Anyone who knows anything about the food scene knows that the biggest culinary trend right now — whether you’re in a high-end restaurant or cooking at home — is locally produced food. While chefs and food editors sometimes present eating local as a bit of a challenge, much of the food you already eat is probably already produced right here in Canada!
No matter where you live in the country, you most certainly have easy access to delicious Canadian-produced food. According to Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Canada is the fifth largest agricultural exporter in the world and that the agriculture industry employs 2.1 million Canadians. That’s a lot of people working to produce food for those of us in the country and other people around the world.
Obviously, different products are more readily available in different parts of the country and you’re not likely to find Canadian-produced strawberries in February, but it’s pretty simple to incorporate some Canadian-grown or raised food into every meal of your day. Grains account for 34% of the country’s agri-products, followed by red meat at 24%. Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada counted 12.275 million cattle and 12.720 million hogs in Canada, as well as 892,700 sheep and lambs as of the beginning of 2013. We’ve all heard of Alberta beef, but who knew that we’re the world’s third largest exporter of pork products?
Of course, it’s not all about the bread and meat — the fruit and veggies of Quebec, Ontario, and British Columbia are world class. Also, Stompin’ Tom Connors’ “Bud the Spud” isn’t a work of fiction — almost half of the land on Prince Edward Island is dedicated to farming, partially thanks to it’s rich red soil, which is perfect for growing potatoes. And don’t forget regional specialties like B.C. salmon, East Coast seafood, or Quebec cheese and maple syrup. Here’s a breakdown of the top food commodities in each province:
British Columbia: Dairy, fruits and veggies
Alberta: Grains, cattle
Saskatchewan: Grains, cattle
Manitoba: Grains, hogs
Ontario: Grains, dairy
Quebec: Grains, hogs
Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia, and New Brunswick: Dairy, fruits and veggies
Newfoundland and Labrador: Dairy, poultry
Yukon: Forage, greenhouse crops
Northwest Territories: Eggs, fruits and veggies
Nunavut: Wild berries, caribou, musk ox
So, next time you’re filling your grocery cart, check the packaging on your food to see if you are indeed buying Canadian products. Look for a red maple leaf logo and the words “Product of Canada,” which means that all of the major ingredients are produced in Canada and that the food was processed in Canada. You won’t just be following the local trend, but you’ll also be supporting our country’s economy and countless hard-working farmers.