Last day of the season for Anchorage Farmers Market

Last day of the season for Anchorage Farmers Market
Published: Oct. 14, 2023 at 3:41 PM AKDT|Updated: Oct. 14, 2023 at 5:18 PM AKDT
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ANCHORAGE, Alaska (KTUU) - As vendors prepare for winter and the market’s operations draw to a close for the season, a steady stream of shoppers crowded the Anchorage Farmers Market on Saturday morning.

Shoppers relished the last chance to stuff their reusable bags with the final crop of locally-grown vegetables, lush leafy greens and even beautiful blooms right in the heart of Midtown at the Central Lutheran Church property.

Shopping locally is something that runs in the Severin family.

“If I could buy something that’s local that’s better or every bit as good as getting it at the store, I’d rather support the local people”, shopper Sam Severin said.

“Food here is also better,” said his son Charlie Severin, who happily munched on a fresh carrot as the Severin boys picked up a beautiful bouquet of flowers for mom — the hottest item of the day — from Hatcher Pass Dahlias.

Serena DuBose shared the question she and Rob Wells, owner of Hatcher Pass Dahlias, are used to hearing at this time of year.

“It is our most often asked dahlia question — how do you store your dahlias?” DuBose said.

“We will have to dig up the plants to store them over the winter, which is challenging.”

Moving the plants indoors often isn’t enough to save the blooms from winter’s icy grasp.

“We’ve tried all different ways,” DuBose said. " Every year we lose some, and some years we’ve lost a lot.”

But winter is still a crucial time for farmers and growers.

”That rest period they have over the winter is really a key to the whole thing, otherwise we can’t start up again,” DuBose said. The flowers will be replanted in March and soak up the spring and summer sunshine before the plants once again have to be removed and stored.

DuBose advises those who grow dahlias at home not to stress out if their plants don’t make it through the colder seasons. She said many other dahlia growers find success with wintering techniques as simple as just removing the plant and placing it in a cardboard in a garage. DuBose advises other dahlia growers not to worry if their flowers don’t live to see the spring.

“Treat it as an annual — you spend lots of money on baskets of petunias and different things, so just let them go and get some more,” she said.

Although the market will take the next few months off, it is expected to return in June. Some vendors will be selling their products throughout the winter at other community markets, including the South Anchorage Farmers Market, which has relocated to Bell’s Nursery. Other pop-up markets are also in the works for the winter months.

The Anchorage Farmers Market runs Saturday mornings from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Central Lutheran Church at 1420 Cordova Street. The market will return in May and run through at least the end of September.