Homer Alaska - Business

Story last updated at 6:25 PM on Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Farmers' Market Connecting you to your food from seed to sale


What is Portuguese kale? That may be the first question that pops into your head when you see the dark green bunches down at the Homer Farmers' Market. The second question is, "And what do I do with it?"

Thank goodness for Google. A quick search when you get home will tell you that it also is known as a loose-leaf cabbage or collards. Now a clearer picture is forming. And, yes, that search will feed you more recipes than you will ever have time to try.

But maybe it's not the Portuguese kale at Dan and Luba's booth that caught your attention, maybe it's the geometric shapes of the romanesco broccoli over at Bob Durr's booth that puzzles you. Maybe you are looking for ideas on how to take advantage of the new items coming in like the cauliflower, beans or blueberries.

So, ask your farmer. That's the joy of the Farmers' Market; you are totally connected to the entire life-cycle of your food, from seed to sale. If Twitter Creek is growing Asian greens, for example, Emily can recommend a recipe for "Japanese Pancakes" (which, by the way, received rave reviews on the Homer Farmers' Market Facebook page).

For the next two weekends there will be another option for learning about the gifts of our local produce. There will be cooking demonstrations at the Market at 12:30 p.m. Join guest chef Mindy Parks from Alaska Ridgetop Inn to get ideas on how to cook seasonally with these fresh ingredients. She specializes in promoting sustainable homegrown foods while keeping nutrition in mind.

Whether it is Mindy's cooking demonstration, a farmer's cooking suggestions, the stained pages of an old cookbook that shows you the way to a heavenly meal, learning to take advantage of what we can grow here locally is the goal. Not only are you supporting local farmers, you are getting the freshest, healthiest food around.

So head on down to the Market on Ocean Drive Saturdays from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. and Wednesdays from 3-6 p.m. to load up on those veggies and get the inspiration for your next cooking adventure.

Kyra Wagner is the director of Sustainable Homer and the Homer Farmers' Market's biggest fan. She can be reached at kyra@ sustainablehomer.org.