Food in Fairbanks
I’m just back from a long trip to Alaska where I gave a talk at the University of Fairbanks. Fairbanks, in central Alaska, is 200 miles from the Arctic Circle and has a short growing season from the end of May to the beginning of September, but those few weeks are brightly lit. The sun set at midnight in mid-July and it never really got dark.
As for the food revolution, it is booming. Even the local Safeway has gotten into locally grown foods, although not always accurately. When I saw the pineapples, I asked what “locally grown” meant. Somewhere in Alaska. Oh. But Safeway really does have locally grown food, mostly cabbages and root vegetables. Where were they grown? Someplace around here.
I saw vegetables growing everywhere, even in small urban spaces such as the entryway to the hotel where I was staying. The long daylight makes for big vegetables and this plot sported a two-foot long zucchini. Alas, it had disappeared by the time I got back to photograph it.
And yes, Fairbanks has a farmers’ market, and it was in full swing.
Calypso Farms has a terrific garden program in five schools in the area.
And here a few first-time tourist remarks:
Where is the most entertaining food? That had to be at Bigun’s Crab Shack in Skagway. Bigun is the chef, spelled that way, not Big-‘un (He’s the one that didn’t get away, according to his mom). What Cajun cooking is doing in Skagway is beyond me but it was wonderful to have it on a hot summer day.
And what was the best off-beat museum? It has nothing to do with food, alas, but I still vote for the Hammer Museum in Haines. Not to be missed.