• Meet your vendors: Allison Sayer of Hearts and Flowers

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Allison Sayer of Hearts and Flowers (with certificate) won the Table of the Day Award at this summer’s second Sitka Farmers Market on July 12.

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.) 

Have you been smelling something funny at this summer’s farmer’s markets? Maybe something a bit sour and overdue? Local resident Allison Sayer has been producing and selling her own live-fermented creations to curious consumers at the market, as well as experienced fermenters.

Born and raised in New York City, Allison Sayer graduated high school there and went straight into AmeriCorps on the West Coast. Later, she studied biology at Smith College, and then went to graduate school at the University of Alaska Anchorage pursuing the same track. She was attracted to the major, because she is passionate about landscape ecology, as well as salmon’s relationship with nature. However, she soon realized that the career (where much of her time would have been spent in a lab) was not quite as fun as the ideas behind it.

AllisonSayerTalksToCustomerSayer then pursued other opportunities that aligned closer with what she really connected with. She worked in Homer, at the Center for Alaskan Studies, and then at many different cooperatives in Santa Cruz, Calif., including a bike co-op, homeless gardener project, and a chicken sanctuary. Then she returned to Alaska, and worked in McCarthy at the Wrangell Mountains Center as a kitchen manager for three years. There she worked in the garden, held workshops, and served meals to participants. Sayer and the facility manager Jim experimented with varying fermented products. There in the Wrangell kitchen, Sayer discovered her passion for live-fermented foods.

At the Sitka Farmers Market on Aug. 9, you may have noticed the fermentation demonstration booth run by Sitka Local Foods Network intern McLane Ritzel. Live fermentation is an ancient practice, but more recently, it has gained a huge following around the world of interested individuals who want to produce their own food following traditional methods. The practice is communal and artisanal, and when consumed, encourages a healthy gut.

AllisonSayerKittySopowIn Sitka, this will be her third year working at Mount Edgecumbe High School, running extracurricular activities after school for the students. She loves her job, and says, “High school students are just so cute!” This summer, she has been working at the Baranof Island Brewing Company brewery.

At home, Sayer spends her time fermenting with produce from her own garden, playing the guitar, reading “too many books at once,” and hiking with her 4-year-old Karellian bear dog, a husky named Tulip.

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 to pick up some of Allison Sayer’s creatively edgy and uniquely delicious homemade Alaskan kimchi, sauerkraut made with varied ingredients, and kombucha, a fermented tea.

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• Meet your vendors: Pat Hanson of Hanson Baked Goods

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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.

• Meet your vendors: Erin Fulton of Alaskans Own Seafood and the Alaska Sustainable Fisheries Trust

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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.) 

Walking past the Alaskans Own Seafood booth at the farmers market, you may have noticed a kind and bright-eyed brunette with black-rimmed glasses selling extra frozen fish from the first community supported fishery (CSF) program in Alaska. 

Alaskans Own Seafood is similar to a community supported agriculture organization, or “CSA program,” where on the last Wednesday of each month, they ship fish to participating individuals or families in Seattle, Wash., Juneau, Anchorage, and host a pick-up day for members from Sitka. 

ErinFultonAlaskansOwnSeafoodErin is program coordinator of the Alaska Sustainable Fisheries Trust, but her job entails working with many fishery organizations around Sitka, including the Alaska Longline Fishermen’s Association (ALFA) and their Fishery Conservation Networks (FCN) which engage fishermen in both research and conservation initiatives. Alaskans Own Seafood is part of the Alaska Sustainable Fisheries Trust.

Sitka had always been at the back of her mind as her family took a cruise around Alaska 10 years ago. Despite the fact that they were only in town for one day, they kayaked Sitka Sound and determined it their favorite spot on the trip. Laughing, Fulton says, “I need space. I need more trees than people.”

Most of her family still lives in her hometown of Mahtomedi, Minn., a suburb of St. Paul. Her father is the president of a steel-casting firm and works with the mining industry, and her mother stayed home to raise her and her younger brother, Alex. Alex attended Duke University for graduate school and is now a mechanical engineer for Polaris Industries. 

ErinFultonAshiaLaneAlaskansOwnSeafoodIn 2009, Fulton graduated from St. Olaf College in Northfield, Minn., with two degrees in biology and environmental studies. When she wasn’t studying, she played the contra alto clarinet for the St. Olaf band (“a 90-member family”) when it went on 10-day tours around the United States. Concerned about the environmental effects of their carbon footprint while traveling around the country, Fulton began a carbon-offset initiative for local farmers. 

After St. Olaf, Fulton attended graduate school at Duke University’s Nicholas School of the Environment and graduated with two master’s degrees in environmental management and forestry. According to Fulton, at Duke, there are 7,000 acres of timberland. Her master’s thesis involved getting carbon-offset, surveying the forest, and examining afforestation, reforestation, improved forest management, and avoided deforestation. 

AO_LogoHaving never worked in or pursued an education in the fisheries industry, Fulton took a job in Sitka as a Tongass Forest Resident with the Sitka Conservation Society. She was very interested in resource management in Alaska, because unlike the Lower 48 which is “locked in” with strict laws and regulations, Alaska is an active and dynamic place with constantly changing laws and continued resource extraction. Also, given her background in forest management, she is fascinated by the life cycle of salmon and its role as a “great fertilizer for the trees and forest.” She drove from her home in Minnesota to Alaska with a friend, through the Canadian Rockies and took a ferry to Sitka from Prince Rupert, British Columbia. 

Here in Sitka, Fulton is a member of the local roller derby team Sitka Sound Slayers. Last year, she broke her leg twice, but is looking forward to getting back to the sport stronger than ever this season. And from 9-10 a.m. on Friday mornings, you can catch Erin on KCAW-Raven Radio’s Good Day Show.

Come meet Erin and check out Alaska’s Own at the next Sitka Farmers Market from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 23, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (235 Katlian St.).

• Meet your vendors: Lori Adams of Down-to-Earth U-Pick Garden

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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.) 

A couple of miles outside of town, up Sawmill Creek Road, there is a thriving garden with everything from fennel and radishes to kohlrabi and raspberries. Lori Adams operates the Down-to-Earth U-Pick Garden at 2103 Sawmill Creek Rd.

Adams grew up on a farm in Oregon and met her husband Dale in high school through the church community. The couple came to Sitka in 1986 and worked as commercial fishermen. They now have two sons, Ben, 24, and Levi, 18. Ben has a degree in biology and fisheries, and works at the Sitka Sound Science Center as a Chum Resource Coordinator. Levi is studying foreign languages at the University of Alaska Anchorage. The family lived on a boat for 11 years (as Adams says, “It’s a great way to start out here.”) and moved around before settling down on Sawmill Creek Road.

In 2009, Adams started Down-to-Earth U-Pick, shortly after the Sitka Local Foods Network started the Sitka Farmers Market. Adams credits Florence Welsh, the “matriarch of the Sitka gardening community,” for teaching her much of the gardening knowledge she knows today. They were neighbors on Halibut Point Road before Adams moved up Sawmill Creek Road with her family.

LoriAdamsGiftBasketAdams had a serious passion for gardening from the beginning, but was frustrated that fruits and vegetables would come and go, and were not consumed. She wanted to share her produce with others. She contacted Wells Williams in the Sitka Planning Department with her idea and he responded, “You want to do WHAT?” Perplexed at first, Williams soon jumped onboard. He helped to rewrite the city bylaws so Adams would be able to start the U-Pick, and she was approved.

Although the garden requires a lot of upkeep, she loves it and spends hours every day tending to it. Dale, a hunting guide, often asks her, “Why can’t you just be a carrot lady?” And she answers that providing the community with diverse locally grown produce is her true passion. Adams likes to provide a variety of vegetables so that people can see what grows well in this climate. “There is always something someone can pick.” Sometimes one thing will get over-picked, but it’s never been a real problem. Her garden is so successful in part because she is particular in her composting. “I know what’s here, and I bring in the cleanest possible [additions].” She has a family of ducks on the property that help perform slug control and add fertilizer to the beds.

In operating the only registered U-Pick garden in Sitka, Adams has overcome many obstacles. Despite the fact that locals are positive towards her about what she’s doing, she says, “People who are really into local food aren’t my regular customers because they grow their own food, but they do support me.” She has some regulars to the garden, but often her clientele consists of families with kids who usually get their produce from the grocery store, but like to tour the garden. Adams tries her best to keep up with what the grocery stores are charging and seems to be doing a great job. “I’m not a making a living here, but it pays for itself.” Her fennel runs $4 each, peapods are $5 per plastic crate, and carrots are 20 cents each, no matter the size.

She encourages anyone and everyone to start a U-Pick and would love to help them with the venture. “It would be great if we could have U-Picks like this become more of a feasible option for the community [through having more people start them].”

LoriAdamsWithBookIn the future, Adams hopes to expand into all of her usable property, and either continue with her U-Pick garden or possibly transition to farming and supply for restaurants and other similar institutions.

You might have recently spotted Lori driving down the road in the newest addition to her family: a 1946 Chevy pickup with running gear from a 1991 Caprice. A few years back while in her late 40s, she decided that for her 50th birthday, she was going to buy herself an old truck. She has always loved them. “I grew up on a farm. I think it’s just part of the nostalgia.” Her and Dale drove all the way from Kentucky, where they bought the truck, to Seattle, to send it home on the barge.

When she’s not gardening or driving her sweet new ride, Adams likes to crochet and design patterns, scrapbook, and when traveling, watch the Food Network show “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” with Guy Fieri, as there isn’t a television at home. One of her favorite go-to breakfast meals consists of a toasted bagel (she used cranberry-orange the other day) with real butter, garlic scape pesto, a fried egg, and locally smoked salmon. She loves garlic scapes. She puts them on everything — even into her vanilla smoothies!

Follow her two-week-long road trip journey with Dale from Kentucky to Seattle in her new vintage pickup, as well as her life at the U-Pick Garden on her blog at http://downtoearthupick.blogspot.com/. In addition, Adams sells copies of her book, “How to Grow Vegetables in Sitka, Alaska,” a collection of her 2012 Daily Sitka Sentinel “Gardening in Southeast Alaska” columns, for $20 each.

Come visit Lori and pick some produce from her beautiful garden Monday through Saturday between noon to 6:30 p.m. She will be at the next three Sitka Farmers Markets (Aug. 9, Aug. 23, and Sept. 6) with samples of her produce, but is also at the garden by 3 p.m. on those Saturdays. A few weeks ago, she came to the market with garlic scapes pulverized with olive oil and spread on a cracker. The combination was a HUGE hit. At the last market, she brought her Down-to-Earth peapods and homemade jams. Come visit her at the market this Saturday!

• 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!

• Scenes from the first Sitka Farmers Market of the 2014 summer

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Sitka Farmers Market Co-Manager Ellexis Howey, left, and Sitka Local Foods Network Intern McLane Ritzel, right, present the Table Of The Day Award to Hope Merritt of Gimbal Botanicals, second from left, and her assistant Brenon Littlefield at the first market of the 2014 summer on Saturday, June 28, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall in Sitka. Hope has been a regular vendor at the Sitka Farmers Market since it started, selling herbal teas, herbs, and beach greens. She received a gift bag with fresh greens, fresh rhubarb, earrings, and a copy of the Alaska Farmers Market Cookbook. This is the seventh year of Sitka Farmers Markets, hosted by the Sitka Local Foods Network. The next market is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 12, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall, 235 Katlian St. For more information about the Sitka Farmers Markets and Sitka Local Foods Network, go to http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org/ or check out our Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/SitkaLocalFoodsNetwork. (PHOTO COURTESY OF SITKA LOCAL FOODS NETWORK)

SitkaFarmersMarketSignThe first Sitka Farmers Market of the 2014 summer took place on Saturday, June 28, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall, 235 Katlian St.

This market kicked off our seventh summer, and it was the first time we’d hosted a market in June. After a week of rainy weather, we wound up with a nice overcast day with no moisture. We had a nice crowd, and several new booths.

The second Sitka Farmers Market of the season takes place from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 12, at ANB Founders Hall. This will be our first market with free transportation from Sitka Tours. To learn more, watch this site for updates. A slideshow with scenes from the first market is below.

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