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Nothing quite like home grown

This year's Local Foods Festival kicks off Saturday

Posted: August 30, 2012 - 11:00pm

Food is best when it’s home grown.

That’s a statement local master gardener Ed Buyarski can stand behind. He’s been growing, harvesting and eating locally grown fruits, vegetables and herbs for years.

And Saturday, from 9 a.m. to 2 p.m., locals too will get a chance to taste the fruits of Juneau’s growing season at this year’s Local Food Festival at the Juneau Arts and Culture Center.

Buyarski will be there, amid a host of other local gardeners, crafters, bakers and fisher-people, selling goods made or grown locally.

“There’s all sorts of neat stuff that people bring in,” Buyarski said. “But really, the event is focussed on education — that’s really what it’s all about.”

The free event is in its fifth year and again will include workshops for attendees. This year, the schedule includes speakers on topics such as composting; growing, harvesting and preserving garlic; growing your business; starting spring seeds; homebrewing; grinding wheat; fish filleting and processing; fly casting and fishing for silver salmon.

Of course, Juneau’s climate can be unpredictable, which sometimes doesn’t bode well for local crops. But this year, Buyarski said things like garlic did especially well.

“Hard-neck varieties of garlic, that are adapted to our climate, are a good choice,” he said.

The hard-neck grows better here and can be characterized by fewer larger cloves and fewer skins to peel. It’s facts like this that he’ll touch on in his garlic workshop Saturday, he said.

“We’ll talk about harvesting and the timing to do so,” Buyarski said. “(We’ll talk about other indicators) like looking at the plants ... and (harvesting) when they turn yellow at the tips.”

Buyarski said he’ll also have some hardy kiwi vines for sale at the festival — a unique fruit that he said tastes — well —like kiwi.

Attendees should show up early for the best selection, Buyarski said.

• Contact Outdoors editor Abby Lowell at abby.lowell@juneauempire.com.

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