Starting Small In Alaska - Back To Basics

Categories: Inspiration

Paul is a quick-witted biology major who wears military green and knee-high rubber boots. When he moved to Alaska after college, it was to work as a tour guide in Denali National Park. "I was impressed with how self-sufficient people here were. You can do so much without having to go to the store," he says. Alaska, he explains, opened his eyes to other ways of living. "I had thought I had to go to school, school, school and then be a professional." Instead, he learned to be more creative and independent, how to be a fisherman, a logger, a farmer.


"Veggies have become expensive enough so you can get a fair price as a market gardener, at least here in Alaska. I'm happy," he says. He holds up a lush green cabbage, which sells for a dollar a pound, or about $5 a head.


Today the Castellanis earn two-thirds of their income from farming.

Lacking refrigeration has taught them to preserve food in other ways. "Some of the veggies we ferment into sauerkraut like this," says Jennifer, showing their colorful canned food, including salmon. The pantry is unpainted wood, like the rest of the house's interior, and the shelves are filled with healthy foods.


The Castellanis don't eat meat, and they hardly drink milk, which is difficult to store. They do eat cheese, though ("It sweats, but that's all right," says Jennifer), and they use lots of dried herbs.

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