Sitka Local Foods Network hosts sixth annual Sitka Food Business Innovation Contest

Do you think you have a great idea for a food business or product from Sitka? Do you grow food, fish for food, or cook food in Sitka? The Sitka Local Foods Network is hosting the sixth annual Sitka Food Business Innovation Contest in an effort to spark local food entrepreneurs so we can make more local food available to residents and visitors. The contest entry deadline is Friday, March 17.

This contest will provide two $1,500 kicker prizes to help entrepreneurs launch or expand their food businesses. The contest is open to food businesses and individuals making and selling food products in Sitka, Alaska. All food business ideas must be geared toward getting more locally grown, harvested and/or produced food into the Sitka marketplace through sales in grocery stores, the Sitka Food Co-Op, the Sitka Farmers Market, restaurants, or individual marketing (such as a community supported agriculture/CSA or community supported fisheries/CSF program).

“The Sitka Local Foods Network’s mission is to get more locally harvested and produced food into the diets of Southeast Alaskans,” said Charles Bingham, Sitka Local Foods Network board president. “For the past decade we’ve offered entrepreneurs a chance to sell their produce, bread and fish at the Sitka Farmers Market, grown produce to sell at the market through St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm, and provided a garden education program to residents. We think this contest is the next step toward getting more local food into the Sitka marketplace. Our prizes are available to Sitka residents who are sustainably growing, foraging, fishing, or manufacturing food for people in Sitka.”

Last year, we awarded our two $1,500 prizes to Gretchen Stelzenmuller of Enoki Eatery and to Edith Johnson and Lexi Fish-Hackett for a fish broth project. Enoki Eatery sold musubi, a Japanese-Hawaiian dish of rice and Spam rolled up in seaweed, but with Alaska fish or mushrooms replacing the Spam. Edith and Lexi spent the summer testing recipes and developing their fish broth product, which they hope to introduce this year.

In 2021, we awarded our $1,500 prize for established business to Jo Michalski of Muddy Mermaid Mudd Pies, which she sells at her Jo’s Downtown Dawgs hotdog/burger cart and to local restaurants. Our $1,500 prize for start-up business went to Nalani James of Eggstravagent, which are eggs from chickens she raised in town and sold to local customers (sometimes at the Sitka Farmers Market).

In 2020, we awarded our $1,500 prize for established business to Andrew Jylkka of Southeast Dough Co., who is baking sourdough bread, as well as making sauerkraut and kimchi. Our $1,500 prize for start-up business went to Levi Adams of Forage & Farm, where he is harvesting and growing mushrooms. Our prizes were determined before the Covid-19 shutdowns, but both business owners found ways to develop and build their businesses during the pandemic.

In 2019, we gave $1,500 prizes to Brittany Dumag of the Castaway food cart in the start-up business category and to Tamara Kyle of Sitka Sauers in the established business category. We also gave a special $250 award to 12-year-old Abigail Ward who entered her Sitka Seasonings business. Brittany made Cuban pork sandwiches (using pork from North Pole) and other food to sell at various places in Sitka, including the Sitka Farmers Market. Tamara planned to ramp up her fermented foods business, but she ended up having some health issues that prevented her from completing her project and she ended up refunding most of her prize money. Abby made spice blends for seafood and other meats, which she sold at the first two Sitka Farmers Markets of 2019 and at other venues.

In our inaugural contest in 2018, we gave a $1,500 prize to Hope Merritt of Gimbal Botanicals in the established business category. We had no entrants in the start-up business category, so no prize was awarded in 2018. Hope used her prize money to hire two interns to help her harvest seaweed and kelp and to help produce her products.

Participants in this contest are eligible and encouraged to enter other food business innovation contests, such as the Path To Prosperity or Symphony of Seafood contests. All participants retain the proprietary rights to their products and ideas. This contest is open to new and existing food businesses in Sitka, but this year we eliminated the separate categories and everybody is competing for the same awards. Student businesses (such as those fostered by Junior Achievement or similar programs) are welcome.

There is a small $25 entry fee for this contest. All participants (business and individual) must complete and submit our contest entry form by 5 p.m. on Friday, March 17, 2023 (by snail mail so it arrives before the deadline to Sitka Local Foods Network, Food Business Innovation Contest Entries, 408-D Marine Street, Sitka, Alaska, 99835, or by email with the Subject Line of “Food Business Innovation Contest Entries” to sitkalocalfoodsnetwork@gmail.com). Submitting a business plan (up to 20 pages) is recommended, but not required.

Our entry form will have room for you to describe your food business idea in a few paragraphs, but submitting a business plan will give you more room to outline your plans for funding and marketing the idea and will help your overall score. Judging will be based on how your food business idea provides new local food options in Sitka, how novel is your food business idea, how feasible is your food business (can it make a profit and be sustainable), and how professional is your presentation. At some time in late March or early April, the Sitka Local Foods Network may host a pitch presentation, where judges will interview the contest entrants and try samples of the food products. Our judging panel will score your presentation and entry form based on how your idea has a measurable impact on providing local food in Sitka (25%), has the potential for commercialization (25%), provides new employment in Sitka (25%) and fills a need in the Sitka marketplace (25%). We will give bonus points to those businesses that plan to participate in the 2023 Sitka Farmers Market.

In 2022 we made a few changes to the rules. First, since we ended up moving a couple of entries between categories the past two years we decided to eliminate the categories and now everybody is competing for the same two awards. Second, each entry now MUST include a sample, itemized budget showing how the business owner plans to use the prize money. Third, each prize winner will sign a winner’s agreement contract before receiving the prize money that lists a series of benchmarks toward getting the product/service to market that need to be met by a certain date or else all or part of the prize money will need to be refunded to the Sitka Local Foods Network.

The Sitka Local Foods Network reserves the right to reduce or not make an award if the judges determine the applications don’t meet the minimum standards. Purchasing items such as masks and hand sanitizer to prevent the spread of Covid-19 are acceptable uses of prize money. Marijuana edibles are not eligible for the contest.

• Sitka Food Business Innovation Contest Entry Form 2023

DEADLINE EXTENDED: Sitka Local Foods Network seeks manager for 2023 Sitka Farmers Market season

Sitka Farmers Market manager Nalani James, right, rings up a sale at a 2022 market.

The Sitka Local Foods Network is seeking a manager to coordinate the 2023 Sitka Farmers Markets this summer. This is a contract position, and the manager receives a small compensation, depending on experience, for his or her contract work organizing the farmers markets this summer. The manager receives a monthly check for the five months from May through September.

We’ve been lucky to have the same market manager, Nalani James, for the past three summers. But her life is getting too busy with two personal business ventures (Bayside Taxi Tours and Baker Cups) and a family store (Bear Country Convenience and Coffee) for her to keep running the markets. We hope to have the new manager hired in time to do some training with Nalani (and assistant manager Charles Bingham) this spring/summer, and Nalani may be able to assist for one or two of the early markets before totally bowing out of the job. We thank Nalani and her family for their help rebuilding our market during Covid times.

This will be the 16th year of operation for the Sitka Farmers Market, which features 6-8 markets during the summer from July through September. Market dates for 2023 haven’t been confirmed yet, but they usually run from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on selected Saturdays at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall. We have requested July 1, 15, 29, Aug. 12, 26, Sept. 9, and 23 for the 2023 markets. The Sitka Farmers Market is a fundraiser for the Sitka Local Foods Network.

The farmers markets feature booths from local farmers/gardeners, local fishermen, and artisans and craftspeople. These events are great Sitka gathering places, and we promote local foods and other local goods at the markets. The Sitka Local Foods Network hosts a farm stand at the market, with produce grown at St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm and a variety of Alaska Grown value-added food products.

In recent years we made some changes to the market, and those have helped it grow into one of the top markets in the state. We have an experienced assistant manager, who will help ease the load for the manager by doing most of the administrative work while the market manager handles the actual markets. The manager needs to be able to commit to being available for all of the markets this summer. In addition, the market manager needs access to (or a reliable friend with access to) a vehicle with a trailer hitch (we keep our market supplies in a construction trailer) and to the internet.

The manager’s main duties include recruiting and organizing the vendors for each market, hiring musicians and other entertainment, setting up and taking down the market tents and tables, managing the Sitka Local Foods Network farm stand, recruiting volunteers to help sell produce at the SLFN farm stand, helping the assistant manager make deposits and keep track of WIC/SNAP benefit matches, etc. The assistant manager handles market publicity, helps with set up and take down, helps sell produce, takes photos of people and vendors at the market, makes bank deposits, purchases Alaska Grown products to sell at the market (under consultation with the SLFN board of directors), etc. A detailed description of the market manager duties can be found at the link below. The farmers market manager has been a member of the SLFN board in recent years.

Applications should include a cover letter, resumé and three recommendations, and they are due by 10 p.m. on Monday, Jan. 16 (DEADLINE EXTENDED to Wednesday, Feb. 8). The market manager of the Sitka Farmers Market is a seasonal contract position that reports to the Sitka Local Foods Network board of directors via a board liaison (Amanda Anjum). For more information or to submit applications, contact SLFN board president Charles Bingham at 1-907-623-7660, or you can email the SLFN Board at sitkalocalfoodsnetwork@gmail.com (please put “Sitka Farmers Market Manager” in the subject line).

Once we sign a contract with our market manager, we will announce a couple of pre-market meetings for potential vendors. We also will announce a spring class on cottage food business basics (in partnership with the UAF Cooperative Extension Service) for those thinking about starting a home-based food business, and students taking that class will receive a reduction on their first table fee from the Sitka Farmers Market in 2023.

• Description of duties for market manager of the Sitka Farmers Market Manager (2023)

Scenes from the seventh and final Sitka Farmers Market of the 2022 summer

PHOTO COURTESY OF SITKA LOCAL FOODS NETWORK
Sitka Farmers Market volunteer Derek James, and Sitka Farmers Market manager Nalani James, center, present the Table of the Day Award for Sept. 24 to Pauline Duncan of Grandfather’s Words. Pauline sold a variety of locally produced devil’s club salves and gift baskets, and more. She received a certificate, two Sitka Farmers Market special label chocolate bars, a bunch of carrots, some apples, a bunch of kale, Foraged & Found kelp salsa, a package of Alaska Flour Company barley pancake mix, a package of Alaska Flour Company couscous, a jar of Moosetard mustard, and other prizes. This was the last Sitka Farmers Market of the summer, and our next market will probably be in late June or early July 2023. More details about the Sitka Local Foods Network and Sitka Farmers Market can be found at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org.

We closed out the season for the Sitka Farmers Markets this year when we hosted our seventh market on Saturday, Sept. 24, at Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall. This was the last market of our 15th season of markets.

We appreciate everybody who made this market season a success, especially all of our vendors, volunteers, and customers who wore masks to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.

We didn’t have as many booths as in previous years, we didn’t have half tables this year to spread out vendors to reduce Covid risk, but the smaller markets seemed to have worked. We still had fresh local produce, as well as a variety of Alaska Grown value-added products, local eggs, mushrooms, and arts and crafts. The Sitka Local Foods Network farm stand accepts and matches WIC coupons and SNAP EBT benefits.

More information about the Sitka Local Foods Network and Sitka Farmers Market can be found at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org.

A slideshow of scenes from the seventh and final market of the summer is posted below.

Scenes from the sixth Sitka Farmers Market of the 2022 summer

PHOTO COURTESY OF SITKA LOCAL FOODS NETWORK
Sitka Farmers Market volunteer Shannon Cellan, and St. Peter’s Fellowship Farm lead gardener Laura Schmidt, center, present the Table of the Day Award for Sept. 10 to Leah Piera Murphy of Spinning Moon Apothecary. Leah sold a variety of locally blended teas, tinctures, salves, and more. She received a Sitka Local Foods Network tote bag, two Sitka Farmers Market special label chocolate bars, a bag of salad greens, Foraged & Found kelp salsa, Moosetard Lead Dog BBQ sauce, and other prizes. The last Sitka Farmers Market of the summer is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 24, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (235 Katlian Street). We still have room for vendors, and vendors can register online (by Thursday morning on market week) at https://sitkafarmersmarket.eventsmart.com
. More details about the Sitka Local Foods Network and Sitka Farmers Market can be found at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org.

We are starting to wind down the season for the Sitka Farmers Markets this year, and we hosted our sixth market on Saturday, Sept. 10, at Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall. This was the second to last market of our 15th season of markets.

We appreciate everybody who made this market season a success, especially all of our vendors, volunteers, and customers who wore masks to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. When the city’s Covid-19 risk level is high, we require masks inside ANB Hall. If the city’s Covid-19 risk drops to medium or low, we recommend people wear masks inside.

We didn’t have as many booths as in previous years, but the smaller markets seemed to have worked. We still had fresh local produce, as well as a variety of Alaska Grown value-added products, local eggs, mushrooms, and arts and crafts. The Sitka Local Foods Network farm stand accepts and matches WIC coupons and SNAP EBT benefits.

Our last market of the season is from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, Sept. 24, at the ANB Founders Hall, 235 Katlian Street. Potential vendors can register and pay their vendor fees by going to https://sitkafarmersmarket.eventsmart.com (please register by the Thursday morning of market week). More information about the Sitka Local Foods Network and Sitka Farmers Market can be found at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org.

A slideshow of scenes from the sixth market of the summer is posted below.

Scenes from the fifth Sitka Farmers Market of the 2022 summer

PHOTO COURTESY OF SITKA LOCAL FOODS NETWORK
Sitka Farmers Market volunteers Sadija Masic (exchange student from Bosnia-Herzegovina), left; and Shannon Cellan, center, present the Table of the Day Award for Aug. 27 to Andrew Jylkka of Enoki Eatery. Andrew and Enoki Eatery owner Gretchen Stelzenmuller sold four types of musubi, black coconut sticky rice, breakfast sandwiches, and huckleberry-ginger lemonade. He received a Sitka Local Foods Network tote bag, two Sitka Farmers Market special label chocolate bars, leeks, Foraged & Found kelp salsa, and other prizes. The next Sitka Farmers Market is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Sept. 10, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (235 Katlian Street). The last market of the season is on Sept. 24. We still have room for vendors, and vendors can register online (by Thursday morning on market week) at https://sitkafarmersmarket.eventsmart.com. More details about the Sitka Local Foods Network and Sitka Farmers Market can be found at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org.

We are starting to wind down the season for the Sitka Farmers Markets this year, and we hosted our fifth market on Saturday, Aug. 27, at Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall. This is our 15th season of markets.

We appreciate everybody who made this market season a success, especially all of our vendors, volunteers, and customers who wore masks to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. When the city’s Covid-19 risk level is high, we require masks inside ANB Hall. If the city’s Covid-19 risk drops to medium or low, we recommend people wear masks inside.

We didn’t have as many booths as in previous years, but the smaller markets seemed to have worked. We still had fresh local produce, as well as a variety of Alaska Grown value-added products, local eggs, mushrooms, and arts and crafts. The Sitka Local Foods Network farm stand accepts and matches WIC coupons and SNAP EBT benefits.

Our markets the rest of the season are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, Sept. 10, and 24, at the ANB Founders Hall, 235 Katlian Street. Potential vendors can register and pay their vendor fees by going to https://sitkafarmersmarket.eventsmart.com (please register by the Thursday morning of market week). More information about the Sitka Local Foods Network and Sitka Farmers Market can be found at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org.

A slideshow of scenes from the fifth market of the summer is posted below.

Scenes from the fourth Sitka Farmers Market of the 2022 summer

PHOTO COURTESY OF SITKA LOCAL FOODS NETWORK
Sitka Farmers Market volunteers Daniel Asanji (exchange student from Cameroon), left; Sadija Masic (Bosnia-Herzegovina), third from left; Imane Baghouri (Morocco), second from right; and Trish White, right, present the Table of the Day Award for Aug. 13 to Andrea Fraga of Middle Island Gardens. That was the last day of National Farmers Market Week. Andrea sold a variety of fresh produce, including lettuce, kale, zucchini, carrots, turnips, beets, garlic, and more. She received a Sitka Local Foods Network tote bag, two Sitka Farmers Market special label chocolate bars, Moosetard Lead Dog BBQ sauce, Foraged & Found kelp salsa, Alaska Flour Company barley couscous, and other prizes. The next Sitka Farmers Market is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 27, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (235 Katlian Street). The last markets of the season are on Sept. 10 and Sept. 24. We still have room for vendors, and vendors can register online (by Thursday morning on market week) at https://sitkafarmersmarket.eventsmart.com. More details about the Sitka Local Foods Network and Sitka Farmers Market can be found at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org.

Aug. 7-13 was National Farmers Market Week, and we celebrated with our fourth Sitka Farmers Market of the season on Saturday, Aug. 13, at Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall. This is our 15th season of markets.

We appreciate everybody who made this market season a success, especially all of our vendors, volunteers, and customers who wore masks to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. When the city’s Covid-19 risk level is high, we require masks inside ANB Hall. If the city’s Covid-19 risk drops to medium, we recommend people wear masks inside.

We didn’t have as many booths as in previous years, but the smaller markets seemed to have worked. We still had fresh local produce, as well as a variety of Alaska Grown value-added products, local eggs, mushrooms, and arts and crafts. The Sitka Local Foods Network farm stand accepts and matches WIC coupons and SNAP EBT benefits.

Our markets the rest of the season are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, Aug. 27, Sept. 10, and 24, at the ANB Founders Hall, 235 Katlian Street. Potential vendors can register and pay their vendor fees by going to https://sitkafarmersmarket.eventsmart.com (please register by the Thursday morning of market week). More information about the Sitka Local Foods Network and Sitka Farmers Market can be found at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org.

A slideshow of scenes from the fourth market of the summer is posted below.

Scenes from the third Sitka Farmers Market of the 2022 summer

PHOTO COURTESY OF SITKA LOCAL FOODS NETWORK
Sitka Farmers Market volunteer Darbi Neilson, right, presents the Table of the Day Award for July 30 to Lisa Teas Conaway of Flying Ravens Art. Lisa sold pen-and-ink drawings, gift cards, and other artwork. She received a Sitka Local Foods Network tote bag, a Sitka Farmers Market special label chocolate bar, a bag of salad greens, a bag of snap peas, a packet of Alaska Flour Company barley flour pancake mix, and other prizes. The next Sitka Farmers Market is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 13, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (235 Katlian Street). That will wrap up National Farmers Market Week, which is Aug. 7-13, so stop by to celebrate. Vendors can register online (by Thursday morning on market week) at https://sitkafarmersmarket.eventsmart.com. More details about the Sitka Local Foods Network and Sitka Farmers Market can be found at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org.

It was gray and drizzly for the third Sitka Farmers Market of the 2022 season, our 15th summer. This market, on Saturday, July 30, had a smaller number of vendors registered, so all of the vendors were moved inside the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall, where the first 12 years of Sitka Farmers Markets were held.

National Farmers Market Week is Aug. 7-13 this year, so stop by the Sitka Farmers Market on Saturday, Aug. 13, to join the celebration.

We appreciate everybody who made this market season a success, especially all of our vendors, volunteers, and our customers who wore masks to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. If the city’s Covid-19 risk level is high, we require masks inside ANB Hall. If the city’s Covid-19 risk is medium, we recommend people wear masks inside.

We didn’t have as many booths as in previous years, but the smaller markets seemed to have worked. We still had fresh local produce, as well as a variety of Alaska Grown value-added products, local eggs, mushrooms, and arts and crafts. The Sitka Local Foods Network farm stand accepts and matches WIC coupons and SNAP EBT benefits.

Our markets the rest of the season are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, Aug. 13, 27, Sept. 10, and 24, at the ANB Founders Hall, 235 Katlian Street. Potential vendors can register and pay their vendor fees by going to https://sitkafarmersmarket.eventsmart.com. More information about the Sitka Local Foods Network and Sitka Farmers Market can be found at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org.

A slideshow of scenes from the third market of the summer is posted below.

Scenes from the second Sitka Farmers Market of the 2022 summer

PHOTO COURTESY OF SITKA LOCAL FOODS NETWORK
Sitka Farmers Market volunteer Corey Accardo, left, and Sitka Local Foods Network board member Edie Leghorn, right, present the Table of the Day Award for July 16 to Charlie Bower III of Natural Artist Enterprize. Charlie sold mushrooms and mushroom products, salmonberry popsicles, local books, and other items. He received a Sitka Local Foods Network tote bag, a Sitka Farmers Market special label chocolate bar, a bag of salad greens, a jar of Moosetard mustard, a jar of Foraged & Found kelp salsa, and a bottle of Moosetard Lead Dog BBQ sauce. The next Sitka Farmers Market is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 30, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (235 Katlian Street). Vendors can register online (by Thursday morning on market week) at https://sitkafarmersmarket.eventsmart.com. More details about the Sitka Local Foods Network and Sitka Farmers Market can be found at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org.

It was gray and drizzly for the second Sitka Farmers Market of the 2022 season, our 15th summer. This market, on Saturday, July 16, had a small number of vendors registered, so all of the vendors were moved inside the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall, where the first 12 years of Sitka Farmers Markets were held.

We appreciate everybody who made this market season a success, especially all of our vendors, volunteers, and our customers who wore masks to help prevent the spread of Covid-19. If the city’s Covid-19 risk level is high, we require masks inside ANB Hall. If the city’s Covid-19 risk is medium, we recommend people wear masks inside.

We didn’t have as many booths as in previous years, but the smaller markets seemed to have worked. We still had fresh local produce, as well as a variety of Alaska Grown value-added products, local eggs, mushrooms, and arts and crafts. The Sitka Local Foods Network farm stand accepts and matches WIC coupons and SNAP EBT benefits.

Our markets the rest of the season are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, July 30, Aug. 13, 27, Sept. 10, and 24, at the ANB Founders Hall, 235 Katlian Street. Potential vendors can register and pay their vendor fees by going to https://sitkafarmersmarket.eventsmart.com. More information about the Sitka Local Foods Network and Sitka Farmers Market can be found at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org.

A slideshow of scenes from the second market of the summer is posted below.

Scenes from the first Sitka Farmers Market of the 2022 summer

PHOTO COURTESY OF SITKA LOCAL FOODS NETWORK Sitka Farmers Market volunteer Shannon Cellan, center, presents the Table of the Day Award for July 2 to Harriet, left, and Ron McClain of Fish Bone Studios. Harriet and Ron sold local books, pottery, and other items. They received a Sitka Local Foods Network tote bag, two Sitka Farmers Market special label Theobroma chocolate bars, a jar of Barnacle BBQ sauce, a jar of Foraged & Found kelp salsa, and a bottle of Moosetard Lead Dog BBQ sauce. The next Sitka Farmers Market is scheduled for 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturday, July 16, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall (235 Katlian Street). Vendors can register online (by Thursday on market week) at https://sitkafarmersmarket.eventsmart.com. More details about the Sitka Local Foods Network and Sitka Farmers Market can be found at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org.

Sunny skies and hot weather greeted the first Sitka Farmers Market of its 15th summer. This market, on Saturday, July 2, saw the market return to its roots at Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall, where the first 12 years of markets were held.

We appreciate everybody who made this market season a success, especially all of our vendors, volunteers, and our customers who wore masks to help prevent the spread of Covid-19.

We didn’t have as many booths as in previous years, but the smaller markets seemed to have worked. We still had fresh local produce, as well as a variety of Alaska Grown value-added products, local eggs, mushrooms, and arts and crafts. The Sitka Local Foods Network farm stand accepts and matches WIC coupons and SNAP EBT benefits.

Our markets the rest of the season are from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on Saturdays, July 16, 30, Aug. 13, 27, Sept. 10, and 24, at the ANB Founders Hall, 235 Katlian Street. Potential vendors can register and pay their vendor fees by going to https://sitkafarmersmarket.eventsmart.com. More information about the Sitka Local Foods Network and Sitka Farmers Market can be found at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org.

A slideshow of scenes from the first market of the summer is posted below.

Please wear face masks for the Sitka Farmers Market this Saturday

Over the past month, Sitka has seen a spike in Covid-19 cases and now has returned to a High risk level.

With that in mind, the Sitka Local Foods Network asks customers and vendors to be Covid-aware during the Sitka Farmers Market this Saturday (10 a.m. to 1 p.m., Saturday, July 2, at Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall). We still plan to hold the market, but we don’t want to contribute to the spread of the coronavirus.

We are trying to return to normal this summer, by holding the market where we held it for our first 12 years before Covid. This year we have both inside and outside booths (in the BIHA parking lot next to ANB Hall), hoping Covid levels would go down. But we knew there was a chance we might see some Covid spikes and that’s why we wrote a Covid-19 mitigation plan that includes requiring masks inside ANB Hall when Sitka is at a High or Moderate risk level (and encouraging them for outside).

We ask all customers and vendors to wear masks, even if you are vaccinated. Other than getting one of the vaccines, a mask is the best protection against Covid-19 spread. In addition, we request people give each other at least six feet of space, and not attend the market if you are feeling sick.

When you visit a vendor’s table, please point out which items you’re interested in and let the vendor get them for you. This will reduce the amount of handling of food items.

By the way, the Sitka Local Foods Network needs a volunteer or two to help set up the market, sell produce during the market, and take down the market after it’s over. If you’re interested in helping, contact Charles Bingham at (907) 623-7660 or Nalani James at (808) 778-9888. We plan to start setting up about 8-8:30 a.m. and should have everything packed up by 2 p.m.

We also are recruiting new vendors, and they can register and pay their vendor fees by going to https://sitkafarmersmarket.eventsmart.com. More information about the Sitka Local Foods Network and Sitka Farmers Market can be found at http://www.sitkalocalfoodsnetwork.org.

The Sitka Local Foods Network does take WIC farmers market coupons and Alaska Quest SNAP EBT cards at the Sitka Farmers Market, and offers a matching program for produce purchased at the SLFN farm stand (if you buy $5 of produce, you will receive $10 worth).

• 2022 Sitka Farmers Market Covid-19 mitigation plan