How can it be that even though it is the earliest date the Homer Farmers Market has ever opened, it feels so late? Yes, it’s finally Memorial Day weekend and time to jump into our favorite local food access point.
It’s like the season is just opening for hunting.
Fresh veggies are rare creatures in Alaska. They often are elusive, completely migrating south in the winter time. You have to know where to find them, know their characteristics and seasonality. You wouldn’t dream of looking for zucchini here in March, but you certainly could find fresh, tasty greens. Now you just need to hunt for them in the right location.
This is where the challenge comes. Where do you get fresh Alaskan Grown veggies? The Homer Farmers Market is an obvious location with its stalls stocked to the top with veggies of all kinds. What about a local farmer directly? What about a local store? Why go through this effort of hunting?
Because there is simply nothing better than eating fresh veggies, whether you are talking about health, vitamins, the local economy, or overall community-based resiliency. The joy of growing your own food feeds you in myriad ways, but when you buy it locally it also has wide-ranging effects. Since they say that more than 95 percent of our Alaskan food is imported, that means all of that money leaves the state.
So here is the challenge as you stalk those veggies: pledge to spend $5 per week on Alaska Grown produce. If every Alaskan spent $5 per week on Alaska Grown products, year-round, it would have an $188 million impact. That’s $15 million here on the Kenai Peninsula alone.
And that’s with just $5. With that little bit, you will help local farmers, boost the local economy, increase Alaska’s food security and eat better, too.
And you can start by sneaking up on veggies at the Market this weekend. With live music, kids activities, crafts, friends and food, what could be a better place?
So take the challenge and head on down this Saturday from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Ocean Drive.
Kyra Wagner is the director of Sustainable Homer and the Homer Farmers Market’s biggest fan.