• Meet your vendors: Pat Hanson of Hanson Baked Goods

PatAndJimHansonOfHansonBakedGoods

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.) 

When you walk into the Sitka Farmer’s Market, comforting aromas of freshly baked breads, scones, and cinnamon rolls overcome the senses. Near the entrance of ANB Hall, you can find the talented baker Pat Hanson of Hanson Baked Goods selling a beautiful selection of her baked wonders that are nearly impossible to resist. Trust me, I’ve tried.

PatHansonHansonBakedGoodsHanson bakes for the market as a public service, not for a profit. She uses organic ingredients whenever she can, and the only thing that is not organic is butter, which she is working on sourcing organically. Her baked goods are more expensive, because of her insistence on using organic eggs and other crucial organic products. Hanson fell into a passion for baking, because she loves to eat and loves organic food.

Born in Colorado, Hanson lived in the Centennial State until she was 25, when she moved to Canada with her husband at the time. For the past seven years, she has lived in Sitka with her second husband, Jim, whom she met here. Hanson used to work as a school psychologist in Washington and California, but is retired now. She now volunteers at the Sitka Food Co-op, a buyer’s club organization that thrives with increasing membership. Her husband works at Sitka Tribe of Alaska and Arrowhead Transfer.

PatHansonWithCinnamonRoll“You don’t go into the food industry to make money.” Hanson says that she likes food and likes to know what’s in it. “I won’t sell anything that I don’t think tastes good.”

Hanson sells organic breads, scones, and cinnamon rolls. She makes white sourdough, whole wheat, and whole grain, dark rye, and honey oat breads. If you’re looking for something on the sweeter side make sure to pick up one of her lemon blueberry, cranberry orange, or maple oat scones. And if you’re really lucky, you might be able to get a taste of her pumpkin spice scone with ginger chunks, the baker’s favorite.

When she’s not busy baking, Hanson enjoys reading, and was actually a literature major before becoming a teacher. She especially loves Arizonian author Diana Gabaldon’s Outlander series, now a popular STARZ original series.

Come out to this summer’s last Sitka Farmers Market from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 6, at ANB Hall (235 Katlian St.) to experience Pat Hanson’s delectable baked beauties.

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• New group working to start a Sitka Food Co-Op

A new group will meet from 3-5 p.m. on Sunday, July 10, at Balanced Practice yoga/massage studio (208-B Lake St.) to discuss the creation of a Sitka Food Co-Op.

“We are just getting ready to have our first meeting to gather up those interested in being part of a start-up committee, so our goals and ideas will change as we are more clear on what is wanted by the community,” said Ann Betty, who is coordinating the project. “But as of right now, we want to provide a place where locals can sell their goods and a place where we can buy bulk goods for a great price. In the future, we would like to be a full-scale retail co-op, and that will come after much time and research. Right now, we are very new and just getting our ideas together.”

Ann said people are welcome to join the steering committee, and she started an e-mail list and blog site to update people on the project. She asked that people interested in the project can e-mail her at sitkafoodcoop@gmail.com or like the Sitka Food Co-Op page on Facebook.

“Please look over the information below to see how you can be most helpful in this great endeavor,” Ann said. “This initial meeting will go a long way in organizing our efforts to be a valuable community asset. Please respond by email if you will be attending this meeting, or if you can’t and would still like to be a committee member.”

FYI: The Co-op Start-up Steering Committee

The steering committee is responsible for moving the co-op through its early stages, until more formal structures can be established. Depending on time and resources, the committee may do the following tasks itself or assign these tasks to outside professionals:

  • Research and gather information
  • Conduct a preliminary feasibility study
  • Survey potential members
  • Establish a membership structure
  • Recruit members
  • Explore options for financing
  • Pursue initial inquiries with financing agencies
  • Report on progress to members
  • Hold membership meetings as needed
  • Prepare a business plan
  • Coordinate publicity and public relations concerning the co-op

Subcommittees might include:

  • A planning committee to conduct a feasibility study; research locations and eventually handle real estate negotiations; research equipment sources, local regulations, and suppliers; and coordinate preparation of a business plan
  • A finance committee to develop financial projections, research funding options, and coordinate a campaign for member loans
  • A membership committee to research membership structures, prepare information about the co-op and the paperwork needed for membership administration, coordinate recruitment of new members, organize membership communications (newsletters, websites, letters) and meetings, survey members, and plan outreach to the community

Keep in mind that certain committee tasks require a level of confidentiality, responsibility, and follow-up. Depending on what you need people to do, be clear about roles and ensuring accountability.

For more information about food co-ops, please visit the sites http://www.cgin.coop/ or http://www.foodcoopinitiative.coop/resources/toolbox. The Food Co-Op Initiative also produced a short video about starting a food co-operative in your community.

• Iris Klingler wins Table of the Day Award for her bread, honey and jelly during fifth Sitka Farmers Market of the summer

Sitka Local Foods Network board members Maybelle Filler, left, and Suzan Brawnlyn, right, present home baker and honey/jelly maker Iris Klingler with the Table of the Day Award for the fifth Sitka Farmers Market of the summer on Sept. 11, 2010.

Sitka Local Foods Network board members Maybelle Filler, left, and Suzan Brawnlyn, right, present home baker and honey/jelly maker Iris Klingler with the Table of the Day Award for the fifth Sitka Farmers Market of the summer on Sept. 11, 2010.

Iris Klingler won the Table of the Day award at the fifth and final Sitka Farmers Market of the summer on Saturday, Sept. 11, at Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall.

The local home baker and honey/jelly maker was presented with a certificate, $25 cash and a farmers market cookbook by Sitka Local Foods Network board members Maybelle Filler and Suzan Brawnlyn. Iris is one of the market’s newest vendors, but her table was a big hit. She sold out of her bread before the market was much more than an hour old, and her honey and jelly also sold well.

One vendor at each of the five Sitka Farmers Markets this season received similar prizes as the Table of the Day. This was the last big market of the summer, so Sitka residents will have to wait for next summer for the next opportunity to buy locally grown produce, locally caught fish, locally baked bread and locally made crafts at the Sitka Farmers Market.

Also, don’t forget the 16th annual Running of the Boots fundraiser for the Sitka

Runners hit the trail during the 14th Annual Running of the Boots race on Sept. 27, 2008, in Sitka.

Local Foods Network takes place at 11 a.m. (registration opens at 10 a.m.) on Saturday, Sept. 25, as part of the third annual Summer’s End Celebration hosted by the Greater Sitka Chamber of Commerce and the Alaska Cruise Association. This fun run for people sporting XtraTufs rubber boots features a run from the Crescent Harbor shelter through downtown Sitka and around St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral.

Since St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm and several other local gardeners have late produce, the Sitka Local Foods Network will have a table or two of produce for sale at the Running of the Boots, with all proceeds going to the non-profit Sitka Local Foods Network to help us with our various projects. The produce tables won’t be as big as a typical Sitka Farmers Market, but WIC clients will be able to use their farmers market produce coupons. More details on the Running of the Boots are posted elsewhere on this site.

A slideshow of photos from the fifth Sitka Farmers Market is posted below, and a similar slideshow can be found on our Shutterfly site.

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• Bridget Kauffman wins Table of the Day Award for her baked goods during fourth Sitka Farmers Market of the summer

Sitka Local Foods Network board members Linda Wilson, left, and Lynnda Strong, right, present home baker Bridget Kauffman with the Table of the Day Award for the fourth Sitka Farmers Market of the summer on Aug. 28, 2010.

Sitka Local Foods Network board members Linda Wilson, left, and Lynnda Strong, right, present home baker Bridget Kauffman with the Table of the Day Award for the fourth Sitka Farmers Market of the summer on Aug. 28, 2010.

Bridget Kauffman won the Table of the Day award at the fourth Sitka Farmers Market of the summer on Saturday, Aug. 28, at Alaska Native Brotherhood Hall.

The local home baker was presented with a certificate, $25 cash and a farmers market cookbook by Sitka Local Foods Network board secretary/treasurer Linda Wilson and board member Lynnda Strong. Bridget has been at every market this year, one of many new bakers who have signed up to be vendors at the markets. Bridget bakes a variety of breads, from whole wheat and rye to specialty breads with nuts, seeds and other flavors. She made 40 loaves to sell at the first market, and sold out of them before the first hour was over. She has doubled her production, and still sells out before the market ends.

One vendor at each of the five scheduled Sitka Farmers Markets this season will receive a similar prize. The last big market of the summer is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 11, at historic ANB Hall. We look forward to seeing you there.

Also, don’t forget the 16th annual Running of the Boots fundraiser for the Sitka Local Foods Network takes place at 11 a.m. (registration opens at 10 a.m.) on Saturday, Sept. 25, as part of the third annual Summer’s End Celebration hosted by the Greater Sitka Chamber of Commerce and the Alaska Cruise Association. This fun run for people sporting XtraTufs rubber boots features a run from the Crescent Harbor shelter through downtown Sitka and around St. Michael’s Russian Orthodox Cathedral. There usually are one or two small tables with late produce, but not as many vendors as a regular market. More details on the Running of the Boots will be available later this month.

A slideshow of photos from the fourth Sitka Farmers Market is posted below, and a similar slideshow can be found on our Shutterfly site.

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• Sitka growers to contribute to local CSA venture

Renee Pierce, right, explains the first Sitka CSA venture to Sitka Local Foods Network board member Natalie Sattler during the Let's Grow Sitka! event on March 14

Renee Pierce, right, explains the first Sitka CSA venture to Sitka Local Foods Network board member Natalie Sattler during the Let's Grow Sitka! event on March 14

One of the latest trends in farming is Community Supported Agriculture (CSA), which enables people to buy local, seasonal food directly from the farmer. Renee and Brian Pierce, who own the locally made kelp products and wild berry jelly shop Simple Pleasures of Alaska, are working with Sitka growers to start a small CSA venture with local produce during the summer growing season.

Renee Pierce said that instead of the CSA being a true farmers’ cooperative, she will buy produce from several local growers — including Florence Welsh of the Welsh Family Forget-Me-Not Gardens, Hope Merritt of Gimbal Botanicals, Judy Johnstone of Sprucecot Gardens, Evening Star and Fabian Grutter of Eve’s Farm, and Lori Adams of Down To Earth U-Pick Gardens. The CSA also will include produce from the Pierce Family’s Simple Pleasures garden.

The Sitka CSA will start small, with membership slots for just 25 families the first year. Renee Pierce said of those 25 slots, only about 10 memberships are left. CSA members will commit to paying $50 plus tax every other week, which will give the member families a selection of produce that includes some organic produce purchased from Organically Grown Company of Portland, Ore. During the months when Sitka growers aren’t producing many vegetables, there will be more produce purchased from Organically Grown Company. There also will be an option to buy bread at $6 a loaf beyond the price of the produce box.

The produce selection includes many crops that can be grown in Sitka — such as blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, potatoes, radishes, zucchini, green beans, beets, cabbage, carrots, cauliflower, broccoli, greens, tomatoes, etc. But with the Organically Grown Company providing some of the produce, CSA members also can choose items that aren’t regular Sitka crops — such as bananas, lemons, limes, pineapples, oranges, etc.

Information about Sitka's first CSA from the Let's Grow Sitka! event on March 14

Information about Sitka's first CSA from the Let's Grow Sitka! event on March 14

Renee Pierce said she has worked with Organically Grown Company for about four years, purchasing organic produce for the Pierce family and several friends and other Sitka residents who heard about the venture (at one point she had about 60-70 families buying from her). She said she orders produce by the case, and it is available for pick-up from 3-6 p.m. every other Monday afternoon at the Simple Pleasures store next to Kettleson Memorial Library. The first pick-up day for the Sitka CSA is March 29 (which will be for the 15 or so families that already have reserved a spot in the CSA), and the next pick-up day is April 12. CSA members are encouraged to bring their own bags and/or boxes on pick-up days.

The pick-up days are slated to be during the weeks between the every-other-week Sitka Farmers Markets this summer, which will give local growers and buyers the opportunity to buy and sell local produce for both. Renee said there will be some produce extras for families that want to adjust their allotments, but everybody’s allotted produce value will be $50. If you add from the extras you will need to pay the difference, and if you give up some produce you don’t want so your value dips below $50 there are no refunds. She said the CSA is being done as a community service and it’s meant to just break even so the bills get paid.

To learn more about the Sitka CSA, contact Renee Pierce at 738-0044 (cell) or 747-3814 (home). You also can e-mail her at mpierce@ptialaska.net.

• This week’s e-newsletter (Aug. 2)

Here is this week’s Sitka Local Foods Newsletter courtesy of Linda Wilson. Don’t forget, you can sign up for the e-newsletter by typing your e-mail address in the box on the left side of the page.

Click here to read this week’s Sitka Local Foods Network e-newsletter.