Who Am I?

My name is Kevin. I’m a 33 year old southern transplant to the great state of Alaska. I share my life and my home with a motley crew of pets (currently a hamster, 2 aging cats, a parrot named Triscuit, and a former sled dog named Eddie), various plants, and the love of my life (who hates being listed in these bios after the pets and the plants). I’ve done everything from scientific book editor to pastry chef to elected official, but nowhere am I happier than in my kitchen or my garden.

Where am I?

For more than 5 years now I have lived in the city of Palmer, in the heart of the Matanuska Valley of Alaska. In 1935, under President Franklin Roosevelt‘s New Deal, the Federal Emergency Relief Administration established the Matanuska Colony. From the drought-starved Midwest, 203 families traveled by train and ship to reach the fledgling colony located at what is now Palmer. Today, Palmer is a garden hub for the state, and the unique microclimate produces amazing giant vegetables, found on display annually at the Alaska State Fair. Palmer agriculture today provides food to communities across the State of Alaska.

Palmer is located approximately 50 miles north of Anchorage, Alaska’s largest city and commercial center. Sheltered by the mountains, Palmer enjoys a milder climate than many Alaska communities (but during the winter we make up for our slightly warmer temperatures with ferocious winds which have been known to reach 100 mph or more and last for days at a time). The combination of this milder weather (Zone 3b), up to 22 hours of daylight in the summer, and the deep and rich glacial soil makes Palmer an ideal agricultural area.

What am I doing?

For years people have asked me for advice on what to grow, how to cook new and interesting things, and basically how to get the most out of their kitchens and gardens. As my list of recipes has grown over the years and as I’ve learned new things about gardening in the cool summers and glacial soils of my new home, I’ve made notes and kept files. But mostly I’ve kept what I’ve learned to myself, sharing a tip here or there with a friend in need but mostly thinking I didn’t have much to offer.

All that changed when I started teaching cooking classes. I learned very quickly how much most people don’t know about cooking, gardening, or the important role of good food in our lives and our health. At nearly the same time as I started teaching, I moved to a new home and had to leave behind my beloved raised bed garden. Faced with a mounting collection of recipes and questions, and with the prospect of having to build a new garden from scratch, I decided to document the whole thing online so hopefully others will learn something new from my experiences.

On this blog I’ll share tips and tricks in the kitchen and garden, talk about good food and the joys of hunting, fishing, growing, foraging, and cooking it yourself, and give an interesting view of Alaska that most people never even think of. Join me on a tour of my kitchen and garden as I grow, cook, and eat great food, and teach others how to grown and prepare their own too.