Farming & Gardening Season in South Central Alaska
Story by Cher
Photos by Cher and Chelsea
I enjoy visiting Palmer, Alaska, a quaint town about 40 miles north of Anchorage in the heart of the Matanuska Valley. The "Valley" is south central Alaska's historic farming district.
This summer marks the 75th anniversary of the arrival of the Matanuska Valley colonists. In Depression year 1935, Roosevelt's "New Deal" tried to help about 200 families rebuild their lives by relocating them from hard-hit areas of Minnesota, Wisconsin and Michigan to Alaska. The Colony and Cooperative are history now, but there remain good farms in the Valley.
Valley farms raise lots of lovely veggies which we can buy locally at farmer's markets. Our long daylight and cool weather grow some crops especially well . . . broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, chard, potatoes, peas, carrots. Especially carrots. I think our local Alaska carrots are the sweetest in the world. Garden candy.
But maybe potatoes are the cash crop. The Alaska Chip Company "mines" the Valley potatoes for their three varieties of local chips, and the Alaska Distillery creates their award winning Permafrost Vodka in the Valley from Valley potatoes. Their newest offering is smoked salmon flavored vodka (and maybe I'll even develop enough courage to try it.)
Happy July 4th and good gardening!