What better way to celebrate one year of eating local in the far north, than feasting on local food with some of the folks who were so important to the year’s success. This time it was my turn to feed others!
A smorgasbord of delicious tastes spotlighted the wide variety of food that can be harvested in the North. An incredible assortment of local cheese from Jen Sadlier of Klondike Valley Creamery – Camembert to die for, Jaques LaRouge, Gouda, Black Jack , Labneh, and garlic chèvre. Pork porchetta and pastrami from Shelby Jordan of Bon Ton Chacuterie. Rye crackers and sourdough pumpernickel bread. Baked salmon. Roast chicken. Crustless spinach and bacon quiche. Potato salad with homemade mayonnaise. Green salads with Saskatoon berry dressing. And for desert – seven tubs of homemade birch syrup ice cream!
And we danced the Bhangra! Bhangra is actually a farmers’ dance – many of the movements have to do with planting, harvesting and celebrating a successful crop. So it seemed only fitting that we would dance in celebration of a successful year of eating local by dancing bhangra in a farmer’s field. Thanks to the patient teaching of Gurdeep Pandher from Whitehorse, we managed to pull off a semblance of bhangra. Smiling is an important factor in bhangra dancing. And there is no problem remembering to smile when you are already laughing at yourself!
Photos by Mackenzie Pardy.
The fields and the forests of Dawson were desperate for rain and on the day of the celebration it was raining steady. There was no visible end to the dark clouds… until the first guest arrived. Then, miraculously, the rain paused and didn’t start again until we were packing up the last box and heading home.
I attribute this wondrous phenomenon to farmers’ optimism. During the past two years I have had the privilege to hang out with farmers. I have witnessed how undaunted they are by the weather. With almost all the farmers gathered together in one field, how could the clouds not pause in awe!
Not everyone who helped make this past year so successful was able to attend. Nonetheless we were still a gathering of about 60 people – farmers and food producers, gardeners who had shared their garden space or their produce, folks who had shared their precious supply of wild berries during a very poor berry season, folks who taught me how to fish, those who taught me how to cook, folks who taught me to forage, people who shared recipes and all manner of local knowledge.
We were honoured to have Miche Genest, the culinary genius and author of The Boreal Gourmet, paddle to Dawson to join the celebration. Miche has been instrumental in teaching me ways to cook with only local ingredients this past year for which I and my family are forever grateful! Those who were unable to attend were still at the forefront of my thoughts during the celebration.
Many thanks to Cindy Breitkreutz, Miche Genest, Arno Springer and Hector Mackenzie who helped so greatly in preparing the feast; to Megan and Jake of LaStraw Ranch for hosting us in their field and to Gurdeep Pandher for travelling to Dawson from Whitehorse to teach us Bhangra. And of course a huge thank you to the many, many folks who helped make this year of eating 100% local in the Far North so successful!
Photos by Mackenzie Pardy.