Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Purple peppers are one of seven pepper varieties Glenn Sackett is groing in his greenhouses Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, in Sterling, Alaska.

Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Purple peppers are one of seven pepper varieties Glenn Sackett is groing in his greenhouses Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, in Sterling, Alaska.

Sackett’s produce stand keeps growing

  • By Kelly Sullivan
  • Saturday, September 26, 2015 10:08pm
  • News

For many local farmers, the growing season is almost finished on the Kenai Peninsula, and surplus produce is yet to sell.

Oblong green peppers, bulbous kohlrabi and protuberant tomatoes line the wooden table in front of Glenn Sackett’s organic vegetable stand in Sterling. For reasons unknown, his end-of-the-year yield remains unripe later into autumn than expected.

Inside the main towering greenhouse, 650 tomato plants are laden with heavy green bulbs. Dried yellowing leaves cover the vines because their water source was recently cut off.

“That’s seems to be the only way they get ripe,” Sackett said. “They are the best crop I have.”

Last year 800 tomato plants stretched from floor-to-ceiling in the larger of two greenhouses on his property. He cut competition by weeding down the number of stems stuffed into the space, and as a result, has bigger, better fruiting bodies.

Sackett has tweaked a few other things since the 2014 season, but in his third year, he says, most operational procedures have been kept the same. In the second, smaller greenhouse, he has staked beans with vines that wrap and rise into the rafters, and raised beds with beets, carrots, turnips, kale and onions among others.

He still uses Fritz Miller’s all-purpose fish fertilizer, and pickles much of his yield including cases of whittled, white cauliflower heads. Thursday morning, the stuffed quart jars were the “daily special” listed on a whiteboard posted beside the greenhouse door.

Richard Auclair, originally from Maine, has lived in the area for 7 years, and has started shopping at Sackett’s regularly this year. He came to sift through a bucket of cleaned carrots, Thursday.

“Why carrots? Because I like them and they are tasty,” Auclair said with a laugh.

The stand is cheaper than buying from stores in town, such as Fred Meyer, Auclair said.

“It’s fresh and it’s right here,” Auclair said. “That’s the biggest selling point for me.”

Sackett said his customer base has significantly increased through social media outreach and word-of-mouth, which he said, is the most effective method of advertisement in Alaska. His “right-hand-woman” Melissa Cates, a long-time patron of Sackett’s other business endeavor, Sackett’s Kenai Grill in Cooper Landing, has been the push behind the stand’s online presence. She said she “thinks it’s helped.”

Mostly, Cates, said, customers are word-of-mouth, as Sackett observed, and returners. Sackett said they are coming from all over the Kenai Peninsula now from Nikiski, Kenai, Cooper Landing to Moose Pass.

Cates works in the greenhouse weeding, picking and watering three days each week, adding an essential pair of hands that keeps the operation going, Sackett said.

In previous years Sackett has been looking to expand his sales to operate out of the large empty building that sits between his two greenhouses, but that may be a better option years down the line now. He said it hard paying the mortgage only off of tomatoes, but for now he is going to keep trying.

Thursday Sackett unloaded an industrial-sized food dehydrator, which will take care of any produce that doesn’t sell from the stand.

“It just takes time to make things happen,” Sackett said. “It takes years, but we have a lot more people talking about us.

Reach Kelly Sullivan at kelly.sullivan@peninsulaclarion.com

Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Glenn Sackett holds a trio of heirloom tomatoes Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, in Sterling, Alaska.

Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Glenn Sackett holds a trio of heirloom tomatoes Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, in Sterling, Alaska.

Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Glenn Sackett said his organic produce is nearing the end of the season Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, in Sterling, Alaska.

Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Glenn Sackett said his organic produce is nearing the end of the season Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, in Sterling, Alaska.

Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Glenn Sackett examines his parsley plants Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, in Sterling, Alaska.

Photo by Kelly Sullivan/ Peninsula Clarion Glenn Sackett examines his parsley plants Thursday, Sept. 24, 2015, in Sterling, Alaska.

More in News

Gary Porter, owner of Bald Mountain Air Service, stands in front of his Twin Otter airplane Friday, Oct. 22. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
City Council passes aircraft flat tax rate

The Homer City Council held a public hearing for Ordinance 21-62 concerning a flat tax on aircrafts.

Amelie Bignell, of Soldotna, drops a treat in the bucket of Hayden Jones, of Soldotna, on Saturday, Oct. 31, 2020, at a “trunk-or-treat” event at Orca Theatre on Kalifornsky Beach Road in Alaska. Jones was dressed as Vampirina. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
All Halloween all weekend

A sinister performance, pumpkin carving contest, food drive, pet microchip event and multiple trick-or-treats are on the docket.

Bill Elam (center) nominates Brent Hibbert to be president of the Kenai Peninsula Borough Assembly on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021 in Soldotna, Alaska. (Ashlyn O’Hara/Peninsula Clarion)
Johnson elected assembly president; Hibbert to be vice president

Prior to Tuesday, Johnson, who represents Kasilof, served as the assembly’s vice president.

Homer Senior Citizen Center residents participated in a worldwide Televeda bingo event to set a Guinness world record on Friday, Oct. 22. (Photo by Sarah Knapp/Homer News)
Homer senior citizens help break world record

The game was held to fight against social isolation in senior communities caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

This illustration provided by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in January 2020 shows the 2019 Novel Coronavirus. (CDC)
State hospitalizations still on the rise

Despite a decrease in cases, the state is still seeing hospitalization surge.

The Seward welcome sign is photographed in July 2021. (Photo by Jeff Helminiak/Peninsula Clarion)
Seward vice mayor and council member resigns

The council accept the resignation of Tony Baclaan during its Monday night meeting.

Ben Mohr watches Kenai River Junior Classic participants head out to fish on the Kenai River in Soldotna, Alaska, on Wednesday, Aug. 11, 2021. (Camille Botello / Peninsula Clarion)
Mohr resigns as director of KRSA

He has been the executive director of KRSA for nearly three years.

Heather and Hunter Phillips walk through the Kenai Community Library Haunted Hunt with their mom Kumi Phillips on Tuesday, Oct. 26, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Scary reads

Spooky literary characters come to life at Kenai library haunted house.

Most Read