Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Chef Spanky, Anyone?

We checked out the Kodiak Farmer's Market last weekend.  What a fun way to start the weekend!  When we were stationed in the DC area, there were farmer's markets and road side stands with fresh fruits and veggies everywhere.  Not so much during our time in Key West, so it's nice to have this available.  For now, anyway.

It was predictably on the small side, but there were some unique products to choose from - like salmonberry jam.

I wasn't familiar with salmonberries until we got here.  They grow throughout the upper northwest and Alaska and they're kind of similar to raspberries.  The window of calling myself a girl closed about 15 years ago, but case in point that I never have been and never will be a country girl:  Hubby picks salmonberries right off the bush when he sees them while we're walking Cheety.  All I can think about is how it needs to be rinsed off first.  And what if an animal peed on it or a bird ate a little bit and left it?  You'd be eating peed on bird leftovers.  No thanks.  I know - ridiculous.  What can I say?

Although, I did finally give in and give one a try straight off the bush.  Eh.  It was okay.  Not nearly as sweet as a raspberry, but the same texture.  I'm sure the animal pee tainted the taste.  Needless to say, we didn't get any salmonberry jam on our farmer's market adventure.  (Ironically, the salmonberry jam I sampled was too sweet)

The farmer's market is held every Saturday morning during the summer and a little bit through September at the Kodiak Island Fairgrounds.  The fairgrounds are right up the road from Base Kodiak, so it's a quick little ride to get there.

The Fairgrounds are also where the Alaska State Fair and rodeo are held at the end of August each year.  Can't say I've ever been to a rodeo (remember - not a country girl), but we're sure as hell checking it out in a few weeks this year!  Yee-haw!  Maybe I'll mentor at the 4-H Club.  Because I'm so knowledgeable about livestock and farming.  Or not.  (there really does need to be a sarcasm font)

Once we meandered our way in to see what they had to offer, it was obvious why it's a good idea to get there right at 11AM when they open.  (Besides the fact that we tried to check it out the weekend before and it was completely empty and dismantled when we got there at 1:30, that is.  Live and learn.)  So, 11AM arrival time is key.

How can you not think of Gorgs & Fraggles
with the size of those radishes? Beautiful!
It was pretty crowded, but there was a nice variety in the products.  One guy was selling home made smoked salmon dog treats that he called "Fatties."  He's actually a Coastie who works at the air station with the hubby.  Maybe we'll pick some up for Cheets next week.

I was loving the presentation at this table.

There was one table with a very knowledgeable woman selling different varieties of goat's milk cheese.  Hubby was Mr. 20 questions man. We're talking "What do you feed them, how many do you have, what kind of goats are they," etc., etc. - I couldn't help wondering if he has secret plans for goats at some point in the future.  Which I have to say, I'm kind of down with, depending on where we end up.  GOATS!!  (related book recommendation:  The Dirty Life, by Kristen Kimball.  Intriguing, to say the least)

The selection of vegetables ranged from squash, zucchini, chard and lettuce to rhubarb, tomatoes, and carrots. And much more.  It all looked really good, and I love that it's grown locally.  Not that I don't get a kick out of the fact that we get our blueberries from Canada now, but it's always nice to support the local economy and be environmentally friendly at the same time.  I know, I'm a hippie at heart.

There was also a pretty good selection of freshly baked breads, and tons of cookies and jams.  We opted for a marmalade made by a guy who called himself Chef Spanky.  How could we possibly pass up getting something from someone who goes by that name?  He was a feisty, crunchy looking old guy who liked to crack a joke or two.  What can I say, personality and a unique nickname go a long way at the old farmer's market.  Why yes, Chef Spanky, I would like to purchase some of your marmalade.

We also picked up some home made salsa and fresh rhubarb.  Apparently the hubby has had a hankering for strawberry rhubarb pie lately.  I'm certainly not going to discourage him when the urge to bake overtakes him.  Desserts from scratch that I don't have to bake?  YES. 
I love the lady with the basket.  She's so farmer's market legit.

So our ride home resulted in the inevitable discussion of what we could try and sell at the farmer's market.  Anyone can purchase a table for five dollars, and whatever you offer up has to be home made and/or locally grown.

Hubby thought the home made dog treats were a good idea, but I was thinking something along the lines of rosemary focaccia bread.  We could easily grow the rosemary in pots at home and the hubby has always been a good cook and baker.  Granted, there's only a few more weeks left for the farmer's market before it turns into Narnia around here, but there's always next year.  I vote rosemary focaccia bread.  Easy to do, especially when I'm not the baker, right?  Ha.  I'll totally grow the rosemary, though.  Team effort!  So, here were our spoils from our first foray into the Kodiak Farmer's Market:

Home made salsa that reminded me of Amigo's salsa in Key West (so very good!), 
Alaska Grown rhubarb, and marmalade from Chef Spanky's Alaskan Creations

I'll definitely visit again, since the selection is different every week and there are only a few more weeks to take advantage.  I want pick up some of that goat's milk mozzarella I was delicious.  Who knows what kind of characters we may run into next time?  Some of these Kodiakans are eccentric and entertaining, to say the least.

Ta-Ta for now.

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