Alaska Sea Grant program offers online class on direct marketing of seafood

The Alaska Sea Grant program will offer an online class, Introduction to Starting and Operating a Seafood Direct Marketing Business, from 5:30-8 p.m. on Mondays and Wednesdays from Oct. 23 to Nov. 6 via distance delivery. The class costs $125.

This introductory course presents content on the development and management of a successful seafood direct marketing business from inception to operation. The practical application of business planning, obtaining financing, permitting, feasibility analysis, marketing, and operational aspects of a seafood direct marketing business will be introduced.

The course will be delivered primarily by lectures and in-class discussions, supported by four homework assignments that are individualized to assist you in developing an action plan for your business.

At the end of the course, the student will understand and be able to use the appropriate managerial and decision-making tools that are needed to start and run a seafood direct marketing business.

Note: The course is designed for commercial fishermen with little or no experience in direct marketing, who want to onboard or custom process and direct market their catch in various ways. The course will be taught in five sessions: Oct. 23, Oct. 25, Oct. 30, Nov. 1, and Nov. 6, from 5:30-8 p.m.

To register, click this link. To see a course syllabus, click this link and scroll to the bottom. For more information, contact Quentin Fong at 907-486-1516 or qsfong@alaska.edu.

• Sitka Seafood Festival announces new director; will host art auction on Saturday, Oct. 5

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(The following letter to the editor originally appeared on Page 2 of the Wednesday, Sept. 25, 2013, edition of the Daily Sitka Sentinel. It is reprinted here with the writer’s permission.)
 
ssflogo2The fifth annual Sitka Seafood Festival (SSF) is scheduled for Aug. 1-2, 2014. The festival continues to grow each year. This past year we brought in more than 100 out-of-own guests, had some national recognition from a couple of well-known culinary magazines, and continued to have more and more local support. 
 
Over the past four years, we have had a small group of volunteers working extremely hard to follow through with our mission statement, to “celebrate wild Alaskan seafood.” We have done this through education, such as bringing in amazing speakers such as a 2012 McArthur Genius Award-winner David Montgomery, and accomplished author, professor and chef Becky Selengut to offer free presentations to the public. We also started the new culinary scholarship award this past year which we hope will continue to grow to give a passionate future culinary artist more experience and funds to pursue their career further. 
 
We offer entertainment, including local and headliner bands such as the well-known band Trampled by Turtles, aerial silk dancers, Ninja acrobatics, and of course, the addition of the Scottish Highland Games and this past year the full- and half-marathon. But, even with all the other fun events going on, the focus of our festival is based around celebrating the culinary aspect of our amazing, local seafood products.  
Carolyn Kinneen

Carolyn Kinneen

I am writing this letter today to introduce you to the new director and co-directors of the Sitka Seafood Festival. I am so extremely excited with the potential of where this festival can go. If anyone gets the pleasure to meet our new directors, I think they will share in my enthusiasm, because these folks encompass what this festival is all about, and I think it can only get better from here!  The 2014 SSF Director is Carolyn Kinneen, along with co-directors Jeren Schmidt and Robert Kinneen.  All past board members, including myself, are staying active with the festival. 

Carolyn Kinneen is wife to our four-time returning guest chef Robert Kinneen, and has been active in the festival since the start. She currently lives in Anchorage, but with the help of our local co-director, Jeren Schmidt, should be a wonderful fit.  Carolyn works in many different areas of food-related advocacy and policy, and sits on multiple boards pertaining to Alaskan-based foods.  She has experience in running a large array of projects including the TEDx Anchorage lecture series, as well as the Alaska Food Policy Council

We are very excited to have Carolyn on board. If anyone would like to hear more about Carolyn, or pick her’s or any other board member’s brains about the future SSF, we will be holding an open “meet and greet” at 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct 4, at Baranof Island Brewing Company (215 Smith St.).  Come say hello and welcome Carolyn, Rob and Jeren to their new positions, and feel free to pass along any suggestions, concerns or input you may have. 

Thank you for your continued support Sitka!  Don’t forget to mark your calendars for the 5th annual SSF Aug 1-2, 2014. And please attend our upcoming fundraiser, the Live Art Auction with the Fishermen’s Eye Gallery, at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday, Oct 5, at the Westmark Sitka Hotel.

— Alicia Haseltine, past SSF Director, current board member

• Fourth annual Sitka Seafood Festival takes place on Aug. 1-4

SSF Event Calendar

ChefLouisaChuDo you love Sitka’s wild Alaska seafood? Help celebrate our salmon, halibut, rockfish, crab and other seafood species during the fourth annual Sitka Seafood Festival on Aug. 1-4 at various locations around Sitka.

The Sitka Seafood Festival (SSF) was formed in 2010 by a small group of volunteers as a culinary-based festival established to celebrate our local seafood and one of Sitkaʼs greatest resources. The festival has grown very quickly and we have had some national attention, including from the popular culinary magazines “Relish” and “The Lucky Peach,” as well as drawing the interest of multiple well -known chefs. We feel the festival only has room to grow from here, and is a tool to start attracting the independent traveler to boost Sitka’s tourism, as well as a way to educate others about our industry. For a quick taste of the festival, check out the 2012 promotional video.

In the past three years the festival has grown from a small, two-day festival for the locals, into a multiple-day celebration not just for our community but also for travelers visiting Sitka from Juneau to Florida. The festival opens on Thursday with films showcasing Alaska’s salmon, the well-received “Poet Sea” poetry contest, a sunset pasta cruise aboard an Allen Marine vessel, as well as endless educational and entertainment activities for all ages, and of course, some amazing food.

FishHeadBobbingCatchOne of our most popular events is a five-course seafood extravaganza on Friday night at Harrigan Centennial Hal, which sells out each year. It is a formal dinner striving to use all local seafood and products. This event is prepared by many local chefs, as well as our three guest chefs,  including returning chefs Robert Kinneen and Seth Caswell, and introducing our executive chef Mickey Neely who was recently voted “Best New Up and Coming Chef of Chicago.” The evening is complete with a silent auction, live music, entertainment, and, of course, the best food around. Other Friday events include hatchery tours and a book signing.

The following day is an all-day festival, starting at 7 a.m. with the addition of our Cross Trail Classic half- and full-marathons, which will finish at the festival grounds. Starting at 11 a.m. at Totem Square, come enjoy the festival parade down Lincoln Street, leading right to the Sheldon Jackson Campus and the Sitka Seafood Festival’s Marketplace. It is full of local food booths, arts and crafts, educational and informational booths, as well as many contests such as the favorite “fish-head bobbing” and “fish-head toss,” kids games, and many Alaska  dance groups and educational-based demos.

MusicRobertJacobsJBradleyHollyKeenThere also will be a free presentation by author, chef, and professor Becky Selengut of Seattle, titled “Good Fish: One Chef’s Quest to Preserve Our Ocean Resources.” The presentation will take place at noon in Sweetland Hall, on the Sheldon Jackson Campus. Starting at 12:30 p.m., the second annual Highland/Island Games will also be taking place. Come watch the best of the best from Alaska toss a log or two. There also will be a beer garden, multiple food vendors, and of course the main stage with dance performances, and live music throughout the night. This is one event you won’t want to miss. And new this year is a Sunday golf tournament at Sea Mountain Golf Course.

The Sitka Seafood Festival hopefully will continue to grow. Please mark your calendars for the fourth annual event scheduled for Aug. 1-4. WE NEED VOLUNTEERS! If you would like to get involved or have any questions, comments, or concerns, please contact Alicia Olson Haseltine at (928) 607-4845 or sitkaseafoodfestival@gmail.com, or check us out at http://www.sitkaseafoodfestival.org. And thank you Sitka.. You are what makes this festival, and so many other amazing events in our wonderful community.

• 2013 Sitka Seafood Festival events calendar

• Sitka Seafood Festival banquet poster

• 2013 Sitka Seafood Festival marketplace food vendor information

• 2013 Sitka Seafood Festival Highland Island Games info

• Aug. 1 entry deadline approaches in the search for a signature Sitka seafood dish

In an effort to support and promote the position of Alaska’s wild seafoods in the global marketplace, the Sitka Seafood Festival organizers and the Sitka Convention and Visitors Bureau have partnered to help inspire the creation of a signature seafood dish for Sitka.

Both professional and amateur chefs are encouraged to enter this contest, which will have judging take place from noon to 2 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 11, at Harrigan Centennial Hall. The entry deadline is Wednesday, Aug. 1.

It is our sincere hope that this contest inspires locals to create an exciting seafood entrée that would become synonymous with Sitka. We also hope that the majority, if not all, local restaurants will offer their own version of the winning entry and eventually adopted by restaurants nationwide.

Guidelines:

  • Main Ingredient — Any locally available wild Alaskan seafood (eg, salmon, halibut, ling cod, black cod/sablefish, crab, shrimp, scallops, snapper/rockfish, etc.)
  • Quantity — Minimum of 12 servings of approximately 2 ounces each. The more the merrier!!
  • Categories — Versatile recipe/economical version, mid-priced version and, of course, gourmet.
  • Entries must be pre-made/ready-to-serve, no kitchen access will be available on-site.
  • Recipes for entries must be provided and will become public domain.
  • Deadline to enter is Wednesday, Aug. 1. There is no cost to enter
  • Set-up available at 11 a.m. and judging will begin at noon on Saturday, Aug. 11, at Harrigan Centennial Hall.
  • Judging — An anonymous panel of judges will determine the winner based on various criteria (taste, recipe flexibility, potential retail price, marketability, availability, etc.)

The winning entry will receive a cash prize, a certificate acknowledging their accomplishment, local promotion and, of course, bragging rights as Sitka’s signature dish. The winner will be announced during the Sitka Seafood Festival’s evening events at the Alaska Arts SE Campus at Sheldon Jackson.

Entry forms can picked up at Old Harbor Books or e-mailed to you. Contact Philip Rupell at 747-5940 or send e-mail to sitkaseafoodfestival@gmail.com.

• Contest information for Sitka Signature Seafood Dish competition 2012

• Sitka Seafood Festival steering committee to meet Aug. 23 to plan 2012 festival

The Sitka Seafood Festival will host a planning (or “see if we can make this festival happen again”) meeting at 7 p.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 23, in the fireplace pit at the Westmark Sitka Hotel (330 Seward St.).

The third annual Sitka Seafood Festival is tentatively planned for Aug 3-4, 2012, but there is a lot we need to figure out to make sure this can actually happen. If you are interested in any capacity, please either attend the meeting, or get ahold of Alicia Olson prior to the meeting.

Alicia will have specific job descriptions and tasks to try and delegate, and the steering committee will discuss the possibility of merging or piggybacking so this event can be sustainable in the future. If your organization would like to be involved, please send a rep or contact Alicia as well.

“I have heard nothing but positive, amazing comments regarding this festival, and I know we would all like to see it continue to grow, so spread the word,” Alicia said. “Thanks again to everyone for so much hard work and effort … and see you on Tuesday.”

For more information about the Sitka Seafood Festival, contact Alicia Olson at Alicia Olson at 1-928-607-4845 or sitkaseafoodfestival@gmail.com.

• Sitka Seafood Festival steering committee to meet on Saturday, April 17

The next meeting of the Sitka Seafood Festival steering committee is 10 a.m. on Saturday, April 17, at Harrigan Centennial Hall.

During the April 10 meeting, the committee voted Lily Herwald in as secretary and Phyllis Hackett as bookkeeper. The committee also decided to book “NANDA: Acrobaticalist Ninja Action Heroes,” a four-man juggling, acrobatic, martial arts and comedy troupe that is performing at the Southeast Alaska State Fair on July 29-Aug. 1 in Haines, the weekend before the Sitka Seafood Festival (Aug. 6-7). A headline music group also is being booked.

Committee members will be canvassing local businesses for donations to cover the costs of hosting the inaugural Sitka Seafood Festival, and the deadline for donations is May 9 (Mother’s Day). A donation/sponsorship letter has been approved and committee members soon will distribute it to local businesses. Donations will be accepted after May 9, but that’s the deadline to be included in the event promotional materials, which uses a tier system based on the amount of the donation. Donation/sponsorship checks need to be written to the “Sitka Conservation Society” with a memo of “Sitka Seafood Festival” or “SCS/SSF” (the Sitka Conservation Society is letting us share their 501(c)(3) permit until we can get our own next year).

Also, committee members are seeking prizes for a raffle and raffle prize commitments are needed by Wednesday, April 14, to either Alicia Peavey (alaska_al33@hotmail.com or 1-928-607-4845) or Linda Olson (747-6985 or Baranof Elementary School). The raffle will feature 800 tickets at $5 each, with the drawing to take place on May 9 (Mother’s Day). Donations of merchandise, including locally caught seafood or gourmet meals of Sitka seafood, are greatly appreciated.

During the April 5 meeting, the steering committee decided to hold the inaugural Sitka Seafood Festival on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 6-7. The tentative plan is to have an opening dinner on Friday night with a guest chef and the possibility of live music. The main events will be on Saturday, with vendors set up all day, contests, a parade, cooking demos, music and educational activities. The headliner music guest will play a concert/dance on Saturday night.

To learn more about the Sitka Seafood Festival or to volunteer to help on one of the committees, e-mail sitkaseafoodfestival@gmail.com. You also can contact Alicia Peavey at alaska_al33@hotmail.com or 1-928-607-4845.

Sitka Seafood Festival minutes from the April 10, 2010, meeting

Sitka Seafood Festival committee breakdown and job tasks (updated)

Sitka Seafood Festival business donation assignments (who asks) (updated)

• Sitka Seafood Festival steering committee to meet on Saturday, April 10

Sockeye salmon hang in a smoker in preparation for the 2009 ANSWER Camp program

Sockeye salmon hang in a smoker in preparation for the 2009 ANSWER Camp program

The next meeting of the Sitka Seafood Festival steering committee is 11 a.m. on Saturday, April 10, at the Bayview Wine Bar (on the second floor of the Bayview Building on Lincoln Street).

During the April 5 meeting, the steering committee decided to hold the inaugural Sitka Seafood Festival on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 6-7. The tentative plan is to have an opening dinner on Friday night with a guest chef and the possibility of live music. The main events will be on Saturday, with vendors set up all day, contests, a parade, cooking demos, music and educational activities. The headliner music guest will play a concert/dance on Saturday night.

To learn more about the Sitka Seafood Festival or to volunteer to help on one of the committees, e-mail sitkaseafoodfestival@gmail.com. You also can contact Alicia Peavey at alaska_al33@hotmail.com or 1-928-607-4845.

Sitka Seafood Festival committee breakdown and job tasks

Final draft of Sitka Seafood Festival donation letter

Sitka Seafood Festival business donation assignments (who asks)

• Sitka Seafood Festival steering committee to meet on April 1

Salmon ready for canning in jars (Photo courtesy of University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service)

Salmon ready for canning in jars (Photo courtesy of University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service)

The Sitka Seafood Festival steering committee will meet at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 1, at the Sitka Economic Development Association (SEDA)/Greater Sitka Chamber of Commerce office on the second floor of the Troutte Center Building on Lincoln Street (above Seasons card store).

The meeting agenda will finalize the event’s mission statement and the vision for the festival, set committee members and leads, and take care of other business related to creating a new festival of this nature. The Sitka Seafood Festival tentatively is scheduled for Friday through Sunday, Aug. 6-8, at various locations in Sitka.

Notes from the March 24 meeting and an initial breakdown of committees are attached as PDF documents. For more information about the festival, contact Alicia Peavey at alaska_al33@hotmail.com or 1-928-607-4845. (Editor’s note: The next meeting will be at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, April 5, at Harrigan Centennial Hall.)

Notes from March 24, 2010, Sitka Seafood Festival steering committee meeting and vision session

Sitka Seafood Festival committees

Kerry MacLane grills black cod for the Alaska Longline Fisherman's Association booth at the Sitka Farmers Market

Kerry MacLane grills black cod for the Alaska Longline Fisherman's Association booth at the Sitka Farmers Market

• Group to meet about organizing a Sitka Seafood Festival this summer

Black cod (aka sablefish) on the grill from the Alaska Longline Fisherman's Association booth at the Sitka Farmers Market

Black cod (aka sablefish) on the grill from the Alaska Longline Fisherman's Association booth at the Sitka Farmers Market

A group in Sitka will meet at 6 p.m. tonight, Wednesday, March 24, at the Sitka Economic Development Association’s conference room (second floor of the Troutte Center building on Lincoln Street, the Sitka Chamber of Commerce office above Seasons card store) to plan the inaugural Sitka Seafood Festival.

The group first met on Saturday afternoon, March 20, to brainstorm ideas for the event. The group discussed the event’s mission, name, slogan location, music, the scope of the event (just salmon or multi species, very local or grander scale, etc.), committees, funding, event partners and other organizational aspects. Suggestions from the first meeting included having local and/or regional chefs provide cooking demonstrations, honoring the life cycle of the salmon (or featured species of the year), etc. The tentative dates for the first Sitka Seafood Festival are Aug. 6-8, 2010.

If you have any questions about the Sitka Seafood Festival, contact Alicia Peavey at alaska_al33@yahoo.com. (Editor’s note: The next Sitka Seafood Festival steering committee meeting will be at 6 p.m. on Thursday, April 1, at the Sitka Economic Development Association office in the Troutte Center building on Lincoln Street.)

Sitka Seafood Festival steering committee meeting notes from March 20, 2010

Sitka Seafood Festival steering committee meeting agenda, March 24, 2010

Chohla Moll grabs some sockeye salmon out of the brine mixture so she can hang it in the smoker.

• Sonja Koukel of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service writes about home canning crab and shrimp

Dr. Sonja Koukel of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service

Dr. Sonja Koukel of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service

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The following column originally appeared in the Sept. 30-Oct. 6, 2009, issue of Capital City Weekly and was made available to the Sitka Local Foods Network site. This column runs monthly.

More on Home Canning Seafood: Crab and Shrimp

By Dr. Sonja Koukel, PhD
Health, Home & Family Development Program
UAF Cooperative Extension Service

For the Aug. 5 Capital City Weekly issue, I submitted an article focusing on home canning seafood, specifically crab and geoducks. I was pleased to receive an e-mail from a reader asking for more information. As many of you may have had the same questions I’m sharing my responses here.

To refresh: In the article, I provided the guideline for freezing crab as that is the best preservation method for this food. Experts recommend boiling the live crab for five minutes -– at which time the crab is considered “cooked.”

Our reader asked two questions.

The first:

“Please let me know if this [recommended time] is a misprint. All the people I know who cook crab heat water in a crab cooking vessel until the water boils, then they boil the crab a minimum of 15 minutes before cooling it. I have often wondered if the 15-minute boiling period is too long, but have always deferred to the locals with crab experience. What is the critical issue in crab cooking?”

The second question:

“When cooking shrimp, on the other hand, the accepted practice seems to be: put the critters in a pot, bring the water to boil, then remove the shrimp when they float to the surface, which does not take very long.”

My responses to these two questions follow.

Dear Capital City Weekly Reader,

In regards to your questions, I did some further research over the weekend on the topics of cooking crab and shrimp. Here is what I found.

Crab:

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service uses the University of Georgia Extension publication, “So Easy to Preserve,” as the main resource for home canning and food preservation information. Much of the information in this publication is based on the USDA, “Complete Guide to Home Canning,” as well as research from Extension Services across the US. In fact, Alaska Cooperative Extension is represented in the publication for the processing times for canning fish in quart jars (Kristy Long, Foods Specialist UAF CES).

For more information, I resourced other Extension websites and found a variety of cooking times for preparing crab for freezing. Oregon State University Extension publication, “home freezing of seafood” (PNW0586), recommends the following for whole crab: [after preparing crab] Cook in boiling salt water (2-4 Tbsp. per gallon, according to your taste preference) for 12-15 minutes. If the back is left intact, add 10 minutes to the cooking time. Add 2-3 minutes to the cooking time if the water doesn’t boil within a few minutes after adding the crab.

This from the Sea Grant Extension Program, UC Davis, “Freezing Seafood at Home”: You can either freeze crabmeat in the shell or as picked crabmeat. Cook crab before freezing to prevent discoloration of the crabmeat. Drop live crabs into enough boiling water to cover the crabs. Cover and return water to a boil. Boil for about 25 minutes. Remove crabs from boiling water and cool them immediately in cold water. Let crabs cool for several minutes and then drain.

One purpose served by boiling the crab prior to freezing is that the process makes the meat easier to remove from the shell. As far as food safety, boiling will kill any parasites and/or bacteria that contribute to the decay of the shellfish. My sources claim that this is done after one minute in the boiling water. A celebrity chef wrote on his website that the cooking time for crab is not based on food safety but on the product being undercooked, cooked, and overcooked. A good guideline for cooking crab is to check the color of the shell. When the crab is done, the shell turns an orange/red color.

Something to take into consideration when looking at information on the Internet, many sources group all types of crab into one category. On the East Coast, most crab will be Maryland blue crab which are smaller than the Dungeness crab normally consumed in the Northwest. Just keep in mind that you have a safe and easy to handle product when the crab is boiled at least five minutes prior to freezing.

Now, the reply to the shrimp question.

The Sea Grant Extension Program, University of Delaware, instructs cooking the live shrimp just to the point of being done (the flesh turns from translucent to opaque). The cooking method you describe — putting live shrimp in a pot of boiling water and removing when they float to the top — is right on. If you were to time this procedure you probably will find that it takes approximately 3-5 minutes to boil one pound of medium sized shrimp.

I appreciate input from readers and welcome all suggestions, inquiries, and ideas. Please contact me via email: sdkoukel@alaska.edu or phone: 907-796-6221.

Sonja Koukel, PhD, is an assistant professor in the Health, Home & Family Development Program for the Juneau District office of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service. Reach her at sdkoukel@alaska.edu or 907-796-6221.