Sister Island Growing Tradition Continues … With Some Twists

Lou of Sister Island is growing some crops not typically seen in the North, including “black” indigo rose tomatoes. Photo by Suzanne Crocker.

Sister Island is a private 42-acre island just downriver from Dawson City, and has a longstanding agricultural tradition. Given to the Sisters of St. Ann in 1898 during the Klondike Gold Rush, the nuns used the Island to grow vegetables famous for their quality, and raised cows, chickens and pigs to feed a hospital and orphanage in Dawson. Suzanne visited there recently to meet the current owners, Lou Tyacke and Gary Masters, who are now farming there.

Suzanne was thrilled to discover that Lou was growing fennel as it is hard to come by in Dawson this year.

Lou and Suzanne with some Sister Island fennel. Photo by Jennifer Hall.

Lou is also successfully growing some other unique produce, not usually found in the North. This includes Jerusalem artichokes (a type of sunflower), which is grown for its edible root/tuber), and is growing very well in the Sister island greenhouse. She is also raising a variety of colourful carrots, as well as “black” tomatoes, which are actually vine tomatoes of the indigo rose variety.

jeruselum-artichokes
colourful-carrots

Jerusalem artichokes growing in the Sister Island greenhouse (left) and some colourful carrots.  Photos by Suzanne Crocker.

For Suzanne, the timing of the visit to Sister Island was especially fortuitous, as she arrived the day before she started her 100-per-cent-local eating.  She was treated to one of Lou’s amazing cupcakes — a floral art form in itself  — and a cup of tea. … which turned out to be her last cup of orange pekoe tea (and cupcake) for a year.

If it’s going to be your last cupcakes for a year, might as well make it colourful. Photo by Suzanne Crocker.

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