JUNEAU, Alaska — Some Alaska farmers are using a different, more consistent outlet to bring local produce to the community.
Famers are selling their produce at the Salt and Soil Marketplace, an online farmer’s market for southeast Alaska that just launched its pilot year this summer.
Put together in partnership with the Southeast Alaska Watershed Coalition, Spruce Root Community Development, Sustainable Southeast Partnership, and the Takshanuk Watershed Council, the marketplace currently sells to only Haines and Juneau, though sellers can come from all over Southeast Alaska, The Juneau Empire (http://bit.ly/2wxuD4A ) reported Friday.
Joe Orsi of Orsi Organic Produce said one of the many nice things about the Salt and Soil Marketplace is its consistency — rain or shine, the marketplace is open several days a week.
“I think it’s allowed more people to participate than otherwise would,” Orsi said. Turnout for an in-person farmer’s market is weather dependent, other events around town can draw people’s attention, and farmer’s markets are infrequent enough that sometimes people forget to come, he said.
Orsi, who has been gardening in Alaska since the 1980s, was involved with the Salt and Soil advisory committee, and attended regular meetings since the Fall of 2016 till the market’s launch in June. The Salt and Soil Marketplace has advantages that serve both the producers and the consumers, he said.
“It’s really a blessing to be able to pre-sell your produce before you pick it and deliver it,” Orsi said. “With the other markets, if there’s a poor showing, then you have more than you can sell. You either give it away, or use it yourself and process it.
“With Salt and Soil people basically sign up for what they want . and then on Thursday I go out and cut it, prepare it and package it and deliver it to the pick-up spot and then people show up an grab it.”
Orsi encourages people to check out the marketplace and provide feedback on the model so it can be improved upon if necessary. For the first year, there is no cost to participate.
Currently, there are over 30 vendors selling at the Salt and Soil Marketplace.
Market coordinator Colin Peacock, who currently manages the Marketplace, said once the kinks are worked out of the current system, they hope Salt and Soil can expand to sell in other southeast communities beyond Haines and Juneau.
The marketplace will be open until October.