Buying local Alaska foods and products while visiting the state is a tangible way to connect with the Great Land. It’s also an invaluable way to support the local economy.
“So much of what Alaska is about is getting back to basics, to nature, to being reminded of what is important in life. What better, healthier way to do this than to eat natural whole foods that are grown here?” says Erik “Moe” Johnson, a natural resource specialist at Alaska’s Division of Agriculture. “Our fruits and vegetables are so much sweeter than can be found in other places around the world, and you will never be able to find them fresher than if you eat them while you are visiting here!”
Birch syrup is also a visitor favorite, Johnson says, as are fresh oysters. But he isn’t just talking about what to order off a restaurant menu while on your Alaska vacation. He’s pointing visitors to the farmers markets, boutique gift shops and local u-pick farms across the state. Alaska’s farmers markets are open from May or June well into September and October around the state making it easy to pick up jars of local honey, jam and more as souvenirs, or find tasty treats to keep you fueled for your next Alaska adventure. The state’s Alaska Grown, Made in Alaska and Buy Alaska programs ensure that Alaska foods and products can be found just about everywhere.
Foraging is another great way to taste the bounty of Alaska’s products, especially when it comes to the state’s variety of wild berries. Blueberries, raspberries, cranberries (low-bush and high-bush), cloudberries, red currants and salmonberries are just some of the various berries that can be harvested in the state and can be used for jams, jellies, baked goods and consumed directly off the plant.
Not to be outdone by the state’s abundant landlocked products, Alaska is home to some of the wildest, nutrient-dense and delicious seafood on the planet. Alaska’s waters are natural grounds to five species of salmon, a variety of crab and shellfish, as well as numerous kinds of whitefish (halibut, cod, pollock, etc.). While in Alaska, you can cast a line and mail your catch home, or you can purchase wild Alaska seafood from local fishing families and communities.
Of course, virtual stores make it just as easy to stock up on your favorite Alaska food products any time of year.
And still more online stores offer Alaska Native artwork and more Alaska-made products.
- Collective 49 Marketplace features independent artists and entrepreneurs selling culturally based arts and crafts.
- Alaska Marketplace offers both Alaska Native art and Made in Alaska products.
- Voyij curates products from local stores across Alaska to offer clothing, jewelry, home goods and more.
But we don’t blame you if all that shopping has you itching to book a trip. Go ahead and order an Alaska vacation planner. You’ll find even more reasons to visit Alaska inside.
Editor’s note: The health and safety of Alaska’s visitors and residents, along with its member businesses, remains a top priority to the Alaska Travel Industry Association throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. Many Alaska tourism businesses are open under the Reopen Alaska Responsibly plan and can help you decide if it’s right for you to travel now or in the future. We encourage you to stay in touch with your travel providers for the latest updates and guidelines.