This Saturday down at the Homer Farmers Market folks are celebrating prolific vegetables. Yes, indeed, it is time for the Fourth Annual Zucchini Festival. There will be a Zucchini Recipe Swap at the Info Booth, Zucchini Car Construction at the Kids Activity Zone with Zandra, Zucchini Car Races at 1 p.m. and the Largest Vegetable Contest at 2 p.m.
There is always a sense of community down at the Homer Farmers Market. You can’t go down there without running into someone you know, chatting with a vendor or watching as the kids play together and folks sit soaking up the atmosphere. Constant sharing has always been a mark of the Market.
Flowers bring even more to the Homer Farmers Market than all those flower baskets and beautiful bouquets. At this time of year we also start to see evidence of their bountiful nectar as bottles of honey start popping up at different booths.
Honey is like gold and goes quick. There is no one producer right now who only sells honey, so you will have to search for it throughout the Market. Usually beekeepers will partner up with other vendors to use booth space since the honey season goes so quickly.
I have had so much fun this summer writing about the different farmers at the Homer Farmers Market. Some are easy to write about because they are eager to share stories, others not so much.
Paul and Jen Castellani of Will Grow Farm are not the sort to talk much about themselves. Mostly they just told me to thank everyone who supports the Market. They don’t have to brag, you see their story each week in their stand full of fresh, organically grown veggies.
This has been a super year of weather for veggies and everyone is benefitting down at the Homer Farmers Market. With the quantity and variety available, it’s hard to believe that so few people are providing it.
There is no better example of farmers manically planting massive quantities of veggies than Bob Durr. He used to work 12-14 hour days in the housing projects of New Jersey and then unwind at the end of the day by doing chores for his 50-plus head of livestock.
This time of the year is full of color with flowers in blossom everywhere. When cutting flowers from outside, or better yet the ones you get from the Homer Farmers Market, let me tell you how to make flowers last better in a vase.
First, recut the stems, making sure to cut them at an angle so there is more surface area to soak up the water. Change the water to keep it clean, cool and fresh and place the flowers out of the sun.
The summer is moving along at an incredible pace. The fireweed is already blooming, rather than waiting for August. The snow across Kachemak Bay is more sparse than ever.
And production down at the Homer Farmers Market continues to ramp up.
Are you manic yet?
It’s summer in Alaska. Lots of light, things growing fast, always getting ready for the next thing. You can see the signs of manic farmers down at the Homer Farmers Market in the huge savoy cabbage and kohlrabi, the delicately arranged flowers and herbs, the carefully bagged mixes of lettuces, and the multitude of other manic veggies.
Who does all that work? Let me tell you, farming is not a solitary occupation. A perfect example is Homer Gardens, owned by Ken Hahn.
Despite the fact that we are proud to have absolutely no fish farming allowed in Alaska, we also are proud to have a wonderful variety of fish available at the Homer Farmers Market. When it comes to seafood options, there may not be a more fun place to find what you want.
Seeing all those plants at the Homer Farmers Market can be a real inspiration. Whether it’s the aroma of those succulent herbs, the promise of budding beauty from the flowers or your competitive side that gets going when you see all the produce like greens or cucumbers or onions that is already coming in, the Market brings out the rabid gardener in most of us.
I love all the booths at the Homer Farmers Market, brimming with flowers and vegetables, crafts and food. That’s why it takes me so long to walk through. There could be a pulled pork sandwich hiding behind the coffee and teas, some morels behind the strawberry plants, cucumbers hidden by the basil.
The night before the last Market the wind howled and even snow fell, an abrupt reminder that this May was unseasonably warm and not to be taken for granted.
And though the day was brisk and windy down at the Homer Farmers Market, vendor booths were still stocked with lush greens, garlic and onions, beets and potatoes, flowers and herbs.
The Market season has started. Last weekend was a flurry of activity, great warm weather (the smoke even cleared in the afternoon) and lots of produce, starts and crafts.
There were plenty of familiar and new things to take in. Everyone got to try out the new layout and see the familiar faces of the vendors. The Market opened with the familiar sounds of Shamwari Marimba and then in the afternoon the stage was graced with the random appearance of a gypsy jazz band, the Hot Club of Nunaka Valley, performing later that day in Seldovia.
You could finally see it starting last weekend, the welcome sight of the tents going up at the Homer Farmers Market. This Memorial Day weekend the Market starts at 10 a.m. Saturday. As the weather would suggest, things are growing like crazy so you will be able to find all kinds of eager veggies to take home and starts for your own garden.
It sure is a good thing we have amazing growers in this area.
Just in case you haven’t finished putting up sauerkraut and kimchi or haven’t had your fill of cauliflower and carrots or if you still need to fill your root cellar (or just a cool space in the back of your garage) with potatoes, there still is hope.
Kenai Peninsula Borough Mayor Mike Navarre has declared this Harvest Moon Local Foods Week — a chance to explore and celebrate local food, including seafood and farming.
The Sept. 18-19 full moon is the Harvest Moon (the full moon closest to the autumnal equinox) and there is harvest indeed. This week is the time to get in touch with local food on all levels.
Level 1: Local food at home.
Did you know that it would take 1.9 United States of Americas a year to develop enough resources for one United States of America?
We consume more than we produce. When we reach that point where we are consuming more than we produce or regenerate we have reached “Overshoot Day.” In 2003, Overshoot Day was on Sept. 22. This year it was on Aug. 20.
People are starting to get antsy. The hours of daylight are getting noticeably shorter. The fireweed has gone to seed. I can hear the nervousness in people’s voices when they ask, “How much longer is the Homer Farmers’ Market going to be open?”
Locals pay attention to these things. Six weeks after the last fireweed blossom it will snow, they say. When the Farmers’ Market closes, summer is really over.
I have good news. You can relax. There is still a whole month left of Market Saturdays and Wednesdays.
Buckets. It’s time to bring buckets with you when you come to the Homer Farmers’ Market. Sure, it’s nice if you remember to bring your own shopping bag, but at this time of the year you might as well bring your five-gallon buckets.
Or Lori Jenkins is selling tie-dyed bags that can hold 40 pounds. Maybe that would do.
A new level has been reached at the Homer Farmers’ Market. I know it’s hard to believe, but the Market can get even better.
Every week I keep a tally of the veggies coming in, so that we can track the seasonality of the produce at the Market. How early can we get carrots? How late can we have romaine? Over the years our local farmers have gotten more skilled at bringing in more varieties earlier and later.