Monday Farmer’s Market August 7th, 2014

Categories: Uncategorized

A few bread choices

A few bread choices

As I leave work on Monday, I usually find that I have a bread deficiency. Specifically, a homemade bread deficiency. So I stop at the train depot in Palmer, where I know that many talented homemade bread makers are congregated, sharing their culinary talent with us common mortals.
The vendors at the Farmer’s Market seem kind of like superheroes. Their superpowers are things like:
Making lip balm from plants;
Recycling wine corks into keychains;
Making homemade noodles (think tortellini);
Sewing anything from aprons to potholders;
Making nectar—with hibiscus (Because regular nectar isn’t hard enough?)
Painting greeting cards;
Keeping flowers alive; (if this doesn’t seem like a superpower to you, then you have never tried to do it)
Producing good looking (and tasting) vegetables;
Making root-beer-carmel-filled chocolates;
Cooking authentic Mexican food;
And of course, the list goes on.

Vendors

Vendors

Everyone smiles and chats with you about their merchandise. Many of the vendors work their booth as a family, so often there are kids helping out, learning about entrepreneurship and customer service from their parents. Every week it seems like there are different things for sale—new vegetables that have come into season, new flavors of chocolate, or different varieties of bread.

11am-7pm every Monday at the Train Depot. Whether you are just visiting and would like a chance to see and sample what Palmer produces locally, or you are a regular customer who needs their weekly homemade bread fix, go visit! This unique gathering of friendly and gracious vendors is sure to have something delightful to brighten your day.IMG_20140721_162431

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Slivertip Design August 4th, 2014

Categories: Uncategorized

Silvertip shirts

Silvertip shirts

When people come visit us in Palmer, they usually want some Alaska souvenirs to prove that they survived the visit. And often, as we visit all the stores looking for said souvenirs, we find that they all have more or less the same things for sale. But as I browsed through Silvertip Design, I realized they have a completely different selection.
In fact, all of Silvertip’s merchandise is exclusive—caps, shirts, jackets, hoodies, even onesies and bags. This is because Silvertip does custom embroidery and screen printing, which means that all the items in the store were designed and created by Silvertip.
“You can get all kinds of Alaskana items from Walmart, but our niche is locally produced items.” Owner Ron Richards said. Ron was born and raised in the valley, and started Silvertip in 1985. He values the Alaskan lifestyle, and tries to reflect that in his business. Besides selling his own designs in the shop, he also sells local artist’s work, including things like jewelry, woodworking, and quilts.
Silvertip

Silvertip


I was surprised to discover that a lot of Silvertip’s business doesn’t come from the gift shop. They design products to sell, locally and around the state. They embroider caps for local business, and shirts for organizations like the Palmer Little League or the Dance Studio. Ron says sometimes people come with a specific design already planned out, but other times, they just have a vague idea of what they need, and the designers at Silvertip help them create their pattern. (Fact: you don’t have to be a business to commission your own shirts or caps. Contact Silvertip if you have a need for custom embroidery or screen printing.)

If you are a fan of the AlaskaGrown clothing line, a visit to Silvertip is definitely in order. Silvertip has the largest selection of AlaskaGrown clothing in the state! (Never before had I seen a Cameo AlaskaGrown shirt.)

Alaskagrown

Alaskagrown


This is one shop you don’t want to miss! Visit the Website for hours and contact information.

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Palmer Museum and Visitor Center July 8th, 2014

Categories: Around Palmer, History

Palmer Museum and Visitor Center Contact Info:
723 S. Valley Way, Palmer, AK 99645
907-746-7668
Summer Hours (May 1 – Sept. 30):
Sunday through Saturday, 9:00 AM – 6:00 PM

Giant Cabbage Sculpture

Giant Cabbage Sculpture

Smorgasbord: a type of Scandinavian meal served buffet style with a mixture of many different dishes.
Palmer Visitor Center: A smorgasbord of information.

There is literally a buffet of information at the Visitor Center. If you need to know which company to contact to book a fishing charter, find a good place to eat in Palmer, or even just wonder about the history of our good city, this is the place to go. But if you can’t actually visit the Center, you can still get the answers you are looking for. Museum Director Selena Ortega-Chiolero says the Visitor Center receives approximately 100 emails a week with questions about visiting the MatSu Valley. The staff at the Visitor Center personally respond to all of these emails, sending an information packet with specific information regarding the questions and general information about Palmer.

“It’s our job not just to promote our organization, but to promote Palmer.” Selena says. One of their goals is to share the history of Palmer in a visual way. Besides preserving the past, this also means recognizing that history is being created every day. As art is a reflection of our culture, the Museum supports local artists by displaying their work and purchasing one local art piece each year. You can also buy pieces from the gift shop.

How does your garden grow?

How does your garden grow?

Selena says the number one thing visitors ask to see is “the giant vegetables”. And thanks to the efforts of the Head Gardener (and Assistants), you need go no further than the Museum’s own backyard. This is a truly spectacular showcase garden, with a dizzying array of plants, vegetables, flowers, and bushes. (Everything is helpfully labeled for those of us who are not botanists.) All of the edibles in the garden are donated to the senior center.

New Smithsonian "American Food" Exhibit

New Smithsonian “American Food” Exhibit

Currently, the Museum is proud to display the Smithsonian Institute’s Museums on Main Street “Key Ingredients: America By Food” exhibit. There are only four Museums in the state that were selected to host these exhibits this year. This theme ties in with the Museum’s efforts to promote agriculture and local farmers. In fact, the Museum is hosting a Community Potluck on July 19th from 12-4pm at Spring Creek Farm. (That’s 6402 Lossing Road.) This event is free, and it is a great opportunity to learn about local farming.

For more information about the Visitor Center, visit their website.

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NonEssentials July 3rd, 2014

Categories: Businesses

NonEssentials Contact Info:
728 S Alaska St,
(907) 745-2258
Hours:
Mon – Sat: 10:00 am – 6:00 pm
Sun: 11:00 am – 5:00 pm

Non-essentials1

Non-essentials1

“There is nothing in this store that you truly need.” Owner Denise Statz declared. At first, this might not sound like a good marketing strategy, but it has worked well for NonEssentials for 28 years. Twelve of those have been in Palmer—before that the store moved from Dillingham to Kodiak to Nome. Apparently everyone likes to buy things they don’t truly need. (It’s nice to know you aren’t the only one.)

For Denise, this store is an effort of love. She strives for great products, good relationships with the community, and seeks a way to supplement her family. She has a resilient entrepreneurial spirit, which she is passing on to the next generation—part of owning the store is giving her kids an opportunity to be involved and learn about business.

NonEssentials2

NonEssentials2

So what sort of things qualify as “nonessential”? The store particularly focuses on specialty food. “Specialty” means food you can’t get at ordinary grocery stores. There are vats of specialty cooking oils, fancy baking mixes, assorted dried goods, a wide selection of chocolate, Alaskan condiments, exotic spices, even brightly colored dishes. But it doesn’t stop there. The store also sells local artists’ work, (more support of entrepreneurship!) and an assortment of little luxuries like lotions, candles, greeting cards, and scarves. (Major shopping hint: This is the perfect place to go if you need to buy someone a gift, and can’t think of anything to get them.)

NonEssentials

NonEssentials

Things I did not strictly need, but wanted:
Garlic Zoom, the rolling garlic chopper
Sunny Seeds, chocolate covered sunflower seeds (turns out I actually did need these)
Black “Squid Ink” noodles

Denise said she wanted to create a market for things that add enjoyment to people’s lives. Mission successful. This store delights even a casual peruser. For more information, visit the Nonessentials Facebook page

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Who Let the Girls Out v.4.0 April 21st, 2014

Categories: Events

It’s that time again! Spring is arriving quickly and we’re all ready to get out and enjoy it! Who Let the Girls Out (WLTGO) is this weekend! Loads of contests, special guests, activities and more for women of all ages. There will even be a “mobile mammography” truck!

Highlights of WLTGO include:
Friday:

  • Women’s 5k Fun Run/Walk on Friday, 6:30pm – late registration/bib pickup
    at the Eagle Hotel, 4-6pm
  • Cantora Arctica Spring Concert at St. John’s Lutheran Church after the 5k
  • Learn how to make delicious rolls and pizza at NonEssentials after the 5k
  • Saturday:

  • Flea Market on Wheels starting at 8am on S Alaska St.
  • Professional Women’s Clothing Exchange at the Palmer Moose Lodge, 11-5
  • Mobile Mammography by Providence Imaging – must call to schedule an appointment before April 25th. (907)212-3151
  • Purse Auction to benefit MyHouse at The Palmer Bar, 7pm.
  • Seed Exchange at Palmer Museum of History 11-1pm, plus a visiting agronomist to answer questions about gardening and invasive species
  • Personal Safety and the Well-Armed Woman – at Midnight Sun Yoga Center, 11am
  • Oula – Exciting and Easy dance exercise with Annie Prevost – at Midnight Sun Yoga Center, 1pm.
  • LIVE MUSIC! at Vagabond Blues, 2pm-8pm
  • And much, much more! Check out the insert in Make-a-Scene magazine at numerous downtown Palmer businesses. Or view the online version here. It might take a little while to load. The WLTGO Facebook page is also very active with daily updates about the fun events this weekend!

    Written by Tamara Van Diest