Editor’s Note: MAPP, Mobilizing for Action through Planning &Partnerships, is a local coalition that aims to use and build upon our strengths to improve our individual, family and community health. Health is defined broadly to include cultural, economic, educational, environmental, mental, physical and spiritual health.
Editor’s Note: MAPP, Mobilizing for Action through Planning &Partnerships, is a local coalition that aims to use and build upon our strengths to improve our individual, family and community health. Health is defined broadly to include cultural, economic, educational, environmental, physical and spiritual health.
Editor’s Note: MAPP, Mobilizing for Action through- Planning & Partnerships, is a local coalition that aims to use and build upon our strengths to improve our individual, family and community health. Health is defined broadly to include cultural, economic, educational, environmental, mental, physical and spiritual health.
Market may be officially over, but growers still plan to sell
By KYRA WAGNER
FOR THE HOMER NEWS
Yes, the Homer Farmers Market is “officially” over. No more credit card machine, no more music, no more Market memorabilia.
But that doesn’t mean that there won’t be a place to get fresh and local. Our growers still have plenty to offer. Robert Heimbach for instance, has no idea when he will run out of cabbage, carrots and beets. As Robert eloquently put it, “I ain’t quitting. I don’t have the luxury of quitting.”
The days are getting shorter. That simply means that there is more to try to cram into smaller days, right?
One thing you need to cram into these shorter days is the last official Homer Farmers Market and its Harvest Meal Potluck.
The Harvest Meal gives you the chance to knock out several things on your list of to-dos at the same time. You get to:
1. Eat a great meal;
2. Celebrate another year of bountiful harvest;
3. Celebrate community with friends;
4. Enjoy live music by the String Alongs;
If you are also a big fan of the Homer Farmers Market, you probably get their e-newsletter and see that there are recipes in it every week. Some folks just know food and flavor so well that they make amazing dishes without recipes. Some, like me, only make good taste testers.
But I get brave when there is a recipe. Let me tell you from experience, however, that not all recipes are created equal. So I will definitely go for one a friend gives me from a long family lineage long before I get one off the Internet.
I take inventory of the kinds of veggies being sold at the Homer Farmers Market every week. This means that I walk around with a clip board and look official even though I am not doing a doggone thing to help organize or set up the Market.
But it does give me a chance to wander around to all the stalls and listen to what people are saying, see what vendors have, chat with everyone on the planet (it seems) and get a good idea of the pulse of the Market.
Does fall always come in August? For some reason the red leaves of the fireweed are a little extra shocking to me this year.
Luckily there is no reason to hibernate yet.
Instead it is simply time to plan ahead. Have you gotten your fill of your favorite fresh veggies yet? It would be nice if we could eat so many of them that we got our fill till next year, but that doesn’t usually happen.
What is a farmer to do when the end of the Market rolls around and there are veggies left over? I have the feeling that farmers eat a lot of pickles and sauerkraut.
I have a neighbor who pickles everything that gets ahead of her in her garden: turnips, peas, beans, you name it. Pickling can be sweet or savory (sweet ginger pumpkin pickles are my favorite) and need nothing more than fresh veggies, vinegar and spices.
The cutest day of the summer is upon us. The Homer Farmers Market Zucchini Festival will be this weekend. This silly festival of fun is perfect for the whole family and even celebrates one of the most maligned vegetables around.
This is the season for all kinds of Alaskan berries, but it is definitely the time for raspberries. Picking (and eating) in our garden the other day I realized that raspberries are the perfect food to showcase the state of our food system.
First of all, just like I wonder why everyone doesn’t grow as much of their own food as possible, I wonder why everyone doesn’t grow raspberries. I’m kind of an idealist in this area — I would love to see everyone’s food security handled at the local level so that no family is at the whim of economic fluctuations or market factors.
This season is moving fast. Summer always does, but never like this. There are already beans and peas and, yes, pumpkins down at the Homer Farmers Market.
Our early season caught Bob Durr by surprise. He planted hundreds of pumpkins this year figuring that they would be ready for decorating for Halloween, but they are already getting ripe on the vine. Between the pumpkins and butternut squash he planted in three greenhouses, he has more than 1,000 plants producing like they are growing in California.
I made a huge mistake at the Homer Farmers Market last week. I told a friend who was visiting from out of town that I would meet him there. And then I forgot to specify the time. I didn’t have his number so I couldn’t call and check in. I just had to see if he came and hope I saw him in the crowd.
It turned out to be a blessing. Instead of running through the Market with a mission, I stopped and chatted with tons of friends, the familiar vendors, and even got some work arranged around an upcoming board meeting.
Agriculture in Homer has been evolving over the years. Before Alaska was a state, Alvin Mattox was running his cows down on the Beluga Flats (think Mattox Street), but when the dam was built to create Beluga Lake he moved to where Kachemak Selo is now so he could continue to run his cows on the mineral-rich grasses of the tidal flats.
I just so happened to be in Glennallen last week and stumbled upon their Wednesday Farmers Market. I get all giddy when I see homegrown vegetables, I’m funny that way, so my husband and I had to start up a conversation with the one vendor who had veggies.
The Homer Farmers Market is in the perfect location.
Very few markets have the good fortune of a permanent location so that tents and infrastructure can stay up all summer.
That means that instead of just a pop-up tent village, our Market booths are more permanent, hand built, and full of personality.
I’ll just say it: we have a cute Farmers Market.
Even on a rainy day like last Saturday, the Homer Farmers Market is packed. It is filled with what are known as “co-producers.”
To understand what a co-producer is, we need to think about producers. They are the dedicated individuals who show up every week and stand in their booth (smiling or grumbling, depending on personality) chatting with Market patrons. They have been planning all week for this day, scheduling out harvest times and sequential plantings, noting quantities and quality of the different varieties of veggies they will be bringing.
I used to work in a small South American country for Peace Corps. I worked with a group of rural farmers who worked together to raise tomatoes commercially.
Their carefully picked tomatoes were loaded onto a big market truck that they waved down as it went by on the road. The driver would pay them 2,000 guaranies and sell the tomatoes for 3,000 in the capital. Customers in the city would pay 4,000. Some entrepreneurs would then load up leftover tomatoes and drive them out to little stores in the countryside.
By KYRA WAGNER
FOR THE HOMER NEWS
The Homer Farmers Market was bustling on opening day. The sun was shining, marimbas were playing and the booths were all full. The Homer Farmers Market is such an icon of this town that it may seem like it has been here forever. (For photos of opening day, see page 2.)
But how it has grown. I’m not necessarily talking about how it has a good 40 full booths practically every weekend through the summer or how full the parking lot is.
Editor’s Note: MAPP, Mobilizing for Action through Planning & Partnerships, is a local coalition that aims to use and build upon our strengths to improve our individual, family and community health. Health is defined broadly to include cultural, economic, educational, environmental, mental, physical and spiritual health.