A few miles from Wasilla is the small community of Palmer, population around 5,559. Just outside of town is a Musk Ox Farm. We went to see the museum and take the tour.
Between the museum and the tour guide we learned more about the Musk Ox than we ever thought we wanted to know. This farm has around 78 Musk Ox including bulls, cows, and calves. They collect their fur that is shed in the spring, called qiviut, and send it to Native Alaskans who knit it into garments. It is very soft and very warm and very expensive.
Next we went to explore the town Palmer, which is one of 104 New Deal community projects of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s administration in 1935. A sign outside the Palmer Visitors Center and Museum says “201 families from Minnesota,Wisconsin and Michigan arrived in Palmer and built an entire new community dedicated to a cooperative agricultural enterprise.”
Palmer remains the heart of agriculture in Alaska. Behind the museum is a well cared for garden with the biggest hill of rhubarb I have ever seen in my life.
The growing season here averages just over 100 days annually, and the unique micro climate produces amazing giant cabbages, carrots and other vegetables. It’s amazing what good soil and 20 hours of sunlight every day can do for a veggie plant.