Chilkat Valley News - Serving Haines and Klukwan, Alaska since 1966

Business Briefs


December 7, 2017

From left: Pete Tipikin and Korey Comstock stand against the baler before it was delivered and lowered into a pit at CommunityWaste Solutions. The baler compacts waste into bricks. The bricks are then bagged and stacked, which helps reduce wind blown garbage. Photo courtesty of Sally Garton.

Historic land grows again

Valina and Scott Hansen started Sunnyside Farms this spring and have since been selling strawberries and potatoes grown from the fields Charles Anway used to cultivate his famous strawberries in the early 1900s. The area is now known as the Cathedral View subdivision.

Anway's strawberries were well known regionally and were valued for their size and quality. At the time, Haines became known as the Strawberry Capital of Alaska, according to Sheldon Museum records.

Valina Hansen said she and her family learned farming skills over the past several years when they helped Covenant Life Center residents plant and work their fields.

"We realized farming has been our dabble on the side for years," Valina Hansen said. "Last spring my husband went full-time farming. People have lost the knowledge of farming and there are lot of people trying to encourage farming and gardening and make it available to people who can't. We like making fresh produce available."

Scott Hansen transplanted Anway strawberries to a smaller plot, tilled the main field and put the strawberries back. The family then planted organic German Butterball and red Chieftain potato seed grown in Alaska. Due to a cool, wet summer the Anway strawberries didn't take off, but the Hansens supplemented their crop with a different variety from Indiana.

The Hansens sowed about 1.5 acres of their four-acre parcel and yielded about 2,000 pounds of potatoes and 187 quarts of strawberries. The Hansens plan to prepare more land for planting next spring and may grow raspberries.

"With our own property, having goats and chickens and that manure we developed over the years, it helped us supplement the old Anway field," Hansen said. "We had to keep the birds out of the fields, make the stakes, and we needed an electric fence. Different creatures broke the fence. It did keep out the bear."

Valina Hansen said they have about 1,000 pounds of German Butterballs and 200 pounds of red Chieftains left. Call 303-0220 to order. Sunnyside Farms delivers on Thursdays but other days can be arranged.

Blossom brings flowers to Main Street

Florist Emily Stephens has opened the new flower shop Blossom by Emily on Main Street.

Stephens will sell fresh cut flowers every week, along with succulents and potted plants.

She is sourcing flowers from distributors in Seattle and Anchorage and currently has calla lilies, roses, snapdragons and amaranth in stock. Lilies, gerbera daisies and spider mums coming in next week. Also available are potted azaleas, succulents and kalanchoes.

Stephens said her husband, proHNS engineer Jeremy Stephens, helped motivate her to open the flower business she'd been considering for several years.

"We've been tossing it around for three years," Emily Stephens said. "Space became available and my husband gave me a shove, which was good. Otherwise I probably wouldn't have done it. I always enjoyed flowers, just doing everyday arrangements."

Blossom will offer corsages for prom and wedding bouquets. If someone needs something special, she can provide large orders with two weeks advance notice.

Stephens also stocks wares from local and regional producers, including her own photo greeting cards; Genny Rietze's hand-poured candles; Mandy Ramsey's floral photography on canvas prints, tea towels and notebooks; and bath salts and salves made by Gathered and Grown Botanicals in Wrangell.

Call 766-3445 for orders.

New equipment to decrease trash volume

Community Waste Solutions is planning to streamline its composting process and reduce its landfill footprint, general manager Sally Garton said.

CWS started using a baler this summer and is waiting for the delivery of processing equipment that will eliminate the need for employees to hand-sort garbage.

Garton said garbage will be placed on a conveyor belt that runs through a "bag breaker." The machine rips open plastic garbage bags allowing a worker to easily separate trash bags from the waste stream. Another machine will shred cardboard into two-inch strips to help with composting.

The cardboard, waste and sludge from the borough's solid waste plant will pipe into a trammel where it mixes and "cooks."

"Once it's done cooking it goes into a screener," Garton said. "The screener will shake it and the remaining aluminum and tin will be pulled out for recycling. What comes out the bottom is dirt. What's shaken out the top, what's non-recyclable, will go to the baler until the bricks are formed."

Those bricks will be bagged and stacked and the "dirt" will cover the landfill.

"This process reduces the footprint of the landfill because not only are we composting and reducing, but we're compacting and baling."

Garton estimated the new process will cut the volume of waste in half. She said she can't say whether the new process will reduce consumer costs.

"Theoretically that's what we're trying to do," Garton said. "We're trying to make it a more efficient business."

Garton said the streamlined system won't result in job losses.

CWS is awaiting delivery of several parts before the new system goes into operation.


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