Farmers Market: Variety is key to fall market

As we enter into the last month of the Market, we enter into my favorite part of the season. Labor Day weekend is often the last hurrah for so many Homer businesses out on the Spit, but produce vendors are in full swing with biggest amounts of production and with the highest variety.

I always learn so much at the Homer Farmers Market. Variety is definitely the key word at this time of the year. Because all the berries are coming on we get to see new creations like the watermelonberry kombucha at the Love Farms booth, but also the addition of wild mushrooms like Chicken-of-the-woods and hedgehogs next to the collection of Darius’ cultivated mushrooms.

Every year at this time we start seeing potatoes coming in, but I have never seen any like the “Mascarade” variety that you can get at Dan and Luba’s booth. Colored like a patchwork of bright purple and yellow, these lively potatoes actually store wonderfully. For any of you who have a root cellar and know how it slowly heats up as summer goes on, you will appreciate Dan’s report that these potatoes lasted well into June.

For those of you who love the smell and beauty of those flashy peonies, you may be delighted to see that Marsha has captured them in a new peony jelly. The clear pink glow and floral smell of this new creation will be the perfect gift from the town that is trying to claim to be the “Peony Capital of Alaska.”

I even learn about new stuff that isn’t for sale. One grower talking to another last weekend was trying to figure out if anyone had success growing “cucamelons” or sour gerkins. She had a sample that looked like a watermelon but was the size of a grape. Who knew such things existed much less grew here?

And there is always the swapping of recipes for all the vegetables. What do you do with a kohlrabi the size of a football?

So head on down to the Homer Farmers Market Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. or on Wednesdays from 2-5 p.m. and see what varieties appeal to you.

Kyra Wagner is the coordinator of Sustainable Homer and the Homer Farmers Market’s biggest fan.