• Alaska Journal of Commerce article spotlights local food offerings of Sitka chef Josh Peavey

Josh Peavey, right, talks over Baranof beer at a recent all-Alaskan dinner at Bayview Restaurant and Wine Bar in Sitka. The entire menu down to the butter and the bread was made by Peavey with only Alaskan ingredients. (Courtesy Photo Josh Peavey)

Josh Peavey, right, talks over Baranof beer at a recent all-Alaskan dinner at Bayview Restaurant and Wine Bar in Sitka. The entire menu down to the butter and the bread was made by Peavey with only Alaskan ingredients. (Courtesy Photo Josh Peavey)

The Dec. 23-29, 2010, edition of the Alaska Journal of Commerce statewide business weekly newspaper has a feature story about the local food offerings of Sitka chef Josh Peavey. The article also was featured in the Dec. 29-Jan. 4 issue of Capital City Weekly.

Peavey is the executive chef at the New Bayview Restaurant and Wine Bar. He also owns The Alaskan Kitchen catering company. Peavey’s wife, Alicia, headed up the inaugural Sitka Seafood Festival in August.

In the article, Peavey discusses his efforts to serve more local foods in his restaurant and catering meals, even if that means looking elsewhere in Alaska to find ingredients. In November, Peavey hosted an all-Alaska-ingredients fundraising dinner that included some produce from the Sitka Local Foods Network and several types of finfish and shellfish from a variety of Sitka fish companies. The meal also included pork from North Pole, reindeer sausage from Anchorage, dairy products from the Matanuska-Susitna valleys and even beer from Sitka’s own Baranof Island Brewing Co.

• Sitka Seafood Festival steering committee to meet June 22

The Sitka Seafood Festival steering committee’s next meeting will be at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, June 22, at Harrigan Centennial Hall.

Each of the steering committee’s smaller committees should have held meetings since the large group met in May, and those updates will be discussed at this meeting. The Sitka Seafood Festival takes place on Aug. 6-7 at Harrigan Centennial Hall and other locations around Sitka.

Chef Robert Kinneen of Orso Ristorante in Anchorage shows off an entrée featuring fresh Alaska yelloweye rockfish (Alaska Journal of Commerce photo by Rob Stapleton)

Chef Robert Kinneen of Orso Ristorante in Anchorage shows off an entrée featuring fresh Alaska yelloweye rockfish (Alaska Journal of Commerce photo by Rob Stapleton)

In other news, the Sitka Seafood Festival has chosen a guest chef — Robert Kinneen of Orso Ristorante in Anchorage, who has been featured in the Alaska Journal of Commerce for his extensive use of local foods at the restaurant. During the festival, Robert will be the featured chef for Friday night’s banquet and he will have a booth set up during Saturday’s festivities. Robert is currently filming a “Web-A-Thon” and has a professional camera crew that he would like to bring here to cover some of the festival. The Sitka Seafood Festival is in need of Alaska Airline miles to help bring the chef, his family and the filming crew to Sitka for the festival. While in Sitka, the camera crew may be available to film other projects related to fishing or tourism. If you can help the Sitka Seafood Festival out with air miles, send an e-mail to sitkaseafoodfestival@gmail.com or contact Alicia Peavey at 1-928-607-4845.

Sitka Seafood Festival steering committee minutes from May 20, 2010

• Local foods a topic of several Alaska news stories over the past week or so

This has been an interesting couple of weeks, with food security being discussed at the Alaska Federation of Natives convention, subsistence rights and responsibilities in the news and other stories highlighting the local foods market in Alaska.

The Alaska Public Radio Network ran a story about food security being a hot topic at the Alaska Federation of Natives convention. One element of the discussion was a report from former state Sen. Kim Elton, now is the Interior Department’s senior advisor for Alaska Affairs, who said Interior Secretary Ken Salazar plans to upgrade subsistence management for the coming decades.

The Alaska Public Radio Network also ran a story (from KRBD-FM in Ketchikan) about an invasive plant species conference in Ketchikan and how to prevent the spread of noxious and invasive plants in Alaska.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner ran an article about how food grown in gardens on the University of Alaska Fairbanks campus is finding its way onto the plates of UAF students at the Lola Tilly Commons.

The Alaska Journal of Commerce had an article about how wild plant seeds from Alaska are being stored at the Kew Gardens Millennium Seed Bank (aka the Royal Botanical Gardens) southwest of London.

The Alaska Journal of Commerce also had an article about Anchorage chef Robert Kineen of Orso Ristorante and how he is incorporating more local foods into his menus.

This week’s issue of the Alaska Journal of Commerce also has several articles about various fisheries, from whitefish to salmon to crab. Included in the issue is an article about how wild-caught Alaska salmon and Pacific cod made the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s recent listing of “super green” seafoods because of their health benefits, the sustainable ways the fish are harvested and lack of contamination. Here is a link to the full list from the Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Consumer’s Guide to Sustainable Seafood.

Former Anchorage Daily News Outdoors Editor Craig Medred, who now writes for the Alaska Dispatch Web site, wrote this column about how some hunters have lost their connection to the culture of hunting.

The Alaska Dispatch also had an article about tough times at the Triple D Farm and Hatchery in Palmer. The turkey farm was made infamous during a KTUU-TV interview of then-Gov. Sarah Palin video last year, when she was pardoning a turkey as a worker in the background was butchering other turkeys (a link to the video is with the story).

The Anchorage Daily News also ran an obituary for Lawrence Clark, 94, aka “The Apple Man,” who was one of the leading apple tree growers in the Anchorage area and a member of the Alaska Pioneer’s Fruit Growers Association. Clark also was able to grow apricots on his land in the Rabbit Creek area south of Anchorage.

The Fairbanks Community Cooperative Market blog posted this essay about sustainable agriculture in Alaska from Mike Emers, the owner of Rosie Creek Farm in the Fairbanks bedroom community of Ester (Rosie Creek Farm is the northernmost certified organic farm in the country). Emers writes about how he wouldn’t have imagined his life’s direction 10-20 years ago, and how becoming a farmer is such a departure for someone who comes from a long line of Jewish tailors. By the way, while you’re done reading Emers’ essay, check out the rest of the Fairbanks Community Cooperative Market site. This is a project to build a market specializing in local foods for the Fairbanks area.

Finally, here is an article from the USDA’s Agricultural Research Service about whether or not there are regions in the country that have lost their ability to feed themselves. The article focuses on a county-by-county study in the northeast part of the U.S. about what local foods currently are available, but it sounds like similar studies are taking place across the country.

• Juneau hosts second annual Juneau Farmers Market and Local Food Festival and other news

The Juneau Commission on Sustainability hosted its second annual Juneau Farmers Market and Local Food Festival on Saturday, and the Juneau Empire had plenty of coverage of Juneau’s only farmers market of the summer. Click here to reach the main story about the farmers market in Sunday’s edition of the Juneau Empire. Click here to read an editorial praising the idea of a farmers market and sustainable food.

In addition to the farmers market stories, the Juneau Empire also ran a feature about a Juneau gardener who is using aeroponics to grow his food. Click here to read the story.

The Fairbanks Daily News-Miner on Sunday ran an article about the Fairbanks Community Cooperative Market, which is an effort to get 1,500 Fairbanks residents to buy $200 memberships in a new store that would emphasize local food and organic food choices (click here to read the story). So far the project has downpayments on about two-thirds of the memberships needed to launch the project.

Finally, this week’s Alaska Journal of Commerce has a feature story about alternative energy guru Bernie Karl, who uses geothermal energy to power 44 buildings over 450 acres at the Chena Hot Springs Resort, including the resort’s large greenhouses that can grow about 150,000 to 175,000 heads of lettuce a year and other crops. Click here to read more about the Chena Hot Springs Resort greenhouses and how they can be a good model for the Sitka Community Greenhouse project.