KYRA WAGNER

Farmers Market

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.

Farmers Market

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.

Farmers’ Market

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.

Farmers Market

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.

Farmers Market

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.

Farmers Market

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.

Farmers’ Market

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.

Farmers’ Market

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.  

Farmers’ Market

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.

Farmers’ Market

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.

Farmers’ Market

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. 

Farmers’ Market

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.

Farmers’ Market

This is the best time of the year for visiting farms and gardens. Last weekend’s Homer Garden Club garden tours had more than 300 visitors. With everything growing, it’s hard to resist a peek.

Farmers’ Market

Tomatoes have started showing up at the Homer Farmers’ Market.  Even some artichokes and pumpkin. The summer is in full swing. But vegetables aren’t the only aspect of diversity at the Market.  

The craft vendors never cease to impress me with their skill and diversity. Last weekend I saw custom-made guitars and custom-made signs. There are detailed pencil drawings by Karol Kahn Miller and scrimshaw by Brian Burns.

Farmers’ Market

We have passed a milestone at the Homer Farmers’ Market. We have cauliflower. 

That may not seem like a big deal to many, but every Saturday I keep track of the seasonality of the veggies at the Market and cauliflower is a landmark.

Farmers’ Market

I just spent a week in a class where the food was provided. Three square meals a day. Just imagine. No planning, no prep, no shopping. Just sitting down to an immaculately prepared meal.

Yes, it was divine. But it also brought home for me one of the most important aspects of food: the sharing. Each day more than 20 of us sat down together and ate our meals. We talked. We shared. We got serious. We laughed.

Farmers’ Market

“Look at those beets! This is so exciting!”

I can’t help but smile when I hear someone getting all worked up about vegetables at the Homer Farmers’ Market. It lets me know that I’m not the only one who is divinely happy just because Bob Durr brought strawberries to the Market this week or because Jen and Paul’s green garlic smells so unbelievably vibrant.

Does that make me a Market nerd? So be it.  

Farmers’ Market

The Homer Farmers’ Market is a world unto itself. If you were to go back in time to the central square of the medieval village, this is what you would find: a bustling market.

This little village should have a shield or a crest, right? You can see the market symbol the minute you walk up to the info booth at the entrance. Designed by Scott Miller from the Wood Diamonds booth, this emblem is on the new Alaska Grown T-shirts.

Farmers’ Market: Quantity, quality of produce belie winter stories

It is officially summer. To grow produce for the Homer Farmers’ Market, however, you have to hit the ground running in the spring to take advantage of the short growing season.

This year most of the farmers at the market planted their gardens in May. Because of the cold winter, everyone seemed to agree that the ground was ready about two weeks later than normal. But the quantity and quality of produce at the market is not two weeks late. You can see that there are already vegetables available like carrots, broccoli and peas.

Farmers’ Market survey will attempt to assess damage caused by harsh winter

You could say this has been an odd year for weather. You probably won’t hear much complaining right now, however, since everyone is so glad to see this much sun after two terribly dreary summers in a row.  

At last week’s Homer Farmers’ Market I talked to some producers who take note of the weather. Those who are depending on rain catchment to water their high tunnels are either starting to get nervous or already are buying water.

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