• Scenes from the sixth and final Sitka Farmers Market of the 2015 summer

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 Kerry MacLane, second from left, and his Sitka's Blackcod Collars helpers Autumn Mayo, center, and Ilona Mayo, second from right, at the sixth and final Sitka Farmers Market of the 2015 summer on Saturday, Sept. 12, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall in Sitka. MacLane is a regular participant at the Sitka Farmers Market with his grilled blackcod collars/tips served over rice with beach asparagus, kale, and other greens for a garnish. This was the eighth year of Sitka Farmers Markets, hosted by the Sitka Local Foods Network. While the Sitka Farmers Markets are over for 2015, the Sitka Local Foods Network will host a produce booth at the Running of the Boots on Saturday, Sept. 26, near St. Michael's Russian Orthodox Church. The Running of the Boots is a costumed fun run fundraiser for the Sitka Local Foods Network, where people run a short race in their XtraTufs (aka Sitka Sneakers). Registration opens at 10 a.m., with costume judging about 10:30 a.m. and the race start at 11 a.m. For more information about the Sitka Farmers Markets, Running of the Boots, 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 Kerry MacLane, second from left, and his Sitka’s Blackcod Collars helpers Autumn Mayo, center, and Ilona Mayo, second from right, at the sixth and final Sitka Farmers Market of the 2015 summer on Saturday, Sept. 12, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall in Sitka. MacLane is a regular participant at the Sitka Farmers Market with his grilled blackcod collars/tips served over rice with beach asparagus, kale, and other greens for a garnish. This was the eighth year of Sitka Farmers Markets, hosted by the Sitka Local Foods Network. While the Sitka Farmers Markets are over for 2015, the Sitka Local Foods Network will host a produce booth at the Running of the Boots on Saturday, Sept. 26, near St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Church. The Running of the Boots is a costumed fun run fundraiser for the Sitka Local Foods Network, where people run a short race in their XtraTufs (aka Sitka Sneakers). Registration opens at 10 a.m., with costume judging about 10:30 a.m. and the race start at 11 a.m. For more information about the Sitka Farmers Markets, Running of the Boots, 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 our final Sitka Farmers Market of the 2015 season we had our usual fall Sitka weather — if you don’t like it right now wait 15 minutes and it will change.

We had torrential downpours early in the morning as we were setting up the market, but the rains stopped in time for the market to open and the sun even came out for a bit. We had more rainfall about halfway through the market, but it cleared up and was partly sunny for the end of the market and we even had a brief but large rainbow overhead.

While Saturday’s Sitka Farmers Market was the last one of the summer, there will be another chance to get some local veggies. The Sitka Local Foods Network will host a produce stand at its annual Running of the Boots costume run fundraiser on Saturday, Sept. 26, near St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral. Running of the Boots registration and the produce booth open at 10 a.m., with costume judging about 10:30 a.m. and the fun run at 11 a.m. Dress up your XtraTufs and come on down for the fun.

A slideshow from the sixth Sitka Farmers Market of 2015 is posted below.

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• New street food vendors add a taste of seafood to the Sitka summer

AshmosAshleyMooreServing

AshmosSalmonTacosAndFriesOver the past decade there have been a handful of summer pop-up street food options in Sitka. This year there are several new food trucks/carts in town, and locally sourced seafood is featured on the menu.

In past years some of the bigger street food options included Reindeer Red Hots (which this year will only do special events like the Sitka Farmers Market and Sitka Seafood Festival instead of holding its regular street corner), the Ludvig’s Bistro Chowder Cart (still serving lunch of clam chowder and salmon or prosciutto baguettes in the Mill Building by the Sitka Sound Science Center) and the short-lived Two Chicks and a Kabob Stick (which closed a couple of years ago, though you can still get the Inga’s Spice Blend fish rub developed for the food cart).

AshmosSalmonMacAndCheeseThe most mobile of the new group of street food stands is Ashmo’s, a food truck owned by Ashley Moore specializing in Alaska seafood dishes. Ashmo’s has been parked out in front of the Coliseum movie theater on Lincoln Street for much of the summer. But the truck also has been available this summer at Baranof Island Brewing Company on Tuesday nights and for other special events (including the BIBCO community benefit night May 27 for the Sitka Local Foods Network), with occasional trips to the Old Sitka Docks, and by Eliason and New Thompson harbors.

AshmosFishAndChipsAshmo’s serves a variety of seafood dishes, with a menu that does change through the week. Among the mainstays are salmon mac and cheese, rockfish tacos, BIBCO beer-battered halibut, fish (cod) and chips, blackcod collars and rice, grilled king salmon and rice, and more. Salmon sliders and salmon tacos also have been on the menu on some days. Ashmo’s is usually open during the day in front of the Coliseum, and it also has been open late nights on weekends. Ashley usually posts a weekly schedule on her Facebook site.

BarnacleBayKitchenHeidiMorrisonOn Harbor Drive next to Yellow Jersey Cycle Shop is Barnacle Bay Kitchen, owned by Heidi Morrison. Barnacle Bay Kitchen is open for lunch on cruise ship days and sells halibut and chips, cod and chips, rockfish lumpia (egg rolls), bacon-wrapped halibut kabobs, reindeer hot dogs, beef hotdogs, and pulled pork sandwiches.

BarnacleBayKitchenCodAndChipsIn addition, Heidi has a variety of chowders available (clam, seafood, or smoked salmon, depending on the day). For more information, call Heidi at 738-8504.

The Ráns Net pelmeni (Russian dumpling) stand actually came onto the scene in Sitka last summer, but this year owner Ayla Stromquist has a new building tucked into an alley on Lincoln Street across from Old Harbor Books and between Wintersong Soaps and the Cellar. PelmeniShe also has a couple of new flavors of pelmenis. Last year she had two flavors — meat (beef and pork mixed) and potato. This year she’s added chicken, smoked salmon and cream cheese, and sautéed onions.

The pelmeni stand is noted for being a late-night option on weekends, but it will be open for some lunches from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. on Monday, Wednesday and Saturday, for dinner from 5-8 p.m. on Friday and Saturday, and from 11 p.m. to 2 a.m. on Friday and Saturday. Ayla also said she has a new machine on order to help press the pelmenis. The stand is closed until June 11, but people can watch the Facebook page or call Ayla at 738-5804 to get updated hours.

BlackcodCollarsKerryMacLaneWardEldridgeKerry MacLane and his blackcod (sablefish) collars have been a mainstay at the Sitka Farmers Market for several years. But this year he has a tent from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on cruise ship days in the front lawn at Sitka Rose Gallery on Lincoln Street. Kerry just sells one item, his BBQ grilled blackcod collars (aka blackcod tips) over rice. Kerry will reopen his stand on June 1. For more information, contact Kerry at 752-0654.

BlackCodTipsAndRice

• Meet your vendors: Kerry MacLane and his barbecued blackcod tips

KerryMacLaneWithBlackcodCollars

SitkaFarmersMarketSign(This is part of a new series of “Meet your vendors” articles, where Sitka Local Foods Network Intern McLane Ritzel is writing features about our regular Sitka Farmers Market vendors.) 

On Saturday mornings at the Sitka Farmers Market, the smell of slightly singed, brown-sugar, soy-sauce blackcod tips fills the air. Wandering Sitkans are lured to 235 Katlian St. in search of the origin of this barbecued aroma. Outside of the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall, visitors to the Sitka Farmers Market can find a bearded man in overalls and a straw hat cooking freshly caught and deliciously marinated black cod tips.

Kerry MacLane is a familiar face in the food community here in Sitka and we’re thrilled to see him cooking up his black cod tips at each farmers market. After blackening the tips, he takes them fresh off the grill and lays them on brown or white rice. He offers shredded kale and soy sauce as condiments for the steaming hot bowl of pure goodness. It’s not uncommon for a line to accumulate at MacLane’s booth, because his blackcod tips are wildly popular.

BlackcodCollarsRiceGreensMacLane is originally from Montana, where he worked as an organic farm inspector. Today his children (and now grandchildren!) still live in Missoula, but after going through a divorce, he decided to venture off to Alaska and fell in love with the state. He saw Alaska as Montana 30 years ago before large investors came in, such as Charles Schwab, who bought out his property there. In Tok, he first worked harvesting mushrooms. Throughout most of his life he has always been getting himself into trouble, being jailed time and again for civil disobedience. (Today on his property stands a sign that reads “WAR IS NOT THE ANSWER.”)

After Tok, he worked in Fairbanks as a teacher, and wrote a curriculum for a sustainable agriculture track. In 2007, he made his way down to Sitka, working as a deck hand. There, he was able to sample a lot of fish and gain knowledge of varying species and cleaning techniques.

“If you live long enough and are poor enough, you learn skills.” He decided to stay in Sitka and “reinvent himself,” as the “The Harbor Handyman” and was just that. Many people called for his help and he came to realize the need for reconstructive handy help on the island.

He lived on John Zarley’s Shamrock boat for the first years after his arrival in Sitka. Both Zarley and MacLane were born the same hour of the same day in the same year, though as MacLane says, “He’s a wealthy doctor and I have more hair.” The boat is a Monk design from 1940. Ed Monk was a famous shipwright and naval architect in the Pacific Northwest, who designed commercial and pleasure vessels, power or sail.

Within a year of his time in Sitka, MacLane became involved in the Sitka Health Summit during the program’s early years. He had worked in and helped build community gardens and grow local farmers markets in the past, but had never built his own community greenhouse. At the time, he was also working at SEARHC as a grant writer, and thanks to the Economic Stimulus Act of 2008, he was able to write $10 million in grants in his first year.

After the 2008 Sitka Health Summit, he helped form the Sitka Local Foods Network into a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization, with the help of Linda Wilson (try her fabulous homemade rhubarb pie at the market) and other local food-interested individuals. MacLane served as the first president of the Sitka Local Foods Network.

BlackcodCollarsOnGrillHe met his girlfriend, Sherie Mayo, a commercial fisherman working on her family’s boat called Coralee, here in Sitka and Kerry is able to operate his blackcod prepared food business with her help. He discovered the tasty benefits of blackcod tips nearly by chance. Mayo had always thrown out the tips under the blackcod gills until she met a few Russian women who taught her the importance of saving the decadent tips. As a result, MacLane’s blackcod recipe was featured on the Cooking Channel television show, “Hook, Line and Dinner,” where they contacted him to share his knowledge of cooking blackcod tips and other Sitkan delicacies. (Note, blackcod is not a true cod, and also is known as sablefish or butterfish for its high oil content.)

Together, Mayo and MacLane are buying a beautiful boat called the Blue Merlin, so named for its exterior blue tinge, and the infamous story of fisherman Ward Eldridge’s boat Merlin from 1999. On July 7 of that year, the Merlin sunk in Whale Bay after a whale poked its head through the hull. Before Mayo and MacLane started dating, MacLane hired Eldridge to take his son, daughter and himself to Goddard Hot Springs. MacLane remembers that trip as “magical,” and says that he himself is “turning into the little old man that Ward is now… [And] it is a pretty good place to age into.” According to MacLane, the Blue Merlin, Ward, Mayo and Kerry are like family now.

Someday, MacLane wants to learn to sail his boat to Hawai’i.

This coming Saturday, Aug. 9, come out to the Sitka Farmers Market and taste Kerry MacLane’s locally harvested and barbecued blackcod tips!