Cross Canada Cooks: Yukon

Discover all of the foodie delights that the Yukon has to offer, from foraged food to bountiful berries.

By Rheanna Kish and Melanie Stuparyk

Yukon facts and farming in the north
Yukon fireweed
©iStockphoto.com/eppicphotography
Yukon facts
Population: 35,276

Area: 482,443 square kilometres

Location: The Yukon is a triangle-shaped territory in Canada's northwest. It is bordered on the east by the Northwest Territories, on the south by British Columbia and on the west by Alaska.

Capital and Largest City:
Whitehorse

History: Entered confederation on June 13, 1898

Main Industries:
Mining and tourism

Farming in the North

Farming has been a small but important part of life in the Yukon since the 1800s. Today there are approximately 160 farm operations in the territory. While climate proves to be the number one constraint, most Yukon farmers get into it for the love of the place; they have a passion for farming and enjoy the sense of security that comes from having the means and ability to produce food for themselves and the larger community.

The short growing season, frigid winters and semiarid conditions mean that farmers need to consider hardy, early-maturing plants and vigorous animals. Many Yukon farmers grow hay for animals; in fact, it's one of the top crops of the North. In addition, many farmers raise livestock and grow vegetables for food.

They employ many creative methods in their attempts to work with the Yukon climate, including the use of greenhouses to extend the growing season. There are six certified-organic growers in the Yukon and approximately 12 others who grow organically but are not certified.

There may be many challenges to growing in the North, but there are many positives as well. Limited industry and government involvement allows growers to connect with the community in ways that would be more challenging in other parts of the country.

The Fireweed Community Market and its members are an example of this. The market as it's known today began in 2005 as a society, setting up an outdoor market in Shipyards Park in Whitehorse.

Page 1 of 6 -- Discover more Yukon markets on page 2



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