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 News

A Princess Cruise Line ship is docked in Juneau on Aug. 25, 2021. (Michael Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Ships in Port for the week of May 22, 2022

Here’s what to expect this week.

Coast Guard aircrews medevaced two people from Dry Bay Airstrip, approximately 30 miles Southeast of Yakutat, Alaska, after their plane crashed, May 25, 2022. (Courtesy photo / Coast Guard District 17)
Three medevaced after plane crash near Yakutat

All four aboard were injured, three critically so.

The author’s appreciation for steelhead has turned into something like reverence considering what’s happening to populations in the Lower 48 and Canada. (Jeff Lund / For the Juneau Empire)
I Went to the Woods: Silent steel

“You forget most of what ends up in the freezer, but those steelhead, they stick with you.”

Senate President Peter Micciche, R-Soldotna, seen here in this June 16, 2021, file photo, announced Wednesday he will not seek relelection in the Alaska State Senate, where he has served since 2013. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire file)
Senate president says he won’t run again

“Honor and a privilege.”

Hoonah’s Alaska Youth Stewards helped make improvements to Moby and water the plants in summer 2021. (Courtesy Photo / Jillian Schuyler)
Resilient Peoples & Place: Moby the Mobile Greenhouse cultivates community

It presents opportunities to grow food knowledge and skills.

It's a police car until you look closely and see the details don't quite match. (Juneau Empire File / Michael Penn)
Police calls for Thursday, May 26, 2022

This report contains public information from law enforcement and public safety agencies.

Gavel (Courtesy photo)
Alaska Supreme Court orders use of interim map for elections

The decision came just over a week before the June 1 filing deadline for the August primaries.

A male red-winged blackbird displays his showy red patches and calls to a rival male (Gina Vose photo)
On the Trails: Birds and beetles at Kingfisher Pond

Something is almost always happening at Kingfisher Pond.

Most Read