Traditional Potato Harvest | Alaska Native Tribal Health Consortium

Traditional Potato Harvest

November 2, 2022

A partnership between the Alaska Native Medical Center hospital kitchen and University of Alaska Fairbanks Matanuska Experiment Farm and Extension Center resulted in some delicious traditional foods to help heal our patients. 

On Oct. 3, staff from the ANMC kitchen visited the farm in Palmer, where they harvested about 240 pounds of Tlingit and Haida potatoes. 

ANMC Executive Chef Amy Foote said the potatoes will be served to our patients to help them heal while staying at the hospital. 

“We can’t buy these potatoes anywhere,” Foote said. “So, the goal was to see how many we could grow.” 

The potatoes were planted in late May and with our dry early summer, there was some concern for growth. But the potatoes exceeded expectations. 

“I was pretty nervous about it,” said Jodie Anderson, Director of the UAF Matanuska Experiment Farm and Extension Center. “But the reality is the harvest came around.” 

Accompanying Foote in the fun to help pull up potatoes were ANMC Sous Chefs Nichole Thoms, Yupik, and Rachel Olson, Navajo. During the harvest, they were assisted by young, strong hands of culinary students at Palmer High School.

“When you’re looking at a big hospital like us, where we are serving 5,000 meals a day, it’s really difficult to get the ingredients we need,” said Foote. “The biggest piece of it is that we’re healing our patients and feeding them the food that heals them and help get them back to their lives.”   

This is the first time that the ANMC hospital kitchen and UAF Matanuska Experiment Farm and Extension Center have partnered to grow these delicious spuds.

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