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Celebrating Ontario ingredients on National Pizza Day

Celebrating Ontario ingredients on National Pizza Day

Feb. 9 is dedicated to the popular dish

By Diego Flammini
News Reporter

Many people are making pizza part of their lunch and dinner plans today in recognition of National Pizza Day.

The daylong celebration pays homage to the triangle or square-shaped food that’s popular around the globe.

Eating pizza is a deliciously wonderful way to spend any day. Pizza chefs, however, spend their time creating the food for customers to enjoy.

And if farmers didn’t produce the wheat, meats, cheeses and other ingredients associated with pizza, customers wouldn’t have anything tasty to enjoy, said Joe Leroux, owner of Amadio’s Pizza in Mississauga, Ont. and 2016 Canadian Pizza Chef of the Year.

“Everything starts with the farm,” he told today. “The closer to the farm you can get your ingredients, the better it is.

“Farmers always have a place because, without them, we’d have nothing to eat.”

Joe Leroux
Photo: QEW South Post

And some of the challenges growers face to produce a crop are similar to his own business, he noted.

“Too much rain and a crop can be wiped out,” he said. “Not to mention they can have a tough time finding people who want to work. I’ve had some trouble finding people who want to do hard work, too.”

So just what volume of pizza ingredients do the province’s farmers produce?

Let’s take the example of the Canadian pizza, which features tomato sauce, mozzarella cheese, bacon, pepperoni and mushrooms.

To help local chefs form their crusts, Ontario wheat growers produced more than 92 million bushels of wheat in 2016, according to OMAFRA. Farmers in Chatham-Kent produced the most winter wheat (9.1 million bushels) and farmers in Prescott and Russell produced the most spring wheat that year (851,000 bushels).

When it comes to tomato sauce, Ontario growers produced more than 993 million pounds of field tomatoes in 2016, according to OMAFRA. And greenhouse tomato growers produced 183,823 tonnes of tomatoes that year.

Few pizzas leave the kitchen without mozzarella cheese.

In 2016, Ontario’s agri-food industry produced more than 25 million kg of mozzarella cheese, according to the Canadian Dairy Information Centre.

The Canadian pizza also features are bacon and pepperoni.

Ontario producers had more than 3.1 million pigs in 2016, according to OMAFRA. And Huron County farmers led the province with 573,655 pigs.

Mushrooms round out the ingredient list of the traditional Canadian pizza.

Ontario growers harvested more than 139 million pounds of mushrooms in 2016.

So if you plan to make pizza part of your dinner routine this evening, be sure to thank a farmer!

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