Slow Food Whitehorse

P.O. Box 20228
Whitehorse, Yukon Y1A 7A2


Slow Food is a movement that started in Italy and has spread around the globe. Slow Food members envision a future food system that is based on the principles of high quality and taste, environmental stewardship, and social justice -- in essence, a food system that is good, clean and fair.

This movement supports a shift away from the destructive effects of an industrialized food system and towards the regenerative cultural, social, and economic benefits of a sustainable food system, regional food traditions, the pleasures of the table, and a slower and more harmonious rhythm of life.

Canadian Ark of Taste

Six products are part of the Slow Food Ark of Taste in Canada. These six products include Red Fife Wheat, the Candienne Cow, Herring Spawn on Kelp, Nova Scotia's Gravenstein Apple, the Great Plains Bison and the Montreal Melon. Of the six, Red Fife Wheat is also a Presidium project which assists in bringing an artisan food back to economic significance.


Slow Food

Red Fife Wheat

In 1988, a Heritage Wheat project began in Keremeos, BC. One pound of each of seven different heritage wheats had been obtained and, after saving half in case of crop failure, were planted in field trials as the Grist Mill Museum. Red Fife was one of those heritage wheats.

Red Fife has great genetic diversity and so by harvesting the plants that perform best on an individual farm, a farmer is able to quite quickly develop a strain that is best suited to those particular growing conditions.

Red Fife has had its troubles in the Canadian market. It was banned from Wheat Pool elevators, but is experiencing a resurgence of popularity with artisan bakers since Red Fife is a particularly tasty wheat, especially when baked in a traditional sourdough bread.



Canadienne Cow

Small Farm Magazine has a great article about the reasons why farmers should raise heritage breeds. The Canadienne Cow is a small hardy dairy cow used mainly in sustainable dairy herds in Ontario and Quebec. As a smaller dairy animal, she would be a good candidate for a family milk cow in the Yukon or as a mainstay in a small dairy producing for a local market.

There are many people in the Yukon who wish to consume raw milk. One option is to own your own dairy animal (either goat or cow). Another is a cow-share dairy such as those run by Ontario farmers Michael Schmidt and Jacqueline Fennell.

Herring Spawn on Kelp

Herring spawn on kelp when lines of kelp are suspended in open or closed ponds where herring naturally congregate to spawn between March and June of each year. Herring eggs become attached to the kelp during the spawning process. The spawn-covered kelp is then harvested, trimmed, brined and packaged for sale and transportation to Asian markets.

A majority of herring spawn on kelp harvesters are First Nations. State of the Catch is a publication put out by the David Suzuki Foundation to assist people involved in the seafood industry in buying and promoting
ocean-friendly fish and shellfish, while avoiding seafood species that are threatened, endangered or poorly managed



Gravenstein Apple

The Gravenstein is a world-renown heritage apple with names in German, Danish, Italian and Russian as well as English.

The Gravenstein can be eaten fresh and is excellent in sauce and pie although it doesn't store well. The Gravenstein is crisp, juicy, aromatic and full of old-fashioned tart-sweet flavour. The colour can vary but is usually a greenish yellow background covered with broad red stripes.

The Annapolis Valley in Nova Scotia now produces most of the Gravensteins grown in Canada which are harvested from late September to early November. Gravensteins are thought to have originated from a tree in the Duke of Augustinberg's garden in Germany in the mid-18th century.


Plains Bison

The reintroduction of bison to the Canadian prairies is a major conservation success story. There are currently over a quarter of a million bison on farms across Canada.

Bison meat is found more often on the menus of restaurants across Canada as it gains popularity with consumers looking for lean, tasty, naturally raised meat.


Montreal Melon

As early as 1694, a variety of melon was grown in the Montreal area. This melon has come to be known as the Montreal Melon, but was also known as Montreal Market Muskmelon or the Montreal Nutmeg Melon.

As shipping smaller, harder melons became common after 1920, the Montreal Melon declined in popularity. It's large size and thin skin meant that it wasn't suited to industrial production methods. Now, people are looking to rediscover foods with "real" taste. For farmers willing to invest a little time and attention, Montreal melons picked ripe from the vine provide an amazingly delicious fruit for their customers and many feel it is worth that attention.


The Whitehorse Convivium of Slow Food would like to invite interested members to participate in local slow food potluck dinners. Dinners will be held each month at different homes. If you are interested in participating, please call Tom at 393-4628.

Yes! We have No Bananas - by Julie Frish

Join the Eat Local Challenge a food blog where you can find support and ideas for ways to eat food from a little closer to home.

The Farm to School organization in the US has many resources as well as a newsletter for interested farmers and consumers who are interested in making a better connection between schools and farms. In the Yukon, Aligator Pie Preschool is leading the way by helping kids grow vegetables in the daycare's back yard and then using those home grown, organic vegetables to create delicious meals. Linda, who runs the daycare, has been involved in program called Deconstructing Dinner which helps children make more mindful food choices from an early age.

Slow Food International


Slow Food Canada

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© Simone Rudge 2007