I have noticed that the sandhill cranes seem to be circling more and more. Their mass exodus to the south seems imminent. Beekeepers are harvesting the bounty from the fireweed as I start to see more and more of the flowers turning to fluff.
Clearly that means it’s time to stock up.
Down at the Homer Farmers Market and on the Alaska Food Hub you can see that our area farmers are ready to provide for your stocking up needs. There are so many ways to preserve things for the winter, but it all starts now.
The cabbage that makes the best sauerkraut is not the weeks-old variety from the store, but the fresh heads picked within hours before you take them home. Add a touch of other veggies to spice it up like smoked jalapeños or a touch of beets or carrots for color. If you like it spicey, maybe taking that Napa cabbage and creating your favorite version of kimchi is your way to go. You would have to buy the ginger, but otherwise your local farmers can supply you with all the freshest ingredients you’d need.
Maybe it’s a perfect pasta dish that is your comfort food after a day working out in the winter snow. Now is the time to score the best garlic possible and the tomatoes that actually taste like tomatoes rather than cardboard. There is no better way to replicate the old family recipes than with the freshest ingredients.
Whether you are canning veggies from the Farmers Market or moose or salmon or jams and jellies from the abundance of Alaska wild foods, please do so safely. According to Linda Tannehill, the home economics Cooperative Extension agent for the Kenai Peninsula, the hardest part of her job is countering bad information people get from the internet. Botulism is not fun, so make sure to reference proper canning techniques from Cooperative Extension publications at www.cespubs.uaf.edu.
Regardless whether you stock up in cans or a root cellar or just really like to get your fill of fresh stuff while it’s here, our local farmers are flooded right now with the bounty you need.
The Market is open on Wednesdays from 2-5 p.m. too as well as Saturdays from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Ocean Drive.
Kyra Wagner is the coordinator of Sustainable Homer and the Homer Farmers Market’s biggest fan.