Alaska flavored accents and scents to your kitchen with the help of the Juneau Public Market
By Peter Metcalfe
Every Juneau Public Market features vendors who sell décor items and artwork that can add character and personal touches to a recently purchased home. This, the 37th annual Public Market, will again host dozens of vendors offering art, photos, hangings, and stained glass. But let’s look at the kitchen—often the first renovation target of new homeowners. Many Public Market vendors will offer utensils, pottery, and food products that can add personal, Alaska-flavored accents and scents to your kitchen.
Stoked Beekeeping Co. of Homer returns for their second year at the Public Market offering raw honey from the wildflower and fireweed fields of South Central Alaska. Simply displaying the jars of the clear, amber-colored honey will add that “only in Alaska” ambiance to a kitchen, but it is the taste of the product that truly amazes.
“Fireweed is my favorite,” says James Reid, who owns the company with his sister Ana. “It is uniquely delicate, what we call the ‘champagne of honey.’ Fireweed honey is hard to find because it is hard to produce. It is a smooth honey with unmistakable floral notes, and it dissipates quickly. But there are those who prefer our more traditional honey that comes from Sitka rose, yarrow, goldenrod, and blueberry blooms, a diverse honey that produces a super unique, complex flavor.”
Ana and James maintain about 100 hives that they positioned this past summer amid pristine alpine meadows of South Central. The weather recommended the move from Homer, with two additional weeks of warm weather on either side of the blooming season. “It is miraculous how much nectar the bees collect,” Reid says. “Every few days, the hives gain five to ten pounds of weight. A full beehive will weigh up to 200 pounds and is home to 60,000 to 100,000 bees.”
A good use for this special honey is as a sweetener for the world-class teas that will be offered at each of the three venues: Centennial Hall, the JACC, and the Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall.
The award winning tea specialist Jenny Tse of Fairbanks will be at the JACC selling and offering samples of loose-leaf teas from around the world, presenting an opportunity to mix it up with a bona fide tea expert. A similar range of world teas will be presented by Maria Bailey of Juneau’s Northern Tea House in a booth adjacent to the food court in Centennial Hall. In the Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall, you can meet Lucy Smyth, also of Fairbanks, who will present essential oils and nutritious products including teas.
One of the more the 60 vendors new to the Public Market in 2019 is Anna Meredith of Homer’s Bridge Creek Birch Syrup. Anna will offer 100% pure Alaska birch syrup at the Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall.
Where to store many of the unique Alaska-made food products? Visit with Betty Bell, who will be in her perennial space in the Egan Room of Centennial Hall selling her signature pottery that she crafts at her home in Milton, WA. Like many of our out-of-town vendors, Betty’s excuse for hauling her products to the Public Market is to celebrate Thanksgiving with her Juneau family. Betty’s pots are perfect for holding such Public Market products as raw honey, loose-leaf world teas, spices for salmon bakes and crab boils, and high-end bulk coffee beans.
The two Public Market annexes — at the JACC and the Elizabeth Peratrovich Hall — can be accessed by a trolley car that will leave Centennial Hall every ten minutes, six times an hour, and circle the Aak’w Village District.
The Public Market begins the day after Thanksgiving, on Friday, November 29, and will be open from noon to 7 pm, and on Saturday and Sunday, from 10 am to 5 pm.
For more information, see juneaupublicmarket.com or “Alaska-Juneau Public Market” on FaceBook.