UAF Cooperative Extension Service to offer online Welcoming Winter food preservation class series

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service will offer the Welcoming Winter: Virtual Home Care and Food Preservation Workshops class series this fall.

Workshops will be taught by UAF Cooperative Extension Agent Sarah Lewis, from her home kitchen in Juneau, and Program Assistant Gina Dionne from her home kitchen in Anchorage. You can join them from your home kitchen anywhere in Alaska (or the world).

Sarah and Gina will offer resources, publications, and information for each class, but the real fun will happen on Zoom. You can watch or cook along in real time, or watch and cook along with the class recording at your own pace. Classes will be held from 5:30-7 p.m. on Tuesdays via Zoom.

Prepare for Winter in September
Sept. 20: Create a Food Secure Pantry
Sept. 27: Winterizing Your Home and Garden
Make Sausage and Pickles in October
Oct. 11: Making Sauerkraut and Relish
Oct. 18: Making Wild Game Sausage
Focus on Holiday Food in November
Nov. 15: Canning Fruits and Berries: A Taste of Summer for the Holidays
Nov 29: Canning Holiday Leftovers

Each class requires separate registration and participants may register for one or all of the classes. Classes cost $12 each. The deadline for registering is at 5 p.m. on the day before each class. Accommodation requests related to a disability should be made five business days in advance to Sarah Lewis at 907-523-3280 x1 or sarah.lewis@alaska.edu.

Language access services, such as interpretation or translation of vital information, will be provided free of charge to limited English proficient individuals upon request. UAF is an Affirmative Action/Equal Opportunity employer, educational institution and provider and prohibits illegal discrimination against
any individual: www.alaska.edu/nondiscrimination.

Sitka Spruce Tips/Alaska Way Of Life 4-H Club to offer Fall Wild Edibles Series in September

Join Sitka Spruce Tips/Alaska Way of Life 4-H Club for four sessions celebrating wild edibles through identifying, harvesting, and processing from 3:30-5 p.m. on Wednesdays Sept. 7, 14, 21, and 28.

All ages are invited to learn more about local mushroom, bog, berry, and salmon species. There is a supply fee of $10. Scholarships are available.

The Sitka 4-H club is supported through a partnership between the Sitka Conservation Society and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service.

The first step is to register for 4-H at http://4h.zsuite.org/ (all participants must be registered with 4-H to be on the organization’s insurance policy). 

Contact emily@sitkawild.org for more information.

UAF Cooperative Extension Service to offer pressure canner gauge testing at Sitka Farmers Market

Jasmine Shaw of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service watches a pressure canner gauge at a Sitka Kitch class on home food preservation. Jasmine will be at the Sitka Farmers Market on Saturday to test pressure canner gauges.

Jasmine Shaw from the UAF Cooperative Extension Service Sitka Outreach Center will do pressure gauge testing at the Sitka Farmers Market, from 10-11:30 a.m. on Saturday, July 30, at ANB Founders Hall. She will be at the Transition Sitka booth with Barbara Bingham for the first half of the market (usually back by the stage).

It is recommended to check dial gauges for accuracy before use each year. Gauges that read high cause underprocessing and may result in unsafe food. Low readings cause overprocessing and may indicate that the accuracy of the gauge is unpredictable. Bring in the lid for your canner for a free test. In just a few minutes, you can make sure your dial gauge is accurate and functioning properly.

Jasmine also can provide pressure canner gauge testing at her office at UAS Sitka Campus, and she can be reached at 907-747-9440 or jdshaw2@alaska.edu to set up an appointment.

Sitka Kitch to host Cooking With Culture class on how to make tortilla soup with Nalani James

Are you a tuxedo corn lover? Join the Sitka Kitch as Nalani James teaches our first in-person class since March 2020 on how to make tortilla soup as part of the Cooking With Culture class series. This class takes place from 4-6:30 p.m. on Saturday, July 9, at the Sitka Kitch community commercial kitchen, located in the basement of the Sitka Lutheran Church.

Summer is here and house-made tortilla soup is a good way to keep your soup bowls on the table. Summer is corn season and tuxedo corn is coming to the party. This soup has a beautiful array of colors to electrify your senses. Nalani chose this because she loves tuxedo corn from the Southwest. Corn has a short season and should be celebrated. There will be vegetarian and dairy-free options as well. Note: this is not a “grain-free recipe.”

Nalani has offered many classes in Sitka and has been successfully teaching to the community special dishes to her soul. This is the second year of her Cooking With Culture class series.

The class cost is $40, and we need at least eight people registered to make the class happen. Ingredients are provided in the registration price. Students may want to bring a container for leftovers.

This is our first in-person class indoors since the start of the pandemic (we did hold a couple of campfire cooking classes last year). With Covid-19 still being around, we are monitoring Sitka’s Covid-19 risk levels. Right now, Sitka has a Medium/Moderate risk level, which means face masks are encouraged in the kitchen but not required. If our risk level goes back to High, we will require masks in the kitchen.

Current (paid) members of the Sitka Food Co-op are now able to attend the online classes for $30 each (the co-op will cover the other $10 of your class fee). Please use the Sitka Food Co-op ticket when you register and  email  sitkafoodcoop@gmail.com letting them know you’re in the class. (NOTE, Only one person per Co-op household may use the Co-op discount per class. Please name that person when you register so the name can be checked against the Co-op membership list.)

The registration deadline is 11:30 p.m. on Wednesday, July 6. Space is limited, so register early to secure your place in the class. You can register and pre-pay using credit/debit cards or PayPal on the Sitka Kitch EventSmart online registration page, http://sitkakitch.eventsmart.com (click on class title). For those wanting to pre-pay with cash or check, please call Kylee Jones at Sitka Conservation Society (747-7509) to arrange a payment.

For more information about the class, contact Jasmine Shaw at 747-9440. We occasionally offer one scholarship spot per class for people with limited incomes, provided we still have enough students registered to make the class happen. Contact Jasmine or Kylee at SCS for more details about the scholarship.

The Sitka Kitch is supported in partnership by Sitka Conservation Society with UAF Cooperative Extension Service. This class is a fundraiser for the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen.

Students should enter the Sitka Lutheran Church downstairs through the back entrance (through the alley off Harbor Drive by the old Bev’s Flowers and Gifts location). The door on the right should be open for students to enter. Please do not park in the church’s back parking lot. Please use the public parking lots off Harbor Drive.

The Sitka Kitch also has a new class cancelation policy. If you register for a class, then find out you can’t attend, please email us at sitkakitch@sitkawild.org and we may be able to help fill your slot through our waiting list. If you cancel from the class at least five days in advance (eg, by Wednesday the week before for a Monday class), you are eligible for a partial refund of your class fee, minus $5 for processing (in this case, $35 or $25, depending on if you are paying full price or getting the Sitka Food Co-op discount). If you need to cancel with less than five days advance notice, there is no refund.

Sitka Kitch to host online class on starting a cottage foods business

Learn what the basics of starting and running a cottage foods business as Sarah Lewis teaches students how to Start a Cottage Foods Business from noon to 1:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 15, via Zoom.

This class is a fundraiser for the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen, and also is designed to help vendors prepare for the upcoming Sitka Farmers Markets hosted by the Sitka Local Foods Network.

Sarah Lewis — the home, health and family development agent for the Juneau office of the UAF Cooperative Extension Service — will teach this class by videoconference from Juneau. Students will learn about state laws regarding home food businesses, and get ideas for businesses you might take to the Sitka Farmers Market or local trade shows. The first hour will be spent discussing rules and regulations, and the second part of the class will be for questions and answers.

The class fee is $10, and the funds go to the Sitka Kitch. Class space is limited, so register early. The registration deadline for this class is 11 p.m. on Monday, June 13. The Sitka Local Foods Network is offering students of this class half off their Sitka Farmers Market vendor fee for the first market of the season where they host a table. Representatives from the Sitka Local Foods Network/Sitka Farmers Market and (hopefully) the Sitka food safety office of the Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation are planning to attend so they can answer any questions potential cottage foods business owners may have.

Register online at https://sitkakitch.eventsmart.com/ (click on class title) and pre-pay using credit/debit cards or PayPal. To pre-pay by cash or check, contact Kylee Jones of the Sitka Conservation Society at 907-747-7509 or info@sitkawild.org to arrange payment. For more information about the class, contact Jasmine Shaw at the UAF Cooperative Extension Service Sitka District Office at 907-747-9440.

The Sitka Kitch is supported in partnership by Sitka Conservation Society with UAF Cooperative Extension Service. These classes are fundraisers for the Sitka Kitch community rental commercial kitchen.

UAF Cooperative Extension Service offers April gardening workshops in Sitka

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service has added two new April classes to a series of in-person gardening workshops in Sitka that started in March.

Two classes have been announced for the end April, one on building a colorful container of flowers and another on using soil amendments. More classes for May may be announced later. The classes have various costs, but materials are provided. Masks are required for indoor classes. Space is limited on all classes, so register early.

The classes scheduled so far are:

  • Create Some Color With Garden Ventures — Thursday, April 17, 6-7 p.m.; Penny Brown, owner of Garden Ventures Nursery, will lead a hands-on workshop for how to design your own planter full of colorful flowers. She will also give a short presentation on the topic. This class is $30 and takes place at Garden Ventures, 4013 Halibut Point Road. You can register here.
  • Soil Amendments and Rototiller Fun — Saturday, April 23, 10-11:30 a.m.; In this workshop you will learn what you can to help build soil nutrition, revitalize garden beds with depleted soil, make a little fertilizer to take home, and try your hand at a rototiller. This workshop is taught by Kitty LaBounty and Andrea Fraga at a location TBA. The cost is $10. You can register here.

For more information and to register, email jdshaw2@alaska.edu or call 907-747-9440.

The Garden Show returns to KCAW-Raven Radio spring programming lineup for 31st year

For 31 years, Mollie Kabler and Kitty LaBounty have taken to the KCAW-Raven Radio airwaves during the spring months to broadcast The Garden Show.

They’ve already recorded two shows this year, and the Garden Show will have a regular 9:30-10 a.m. slot on Fridays. Since this week is KCAW’s spring pledge drive, the show will take pace from 9-10 a.m. on Friday, April 8. Kitty also has a regular music show (Hometown Brew) from 2-4 p.m. on Thursdays, and in the past the half-hour Garden Shows sometimes took place during her program.

Garden Show topics include timely tasks for gardening in Southeast Alaska, taking on-air questions, and themes around basic and more advanced gardening of vegetables, flowers, fruit, trees, etc. The station’s website has links to previous shows.

Mollie and Kitty have been gardening in Sitka for more than 30 years each, and they also have significant gardening experience from their childhoods in Wisconsin (Mollie) and Oregon (Kitty). They both are certified as Master Gardeners, after completing the class series offered by the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service.

To call the show with gardening questions, call 747-5877 and ask to be connected to the show.

UAF Cooperative Extension Service to offer gardening workshops in Sitka

The University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service will offer a series of in-person gardening workshops in Sitka starting in March.

Two classes have been announced for the end of March, one on tree-pruning and one on seed-starting, and more classes for April will be announced later. The classes cost $10 each, with materials provided. Masks are required for indoor classes. Space is limited, so register early.

The classes scheduled so far are:

  • Tree Pruning WorkshopSaturday, March 19, 8:30-10 a.m.; A workshop on pruning fruit trees, demonstration, instruction and a chance to practice are taught by Jud Kirkness. The location will be emailed to registrants.
  • Seed Starting and Seed SwapSaturday, March 26, 10-11:30 a.m.; Kitty LaBounty and Jasmine Shaw lead a hands-on workshop on seed starting on the UAS Sitka Campus. Students will be able to start seeds to take home. All materials will be provided. Students also can take seeds to swap with others.

For more information and to register, email jdshaw2@alaska.edu or call 907-747-9440.

Produce Safety Alliance Grower training scheduled for April 25-26

The Alaska Department of Environmental Conservation and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extensive Service are planning a Produce Safety Alliance Grower Training in April.

This free training takes place from 9 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. on Monday and Tuesday, April 25-26, using Zoom. Registration closes on Monday, April 11.

This Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved course will satisfy the grower training curriculum requirements under the FDA’s Food Safety Modernization Act Produce Safety Rule. There is no charge for class participants. Funding is provided by a FDA-State of Alaska Cooperative Agreement. Growers who attend all seven modules of the course will receive a FREE Certificate of Course Completion. The workshop is open to all interested growers. Please see the attached flyer for more information. Space will be limited, so pre-registration is required. Contact Dena at dena.cologgi@alaska.gov to register.

NOTE: This training will be held remotely using videoconferencing software (e.g. Zoom). Participants must have a computer or mobile device with audio and video capabilities, as well as access to a strong internet connection and adequate bandwidth. Attendees who wish to receive a Certificate of Course Completion will be required to use the web camera to ensure participation.

For more information, or if you require accommodation for a disability, please contact Dena Cologgi at dena.cologgi@alaska.gov or (907) 375-8212.

AARP Alaska, UAF Cooperative Extension Service team up to teach five-class garden series online

Join AARP Alaska and the University of Alaska Fairbanks Cooperative Extension Service for a free, five-part virtual series on gardening, from starting seeds to cooking with home-grown herbs (and more). Each event will feature a different speaker and new topic, so you can join one or all.

You can register to receive the meeting link or watch live at the scheduled time on the AARP Facebook page.

Gardening: How to Successfully Start Seeds at Home 

Wednesday, March 30, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Join Glenna Gannon from the Cooperative Extension Service in this workshop and demonstration to learn the basics of starting seeds at home in Alaska. You will learn which start-up supplies are necessary and the simple techniques to successfully start your own seeds. The benefit of starting your own seeds is that you can choose varieties that work well for your specific growing conditions, choose from a much wider selection of varieties that are often not found at your local nursery, and save money on plant starts year after year once you’ve made the initial investment in seed starting supplies. 

Register at https://aarp.cventevents.com/event/bdfeeeba-3fe9-42ef-81a4-dc45c722bccf/regProcessStep1

Gardening: Container Gardening

Wednesday, April 6, 11 a.m.to 12 p.m.  

Join Gina Dionne from the Cooperative Extension Service in this workshop to learn about container gardening, which has become very popular, and for good reason! In this class, you will learn how to make creative use of container gardens to allow you to grow your own food on a sunny deck, windowsill and other non-traditional spaces. 

Register at https://aarp.cventevents.com/event/9628b88c-e896-4b45-b8c6-2b6059414e07/regProcessStep1

Gardening: Growing and Cooking with Herbs 

Wednesday, April 13, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Join Heidi Rader from the Cooperative Extension Service in this workshop to learn what herbs grow well in Alaska. Which ones come back (perennials) and which ones should you plant year after year? Which ones are easy to start from seed and which ones are easiest to grow from transplants or cuttings? Once you’ve started your herb garden, how do you use them in your everyday cooking? Learn about classic flavor combinations. 

Register at https://aarp.cventevents.com/event/7fa5e549-1f28-4646-bab2-0992473d89ec/regProcessStep1

Gardening: Growing Vegetables in Alaska 

Wednesday, April 20, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Join Steve Brown from the Cooperative Extension Service in this workshop to learn how growing bountiful veggies is very easy if you know the tips of the Far North. This presentation will show you the secrets behind planning, planting, season extension, fertilization and pest control. 

Register at https://aarp.cventevents.com/event/6dcf11b6-bcb3-47bd-99d1-c8f2974f862b/regProcessStep1

Gardening: Love to Garden but Aches and Pains Getting in the Way? 

Wednesday, April 27, 11 a.m. to 12 p.m.

Join Art Nash from the Cooperative Extension Service to talk about accessible gardening ideas. Barriers to growing can come from injuries when we are young or normal pains as we grow older. Yet there are adaptations in how we plan out growing areas, modify the growing area or use altered tools. This session will look at various build-outs and alterations that can hopefully help as you age in place — in the garden.

Register at https://aarp.cventevents.com/event/4936d781-3866-4fbd-aed7-1d0e3a891764/regProcessStep1