It finally happened. The sun was visible in Homer, Alaska. And what a beautiful day it was for the Saturday Market.
This cool and rainy summer has been hard on the mental health of many. It’s fun to try to complain, however, to an old-timer who grew up here. A few times I have been quite simply reminded that this is Alaska and summers used to always be this chilly.
Back when the Homer Farmers Market began, Saturday markets opened in June rather than May and Wednesday markets didn’t open until July.
It’s true that we have gotten spoiled. I have been planting fruit trees in my yard that no one would have bothered to plant 50 years ago. But we also have some more resources that we didn’t have back then. The high tunnels that are now so prominent give producers a step up.
Talking to Lori from Synergy Gardens, she points out, however, that it depends on what you plant in there. Her cucumbers, for example, like it hot and sunny, even in a high tunnel. This year they are starved for light, so they are growing more leggy than they normally would, like starts that don’t have the grow lights close enough.
I peeked into the high tunnel at the Kachemak Bay Campus recently and saw a perfect example of a crop doing splendidly in the high tunnel this year. Kale. Normally a hearty outdoor crop, the added warmth of the high tunnel is creating a bountiful crop inside.
Dan and Luba at the Luba’s Garden booth has their kale outside like they always do, but this week will be the first time it will be big enough to harvest and bring to the Market. In recent years they have been able to have kale as a staple of their sales in June, but this year is a different story.
It can be a guessing game for farmers as to what will succeed each year.
So head on down to the Farmers Market Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. or Wednesday from 2-5 p.m. to see what crops are kicking in now that it’s getting warmer.