Do you like zucchini? We have lots of fresh local zucchini for sale

While our cold, wet summer hampered the growth of some of our veggies, zucchini has been our bumper crop of the season at the St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm communal garden. We’re harvesting about 70 pounds a week right now. We tried a new type of zucchini seed from FoundRoot seed company in Haines, and it really does well in Sitka.

So if you need any zucchini, please give St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm lead gardener Laura Schmidt a call at 738-7009. We also will have zucchini for sale at the Sitka Farmers Market from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 12, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (and again on Aug. 19, and possibly on Sept. 2 and Sept. 9).

Don’t know how to use zucchini? The UAF Cooperative Extension Service has this free publication that has all kinds of information about zucchini and several recipes. Zucchini is very versatile and can be used in main dishes, side dishes, pickles, breads, salads, and desserts.

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How to use WIC coupons, Alaska Quest SNAP cards or credit/debit cards at the Sitka Farmers Market

Have you ever come up a bit short of cash while shopping at the Sitka Farmers Market? Well, there are other methods to use.

The Sitka Farmers Market was the first market in Southeast Alaska to accept the Alaska Quest EBT (electronic benefits transfer) cards for people on SNAP (formerly called food stamps). We also accept WIC farmers market coupons. In both cases, we match up to the first $20 for produce (on WIC) or produce and other SNAP-eligible foods (on Quest).

While many of our vendors have attachments on their cellphones that allow them to run credit or debit card transactions, sometimes it’s hard to get an Internet signal in the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall. We sell tokens (wooden nickels) at our Sitka Local Foods Network swag booth, next to our farm stand outside, that people can use like cash with vendors at the market.

Here is a short primer on how to use each type of transaction:

WIC Farmers Market Coupons

WIC Farmers Market Coupons may only be used at the Sitka Local Foods Network farm stand, found outside in the parking lot.

Present your coupons, and we will match the value up to $20 for produce (so $20 in WIC coupons gives you $40 in value). Our WIC matching program is for produce only and does not include our Alaska Grown products, due to WIC restrictions

Alaska Quest Cards (SNAP Electronic Benefits Transfer)

Bring your Alaska Quest card to the Sitka Local Foods Network swag booth, found outside in the parking lot next to the SLFN farm stand booth.

We swipe your card and give you wooden nickels (tokens) for the value you think you will spend on produce, Alaska Grown products, bread, jams or jellies, or other food that is not meant to be eaten at the market. You can use your wooden nickels at the SLFN farm stand booth, and with certain vendors that have signed agreements to accept SNAP wooden nickels (ask us which vendors have signed agreements when you swipe your card). We will match up to $20 in wooden nickels for produce at the SLFN farm stand.

No cash change will be given for people using SNAP wooden nickels (available in $1 and $5 increments). If you have leftover wooden nickels at the end of the market, take them back to the SLFN swag booth and we will credit them back to your SNAP account. This credit must be done at the same market.

Credit/Debit Cards

While some of our vendors can run credit/debit cards at their booths, there are many that can’t. If you are low in cash and want to run your credit/debit card to buy something at the market, stop by the Sitka Local Foods Network swag booth and we will run your credit/debit card and give you wooden nickels in $5 or $10 increments.

You can then spend your credit/debit card wooden nickels like cash with many of the vendors at the market (most booths will have a sign saying they accept credit/debit card wooden nickels). Credit/debit card tokens may be used for food and non-food items, and customers may receive cash as change.

Like what we do? Now you or your business can sponsor the Sitka Local Foods Network

The Sitka Local Foods Network has a sponsorship program to help promote our mission, and Sitka businesses and individuals are welcome to join. The goal of the sponsorship program is to make the projects we undertake (Sitka Farmers Market, St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, gardening education, etc.) more sustainable.

“Sitka has a precarious position when it comes to food security, and the Sitka Local Foods Network is trying to improve our food security through our mission to increase the amount of locally harvested and produced foods in the diets of Southeast Alaskans,” Sitka Local Foods Network president Charles Bingham said. “Sponsors of the Sitka Local Foods Network are working with an organization and a farmers market that values local, fun, premium quality goods and experiences.”

This year there are seven Sitka Farmers Markets from July through September. The 2017 farmers markets take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, July 1, July 15, July 29, Aug. 12, Aug. 19, Sept. 2, and Sept. 9, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (235 Katlian St.). We grow most of the local produce sold at the markets at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm communal garden and a couple of other locations in town. In the next few days, we will be posting a list of upcoming gardening education courses this spring. We also are helping with a project to create a new community garden program in Sitka.

There are four levels of sponsorship available, and each has its own set of perks.

  • Grower ($2,500-plus) — We’ll hang your banner at ANB Hall during the Sitka Farmers Markets, include your logo and company name prominently in our merchandise and advertisements, and thank you on our social media and web pages. If appropriate for the Sitka Farmers Market, you may set up a free promotional booth.
  • Harvester ($1,000-$2,499) — We’ll hang your banner at ANB Hall during the Sitka Farmers Markets and include your logo and company name in our merchandise and advertisements.
  • Planter ($250-$999) — Your banner will hang at ANB Hall during the Sitka Farmers Markets.
  • Friend ($50-$249) — You are listed on our online sponsor page.

We have limited space for banners at the Sitka Farmers Markets, so please contact us by May 1 to guarantee your spot. To learn more about the sponsorship program, click the link below for details and a registration form. For more information, contact Charles Bingham at (907) 623-7660 or by email at charleswbingham3@gmail.com, or email us at sitkalocalfoodsnetwork@gmail.com.

• 2017 Sitka Local Foods Network sponsorship program details and registration form

Alaska Native Sisterhood Culinary Academy graduates first class of students

ANSCAGrads

The first graduating class of the ANS Culinary Academy. Back row: Paulette Moreno, Jenna Martin, Dorothy Gordon, Jessie Natkong, Joy Wood, Marie Lawson, Amy Sutton, Teresa Moses. Front row: Jaiden Martin, Duane Lindoff, Mykle Potter, Zackery Loewen, Chad Titell, Andrew Roberts, Russell James (with Camden). Floor level: Lydia May, Gary May. Not pictured: Adam Geiger, David Thomas, Sarah Smith.

Seventeen students of the new Alaska Native Sisterhood Culinary Academy graduated from the program on Saturday, July 16, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall.

The graduates learned basic culinary skills, and also earned SafeServ and Certified Food Protection Manager (CFPM) certifications. The instructor was Gary May, the owner of New Creations Mobile Bistro and one of a handful of chefs in Alaska qualified to teach CFPM classes. The Alaska Native Sisterhood (ANS) Camp 4 in Sitka, the Alaska Native Brotherhood (ANB) Camp 1 in Sitka, and Faith Mountain Ministries sponsored the classes.

“The vision of the ANS is to have a commercial kitchen at ANB Founders Hall to be here for our people, for koo.éex’ or holiday dinners,” ANS Camp 4 President Paulette Moreno said. “We also want it to be a place of training. The vision of our elders is to get our people in jobs where they can earn an income all year. We also have traditional foods we need people to know how to safely handle.”

Paulette said the ANS already has a waiting list for the next series of classes, which will probably take place this fall. Gary said the training was about 20 hours, and the students had to pass a couple of tests to earn their certifications, which will allow them to get jobs in just about any kitchen in the state..

The graduates were Paulette Moreno, Jenna Martin, Dorothy Gordon, Jessie Natkong, Joy Wood, Marie Lawson, Amy Sutton, Teresa Moses, Duane Lindoff, Mykle Potter, Zackery Loewen, Chad Titell, Andrew Roberts, and Russell James (Teresa’s and Russell’s month-old baby, Camden, received a special certificate for attending all of the classes with his parents). Adam Geiger, David Thomas, and Sarah Smith also graduated from the class but weren’t able to attend the ceremony.

A slideshow of scenes from the graduation ceremony is posted below.

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Like the Sitka Farmers Market? Now you can become a sponsor

SitkaFarmersMarketSign

The Sitka Local Foods Network is starting a sponsorship program for the Sitka Farmers Market, and Sitka businesses and individuals are welcome to join. The goal of the sponsorship program is to make the Sitka Farmers Market more sustainable.

“The Sitka Farmers Market is entering a new era of growth through selective partnerships and sponsorships,” Sitka Local Foods Network vice-president Matthew Jackson said. “Sponsors of the Sitka Farmers Market are working with an organization and a market that values local, fun, premium quality goods and experiences.”

This year there are seven Sitka Farmers Markets from July through September. The markets take place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, July 2, July 16, July 30, Aug. 13, Aug. 20, Sept. 3, and Sept. 10, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (235 Katlian St.).

There are four levels of sponsorship available, and each has its own set of perks.

  • Grower ($2,500-plus) — We’ll hang your banner at ANB Hall, include your logo and company name prominently in our merchandise and advertisements, and thank you on our social media and web pages. If appropriate for the Sitka Farmers Market, you may set up a free promotional booth.
  • Harvester ($1,000-$2,499) — We’ll hang your banner at ANB Hall and include your logo and company name in our merchandise and advertisements.
  • Planter ($250-$999) — Your banner will be hung at ANB Hall.
  • Friend ($50-$249) — You are listed on our online sponsor page.

We have limited space for banners at the markets, so please contact us by June 1 to guarantee your spot. To learn more about the sponsorship program, click the link below for details and a registration form. For more information, contact Jackson at (907) 821-1412 or by email at jackson.mw08@gmail.com, or email us at sitkalocalfoodsnetwork@gmail.com.

• 2016 Sitka Farmers Market sponsorship program details and registration form

• Sitka Local Foods Network to host Let’s Grow Sitka garden education event and Shane Smith presentation

2013 LGS Flier-Feb 11-13CBEDITMark your calendars as the Sitka Local Foods Network will host two big garden events Saturday and Sunday, March 9-10, in Sitka.

The first event is a presentation by Shane Smith of the Cheyenne (Wyo.) Botanic Gardens from 11 a.m. until 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 9,  in Room 229 of the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus. The second event is the fifth annual Let’s Grow Sitka garden education event from noon until 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 10, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall, 235 Katlian (don’t forget to set your clocks ahead an hour Saturday night).

Shane-SmithThe Sitka Local Foods Network is excited to bring Shane Smith to town to discuss gardens and greenhouses. Shane is the founder of the Cheyenne (Wyo.) Botanic Gardens and has been its director since 1977. Shane is the author of the Greenhouse Gardener’s Companion, and he will be signing copies of his book. Shane received the American Horticulture Society’s 2012 Great American Gardener Award.

Shane also will have a booth at Sunday’s Let’s Grow Sitka event, which is an annual event designed to get Sitka residents excited about the upcoming garden season. This annual event brings together local garden supply stores, local gardeners, landscapers and anybody who is interested in learning how to grow food and/or flowers.

There will be a wide variety of individuals and businesses with booths for the event, with some booths providing gardening information geared toward and others selling gardening supplies. Lunch will be available for purchase. There also will be a chance to learn from certified Master Gardeners, a chance to learn about greenhouses and high tunnels, an opportunity to buy seeds and seed potatoes, and there’s a scavenger hunt for the kids.

For more information, contact Linda Wilson at 747-3096 (evenings and weekends) or Cathy Lieser at 1-907-978-2572. Table space still may be available for people wanting to provide information about different types of gardening or gardening products/services available in Sitka.

The Sitka Local Foods Network thanks the City and Borough of Sitka, Shee Atika Corp., and the SouthEast Alaska Regional Health Consortium (SEARHC) Diabetes Programs for their help in making these events possible.