Company into clearer focus,” Jylkka said. “It will help me refine my goals and build my skillset to grow this business in a sustainable way.” 

Sitka’s other finalist, Alpenglow Adventures, will connect tourists with Sitka in a meaningful way by offering multi-day active adventures that include hiking, biking, kayaking, culture, food, art, and more. Alpenglow Adventures will work with and support existing local businesses by incorporating these businesses in the multi-day itineraries sold to guests as a package deal.

According to the Sustainable Southeast Partnership, regenerative tourism is a holistic approach to tourism that proactively works to improve ecosystems, elevate local economies, and promote meaningful and responsible visitor experiences. Authentic local representation, deep community involvement, and practical and innovative steps for conserving and enhancing the environment are central to this approach.

Over 10 competition cycles, Path to Prosperity has received more than 320 applications from Southeast Alaskan small business owners and entrepreneurs across 23 communities. The program has trained 122 finalists at Business Boot Camp and awarded 19 winners $610,000 to build their local businesses. All the participants have been trained in the “triple-bottom-line” approach to building a business by learning to measure their profitability as well as the environmental and social impacts of their business. In recent years, competition winners include Skyaana Coffee Co. (Klawock); Barnacle Foods (Juneau); Foundroot (Haines); Village Coffee Company (Yakutat); Kasaan Arts, Museum & Canoes (Kasaan); and more.

This program is supported by The Edgerton Foundation, Sealaska, USDA, Opportunity Finance Network, The Nature Conservancy, Wells Fargo, Oweesta Corporation, The Sustainable Southeast Partnership, Avista Foundation, Kensington Mine, AK Litho, Elgee Rehfeld, and Alaska Brewing. Spruce Root is grateful for their contributions.

Path to Prosperity is a Spruce Root program. Spruce Root provides local entrepreneurs with access to business development and financial resources in the form of loan capital, business coaching, workshops, and competitions. Together, these programs drive a regenerative economy across Southeast Alaska so communities can forge futures grounded in this uniquely Indigenous place. To learn more about Path to Prosperity or Spruce Root’s other services, visit their website at www.spruceroot.org or email grow@spruceroot.org.

Sitka Tribe of Alaska hosts subsistence herring egg distribution survey

The fisheries department at Sitka Tribe of Alaska is trying to better understand the distribution networks for the cultural and traditional resources used here in Southeast Alaska.

A request from STA fisheries biologist Kyle Rosendale: “Sitka Tribe of Alaska is asking anyone interested in herring eggs to fill out this brief survey to better understand the distribution of herring eggs and the needs of communities around the state. Respondents will be entered into a drawing for up to $300. Please share the survey with anyone who might be interested. Gunalchéesh!

All surveys are confidential. If you have any questions, please email Kyle directly at kyle.rosendale@sitkatribe-nsn.gov.

Scenes from the first Sitka Farmers Market of the 2022 summer

PHOTO COURTESY OF SITKA LOCAL FOODS NETWORK Sitka Farmers Market volunteer Shannon Cellan, center, presents the Table of the Day Award for July 2 to Harriet, left, and Ron McClain of Fish Bone Studios. Harriet and Ron sold local books, pottery, and other items. They received a Sitka Local Foods Network tote bag, two Sitka Farmers Market special label Theobroma chocolate bars, a jar of Barnacle BBQ sauce, a jar of Foraged & Found kelp salsa, and a bottle of Moosetard Lead Dog BBQ sauce. The next Sitka Farmers Market is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 16, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (235 Katlian Street). Vendors can register online (by Thursday on market week) at https://sitkafarmersmarket.eventsmart.com. More details about the Sitka Local Foods Network and Sitka Farmers Market can be found at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org.

Sunny skies and hot weather greeted the first Sitka Farmers Market of its 15th summer. This market, on Saturday, July 2, saw the market return to its roots at Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall, where the first 12 years of markets were held.

We appreciate everybody who made this market season a success, especially all of our vendors, volunteers, and our customers who wore masks to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.

We didn’t have as many booths as in previous years, but the smaller markets seemed to have worked. We still had fresh local produce, as well as a variety of Alaska Grown value-added products, local eggs, mushrooms, and arts and crafts. The Sitka Local Foods Network farm stand accepts and matches WIC coupons and SNAP EBT benefits.

Our markets the rest of the season are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, July 16, 30, Aug. 13, 27, Sept. 10, and 24, at the ANB Founders Hall, 235 Katlian Street. Potential vendors can register and pay their vendor fees by going to https://sitkafarmersmarket.eventsmart.com. More information about the Sitka Local Foods Network and Sitka Farmers Market can be found at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org.

A slideshow of scenes from the first market of the summer is posted below.

Please wear face masks for the Sitka Farmers Market this Saturday

Over the past month, Sitka has seen a spike in Covid-19 cases and now has returned to a High risk level.

With that in mind, the Sitka Local Foods Network asks customers and vendors to be Covid-aware during the Sitka Farmers Market this Saturday (10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, July 2, at Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall). We still plan to hold the market, but we don’t want to contribute to the spread of the coronavirus.

We are trying to return to normal this summer, by holding the market where we held it for our first 12 years before Covid. This year we have both inside and outside booths (in the BIHA parking lot next to ANB Hall), hoping Covid levels would go down. But we knew there was a chance we might see some Covid spikes and that’s why we wrote a Covid-19 mitigation plan that includes requiring masks inside ANB Hall when Sitka is at a High or Moderate risk level (and encouraging them for outside).

We ask all customers and vendors to wear masks, even if you are vaccinated. Other than getting one of the vaccines, a mask is the best protection against Covid-19 spread. In addition, we request people give each other at least six feet of space, and not attend the market if you are feeling sick.

When you visit a vendor’s table, please point out which items you’re interested in and let the vendor get them for you. This will reduce the amount of handling of food items.

By the way, the Sitka Local Foods Network needs a volunteer or two to help set up the market, sell produce during the market, and take down the market after it’s over. If you’re interested in helping, contact Charles Bingham at (907) 623-7660 or Nalani James at (808) 778-9888. We plan to start setting up about 8-8:30 a.m. and should have everything packed up by 2 p.m.

We also are recruiting new vendors, and they can register and pay their vendor fees by going to https://sitkafarmersmarket.eventsmart.com. More information about the Sitka Local Foods Network and Sitka Farmers Market can be found at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org.

The Sitka Local Foods Network does take WIC farmers market coupons and Alaska Quest SNAP EBT cards at the Sitka Farmers Market, and offers a matching program for produce purchased at the SLFN farm stand (if you buy $5 of produce, you will receive $10 worth).

• 2022 Sitka Farmers Market Covid-19 mitigation plan

Voting open in 14th annual America’s Farmers Market Celebration

The voting period for the 14th annual America’s Farmers Market Celebration is open and people can go online and support their favorite farmers markets through Sept. 19. After being sponsored under various names by the American Farmland Trust during its early years, this year the Trust is teaming up with the Farmers Market Coalition to host the contest.

They also have increased the prize money, with the top farmers market winning $5,000, second place receiving $2,500, third place $1,500, fourth place $750, and fifth place $250. Only the top three finishers won cash last year, and there was just $5,000 total instead of this year’s $10,000.

Last year, the Sitka Farmers Market was the top market in Alaska again. The Sitka Farmers Market has been the top vote-getter in Alaska for the past five years, and seven of the past eight years. The contest uses online voting, but each email address is only allowed to vote once so people can’t stuff the ballot box. Voting opened on June 20 this year.

Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we made several major changes to the Sitka Farmers Markets in 2020 and some of those are carried forward into 2021. We are trying to return to a semblance of normal in 2022, but we still are watching for more COVID-19 outbreaks.

In 2020, we had a greatly scaled back market, a switch to an online ordering system, a new pick-up event location, and new health and safety protocols to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. We had a fuller market in 2021, with the market entirely outdoors at a different location to prevent COVID-19 spread. This year we are back at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall, where we hosted our first 12 years of markets. While we do have an indoors component this year, people still are encouraged to wear face masks if we are in High or Moderate risk levels to help prevent COVID-19 spread. Even though most Sitka residents have been vaccinated, COVID-19 remains present and there are many variants.

This year we plan seven full markets in our 15th season, from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, July 2, 16, 30, Aug. 13, 27, Sept. 10, and 24, at the ANB Founders Hall (235 Katlian Street) and Baranof Island Housing Authority parking lot next to ANB Hall. Nalani James will manage the markets again this year, with Charles Bingham assisting. At the markets, depending on which vendors register, we plan to have fresh local produce, fish, cottage foods, homemade baked goods, hot food, food trucks, arts and crafts, live music, and more. We added a new online vendor registration website last year, https://sitkafarmersmarket.eventsmart.com. We also still have our youth vendor program.

Barring the end of the pandemic, all of our volunteers will be wearing masks and gloves to help prevent the spread of the coronavirus. We ask our customers to wear masks and give people space during the market. We want to encourage community connection and small businesses at the markets, but this is a healthy activity and we don’t want to spread the coronavirus.

Check out the July 2022 edition of the Sitka Local Foods Network newsletter

The Sitka Local Foods Network just sent out the July 2022 edition of its monthly newsletter. Feel free to click this link to get a copy.

This month’s newsletter includes short stories about the upcoming 2022 Sitka Farmers Market, an update about how you can support the Sitka Local Foods Network by buying a t-shirt or hoodie from our online store, information about our 2022 sponsorship programs, and an invitation to join our 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).