Should you bother spending the extra money to eat organic?

Well, that depends. Though our options are limited living in Yukon, we do have some. And those choices are expanding as we, the consumers, show the local grocery stores what we want by what we buy.

A great choice, for all Yukoners, is to purchase as much locally through the summer and as far into the fall months as you can.

When the Fireweed Market opens at Shipyards Park, get yourself out there every Thursday, make connections, and purchase what you can.

Of course, the variety of options expands closer to the end of the season as vegetables ripen and wild berries are picked.

You can also get homemade breads, pastries and jams, and if you ask for healthier options you never know, you may come back to see those options the following week!

For local protein options you can order locally raised grass fed beef. Look for Farmers 3 on Facebook or check for ads in the paper. You can also purchase bison in the Yukon, either wild or grass fed.

For eggs, you can join the Happy Hen club and get your eggs delivered weekly. Check out more amazing local farmers at http://farmproducts.yukonfood.com if you’re interested in a range of options.

For breads and grain products go to one of our wonderful bake shops and ask which of their grains or breads are organic.

At the grocery store, it is harder in the north than elsewhere to purchase fresh and healthy produce, but it’s not all lost. When shopping for your produce try to keep these rules in mind.

Many health food advocates talk about the “Dirty Dozen” of produce – vegetables and fruits that tend to have a lot of pesticides used on them or that are genetically modified. In other words, try to buy these organic all the time:

1. Celery

2. Peaches

3. Strawberries

4. Apples

5. Blueberries

6. Nectarines

7. Sweet Bell Pepper

8. Spinach

9. Kale/Collard Greens

10. Cherries

11. Potatoes

12. Grapes

On the other end of the spectrum are the “Clean 15”. These are lowest in pesticides, so you probably don’t need to buy organic.

1. Onions

2. Avocado

3. Sweet Corn (frozen)

4. Pineapples

5. Mango

6. Sweet Peas (frozen)

7. Asparagus

8. Kiwi Fruit

9. Cabbage

10. Eggplant

11. Cantaloupe (domestic)

12. Watermelon

13. Grapefruit

14. Sweet Potatoes

15. Honeydew Melon

If you’re a cell phone type, you can download an app to your smartphone for free in case you forget these rules while shopping. Just search for “dirtydozen”.

As well, did you know that there are local courses offered to teach you how to build and grow your own garden? These courses are not expensive, so check them out and get your hands dirty. Check out http://www.deeprootspermaculture.com for a start.

I am sure I have missed some wonderful other ideas, places and people in this list, but hopefully this will get you started. And I am always looking for new ways to improve the food options of Yukoners, so if you have an idea, name, or website send it my way. I’m always listening, growing and wanting to learn more and pay it forward.

This column is provided by Mrs. Lee Randell, independent fitness consultant, who is an ACE certified advanced health and fitness specialist and personal trainer. You can reach her at www.mrsleerandell.com.