• Celebrity food adventurer Andrew Zimmern stops by the Sitka Farmers Market

TV personality Andrew Zimmern is filmed as he samples some blackcod tips during the Aug. 18, 2012, Sitka Farmers Market.

TV personality Andrew Zimmern is filmed as he samples some blackcod tips during the Aug. 18, 2012, Sitka Farmers Market.

Celebrity food adventurer Andrew Zimmern was in Sitka this weekend, and he stopped by the Aug. 18 Sitka Farmers Market to film interviews for his three Travel Channel television showsBizarre Foods With Andrew Zimmern, Andrew Zimmern’s Bizarre World and his new show, Bizarre Foods America.

Andrew Zimmern tries a salmon crepe from Keri Fish.

Andrew Zimmern tries a salmon crepe from Keri Fish.

Zimmern is a noted TV personality, chef, food writer and teacher, but he’s most known for traveling the world sampling bizarre foods that most Americans have either neither heard of or had the guts to try (or both). None of the food he sampled at the Sitka Farmers Market on Saturday falls under the category of bizarre (unless you’re not used to eating a little beach asparagus on your blackcod tips or kelp pickles on your salmon crepes). But he’ll sample stinkfish and other Tlingít delicacies this week when he heads to Kake. Andrew’s website is subtitled “Experiencing Food, Sharing Culture.”

While he was at the Sitka Farmers Market, he interviewed Sitka Local Foods Network president Kerry MacLane and sampled some of Kerry’s blackcod tips. He also sampled a salmon crepe with kelp pickles from Keri Fish’s booth, he checked out some of the jams and jellies from Renée Pierce’s Simple Pleasures booth and bought fry bread from Grace Larson. On Monday, he Tweeted about and posted an Instragram photo of his bagel from the Highliner Coffee shop.

It’s unknown when Zimmern’s Alaska show(s) will air, but his Bizarre Foods With Andrew Zimmern show airs on Monday nights on the Travel Channel.

• 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.