Sitka Tribal Enterprises to host open house Monday for new commercial kitchen

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Sitka Tribal Enterprises (STE), the business arm of the Sitka Tribe of Alaska, will host an open house from noon until 4 p.m. on Monday, May 17, at its new Cottage Industry Development Center, which is located in its former tannery space at 4608 Halibut Point Road (behind the Blueberry Inn). The new space includes a rental commercial kitchen and a classroom, which can be used by people to process and preserve their fish and game, foraging, and garden harvests, as well as for lessons.

“Due to Covid 19, food security was identified as a real concern, especially for the island community of Sitka that is highly dependent on transportation,” Sitka Tribe of Alaska Economic Development Director Camille Ferguson said.

Ferguson, who was born and raised in Sitka, said the tribe “looked within our community and realized that we have an abundant amount of resources right in our own backyards. Sitkans have been harvesting seafood, game, and edible foods from shorelines and forest. What was missing for the community was a place to process foods that would maintain a safe shelf life, and benefit should we be faced with a shortage of foods. STE also realized harvesting and properly packaging for local stores would help with small business and create a cottage industry stimulating the economy.”

Sitka Tribal Enterprises used CARES Act funding to convert part of its former tannery space into the commercial kitchen and classroom. STE hired James Sturm and his crew at Dubs Handyman (Conner and Cory Nelson, with subcontractor Terry Elixman of Liberty Construction) to transform the space.

“The Dubs team went above and beyond to create the kitchen, putting in the extra effort and thinking of how people harvest and the type of commercial equipment that would be needed,” Ferguson said. “One highlight to the kitchen is the walk-in cooler that can hold up to six deer — perfect for aging the meat at a controlled temperature and keeping the meat safe from bears.”

 Prices for renting the facility are available by emailing reservations@sitkatribe-nsn.gov and soon will be posted on the Sitka Tribe of Alaska website at http://www.sitkatribe.org.  

• Garden Ventures to host open house on Sunday, March 28

Information about a March 28 open house at the Garden Ventures booth during the 2010 Let's Grow Sitka! garden show

Information about a March 28 open house at the Garden Ventures booth during the 2010 Let's Grow Sitka! garden show

Penny Brown of Garden Ventures is inviting Sitka gardeners to her plant nursery for a spring open house from 3-9 p.m. on Sunday, March 28. Garden Ventures is located at 4103 Halibut Point Road and it also will be open its regular Sunday hours of 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on March 28.

The open house will feature a presentation at 3 p.m. on new annuals and perennials for the 2010 season. There also will be a presentation at 5 p.m. about growing vegetables in Sitka. Class sizes are limited for both free presentations. To register for one or both classes, call Penny at 747-5329.

In addition to the two presentations, local artist Julie Stroemer will be on hand to display her watercolors of flowers grown locally here in Sitka. All who attend the open house are invited to explore Penny’s gardens filled with spring bulbs, perennials and flowering trees. Garden Ventures sells seeds, plant starts, bushes, shrubs and trees. Bare root fruit trees will arrive by the first week of April, and you can contact Penny for more details and varieties.

• This week’s e-newsletter

Preparing produce for sale

Preparing produce for sale

Here is a link to this week’s Sitka Local Foods Network e-newsletter from Linda Wilson. There are notes about the first Sitka Farmers Market of the season on Saturday, and about an open house held Sunday afternoon at Florence Welsh’s Forget-Me-Not Gardens.

Click here for this week’s e-newsletter (July 12 edition)