Jennifer Nu, Local Foods Director at Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition, left, takes inventory of fresh grown greens being delivered by Jackie Ebert, of Nunatak Foods, with her son Oliver, to the Salt & Soil Marketplace location at the Arts & Culture Center on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018. The nonprofit Salt and Soil Marketplace is staying open this winter and will offer a new Valley location to pick up Southeast-grown foods. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Jennifer Nu, Local Foods Director at Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition, left, takes inventory of fresh grown greens being delivered by Jackie Ebert, of Nunatak Foods, with her son Oliver, to the Salt & Soil Marketplace location at the Arts & Culture Center on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018. The nonprofit Salt and Soil Marketplace is staying open this winter and will offer a new Valley location to pick up Southeast-grown foods. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Online farmers market keeps going through winter

There’s supply and demand to stay in business out of growing season

It may be too cold for outdoor gardening, but that doesn’t stop local food producers.

In indoor farms, commercial kitchens and home workshops, small vendors from around Southeast are still producing enough greens, baked goods and seafood to keep pantries stocked all winter.

They’ll now have one more place to sell them. Online farmers market Salt and Soil Marketplace will stay open for its first winter. A new Mendenhall Valley pickup location and home delivery service are helping keep the direct-to-consumer market open when the mercury drops, said Communications Coordinator Lea Skaggs.

The market opened just last year, but closed for the winter. So many vendors have joined, especially lettuce and microgreen growers, the marketplace has stock to keep services going.

“We have tons and tons of greens, pretty much coming out of our ears,” Skaggs said.

[Online farmer’s market growing in second year]

It works like this: Market customers place orders online. Vendors deliver their goods to Salt and Soil, which sorts them and holds hours at three different locations for customers to pick up their orders. (They also deliver, Skaggs said, for a $5 fee).

Fish, tea, bake-at-home treats, kelp pickles, locally-roasted coffee and microgreens — the options don’t peter out in the cold months, Skaggs said.

Salt and Soil’s ability to keep offering greens is a cornerstone. Nunatak Foods is one of a handful of local green growers helping do so.

The business, which local woman Jackie Ebert started last year with her husband Pat Dryer, is one of the biggest purveyors of greens at Salt and Soil, Skaggs said.

On Thursday at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center, Ebert dropped off some butter leaf lettuce and assorted greens. That will get sorted by volunteers and Jennifer Nu, Local Foods Director with Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition, which runs Salt and Soil.

Holding her son Oliver, Ebert said she’s excited to keep doing business through the winter.

“I think it’s great for the community to still be able to purchase local products,” Ebert said.

Between Salt and Soil and Panhandle Produce, which is both a vendor and its own business, Ebert said it’s “really cool just to see the scene starting to take off.”

The marketplace’s overriding goal is to increase local food sustainability and boost the economy, Nu said.

Baker Eric Oravsky likes the mission, he said after stopping by the JACC to drop off some of his bake-at-home croissants. He worked as a baker around the world before starting dough manufacturer Alaska Bakehouse last fall.

He said he enjoys the sense of community the market instills. He does a lot of wholesale distributing, which accounts for most of his revenue, but selling through the marketplace means he gets to have more of a personal connection with his customers.

Encouraging a connection between food producers and consumers is important to him.

“There’s a lot of focus on having food here. We have a tremendous growing area, a tremendous bounty of food in the area,” Oravsky said.

Salt and Soil’s new location is at Hooked Seafoods, on Industrial Boulevard. Panhandle Produce in Lemon Creek and the JACC are the two other locations.


• Contact reporter Kevin Gullufsen at 523-2228 and kgullufsen@juneauempire.com. Follow him on Twitter at @KevinGullufsen.


Eric Oravsky, owner of Alaska Bakehouse, talks about the Salt & Soil Marketplace as he delivers croissants and other cook-at-home baked goods to the Marketplace’s downtown location at the Arts & Culture Center on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

Eric Oravsky, owner of Alaska Bakehouse, talks about the Salt & Soil Marketplace as he delivers croissants and other cook-at-home baked goods to the Marketplace’s downtown location at the Arts & Culture Center on Thursday, Oct. 18, 2018. (Michael Penn | Juneau Empire)

More in Home2

Pseudoscorpions are very small predators of springtails and mites. (Photo by Bob Armstrong)
On the Trails: Intertidal explorations

A bit of exploration of the rocky intertidal zone near Shaman Island… Continue reading

The author’s wife fights a steelhead while the author contemplates fly selection. (Photo by Jeff Lund)
I Went to the Woods: The fear of missing fish

Student: “You know, FOMO, the Fear Of Missing Out” Me: “I know… Continue reading

(Juneau Empire File)
Community calendar of upcoming events

This is a calendar updated daily of upcoming local events during the… Continue reading

Astrophysicists Lindsay Glesener, left, and Sabrina Savage enjoy the sunshine on an observation deck at the Neil Davis Science Center on a hilltop at Poker Flat Research Range north of Fairbanks. (Photo by Ned Rozell)
Alaska Science Forum: Waiting for the sun at Poker Flat

POKER FLAT RESEARCH RANGE — Under a bluebird sky and perched above… Continue reading

Alaska Attorney General Treg Taylor in a profile picture at the Department of Law’s website. (Alaska Department of Law photo)
Dunleavy wants a state sponsored legal defense fund

On Friday, the Senate Judiciary Committee held its second hearing on a… Continue reading

Juneau School District administrators and board members listen to a presentation about the district’s multi-million deficit during a Jan. 9 meeting. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
Opinion: The twisted logic of the Juneau School Board recall petition

The ink was hardly dry on the Juneau School District (JSD) FY… Continue reading

A crowd overflows the library at Juneau-Douglas High School: Yadaa.at Kalé on Feb. 22 as school board members meet to consider proposals to address the Juneau School District’s budget crisis. (Mark Sabbatini / Juneau Empire file photo)
My Turn: The last thing Juneau needs now is a divisive school board recall campaign

The long-postponed and necessary closure and consolidation of Juneau schools had to… Continue reading

Most Read