If you haven’t been to the farmers market yet this summer, now is your last chance until the spring! Farmers markets are great because you keep your hard-earned dollars within your community, and those dollars go toward supporting your farmer and cottage food industry neighbors and friends. Food grown in Alaska is so special — surprisingly sweet at times, like our carrots, and sometimes huge, like our zucchini.
Work has been busy and stressful for me as of late, and generally, I think we’re all probably going through it. People I know and love are suffering the devastating effects of COVID-19 and friends and family are evacuating or battling choking smoke in Washington, California and Oregon. My friend’s parents might see their farm burn down in Oregon. In Washington, a childhood friend is seeing fires encroach on her hometown. My colleagues in Oregon are packed and ready for a seemingly inevitable evacuation notice. I’ve been staring out my spare bedroom window — where I’ve been spending most of the last few months — and am feeling both grateful and guilty about the clear skies and moderate temperatures. Every deep breath of fresh air is a gift that I never want to take for granted.
While trying to survive our current situation, the inspiration to cook elaborate and crowd-pleasing dishes is nonexistent for me. I still like to zone out to the always positive and charming Nadiya Hussain and her show, “Time to Eat,” on Netflix. If you haven’t seen it, I think it’s really delightful and it puts me in a good mood. I’ve also been really enjoying the always fun chaos that is Matty Matheson’s new YouTube series, “Home Style Cookery.” The other day, Matty Matheson posted a picture of a half-eaten tomato on Instagram — with a little salt, pepper and olive oil drizzled on top — with the caption “SUPPER WAS 3 TOMATOES EATEN OVER THE SINK.” And that really sums up the kind of energy I’m feeling right now.
My boyfriend and I love to visit the neighborhood farmers market and buy some veggies. We cut them all up and roast them on a sheet pan with salt, pepper and olive oil. Fresh vegetables don’t need much else. Our apartment is no longer 85 degrees inside and so using the oven is now acceptable. Cooking dinner with the oven is underrated. We just chopped up the veggies together, put it on the sheet pan and in less than an hour, we were at our table, eating from a pile of roasted veggies. There’s only two weeks left for our farmers market, and we are trying to make the most of it. Get some veggies, roast them, top them with spices and oil and maybe get crazy with some fresh herbs while you’re at it.
This is sort of a non-recipe recipe. When you pick out your veggies, find the best roasting temperature for it by Google, or pick up the book “Ruffage.” The book has chapters dedicated for each of the 70 or so vegetables the book highlights. Each chapter includes best methods for finding, storing and cooking that particular product. You’ll probably need to set your oven somewhere in the 400-degree range and roasting may take anywhere from 30 minutes or more, depending on what you’re cooking.
On the peninsula, the Soldotna Saturday Farmers Market near the historic Soldotna Post Office and Soldotna Elementary School has their last day from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., Sept. 26. The Soldotna Wednesday Market at Soldotna Creek Park ends 11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Sept. 30. The Homer Farmers Market ends 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., Sept. 26. The Alaska Food Hub, which is like a virtual farmers market, ends Oct. 14 for people picking up in Ninilchik and Soldotna, and Nov. 4 for folks picking up their food in Homer.