Last Dance

Sitka Fine Arts Camp elementary age campers dance with instructor Brendan Jones in their final day of camp today at the Sheldon Jackson College Campus. Middle School Camp, for grades seven thru nine, begins Monday. Registration is still open at 907-747-3085. (Sentinel Photo by Klas Stolpe)

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Daily Sitka Sentinel

May 25, 2023, Community Happenings

Two Food Businesses

Win Innovation Prizes

Andrea Fraga of Middle Island Gardens and Michael Miller of Field to Fire are the winners of the sixth annual Sitka Food Business Innovation Contest, sponsored by the Sitka Local Foods Network.

Middle Island Gardens, operated by Fraga and Kaleb Aldred, has been a regular participant of the Sitka Farmers Market for several years. Field to Fire is a new business in Sitka, but Miller has operated the pre-made packaged meal company at farmers markets in the St. Louis area.

“We’re glad to support two businesses that are trying to bring more local food into Sitka’s food system,” SLFN board president Charles Bingham said. “Middle Island Gardens has been one of Sitka’s main suppliers of fresh, local produce for nearly a decade, while Field to Fire plans to use locally sourced ingredients in his meals.”

Fraga said she plans to use her winnings to make repairs around her small farm, which is located on one of Sitka’s barrier islands. The repairs will fix some winter damage and open up new space for growing produce.

“Middle Island Gardens will use the prize money to make repairs to our veggie wash and pack station, which was smashed by a large tree last winter, and to offset costs associated with machine rental to clean up the fallen tree,” Fraga said. “We are nearly done removing the tree and plan to expand our growing space into its footprint.”

Middle Island Gardens started selling produce at the Sitka Farmers Market in 2016, and has been a regular market vendor since. Fraga and Aldred grow about half of the locally grown produce sold at each market. They grow garlic, lettuce and other greens, carrots, turnips, onions and flowers on their farm, and they use a skiff to bring the fresh veggies to town.

“While this event is a major setback for us, once we have removed the fallen tree and its root wad, we will be able to utilize the footprint of this large tree for new growing space,” Fraga wrote on her contest entry form. “Additionally, we hope to see increased success in the edible crops grown in the area, as they will no longer be competing with an old growth spruce tree for nutrients and sunlight.”

Miller said he plans to use his prize to buy supplies for launching his Sitka business. He moved to Sitka when his wife, Julie, took a clinical dietician job at SEARHC-Mt. Edgecumbe Medical Center, and he now works at the MEMC kitchen.

“What an incredible honor it is to have won this contest,” Miller said. “I very much look forward to providing unique, delicious and sustainable meal options to this amazing community.”

At his St. Louis operation, Miller has more local farmers to work with to source locally grown produce for his small-batch meals. He still intends to source locally grown produce in Sitka, if enough is available. He also plans to work with local fishermen to provide seafood dinners.

“Now that we have relocated to Southeast Alaska, we are focusing in on the sustainable seafood market with hopes to build a line of products caught ethically and sustainably and processed in the region,” Miller wrote on his contest entry. “Building ties to the community and telling the story in our products are just a few of our core operational goals.”

In addition to using locally sourced ingredients as much as possible, Miller said he plans to do his own pickling, processing, and preserving produce so he can have local product available through the winter.

“Our products will be prepared by hand using a small-batch cooking method,” Miller said. “All of the dishes will be made with the freshest and most thoughtfully sourced products available. Meals come in recyclable, microwave-safe containers. Portion sizes are generally 16 ounces for soups, curries and entrées, and eight ounces for dips and appetizers. All products come available frozen.”

He plans to have a presence at the Sitka Farmers Market, and also to offer pop-up events where people can buy his food. In addition, he had plans to start a meal subscription service where people can order weekly meals.

Last year’s winners were Gretchen Stelzenmuller of Enoki Eatery (musubi with an Alaska twist), and  Edith Johnson and Lexi Fish-Hackett with an unnamed fish broth project to use fish waste.

The 2021 winners were Joanne “Chef Jo” Michalski of Muddy Mermaid Mudd Pies (frozen yogurt pies) and Nalani James of Eggstravgant (eggs from her chickens). The 2020 winners were Andrew Jylkka of Southeast Dough Company (fresh sourdough bread and fermented foods) and Levi Adams of Forage and Farm (mushroom growing and foraging). In 2019, winners were Brittany Dumag of Castaway (food cart with Cuban pork sandwiches using Alaska pork) and Tamara Kyle of Sitka Sauers (fermented foods), with a special youth winner award for Abigail Ward of Sitka Spices (meat and fish rubs). In 2018, the winner was Hope Merritt of Gimbal Botanicals (beach greens and local teas).

 

 

 

Summer Reading

Program to Launch

The summer reading program at Sitka Public Library begins Saturday, June 3.

‘‘Reading is like a free vacation –  it takes you anywhere you want to go,’’ the library said.

This summer’s theme is ‘‘All together Now.’’ 

It is open to young people, preschool through young adult, with programs, prize drawings, and other activities. Everyone is invited to join the program all through the summer.  

Registration for “All Together Now” begins June 3. For information, call 747 4020 or visit social media and the library’s website.  

 

All programs are free of charge. 

 

Jessica Davis Earns

Bachelor’s Degree

Jessica Davis of Sitka is one of more than 600 students who received diplomas from Harding University, Searcy, Arkansas, during a commencement ceremony on May 6.

Davis received a bachelor of business administration in accounting.

She is a 2019 Sitka High graduate.

 

Summer Preschool

Story Time on Tap

Preschool story-time returns to Sitka Public Library on 10:30 a.m. Thursday, June 1.

The program’s theme is “Frozen Treats” and the book by Elisabetta Pica “I Want Ice Cream” will be featured. Everybody is welcome. For information call Maite at 747-4022. 

 

Indiana Jones

At the Library

Sitka Public Library invites young explorers and adults to decode secret messages to find a treasure 10:30 a.m. Saturday, June 3.

The Indiana Jones Quest will require teams to find clues downtown. The program is for all ages, but children need to be accompanied by at least one adult.

Registration is open through May 27. Only registered teams will get the first clue on June 3. For information call 907-747-4022 or e-mail maite.lorente@cityofsitka.org. 

The event is part of the ‘‘All Together Now’’ Sitka Public Library summer program. Registration for the summer program begins the same day. 

 

‘Stay and Play’

At the Library 

Babies, toddlers and siblings up to age 6 are invited to the Stay and Play summer program at Sitka Public Library 4-5 p.m. Tuesday, June 6,  in the library.

Families will have access to a variety of tinkering toys and activities in this self-guided program.

Materials will be available to use until 4:50 p.m. to allow for cleanup time. For information, e-mail Maite at maite.lorente@cityofsitka.org or call the library at (907) 747 4020.

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20 YEARS AGO

June 2004 

Advertisement: Mt. Edgecumbe Hospital Caring Employee of the month! Franklin Thomas Hospital Nutrition Services.

50 YEARS AGO

June 1974

Edna Revard is enjoying a much-deserved vacation: she and youngest son Joe are in Italy visiting her older son, Jack, his wife and child. Jack is with the military, stationed in Italy. Edna will be gone a month, the crew at Revard’s Restaurant says.

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