City Girl Gone—How I Became an Alaska Gardener

RAISED BY CITY PEOPLE

Raised by Amsterdam Dutch parents in Seattle, I grew up in a landscape surrounded by flowers. My family bought food fresh and in small quantities from the local market, bakeries and butchers. Quality bread, produce, meats and cheeses were a must. My father prepared gourmet meals for a family of six, complete with garnishments. Dinner was a semi-formal family affair. Semi-formal meaning we were expected to use proper table etiquette. We ate as a family around a solid oak table and the conversation was always fun and lively. These are times I look back on fondly.

My father was a born Chef, my oldest brother followed in his footsteps. Later, I too became a Chef. Our family was always interested in the subject of preparing and eating food. We moved from the city farther north of Seattle on an acre of land with plenty of berries, fruit trees and an old grapevine. My family opened a restaurant, I grew up and went off to Culinary School. We learned a little about putting up the food on our property but still, my family bought fresh and in small quantities.

MOVING TO ALASKA

It wasn’t until I moved to Southeast Alaska that I learned about putting up food. Putting up food in Alaska is also a family affair. My family here is much larger though. It includes our neighbors and friends. We hunt together, we gather together, we garden together, we put up with each other, we put up together and we potluck together.

Here in Alaska I learned the value of eating wild, fresh, organic and in abundance! I continue to learn everyday through the Alaska Master Gardener Online Course, experimenting and sharing with my neighbors and friends. My hope is that my daughter looks back on her time growing up with fond memories of creating and eating local, organic, gourmet food complete with garnishments around the old oak table with our family and friends.

WILD GIRL PANTRY

I have a massive pantry, a crawl space under the house that acts as a cellar and giant chest freezer.

IMG_4277In the Massive Pantry

  • Canned smoked and fresh salmon, salmon, moose, deer and halibut
  • Canned fish and meat stocks
  • Canned Jellies, jams, syrups
  • Canned kelp pickles and salsa
  • Pickled carrots and peas
  • Pickled beets
  • Dried teas, kale and herbs

 

IMG_4279

 

In the Cellar

  • Potatoes
  • Beets
  • Carrots
  • Onions
  • Garlic

 

 

 

 

 

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In the Giant Chest Freezer

  • Smoked and fresh salmon
  • Halibut
  • Moose
  • Deer
  • Berries
  • Homemade Pesto’s
  • Grated garden zucchini for baking later

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