Farm fresh families
Family farming is a growing business these days, with a pair of local farmers’ markets now offering produce and herbs grown locally.
“This is our third year,” said Susan Boarland, who organizes a Thursday afternoon market at the Peters Creek American Legion.
Boarland sells handmade crafts, unique jellies (rhubarb-jalapeno is a specialty) and other items at the parking lot market. Her daughters, Vanessa Berg and Pamela Elmore, sell herbs and vegetables at their own stand.
In past years, Boarland sold the items her daughters grew at the family greenhouse in the Mat-Su Valley. But this summer, the 77-year-old decided to let the kids sell their own plants.
“This year she said we had to do it ourselves,” Berg said while unloading a small trailer filled with everything from sweet tomatoes to spicy jalapenos.
Boarland has enough on her plate. She makes jams, jellies, beadwork, handmade doll clothing, earrings, hats, toys and more.
“I don’t have time to sit around and get bored,” she said.
Elmore said the sisters began growing their plants in February. Since both she and Berg have full-time jobs, their other two sisters — Rita Jackson and Valerie Sutter — helped keep an eye on the operation.
“It was a family thing,” Elmore said.
Monica Seldovitsch is another regular participant at the Peters Creek market, which is held each Thursday from 3 to 7 p.m. at the legion hall (21643 Old Glenn Highway). She sells organic produce grown at the family farm she runs with her husband, Vitali, in Butte. Between growing vegetables — lettuce, bok choi, onions, carrots, potatoes and more — and raising four young kids, Seldovitsch said running a small family farm keeps she and her husband busy.
“We work hard,” she said.
The Seldovitsch’s take pride in using all-natural growing methods.
“It’s very important not to use chemicals,” she said.
Seldovitsch also sets up her stand at the Eagle River VFW (10527 VFW Road), which also hosts a weekly farmers’ market from 3 to 7 p.m. Tuesdays. For info, call 696-4839.
Growers said it’s still a bit early in the season, but some vegetables are in their prime.
“Our tomatoes are coming in, our [cucumbers] are coming in,” Berg said.
The sisters sell tomato plants for $5 each, and Elmore said this year’s sunny summer weather has produced a bumper crop of strong tomato plants.
“This summer may be the summer for tomatoes,” she said.
Tomatoes are nice because people can take them home and harvest fruit for as long as they’ve got a warm, sunny spot for the plants to grow, she said.
“As long as it’s happy it’ll grow,” Elmore said.
Boarland said there’s room for new booths at both the Eagle River and Peters Creek markets. Booth rental is $15, and proceeds go to the VFW and Legion. Booth space is $15. Call Boarland at 854-8915 for info.
There’s also a Saturday swap meet being held at the Peters Creek Legion, Boarland said. Call the Legion at 688-2354 for more information. Booth rental at the swap meet is $20.
“If you’ve got something in your house you want to get rid of, it’s the place,” Boarland said.
Boarland said the Peters Creek location is convenient for afternoon commuters and locals alike because of its proximity to the Glenn Highway.
“It’s easy on, easy off.”