May30 FrosttoFrost market.JPG
My husband Allan and I (behind the table) serve a customer at the Fireweed Market in 2006.
When we first moved to the Yukon 16 years ago I told my family that if I would like to have a market garden. The inspiration for this statement was the lack of fresh produce in the stores and a tour through Yukon Gardens with my sister's daycare kids.
When we moved here we were renting a duplex in Granger. We had a small, shaded backyard —not exactly market garden material — but still I dreamed that someday it would happen. Both my husband Allan and I liked to garden, so it didn't seem out of the realm of possibility.
Almost 10 years ago, after we had bought land to farm, we joined a few others who also dreamed. Their dream was to have a place where people could buy locally grown-or-made products and produce. They called it the Yukon Made Market. They met every Saturday at Takhini Gas to sell their wares.
After my first experience as a market vendor I was hooked. I hadn't sold much but I could see my dream starting to become a reality. As more farmers and crafters joined us there was talk of taking the market into Whitehorse's downtown. Having a market in Whitehorse had been tried in the past with some success, but none of the people who made that happen were around anymore.
After looking into what it would take to set something up, the core group from the Yukon Made Market moved downtown as the Fireweed Community Market Society. For a time we attended both markets: Saturdays at Takhini Gas and Thursdays at Shipyards Park. Having two markets a week is a lot of work and when the customers who used to come to the out-of-town market started shopping downtown, the Yukon Made Market dwindled and eventually closed. While it may seem a like a dream died with the closing of the Yukon Made Market, in reality it was a stepping stone. The name lives on in the Fireweed Community Market's store/office as the Yukon Made Store.
A dream that doesn't change to fit its environment is a dream that won't work. If all I had wanted to do was develop my own garden — without participating in the formation of a larger dream than mine — I would probably be out here on the farm with a small garden growing only enough food for ourselves. I would never have been able to create the vibrancy and diversity that is the Fireweed Community Market.
I am looking forward to seeing everyone again at this year's summer market.
Joan Norberg and her husband, Allan, run Grizzly Valley Farms on the Mayo Road. They have successfully endured the Yukon’s short seasons and less-than-ideal soil conditions. Send her your questions at firstname.lastname@example.org.