Dawson resident grows pineapples in his off-grid Yukon cabin

Dawson City resident Andrew Timms has done something he believes no resident has done before. He's grown his own pineapples — an experiment he says all started with a trip to the grocery store and a little curiosity.

'Nobody in Dawson has ever done it before. I have never done it before,' said Andrew Timms

Smiling man holding two pineapples.
Andrew Timms holding two pineapples that he grew in his off-grid cabin. He says it all began with a trip to the grocery store and a little curiosity. (Submitted by Andrew Timms)

It all began with a trip to the grocery store and a little curiosity for Dawson City, Yukon, resident Andrew Timms.

"I just got some heads from the general store. Like you know those green spiky heads on the top of pineapples," Timms said. "I rooted those, and then a year and a half later, they started to poke out little red spiky flowers."

Timms believes he's the first person in Dawson City to successfully grow his own pineapple plants. He said he only used organic-based fertilizer and water to feed his budding tropical fruits — it seemed to be all that they needed.

"They started off small. Then they started to get 'huger'," he said Thursday.

"I haven't weighed them yet but one feels like 20 pounds, including the spiky head."

Later, after weighing them, he noted they were actually five and six pounds.

Two pineapples.
"They started off small. Then they started to get 'huger'," Timms said. "I haven't weighed them yet but one feels like 20 pounds including the spikey head." (They later weighed in at five and six pounds). (Submitted by Andrew Timms)

This was his first time growing pineapples, but Timms said he's no stranger to growing produce.

"My family does farming in Ontario," he explained." I do have tons of plants. I have other experiments going. I have citrus trees. I have more than a dozen of those and more than a dozen different types of house plants.

"I kind of specialize in breeds that survive our low-light winters. I started purple passion fruit plants from seed in the spring — those might be ready next year. I'm not sure though, I've never done them before either."

Timms said he does all of his growing in an off-grid cabin.

"This year, I finally have a propane generator," he said. "Now I can have my plant lights on all year. The Klondike Valley doesn't get any direct sunlight for a few months out of the year."

Timms said he wants to grow more pineapples in the future, but he needs to have a bigger space to put them.

"The jungle I have is actually my home so I'm really limited on space," he said. "I do plan on building another winter greenhouse and it'll hopefully work better than the first one."

As for his two pineapples, the plants themselves will be going to a new home soon.

"Someone's already spoken for the plants," he explained on Thursday. "They wanted to buy them months ago and I told them they would have to wait until the pineapples were ready to pick. I'm planning on taking off the tops, because the tops are super awesome. They're like a foot and a half tall."

He has a special plan for the fruit. Speaking to CBC on Thursday, he said that part was destined for dinner.

"We're going to have a pineapple party tonight to eat the pineapples," he said.


Chris MacIntyre is a CBC reporter in Dawson City, Yukon.