Online guide makes it easy to find Yukon farmers to feed you

It must be spring. The swans are back, the mud is beginning to overtake the snow, and Yukon Agricultural Association’s online Yukon Farm Products and Services Guide is updated with this year’s info.

It must be spring. The swans are back, the mud is beginning to overtake the snow, and Yukon Agricultural Association’s online Yukon Farm Products and Services Guide is updated with this year’s info.

Up and down the territory, farmers are getting ready for the season. They’re mapping out what they’ll plant where and they’ve got their seeds sprouting under grow lamps, ready to transfer to the greenhouse. Shipments of chicks and piglets will soon be coming in. It’s time for Yukon local food lovers to put in their orders for local meat and produce.

Yukon farmers find a variety of ways to get local food to their customers, through farm gate sales, farmer’s markets, retail outlets, food clubs, buying groups and email lists. For those who don’t already have an arrangement with a farmer, the online farm guide (www.yukonag.ca/guide) makes it easy.

Individual farms are listed in the left hand column of the guide’s webpage. Click on an entry and you open up the farmer’s page, with a short bio and contact info, a list of products, and in some cases a map showing the farm’s location. If you don’t know who does what, and you’re looking for eggs, for example, click the boxes on the right-hand list of 30 products and a page pops up showing all the farms or businesses that provide what you’re looking for. As well, your search result will be listed and once you have a list of the farms you’re interested in you can press the print button to publish your own farm guide.

If you’re searching for a store or a market that sells local goods, the column in the middle will provide you with a list of suggested contacts. There’s more: does your horse need a dentist? Do you want to buy some local seeds? Do you think it’s time your kids got out to a farm to see where their food comes from? It’s all there.

A click on “eggs” brings up a list of more than 20 suppliers, though some are already sold out. That’s good news for Yukon egg lovers, who are legion. In 2010, the last year for which statistics are available, 27,000 dozen eggs were produced on 21 farms. Anecdotally we know that there are many more laying hens in the Yukon now. And by August, that number will increase by 2,000.

Alan and Cathy Stannard of Mandalay Farm on Burma Road near Whitehorse have been raising chickens for the last eight years. Typically their free-range flock was about 100 hens strong. Now they’ve invested heavily in birds — 2,000 — and in infrastructure — a large barn and a commercial grader that can grade 7,000 eggs in an hour. “Our goal is to provide a brown, free-range egg for the Yukon,” says Alan Stannard.

The Stannards have made this investment partly because they love the birds. “They’re particularly social birds. They’re just nice to have around,” says Stannard. The birds range freely around the farm, protected from predators by an electric fence, with access in winter to an outdoor “winter garden” where they can scratch around in the sun when temperatures are -10C or higher.

When their flock was smaller, the Stannards distributed eggs through buying groups. In the Whitehorse subdivision of Hillcrest, for example, one resident received two coolers of eggs per week, and customers picked up their orders from her. The Stannards loved the personal connection with their customers — they’d be invited for brunch sometimes at various people’s houses “to celebrate the eggs,” says Stannard. The farmers will continue to distribute through buying groups and farm gate sales, but their ultimate goal is to be in retail outlets throughout the territory. In the meantime, they’ll be selling eggs by mid-August.

Farmers Krista and Jason Roske of Sunnyside Farm pop up on the website when you’re looking for eggs, but like the Salzbergs they’re fully subscribed. However, if the universe aligns and sun, rain and warmer temperatures happen in the right order, the Roskes might have whole grains such as spelt, barley and wheat for sale in the fall.

It’s a gamble. It’s difficult to get grain to mature in the Yukon. But the farmers have been inspired by their success with growing triticale, a rye and wheat hybrid they planted in the fall of 2015 on their farm in the Ibex Valley. They expected to plow the grain back under to enrich the soil. “But we had such a good year last year that it actually matured,” says Krista Roske. They’ve been selling whole triticale grain, bread flour and pastry flour on a small scale ever since.

“I’m quite excited about it, actually,” says Roske. “We’re going to try spelt and barley in small quantities, and I’ve got some red fife that I’m determined to get to mature this year.” She and her husband harvested the triticale by hand, “which quickly lost its charm. The trick for us is we need to buy more machinery, something small to combine it, and a small grain cleaner. It’s farm evolution.” Interested buyers can check in on the grains’ progress via the farm guide or the Sunnyside Farm Facebook page.

When you tire of cruising for eggs on the farm guide webpage and go for vegetables, you’ll land on several Dawson farms. Dawson is famous for its vegetables, where long summer days yield magnificent produce. Kokopellie Farm and Vogt Enterprises are among the bigger produce suppliers. But when you explore Kokopellie a little further, there they are again: grains. Otto Muehlbach and Conny Handwerk are growing small amounts of barley, wheat and rye, cheered on by Dawson consumers.

Derrick Hastings and Katie English of Narrow Gate Herbs/Full Circle Farm, are micro-farmers who supply everything from rabbits to manure to goats to honey. For Hastings and English, who hold down full-time jobs while they farm and raise their three kids, “the farm is a necessity for a good life.” Hastings says one of his most satisfying achievements has been to encourage more people in Dawson to micro-farm.

For many Yukon farmers, farming is a lifestyle choice. Consumers dedicated to buying locally are the beneficiaries of that choice, and the farm guide helps them find each other. Visit www.yukonag.ca/guide to start ordering.

Miche Genest is a chef and writer based in Whitehorse. This piece was commissioned by the Yukon Agricultural Association.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Yukon First Nation Education Directorate members Bill Bennett, community engagement coordinator and Mobile Therapeutic Unit team lead, left, and Katherine Alexander, director of policy and analytics, speak to the News about the Mobile Therapeutic Unit that will provide education and health support to students in the communities. (yfned.ca)
Mobile Therapeutic Unit will bring education, health support to Indigenous rural students

The mobile unit will begin travelling to communities in the coming weeks

Premier Sandy Silver, left, and Chief Medical Officer of Health Dr. Brendan Hanley, speak during a live stream in Whitehorse on January 20, about the new swish and gargle COVID-19 tests. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Swish and spit COVID-19 test now available in Yukon

Vaccination efforts continue in Whitehorse and smaller communities in the territory

Local poet Joanna Lilley is photographed at the Beringia Centre in Whitehorse on Jan. 20, where she will be hosting a poetry workshop on Jan. 24. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Poetry for the ages

Workshop set for the Yukon Beringia Centre

President Joe Biden signs executive orders after speaking about the coronavirus, accompanied by Vice President Kamala Harris in the State Dinning Room of the White House on Jan. 21, in Washington, D.C. The administration announced plans Jan. 20 for a temporary moratorium on oil and gas leasing in Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge after the Trump administration issued leases in a part of the refuge considered sacred by the Gwich’in. (Alex Brandon/AP)
U.S. President Joe Biden halts oil and gas lease sales in ANWR

“Its great to have an ally in the White House”

asdf
WYATT’S WORLD

Wyatt’s World for Jan. 22, 2021

Grants available to address gender-based violence

Organizations could receive up to $200,000

In this illustration, artist-journalist Charles Fripp reveals the human side of tragedy on the Stikine trail to the Klondike in 1898. A man chases his partner around the tent with an axe, while a third man follows, attempting to intervene. (The Daily Graphic/July 27, 1898)
History Hunter: Charles Fripp — gold rush artist

The Alaskan coastal town of Wrangell was ill-equipped for the tide of… Continue reading

A man walks passed the polling place sign at city hall in Whitehorse on Oct. 18, 2018. While Whitehorse Mayor Dan Curtis is now setting his sights on the upcoming territorial election, other members of council are still pondering their election plans for the coming year. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Councillors undecided on election plans

Municipal vote set for Oct. 21

Whitehorse City Hall. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
City hall, briefly

A look at decicions made by Whitehorse city council this week.

A file photo of grizzly bear along the highway outside Dawson City. Yukon conservation officers euthanized a grizzly bear Jan. 15 that was originally sighted near Braeburn. (Alistair Maitland/Yukon News file)
Male grizzly euthanized near Braeburn

Yukon conservation officers have euthanized a grizzly bear that was originally sighted… Continue reading

Mayor Dan Curtis listens to a councillor on the phone during a city council meeting in Whitehorse on April 14, 2020. Curtis announced Jan. 14 that he intends to seek nomination to be the Yukon Liberal candidate for Whitehorse Centre in the 2021 territorial election. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News)
Whitehorse mayor seeking nomination for territorial election

Whitehorse mayor Dan Curtis is preparing for a run in the upcoming… Continue reading

Gerard Redinger was charged under the <em>Civil Emergency Measures Act</em> with failing to self-isolate and failing to transit through the Yukon in under 24 hours. (Joel Krahn/Yukon News file)
Man ticketed $1,150 at Wolf Creek campground for failing to self-isolate

Gerard Redinger signed a 24-hour transit declaration, ticketed 13 days later

Yukon Energy, Solvest Inc. and Chu Níikwän Development Corporation are calling on the city for a meeting to look at possibilities for separate tax rates or incentives for renewable energy projects. (Crystal Schick/Yukon News file)
Tax changes sought for Whitehorse energy projects

Delegates call for separate property tax category for renewable energy projects

Most Read