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Saskatchewan produces unique Canadian crop

Saskatchewan produces unique Canadian crop

Fenugreek seeks can be turned into essential oils

By Diego Flammini
News Reporter
Farms.com

If Tourism Saskatchewan ever wants to change the province’s slogan from “Land of Living Skies,” farmers could argue the province is the land of fenugreek.

Saskatchewan farmers are the only Canadian producers of this crop, which is part of the pea family.

Provincial growers produced all 2,809 acres of fenugreek in Canada in 2016, according to Statistics Canada. The total number of acres is up from 179 in 2001.

Saskatchewan also exports all of Canada’s fenugreek crops.

Nathan Sudom, the CEO of Emerald Seed Products in Avonlea, Sask., and his family have produced fenugreek for 25 years. He contracts farmers to grow the crop, which he exports to such markets as the U.S., Japan and Israel.

“It’s a pretty cool company, you know, being able to take a product from Saskatchewan, and export it all around the world and (added) value to customers,” Sudom told CBC yesterday.

Once harvested, fenugreek has several uses.

The seeds can be used to treat digestive disorders or added to culinary seasonings. Seed extracts are also used to flavour maple syrup substitutes and clean potash.

India is the world’s largest producer of fenugreek.

Indian farmers harvested 121,775 tonnes of fenugreek seeds from 237,970 acres in 2011-2012.

Ideal fenugreek growing conditions include cool climates, according to AgriFarming, an Indian farming resource. Loamy or sandy loam soils with good drainage and soils with a pH between 6.0 and 7.0 can help to increase yields.

In Saskatchewan, fenugreek seeding should take place in early May, according to the Ministry of Agriculture. The optimum plant density is 12 plants per square foot.

Farms.com has reached out to Sudom for more information on fenugreek production in Saskatchewan.

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