In celebration of Canada, discover the ingredients that are grown and harvested in Canada and shared with the rest of the world.
Red Fife Wheat
This grain variety was brought to Canada from Scotland by David Fife, who farmed in the 1840s north of Belleville, Ontario. By the 1870s, Red Fife became the dominant wheat variety used by millers and bakers throughout Canada, creating the taste of bread in the decades after Confederation. Its adaptability to the unique climate of Western Canada meant that Red Fife wheat would play a key role to settlement in the prairies.
Prince Edward Island (P.E.I) Potatoes
Russet, white, red and yellow potatoes are famous across Canada and around the world. Prince Edward Islanders have been growing potatoes since the late 1700s. They are superior because of the province’s ideal growing conditions, which includes a red, sandy soil that is rich in iron. The tiny province produces over one million tonnes of the tuber per year.
Is there anything more Canadian than maple syrup? The skill of collecting and processing the sweet sap of the sugar maple was known and valued by the Indigenous peoples long before the arrival of European settlers. “Sugaring time,” is that brief confluence between winter and spring when the snow begins to melt and sap begins to flow in the maple groves. As one of Canada’s iconic food identities, the nation produces 75 percent of the world’s output, of which, 91 percent is produced in Quebec. Other maple syrup producing regions include the provinces of Ontario, New Brunswick, Prince Edward Island and Nova Scotia. Today, Canadian maple syrup is exported to approximately 50 countries, including the United States which is the primary importer.
Canada is the world’s largest producer and exporter of wild blueberries, also known as “lowbush blueberries,” mostly grown in the Saguenay-Lac-Saint-Jean region of Quebec. The total harvest weighs-in at 100 million kilograms per year.
Saskatchewan is the world’s largest exporter of green lentils and yields 2 million tonnes annually – about 95 percent of Canada’s lentil production. India, Turkey and Bangladesh purchase half of Canada’s harvest. This nutritious little legume grows in pods and is one of the oldest cultivated crops on earth.
Canada is the largest exporter and the second largest producer of mustard seed in the world accounting for 80 percent of total global exports of the seed. And Cabri, Saskatchewan is responsible for a significant portion of those exports. Canada’s climate provides ideal growing conditions for the spicy crop. Mustard’s versatility is a good friend to the farmer, given that it interrupts pest cycles and when grown as a crop cover, and replenishes the nutrients in depleted soil. On average, mustard plants produce up to 450 kilograms of seeds per acre and all parts of the mustard plant are edible, including the leaves, seeds and flowers.
Minomiin – or wild rice, as it is more commonly known –was once the main food source for many First Nations. Much of today’s wild rice harvest is still done by Indigenous peoples from heirloom strands. Wild rice is not a rice at all, but the seed of four species of aquatic grasses forming genus Zizania. It grows in the shallow lakes and rivers of Saskatchewan, Manitoba and northwestern Ontario. Canadian harvests focus on rice grown organically in natural bodies of water. Wild rice is a challenging crop to grow and is not suitable for large-scale production, making it the most expensive type of rice.
Oh Canada. Gratitude for your deep-rooted ingredients that present a diverse portrait of your edible landscape.