• Sitka Seafood Festival offers culinary scholarship and paid internship opportunity

culinary scholarship description

Scholarship 2015Are you a budding chef from Sitka who’d like an opportunity to work with some top-notch chefs from around the country? The Sitka Seafood Festival is offering its culinary scholarship and paid internship again for 2015. The application deadline is Monday, June 22.

This $500 scholarship will be awarded to an individual interested in pursuing the culinary arts. The program includes the opportunity to work with renowned chefs for 3-5 days, a $500 stipend for three days of work, letters of recommendation from Sitka Seafood Festival staff for future career moves, and recognition to the community during the Sitka Seafood Festival community banquet on Friday, Aug. 7. This is a great opportunity to give back to the community of Sitka.

This year’s guest chefs haven’t been announced yet. But last year the executive guest chef was Caleb France, with returning guest chefs Seth Caswell from Seattle, Mickey Neely from Chicago, Robert Kinneen from Anchorage, and Jeren Schmidt from Sitka.

This year’s Sitka Seafood Festival takes place on Thursday-Sunday, Aug. 6-9, with a variety of activities around Sitka. This year’s event schedule hasn’t been announced yet, but typically there is a community banquet featuring a variety of local seafood on Friday night, while Saturday’s activities include fish-tote races at Crescent Harbor, a parade down Lincoln Street, Scottish Highland Games at the Sitka Fine Arts Camp, live music, cooking demonstrations, and a variety of food, informational and artist booths in the marketplace at the Sitka Fine Arts Camp.

For more information, go to the Sitka Seafood Festival website, or contact the festival at sitkaseafoodfestival@gmail.com. You also can contact Alicia Haseltine at (928) 607-4845.

• Click here for a detailed description of the SSF Scholarship program.

• Click here for an application to the SSF Scholarship program.

• Sitka residents team up to run neighborhood chicken coop co-ops

Some of the members of Le Coop, one of Sitka's chicken coop co-ops, pose with a few of their birds. (Daily Sitka Sentinel Photo by James Poulson, other photos in story are by Charles Bingham)

Some of the members of Le Coop, one of Sitka’s chicken coop co-ops, pose with a few of their birds. (Daily Sitka Sentinel Photo by James Poulson, other photos in story are by Charles Bingham)

Many Sitka families joined the backyard agriculture movement by starting gardens, but they hesitated when it came time to take the next step — raising chickens.

Chickens require daily feeding and watering, protection from predators, and other care that can be daunting for novices. However, a few Sitka families found an easier way. There now are a couple of chicken coop-co-ops in town, where neighbors or friends team up to share the duties and expense of raising chickens.

LeCoopOne of these chicken coop co-ops, Le Coop, is hidden in a back corner of the Sheldon Jackson Campus, where seven families are raising about 30 hens and one rooster. Le Coop is about 15 feet by 80 feet, with a hen house flanked by two outdoor chicken runs. The fence surrounding Le Coop is electrified (buried at least a foot below the surface to keep out varmints), with netting over the top to protect the chickens from eagles and other raptors. Inside the hen house are a dust bath for the hens, food and water buckets, an egg-laying box, and shelf space to store supplies such as extra feed.

“The advantage are only being responsible one day a week for regular chores such as feed, water, opening/closing, etc. Everything else is done at the whim of individual enthusiasms, and occasional work parties,” said Jud Kirkness, one of the co-op members. “Plus seven families means that many more people finding useful materials and resources and splitting the feed bill seven ways.”

LauraSchmidtWatchesChickensFeedLaura Schmidt, who Jud called the lead organizer/treasurer of the group, said there are six families of four and one couple, so 26 people. “About one person per hen,” she said. ” Each family typically gets about 18-30 eggs on their chicken duty day, with the hens laying more eggs in the summer.

Most of the hens were purchased as chicks last spring, and there are 15 each of red leghorns and black stars. The white rooster is of indeterminate origin, and he was added to the flock when another coop was culling its flock. Many people who raise chickens don’t like to keep roosters, but Laura said this one is small and the hens seem to be able to handle him.

The members of Le Coop have various levels of experience with raising chickens, and Erika Knox said Laura and Jud are the most experienced so they have been mentoring the other families. Erika said she wouldn’t be able to raise chickens at her house because there isn’t enough space, and lately she had to stop composting at home due to rats and other varmints getting into it.

EggsInLayingBox“This is a nice place to bring my compost, and the chickens love it,” Erika said. “It’s nice to have eggs that are fresh and organic. I give some away.”

Roger Schmidt and Kristen Homer called themselves the weak links of the group. “We just collect eggs,” Kristen said. “We let them (Laura and Jud) tell us what needs to be done.”

“It’s great because we have chicken experts like Jud and Laura, and we’ve got building experts,” said Roger, Laura’s brother and the director of the Sitka Fine Arts Camp, which owns the Sheldon Jackson Campus where Le Coop is located. He said there have been a couple of occasions when he was in a meeting on campus and suddenly remembered he had chicken duty that day.

RedLeghornAndRoosterBesides being able to share duties and costs with the chicken coop co-op, another advantage to having Le Coop on campus is the learning experiences it provides.

“It’s good for the kids. They learn a lot about chickens,” Roger said. “I bring the Head Start kids back here all the time to check on the chickens.”

“The kids love it,” Kristen said. “Razie Guillory (Laura’s daughter) did a science project charting the growth of the hens, and Asa Dow is doing a project about the economics of the co-op.”

Jud said as soon as he gets this chicken coop to where he wants it, he plans to start another chicken coop co-op for other Sitka families. “I hope it provides some inspiration.”

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• Scenes from the fifth annual Sitka Seafood Festival

WaitingInLineForFish

ssflogo2Beautiful weather greeted the fifth annual Sitka Seafood Festival on July 31-Aug. 3, with a nice sunny day on Saturday, Aug. 2, when most of the events took place.

Saturday’s events included a marathon and half-marathon, parade, fish tote races, Island Highland Games, marketplace, cooking demonstrations, and a Fish To Schools recipe contest at the Sheldon Jackson Campus/Sitka Fine Arts Camp.

In addition, there was a garden tour and showing of the film Red Gold on Thursday, the annual five-course banquet dinner on Friday, a concert featuring the Yup’ik soul group Pamyua on Saturday night, and a golf tournament on Sunday.

Below is a slideshow featuring scenes from Saturday’s events.

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• Tickets available for fifth annual Sitka Seafood Festival; volunteers needed all week

salmon boat header

ssflogo2The fifth annual Sitka Seafood Festival is finalizing its schedule for July 31-Aug. 2 at various locations around Sitka, but tickets have gone on sale for its three main events — the VIP cocktail hour on Friday night, the five-course banquet on Friday night, and the headline entertainment concert by the Yup’ik soul group Pamyua on Saturday night (link to Pamyua’s Facebook page).

The major events for the Sitka Seafood Festival will take place on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 1-2, but there are some additional events set for July 31 (a wine bottle-signing and a garden tour). A full festival schedule is available here.

On Friday, Aug. 1, the VIP cocktail hour takes place from 5:30-6:30 p.m. at the Harrigan Centennial Hall Exhibit Room, and the cost is $35 per person. The five-course seafood banquet prepared by guest chefs starts at 7 p.m. at Harrigan Centennial Hall (doors open at 6:30 p.m.). The banquet costs $65 per person, or you can buy a whole table for $600 (10 seats per table). There are Friend of the Festival tables available for $800 that feature special bartender service, are close to the stage, and feature gift bags).

The tentative menu for Friday’s banquet features (according to an email from event founder Alicia Haseltine):

  • Amuse Bouche — herring roe, finger lime, baby fennel, cucumber, bulls blood
  • First Course — ricotta gnocchi, sea asparagus (pesto), foraged mushroom xo, tat soi oil, brown butter
  • Second Course — scallops, pistachio crumble, fromage blanc, yellow squash puree, snap pea coulis, pancetta
  • Third Course — rockfish, spruce tip nage, lemon ash marshmallow, arugula, whole barley, carrot
  • Fourth Course — salmon, tomato jam, scallion potato puree, black garlic aioli, leeks charred
  • Fifth Course — cocoa praline rocks, chocolate soil, sudachi curd, huckleberry, merlot caramel, bergamot cloud mascarpone and cream base

On Saturday, Aug. 2, the day opens with tote races at 11 a.m. at Crescent Harbor, followed by the parade at 11:30 a.m. from Crescent Harbor Shelter to the Sitka Fine Arts Camp/Sheldon Jackson Campus, and the marketplace from noon until 7 p.m. There will be a variety of entertainment from noon until 4 p.m., and the Scottish Highland Games are from noon to 6 p.m., both at the Sitka Fine Arts Camp/Sheldon Jackson Campus. The headline entertainment concert by Pamyua starts at 7 p.m. at Allen Hall at the Sitka Fine Arts Camp/Sheldon Jackson Campus, and tickets are $20 per person.

Volunteers are needed all week for the festival, which includes event set up and tear down. To learn more, contact Sitka Seafood Festival Director Carolyn Kinneen at (907) 222-8422 or email sitkaseafoodfestival@gmail.com. Parade participants should contact Linda Olson at 747-6985. Scottish Highland Games participants are welcome to practice at 5:30 p.m. on Wednesdays and Sundays at the Moller Field Track

 

• Vendors sought for fifth annual Sitka Seafood Festival Marketplace on Aug. 2

SitkasSignatureSeafoodOfferings

ssflogo2The Sitka Seafood Festival seeks vendors for the all-day marketplace that takes place from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. at the Sitka Fine Arts Camp/Sheldon Jackson Campus. The all-day marketplace is one of the highlights from the fifth annual Sitka Seafood Festival, scheduled for Thursday, July 31, through Sunday, Aug. 3, at various locations in Sitka.

“Last year we had an overwhelming amount of people show up, and the vendors sold out of food early,” said festival founder Alicia Haseltine. “This year we are ready for you, Sitka! We are currently accepting vendor applications for food, merchandise, educational booths, or any other ocean- or seafood-related activity.”

The Sitka Seafood Festival helps Sitka celebrate its seafood heritage with a variety of events. The 2014 schedule still is being finalized, but in 2013 the festival included a sea poetry contest, native plants garden tour, pasta cruise, book signings, VIP banquet, marathon and half-marathon, parade through downtown, all-day marketplace, crab races, Scottish Highland games, fishhead toss, fishhead bobbing, blind-folded tote rates, live entertainment, and a golf tournament. Click this link and scroll to the bottom to see a slideshow of scenes from the 2013 Sitka Seafood Festival.

For more information or to register as a vendor, please contact Mary Helem at oceanfront@gci.net. You also can download a registration form below or at http://www.sitkaseafoodfestival.org (note, please send your forms to Mary, the Sitka Local Foods Network is a separate organization than the Sitka Seafood Festival). See you at the festival.

• Sitka Seafood Festival 2014 Marketplace Vendor App Pages 1-2

• Sitka Seafood Festival 2014 Marketplace Vendor App Page 3

• Sitka Seafood Festival offers culinary scholarship and paid internship opportunity

culinary scholarship description

The application deadline for the Sitka Seafood Festival culinary scholarship and paid internship is Friday, June 20.

This $500 scholarship will be awarded to an individual interested in pursuing the culinary arts. The program includes the opportunity to work with renowned chefs for 3-5 days, a $500 stipend for three days of work, letters of recommendation from Sitka Seafood Festival staff for future career moves, and recognition to the community during the Sitka Seafood Festival community banquet on Aug. 1 at Harrigan Centennial Hall. This is a great opportunity to give back to the community of Sitka.

Caleb France BioThis year’s executive guest chef is Caleb France, with returning guest chefs Seth Caswell from Seattle, Mickey Neely from Chicago, Robert Kinneen from Anchorage, and Jeren Schmidt from Sitka.

This year’s Sitka Seafood Festival takes place on Friday-Saturday, Aug. 1-2, with a variety of activities around Sitka. In addition to the community banquet featuring local seafood on Friday night, Saturday’s activities include fish-tote races at Crescent Harbor, a parade down Lincoln Street, Scottish Highland Games at the Sitka Fine Arts Camp, live music, cooking demonstrations, and a variety of food, informational and artist booths in the marketplace at the Sitka Fine Arts Camp.

For more information, go to the Sitka Seafood Festival website, or contact the festival at sitkaseafoodfestival@gmail.com. You also can contact Alicia Haseltine at (928) 607-4845.

• Click here for a detailed description of the SSF Scholarship program.

• Click here for an application to the SSF Scholarship program.

• Sitka to host three-day Gathering in conjunction with two-week Introduction to Ethnobotany course

Salmonberries await picking near the entrance to Sitka National Historical Park

Salmonberries await picking near the entrance to Sitka National Historical Park

This month Sitka will host a two-week Introduction to Ethnobotany course on May 19-30, and as part of that course there will be a three-day UAF Kuskokwim Campus Ethnobotany Program All-Hands Gathering for stakeholders on May 29-31 held in conjunction with the class. As part of the Gathering, there will be a couple of events open to Sitka residents interested in ethnobotany and the uses of local plants.

The Gathering is sponsored by the Ethnobotany Certification Program of the University of Alaska Fairbanks Kuskokwim Campus (Bethel), and the Gathering will serve as a chance for stakeholders (students, instructors, elders, colleagues) to to get together to celebrate the program’s first five years, plan the next five years, and network with each other.

The schedule is still being finalized, but the first public event will be on Thursday, May 29, when the 10 ethnobotany class students will make their presentations from 3-5 and 6-8 p.m. (with a break for a bring-your-own dinner) in Room 229 of the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus.

At 9:30-10:30 a.m. on Saturday morning, May 31, keynote speaker Anore Jones (author of Plants That We Eat) will  share her passion for traditional foods of the subarctic. This event will be at the Yaw Classroom at the Sitka Fine Arts Campus.

The Gathering will conclude at 5:30-9 p.m. on Saturday, May 31, with a community potluck dinner/local foods feast and Native dancing at the Sheet’ká Kwáan Naa Kahídi. This event will feature a Native chant from our Hawaiian friends, vending tables, as well as music from the Sitka rock band Slack Tide. The Gathering will provide a main course, some desserts and beverages for this event, and people are encouraged to bring side dishes featuring local food.

For more information, contact Kuskokwim Campus Ethnobotany Program Coordinator Rose Meier, PhD, at 1-907-474-6935 (voice), 1-907-474-5952 (fax) or by email at rameier@alaska.edu.

EBOT Public Flyer final

• Sitka Local Foods Network to host April 24 meeting to discuss Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center

This is the inside of a community greenhouse built above the Arctic Circle in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, Canada, that has been one of the models for the Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center (Photo from http://www.cityfarmer.org/inuvik.html).

This is the inside of a community greenhouse built above the Arctic Circle in Inuvik, Northwest Territories, Canada, that has been one of the models for the Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center (Photo from http://www.cityfarmer.org/inuvik.html).

Are you interested in helping Sitka increase its access to fresh, locally grown produce all year round? The Sitka Local Foods Network will host a gathering from 7-8:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 24, at Harrigan Centennial Hall to discuss plans for the Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center.

Building a community greenhouse and education center was a community wellness goal from the 2008 Sitka Health Summit, but over the years there were a few problems bringing the project to fruition (usually with securing land). We are looking to build a 30-foot–by-52-foot greenhouse on a couple of possible sites, including on the Sheldon Jackson Campus or near the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus, among other locations around town. This is the closest we’ve come to being able to start building a community greenhouse, which will help provide Sitka residents with more local produce, and it also will work with schools and local residents to teach gardening and horticulture.

In addition to the availability of land, we have been offered locally harvested wood to build the greenhouse frame, which will be modeled after another successful greenhouse built near Sitka in 2011.

For more information, contact Kerry MacLane at 752-0654 or Doug Osborne at 966-8734.

• Sitka Local Foods Network to host March 26 meeting to discuss Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center

Sitka residents interested in building a Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center pose with Shane Smith of the Cheyenne, Wyo., Botanic Gardens (front row, second from right) after he spoke at a March 12, 2013, meeting about the greenhouse.

Sitka residents interested in building a Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center pose with Shane Smith of the Cheyenne, Wyo., Botanic Gardens (front row, second from right) after he spoke at a March 12, 2013, meeting about the greenhouse.

The Sitka Local Foods Network will host a meeting from 7-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 26, at Harrigan Centennial Hall to continue discussions about creating a Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center.

The construction of a community greenhouse will help Sitka increase its access to fresh, locally grown produce all year round. The greenhouse also will serve as an education center, helping local residents learn about what it takes to grow fruits and veggies in Sitka, Alaska. This was a Sitka Health Summit project from 2008 that recently regained momentum.

The group currently is looking to build a 30-foot-by-52-foot greenhouse, possibly at the Sheldon Jackson Campus near the Hames Athletic and Wellness Center. Other locations are being considered, but this has been the best potential offer of a site since the start of the project. To learn more, contact Doug Osborne at 966-8734 or Kerry MacLane at 752-0654.

• Sitka Local Foods Network to host March 12 meeting to discuss Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center

Shane-SmithAre you interested in helping Sitka increase its access to fresh, locally grown produce all year round? The Sitka Local Foods Network will host a gathering from 7-8:30 p.m. on Tuesday, March 12, at Harrigan Centennial Hall to discuss plans for the Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center.

Building a community greenhouse and education center was a community wellness goal from the 2008 Sitka Health Summit, but over the years there were a few problems (usually with securing land) bringing the project to fruition. It now appears the Sitka Fine Arts Camp will allow us to build a 30-foot–by-52-foot greenhouse on the Sheldon Jackson Campus, next to the Hames Athletic and Wellness Center. This is the closest we’ve come to being able to start building a greenhouse.

In addition to the availability of land, we have been offered locally harvested wood to build the greenhouse frame, which will be modeled after another successful greenhouse built near Sitka in 2011.

Please join us on Tuesday to learn more about this exciting project. In addition, Shane Smith, the executive director and founder of the Cheyenne (Wyo.) Botanic Gardens and author of the Greenhouse Gardener’s Companion, will be at the meeting to provide advice based on his experiences building a similar project. Shane Smith also will give a presentation on greenhouses and high tunnels from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 9, at the University of Alaska Southeast Sitka Campus Room 229, and he’ll have a booth at the Let’s Grow Sitka garden education event from noon to 3 p.m. on Sunday, March 10, at the Alaska Native Brotherhood Founders Hall, 235 Katlian St.

“The Sitka Community Greenhouse and Education Center would be a tremendous asset to our town and we’ve never been closer to making that dream become a reality,” Sitka Local Foods Network President Kerry MacLane said.  “Having Shane’s expertise and guidance to draw from just puts us that much closer to making this happen this year.”

For more information, contact Kerry MacLane at 752-0654.