Farmers market season is winding down. But there’s still one more chance to celebrate local growers.
“This is kind of the last big hurrah for local farmers to sell their produce and for locals to stock up if they’ve missed their opportunity," said Heidi Chay, with the Kenai Local Food Connection. The organization is holding its Harvest Moon Local Food Festival on Sept. 18.
Chay said the festival is in part a celebration of how far the local food scene has come, even just since 2013, when the festival first started.
"Over the 10-year period that spanned 2013 to the present, we’ve approximately tripled the value of local food that’s grown on the Kenai Peninsula and sold direct to consumers," she said. "We have a 60 percent increase in the number of farms and it’s become clear that we are the fastest-growing farming area in the state.”
There will be more than three dozen vendors at the festival, including farmers and food trucks.
Local acts Mike Morgan, Nelson and Keeley Boyle, and Sue Biggs and Jack Will will serenade festival-goers as they shop and eat. There will also be educational booths and activities for kids, plus a pie-baking contest. Pies must include at least one Alaska-grown ingredient.
“We have a youth category, up to age 15, and then we have an adult category and a homesteader category added this year for ages 65 and older," Chay said.
Attendees can also take their produce to a fermentation station, where volunteers will prepare and jar it.
Chay said her own favorite fermentation creation is beets mixed with cabbage.
“So it’s a beautiful pink beet kraut," she said. Highly recommended.”
The outdoor festival is Sept. 18 at Soldotna Creek Park between 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. Chay said masks are encouraged at the festival and booths will be spread out to minimize coronavirus risk.