By Sara Conyers
Homer Farmers Market Vista Volunteer
With only three Saturday markets left, don’t forget to purchase your turkey raffle ticket. First-prize winner receives a ready-to-bake, Homer-grown turkey, along with a basket of turkey-day trimmings. Delivery is available as far as Kenai. Runners-up will receive Farmers Market coins, tote bags and a Homer Farmers Market/AK Grown hoody.
Available at the information booth, one ticket is $5 or buy five for $20. Proceeds from the raffle support the Homer Farmers Market Scholarship Program. Proceeds from the 2012 turkey raffle were awarded this spring through two scholarships of $750.
The 2013 awardees were the Jackinsky Family, owners of the L.O.V.E./Legacy Heirlooms family farm and the Haven House women’s shelter, which sponsors a Peoples’ Garden. Joshua and Jordan Jackinsky, with their daughters, developed their family garden into a budding acclimated heirloom seed business. Their scholarship request responded to the need for locally sourced and acclimated seed varieties that were cost-effective. By using locally acclimated seed varieties, farmers could plant earlier and harvest later into the year with confidence.
In order to achieve an acclimated variety, plants need to be grown for multiple generations before harvesting their seed for sale. Recognizing the need for lengthening the Alaska growing season, additional green houses and low tunnels had to be built. By mid-March 2013, more than 6,000 seedlings were growing in their unheated greenhouse.
Through a labor of love, community support and the Homer Farmers Market scholarship funding, the Jackinsky family has begun its dream of providing local and sustainable heirloom seeds to farmers and gardeners throughout Alaska.
Haven House, the second recipient of the Farmers Market Scholarship, has established several raised bed gardens which provide healthy summer meals and snacks for their residents. The gardens are maintained by Haven House staff, volunteers and residents. Katie Klann, Haven House garden coordinator, explained the therapeutic and calming role gardening has played in individual residents and their families lives.
Haven Houses’s scholarship request was to expand their food production to raise chickens for egg production, and compost. Chickens also represent another therapeutic opportunity for residents through caring for the birds and collecting their eggs.
Over the spring and summer, Haven House residents learned and shared how to care for their chicks. They researched and built a coop for three hens, and hope to expand their flock next year. “The kids get plenty of exercise rounding up runaway chickens in the yard,” said Klann. “It has been great fun to see the women and children who come in and out of Haven House interact in our garden space and with the chickens. In the process, many gain healthy, positive moments to carry with them.”
This program was successful because of the support of community members. You can support the Farmers Market scholarship program by purchasing a turkey raffle ticket at Wednesday or Saturday markets.
Last Saturday at Chef at the Market, we had a great discussion and demonstration with nutritional therapist, Jen Dickson on probiotic and fermented foods. Dickson explained that, just like the variety of foods that can be pickled, you can also ferment them. She explained how to use whey, or a non-dairy vegetable-based culture starter.
Or, if you are feeling good about your produce source, try a “wild fermentation” with just salt and your choice of veggie. Dickson teaches these demonstrations in Homer, Anchor Point and Seldovia and is available for nutritional consultation. This Saturday, don’t miss Lori Jenkins’ presentation on veggie snacks for kids from 1 to 3 p.m. in the back activities tent.
(Nourishing Traditions–Sally Fallon)
1 medium cabbage
1 Tbsp. sea salt
4 Tbsp. Whey
Cut cabbage in thin slices and mix with salt and whey in a large bowl. Use potato masher or hands to bring out moisture. Place cabbage mixture in wide mouth jars, compacted two inches below rim. Cover with one inch brine (add brine of salt water, 1 tsp.:1 qt., if needed)
Cover with lid, and leave at room temperature four to seven days. Refrigerate.
3 medium turnips
2 medium kohlrabi
8 medium carrots
2 red onions (optional)
2 Tbsp. sea salt
1/2 cup whey
Coarsely chop veggies and add as much ginger and garlic as you like. Combine salt and whey to veggie mix. Place in wide-mouth jars, two inches below rim. Cover with one inch of brine (1 tsp. salt: 1 qt. water). Cover with lids and leave at room temperature 4-7 days. Refrigerate and enjoy.
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