What would the individual provinces contribute to a Canada-themed meal?
By Diego Flammini
Assistant Editor, North American Content
When Canada celebrates its 150th birthday on Saturday, many dinner tables will be filled with food produced by Canadian farmers.
So, Farms.com polled many provincial ag organizations to learn which ingredient the province could contribute to these meals.
“I’m incredibly biased, but I think Ontario’s maple syrup should be at the table,” said Neil Currie, general manager of the Ontario Federation of Agriculture.
Ontario has 2,673 maple farms and more than 1.5 million maple taps, according to 2015 data from AAFC.
Ontario maple farms produced 369,000 gallons of syrup in 2015, valued around $26 million, according AAFC.
Moving east, a few provinces could put fruit alongside Ontario's maple syrup.
“I think for Nova Scotia, it would have to be blueberries,” Maxine MacLean, communications research coordinator with the Nova Scotia Federation of Agriculture, told Farms.com. “After all, it is our provincial berry.”
Nova Scotia had 843 blueberry farms and more than 15,000 hectares of blueberries in 2010, which was the most of any province according to Stats Canada.
Nova Scotia blueberries were worth almost $15 million.
New Brunswick’s contributions to Canada’s meal couldn’t be limited to only one item, according to Josee Albert, CEO of the Agricultural Alliance of New Brunswick.
“I would say potatoes, dairy, blueberries and maple syrup represent New Brunswick farmers,” Albert told Farms.com.
But when it comes to potatoes, many Canadians may think of another province.
“I think if you’re talking potatoes it has to be Prince Edward Island,” said Robert Godfrey, executive director of PEI’s Federation of Agriculture.
Potato farmers in Prince Edward Island harvested more than 87,000 acres of potatoes in 2012, according to Stats Canada. The total farm value of potatoes was more than $250 million.
And any number of vegetables could represent Newfoundland and Labrador, according to Mervin Wiseman, president of the Newfoundland and Labrador Federation of Agriculture.
“It could be cabbage, turnips, cauliflower or even broccoli,” he said.
But if he had to narrow it down, Wiseman would choose the bakeapple, commonly known as a cloudberry.
“It’s a product that’s been transformed into jams and liqueurs,” he said. “That’s the one (item) that would stick out for me.”
Moving to Western Canada, farmers in Saskatchewan could almost produce an entire meal on their own, according to Todd Lewis, president of Agricultural Producers Association of Saskatchewan.
“How about local lentils, cooked in canola oil with a pita made from Saskatchewan wheat?” he said with a laugh.
Producers in Saskatchewan harvested 5.2 million acres of lentils in 2016, totaling about 2.7 million pounds of the crop, according to Stats Canada.
For those who worried this Canada-themed meal might be a vegetarian event, Alberta provided the protein.
“I think we would have to provide a steak or a burger to throw on the grill, wouldn’t we?” said Lynn Jacobson, president of the Alberta Federation of Agriculture.
Alberta farmers account for almost 42 per cent of the national beef herd in 2016, according to Stats Canada.
Did we miss an ingredient? Let us know other items that should be part of a Canada-themed meal!