AK Root Cellar

Pete Kinneen grew up in a family conscious of the magic of composting food scraps and yard waste for use in their organic gardens. He is the executive director of Environmental Recycling, Inc. the non-profit which operated the Pt. Woronzof Composting Facility for 15 successful years. He has joined a global discovery exploring the possibility of another natural and inexpensive ingredient found to kick convention to the curb. Join in, the more the merrier.

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About root cellars

Root Cellaring, the bookRoot Cellaring, the book
Allie Barker, a home gardener, wild foods harvester and root cellar builder was a guest speaker at the recent Bioneers Conference at UAA. She brought her own copy of the book pictured above, written by Mike and Nancy Bubel, for the information table, and even some potatoes and carrots from her root cellar so conference attendees could see the good shape her year-old vegetables were in after their time in her root cellar.

Barker spoke Saturday, Oct. 18 at a session called "Building a food system that works for Alaskans." Along with this blog's anchor, Kim Sollien, Allie also shared the podium with Kathy Ciarimboli, the sustainable foods coordinator for the National Outdoor Leadership School in Palmer.

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Stocking up for winter offers comfort and security

It’s been far too long since I have written a post from my heart. The summer seemed to wiz by. Though it was filled with exciting events: new houses, weddings, and family visits, I have not had the time to really write authentically about accessing local foods in Alaska…I hope my following words and information will help to inspire you to grab a few bushels of lovely roots still available at local farmers markets.

As the air changes from the summer smells of fresh cut grass and sweet smelling flowers, to fallen leaves and fermented high bush cranberries I think something in our DNA or psyche shifts. I have found myself plagued with thoughts related to the long winter, questioning whether I have put-up enough canned, caught, dried, frozen, and purchased foods to last, if not the whole winter, at least a month. As descendants of hunters, gatherers and farmers I think each of us are hard wired to want to store food in the fall, for later nourishment. For modern day eaters, what can we do to satisfy the urge to gather and store?

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Dear Mr. President-elect....

Michael Pollen wrote a long and thoughtful piece in The New York Times that anyone who cares about food sources and food policy won't want to miss. Here's a taste, and here's the link.

It may surprise you to learn that among the issues that will occupy much of your time in the coming years is one you barely mentioned during the campaign: food. Food policy is not something American presidents have had to give much thought to, at least since the Nixon administration — the last time high food prices presented a serious political peril. Since then, federal policies to promote maximum production of the commodity crops (corn, soybeans, wheat and rice) from which most of our supermarket foods are derived have succeeded impressively in keeping prices low and food more or less off the national political agenda. But with a suddenness that has taken us all by surprise, the era of cheap and abundant food appears to be drawing to a close. What this means is that you, like so many other leaders through history, will find yourself confronting the fact — so easy to overlook these past few years — that the health of a nation’s food system is a critical issue of national security. Food is about to demand your attention.

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Ethan Berkowitz Unveils Agriculture, Food Security Plan

Yahoo! I am thrilled to share this press release from Ethan Berkowitz with you all. I think this is the first time an Alaskan congressional candidate has added food security to their platform. Way to go Ethan!

October 10th 2008 - For Immediate Release:

House Democratic nominee Ethan Berkowitz introduced his plan to protect and strengthen Alaska’s agriculture and food supply. “Strong leadership, strategic investments, and community outreach and education will safeguard Alaska’s food system,” said Berkowitz. “Alaska can become more independent from outside food imports and develop a true renewable resource with far-reaching benefits for our residents.”

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Palmer's first Potato Pageant Wed Oct 8th

Celebrate the International Year of the Potato right here in Palmer Wednesday October 8th


Palmer Railroad Depot 6 – 10 PM

Organized by Palmer's very own Bill "Potato Bill" Campbell

Come Cheer for your Favorite
Large One
Long One
Wonderful One
Funny looking One
Most arms and legs One

Come Share your
favorite recipe
potato joke
potato cartoon
potato story
potato art

-Brag about your crop of tots
-Tout the tuber
-Proffer Potato Poetry
-Sing Spud Songs

Bring special taters, tooth picks, carving knives, crayons, paper and especially an imagination

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Farmers' Market Update from Arctic Organics

Be sure to stock up on storage vegetables while the farmers still have the supply.

Frost has hit irrefutably this week, if not a little unpredictably. We scheduled today around allowing the field to thaw and recover for a couple of hours this morning as we had to yesterday. Nothing is lost so
far. We are harvesting crops as fast as possible in order not to lose them.

The carrots have thrived this year! We'll have them loose and in 5 and 10 pound bags, along with 20 pound bags of grade B carrots at a discount.

We'll also be bringing red, golden and Chioggia beets with greens, carrots, rutabagas, purple top turnips, daikon (Japanese giant white radish), green, savoy and red cabbage, broccoli sideshoots, white "snow

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Are you a Bioneer?

The 5th annual Bioneers in Alaska conference is just around the corner. If you are interested in creating vibrant local economies, home scale renewable energy, holistic health, and food security in AK this conference is not to be missed. This year, as with past years all meals will be made from local organic foods highlighting some of Alaska's Vegetable, Meat and Dairy producers. There will also be two local workshops on agriculture and local food systems in Alaska. See the descriptions at the end of the post.

What is Bioneers?

The Bioneers in Alaska conference brings together Alaskans to explore practical and innovative ways to live more sustainably and strengthen our communities. Highlights of the 2008 conference include: keynote speakers David C. Korten and Lisa Dolchok, workshops on renewable energy for Alaska, growing community through local food, protecting the health of present and future generations and other vital issues of our times, presentations via satellite from the 19th Annual Bioneers Conference in California (see speaker list below) and abundant networking opportunities.

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Palmer & Anchorage Farmers' Market Harvest update

Anchorage Farmers' MarketAnchorage Farmers' Market
Here's list of what will be available at the Anchorage Saturday Market and at the Arctic Organics Market in Palmer.

by Sarah & River Bean:

With the snow line descending, we are harvesting out our tender crops. You'll see the last of the zucchini this week.

New this week: leeks, golden beets, storage cabbage, chives, and potatoes! And we'll be bringing carrots in 5 and 10 pound bags.

We'll also have red and Chioggia beets with greens, carrots, daikon (Japanese giant white radish), cauliflower, zucchini, green, savoy and

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New CSA Launches Year-Round Box Program For Alaskan Grown

A year-round box program supporting producers in Alaska, has arrived. Way to go Arthur and Family!

Glacier Valley Farms formally (A&M Farms) is starting a new year-round CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) program. The new Glacier Valley Farm CSA program will focus on bringing you boxes of Alaskan produce from local farms in the Valley.

You can sign up for boxes every week, every other week, once a month—or more sporadically. You decide!

• During the summer and fall, we’ll stock the CSA boxes with 100% Alaskan ingredients, grown by Arthur & Michelle Keyes, of Glacier Valley Farm, and by a variety of other farmers growing vegetables and berries in the Matanuska-Susitna Valley.

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New Produce Market in Palmer

There is a new Market in town at the corner of the
Old Glenn and Clark-Wolverine
Open noon-6pm
Tuesday through Sunday
Palmer Produce MarketPalmer Produce Market

Producers at the Market
Domer Family Farm
Dearborn Farms
Stockwell Farms
market insidemarket inside
Cranberry Ridge Cheese

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The all Alaskan produce box may be on its way...

NEW: PRODUCE BOXES from the South Anchorage Farmers’ Market!Have you been waiting for a 100% Alaskan alternative to the boxes of produce shipped up from Washington every week? A&M Farms is launching a trial run with some big beautiful boxes of produce next WEDNESDAY, at the Dimond Center Farmers’ Market. We’re excited to see how many people are interested in a Community-Supported Agriculture Box on our side of town! If there’s enough interest, we could launch a CSA box program next year!

The boxes will cost $25, and will contain the following all-Alaskan bounty:

1 head cauliflower | 1 bunch carrots | 1 pint cherry tomatoes | 1 pint GORGEOUS, sweet strawberries | 1 English cucumber | 2 zucchini squash | 1head of romaine lettuce

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Kitchen Literacy and the Loss of Culture in American Food

I just received this wonderful letter from a friend of mine Kathy Ciarimboli who raised pigs this summer in Palmer. She has a great perspective on kitchen literacy and the culture of food in America. I thought I would share her letter with you all.

I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. Kim

I had the opportunity to raise pigs this summer. I work for the National Outdoor Leadership School in Palmer where I get to raise as much food as I’m able for feeding the hungry in-town staff and fresh-food deprived instructors and students who pass through before and after their wilderness expeditions. This year, I tried my hand at raising some pigs for a few different reasons.

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Introducing the great Alaskan broccoli challenge!
Garlic Roasted BroccoliGarlic Roasted Broccoli
Sponsored by the South Anchorage Farmers’ Market, A&M Farms, VanderWeele Farms, and Rise & Shine Bakery.

You know broccoli’s good for you, and yeah, yeah, you should be eating it by the bushel according to the latest health reports… But does it seem like a bit of a chore? Maybe when you shop at the farmers’ market, you head for the snap peas and carrots, lettuce and tomatoes, instead of those great big bunches of fresh broccoli.

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Farmers' markets, local fish, in the news

Farmers Market in SitkaFarmers Market in Sitka

Capitol City Weekly carried a recent story about farmers markets taking off in Southeast Alaska. Read it here..

A quote in the story from Alison Arians of the South Anchorage market:

"Not to be an alarmist but we're pretty separated from the breadbasket of the country," Arians said. "The big thing is that if we don't support our farmers now and make sure they're there in the future, we're not going to have any local food supply... We're not going to have any backups in times of crisis."

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Its Harvest Season!!! time to get picken...

For those of you who don't have a garden of your own, do you ever want the experience harvesting vegetables yourself, or would like to show your kids how different vegetables and fruits grow? Maybe you're the type who wants to can and freeze bulk vegetables. If you live in Southcentral, you're close enough to travel out to Palmer and experience Pyrah's Pioneers Peak U-pick Farm. LINK

The farm sits at the base of Pioneer Peak and spans over one hundred acres. The farm is beautiful, as is the family who operates it.

If you head out this weekend to pick your own veg. bring rubber boots, tote bags, and gardening gloves. The experience, I am sure, will be a highlight of your summer memories.

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Farmers Market: what's fresh this week

Hello Market Goers!

The list grows, as do the crops! Still unsure of the long season crops,though, like Brussels sprouts, potatoes, full sized carrots, storage cabbages... This has been quite the summer!

This week at market we'll have baby carrots, cauliflower, zucchini,green and red cabbage, broccoli heads and sideshoots, white "snowapple" turnips with greens, kohlrabi, red, Easter Egg and French Breakfast radishes.

Greens include collards, broccoli raab, mustard greens, kale (Red Russian, Toscano, curly green and red), watercress, beet greens,rainbow chard, spinach, arugula, a new crop of tender lettuces, greens mix, lettuce mix, tat soi, Chinese cabbage, Catalogna dandelion greens,escarole, radicchio, sorrel, and nasturtium blossoms.

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Got cabbage? Get sauerkraut!

South Anchorage Farmers Market Web site has just posted a story and a do-it-yourself video by market reporter Alison Arians on making sauerkraut. This is Valley farmer Mark Rempel's recipe. It sits in a crock for five weeks, and Rempel says after several weeks, you should give it a taste every week, until it's just the right taste for you, as opposed to the pre-determined taste of sauerkraut you'd buy in a jar at the store.

Anyway, see how it's made on this You Tube video and catch other recipes at the South Anchorage Farmers Market Web site. You can even sign up for RSS feed or email notices on Alaska-based recipes.

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Sustainable communities

Homer just hosted Daniel Lerch, author of a book about facing the energy crisis and how communities can plan to adjust and survive.

Book: "Post Carbon Cities: Planning for Energy Uncertainty" by Daniel Lerch was the basis of talks in Homer this week.Book: "Post Carbon Cities: Planning for Energy Uncertainty" by Daniel Lerch was the basis of talks in Homer this week.

A key point of his book is that we should all be concerned about creating more sustainable communities by reducing energy consumption, using more local resources, using alternative energy and recycling more.

Even small cities like Homer have options for lessening the impact of oil price volatility, including reducing oil consumption, increasing reliance on locally produced food, promoting sustainable businesses and including oil cost analysis in emergency planning.

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Fate of the farmers

In case you missed it, here's a link to Thursday's KTUU valley report on how produce from Valley farms is doing during this cool and sometimes rainy summer we're having. Here's a screen grab of the story:

Cool summer: Valley farmers say their crops are about a month behind schedule. Ben Vanderweele says the cool weather didn't hurt the quality of his crop. He harvested lettuce Thursday.Cool summer: Valley farmers say their crops are about a month behind schedule. Ben Vanderweele says the cool weather didn't hurt the quality of his crop. He harvested lettuce Thursday.

The reporter interviewed Ben Vanderweele, who said his crop is just coming to market, about a month late.

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What's Fresh at the Anchorage Farmers Market

Anchorage Farmers' MarketAnchorage Farmers' Market

This market is located at 15th and Cordova in the Central Lutheran Church Parking lot every Saturday from 9-2.

Chemical Free VegetablesChemical Free Vegetables

Arctic Organics would like to make sure you stay informed about what we have available at the Anchorage Farmers Market each week. So they sent me this list.

white turnipswhite turnips


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