With summer around the corner, local farmers’ and craft fairs are sprouting up throughout town.
The Central Kenai Peninsula is home to four distinct markets purchase local produce and goods, so there are plenty of chances to eat ‘Alaska Grown.’
“The big week of farm products hitting the outdoor markets is the first week of June,” Heidi Chay, district manager of the Kenai Soil and Water Conservation District said.
The Saturday Market at the Kenai Visitors Center began on May 27 and runs from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. until Sept. 2, offering a wide variety of local crafts and goods.
The Farmers Fresh Market starts on June 6 and runs until September on Tuesday afternoons from 3 to 6 p.m. It is located at the Central Peninsula Food Bank near Community College Drive on Kalifornsky Beach Road.
“Because it’s at the food bank and benefits the bank, the concept is to be uniquely an all food- and farm-based market,” Chay said. “You might see products that were made at the farm, but it will mostly be all food.”
The Soldotna Wednesday Market takes place from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Wednesdays starting June 10 in Soldotna Creek Park. The market will run every Wednesday through late August and is paired with Music in the Park and a beer and wine garden which will be open from 6 to 9 p.m. each Wednesday.
The Soldotna Saturday Market, also known as the Central Kenai Peninsula Farmers’ Market, opens for the season on June 10 and runs each Saturday from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on the corner of the Kenai Spur Highway and East Corral Avenue.
The market, which is the longest running and oldest market in the area, is open to all types of vendors and welcoming to first-time vendors.
“Anyone who wants to be a vendor should come down around 9 a.m. and we can get them set up,” Market Manager Claton Hillhouse said.
Vendors have to pay a one time fee of $10 to cover insurance and then an additional $10 daily fee to vend.
“If you have art work, it has to be Alaska made,” Hillhouse said. “If you bring produce, it has to be Alaska grown. You can’t bring something in from Texas.”
Hillhouse said that each week, the market’s vendors will vary since their is no weekly obligation to come.
“It’s usually around 20 vendors on any given Saturday,” Hillhouse said. “It’s not always the same ones… they come when they can. What usually happens is that people with produce will come in when they have it available.”
For more information about the central peninsula markets, the ‘Kenai Loves Local Food Directory’ is being distributed throughout the area.
“I’m really excited about it being the second year of the full-color ‘Kenai Loves Local Food Directory,’” Chay said. “Inside that directory is information on all four central peninsula outdoor markets and the local farmers featured there.”
Reach Kat Sorensen at firstname.lastname@example.org