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    In the News: Local Agriculture

    Growing the Economy: Agriculture Flourishing on the Kenai Peninsula By Jenny Neyman Dec. 23, 2015 — Redoubt Reporter When people think about the economy of the Kenai Peninsula, it’s usually oil and gas, fishing, and maybe education, health care or government. But there’s a growing trend to add another sector to that list — farming. “These are not hobby farmers, these are hard-working folks. They are investing in infrastructure, they are buying equipment, they’re building storage, they’re building refrigeration for peonies, they’re putting up more high tunnels planting more. These folks are thinking ahead, and I think the rest of us should, as well,” said Heidi Chay, manager of the Kenai…

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    Help ID Soil Research Priorities

    Kenai Peninsula farmers and gardeners are invited to participate in a quick-and-easy survey to help establish priorities for soil-based research right here on the Kenai Peninsula. An initial list of projects was developed in November by representatives of Kenai and Homer Soil and Water Conservation Districts, NRCS and UAF Cooperative Extension. Now it is your turn to weigh in!  Here’s a link to the survey: https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/V2RCMCL  It will take about 3-5 minutes to complete. Please respond by Dec. 15 if possible. For more information, contact Heidi Chay at Kenai Soil and Water, 283-8732 x 5.

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    Local Media: Rhodiola on the Rise

    Farm diversification with Rhodiola, a medicinal plant with an international market, was one of the many topics covered at the 5th Annual Kenai Peninsula Ag Forum last Saturday.  Here’s a follow-up article from the Peninsula Clarion: http://peninsulaclarion.com/news/2015-04-20/rhodiola-on-the-rise

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    Local Media: O’Brien Garden and Trees

    High tunnels boost Kenai orchard By KELLY SULLIVAN and RASHAH McCHESNEY Peninsula Clarion June 22, 2014 Inside the towering high tunnels’ at O’Brien Garden and Trees, are rows of meticulously sown trees, erupting with vibrant green leaves; the branches laden with the beginnings of this year’s fruit crop. The expansive green space is the result of four-decades of experimentation and the recent move to indoor growing for the agricultural operation. Link to the full article: http://peninsulaclarion.com/news/2014-06-22/how-to-use-a-high-tunnel

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    National Press: Flowers from Alaska

    Flowers From Alaska by Amy Nordrum, Atlantic Monthly For late-summer weddings, the peonies can only come from one place. And when one woman realized that, she started planting. Photo Credit: Elizabeth Beks, North Pole Peonies Peonies—those gorgeous, pastel flowers that can bloom as big as dinner plates—are grown all over the world, but there’s only one place where they open up in July. That’s in Alaska, and ever since a horticulturalist discovered this bit of peony trivia, growers here have been planting the flowers as quickly as they can. … Meanwhile, large flower companies like Currie’s in the lower 48 states are watching Alaska’s small growers to see what they…

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    From the Local Media

    Alaska gardening interest booms, as tunnels extend growing season Joseph Robertia, Redoubt Reporter May 2, 2014 (excerpt) “This will be our third year with a high tunnel, and they’re unbelievable,” said Bill Lynch, of North Kenai, who along with this wife, Liz, led the discussion on this subject. “We used to be limited to the usual Alaskan crops: cabbage, carrots, broccoli, etc. But now I grow fruit, like melons and blackberries, and artichokes and tomatoes,” he said. Having high tunnels increases what he grows, and it also increases how much and for how long. “It used to be all the produce we grew would come ripe all at the same…

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    Feb. 10/11 Workshops for Hay Growers and Users

    UAF/Cooperative Extension, in partnership with Fox River Cattlemen’s Association and Kenai Soil & Water Conservation District, is hosting a Forage Workshop in Kenai and Homer. Kenai – Monday, February 10, 2014 5:30 PM registration, 6:00-8:00 PM program, Kenai Community Library Homer – Tuesday, February 11, 2014 5:30 PM registration, 6:00-8:00 PM program, Kachemak Bay Campus, Room 219 To Pre-register, contact Vicki Heinz at UAF CES Kenai District, 907.262.5824 or [email protected] Dr. Mingchu Zhang will present on “Organic and inorganic nutrient sources for hay production in Alaska”. The talk will cover the results of experiments in Homer and Fairbanks area for hay production from adding organic (including fish fertilizer) or inorganic fertilizers.…

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    Alaska Food Resources Working Group Launches

    State department heads come together to figure out Alaska food security by Suzanna Caldwell Nov. 4, 2013 Alaska Dispatch In a small, gray Atwood Building conference room, half a dozen state commissioners passed around a surprising snack: An enormous bowl full of yellow, purple and bright orange Alaska-grown carrots. While carrots might not seem like the most expected snack for a high-level early morning meeting, it made sense Monday, when commissioners from various state departments came together in Anchorage to talk about one thing that ties all Alaskans together: food. It was the first meeting of the Alaska Food Resources Working Group, a committee set up under an administrative order…

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    2013 Central Peninsula High Tunnel Tour

    Despite a slow start to the season, the Central Peninsula’s high tunnels have made up the lost time by yielding some impressive produce. Come check out some of this year’s abundance by attending the 2013 High Tunnel Tour. The tour features high tunnels from three different manufacturers and a variety of ventilation and irrigation systems. Times and locations are as follows: Saturday, Aug. 10 1:00 pm – Suzanne Phillips, 35′ x 60′ Farm Tek Pro Solar Star with roll-down sides Driveway is located on the North side of K-Beach between Ciechanski and Diamond M Ranch, directly across from Mosey Along. Look for the Phillips arch over the long driveway. High…

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    From the Local Press

    Farm use grows: Agricultural sector sewing seeds of progress on peninsula Redoubt Reporter, Apr. 17, 2013 Room to grow: Agricultural community looks for land Peninsula Clarion, Apr. 17, 2013 Area peony farmers see blooming potential Peninsula Clarion, Apr. 14, 2013