When it comes to food, Dawson City businesses are going local

BonTon Butcherie and Charcuterie and the Klondike Valley Creamery are aiming to offer a locally-sourced food alternative from the North, for the North.

2 Klondike-based businesses are looking to broaden locally-sourced food options

Shelby Jordan is the owner and operator of BonTon Butcherie and Charcuterie. The shop is located in a dusty back alley in Dawson City, Yukon. (George Maratos/CBC)

Two Yukon businesses are making a push to offer locally-sourced food alternatives from the North, for the North.

BonTon Butcherie and Charcuterie and the Klondike Valley Creamery have been working together to bring quality local food to people in historic Dawson City.

Tucked away in a small workshop down a dusty back alley is where you can find BonTon, the territory's newest butcher shop.

The Klondike Valley Creamery is the Yukon's lone dairy farm. (George Maratos/CBC)

It's not your typical butcher shop — not just because of its unique location, but due to the fact Shelby Jordan is the first butcher in Yukon to make traditional dry-cured salamis using only Yukon-raised meats.

"I can't say it's always been a passion. However, I've always loved cooking and experimenting with food," said Jordan.

It all started with her desire for a career change. A manager with the Yukon Environmental and Socio-economic Assessment Board for more than a decade, Jordan was tired of the nine-to-five office life and was craving more.

BonTon was the answer.

"I took a huge leap," said Jordan, who said she left the community to be trained in butchery.

Jordan said while it's a challenge providing local products, it's one she's willing to face.

"I really believe that we can sustain ourselves here by raising and growing our own food," said Jordan.

"We get all of our food from out of the territory for the most part, and that is what I am trying to move away from."

Farmer Loren Sadlier owns and operates the Klondike Valley Creamery, the Yukon's only dairy farm. (George Maratos/CBC)

Dairy farming in the Yukon

Loren and Jen Sadlier agree.

The farmers are responsible for bringing dairy farming back to Yukon.

About 14 kilometres south of Dawson City, just off the Klondike Highway, you'll find the territory's only dairy farm: the Klondike Valley Creamery.

This recently-born calf is one of 11 cows at the Klondike Valley Creamery. (George Maratos/CBC)

In operation for just over two months, the farm produces an assortment of gourmet cheeses, yogurt and milk.

"This is as far north as we could go and still farm," said Loren. "I grew up farming in northern B.C. and it's really not a lot different."

Although winters are a little harder, Loren said the growing season is the same.

"Anything you can grow in northern B.C., you can grow here," he said.

"Food security is a big deal and food security in the North is a bigger deal," he added. "Pretty much everything that Dawson eats … comes in a truck, and we'd like to change a little bit of that."

The Klondike Valley Creamery, south of Dawson City, offers a wide range of cheeses. (George Maratos/CBC)

By farm standards, the Sadliers' is small. It sits on about 32 hectares of land. They have 11 cows, just four of which are currently milking.

But the Sadliers hope to expand. Jen said another 242 hectares is available.

"One day we'd like to have 24 milking cows," she said.

Working together

As part of their efforts, BonTon and Klondike Valley Creamery have been working together with a former brothel in Dawson to deliver food in town.

Three times a week, patrons of Bombay Peggy's Inn and Pub can order a meat tray from BonTon that comes with an assortment of cheeses from the creamery.

"People literally text me their order and, from there, a friend or family member walks it down the alley to Bombay Peggy's," said Jordan.

"The feedback I've been receiving has been fantastic from locals and tourists."


George Maratos

Associate Producer

George Maratos is a reporter and associate producer at CBC Yukon with more than a decade of experience covering the North.


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