The Canada Food Guide makes recommendations on what and how much of various foods to eat in order to maintain a healthy diet.
However, it doesn’t include information on how food is produced, the crops grown in Canada, the importance of farmers and fishers, or our choices’ impact on the environment.
The following guide gives you some information about the many crops grown in Canada. It helps you understand how your food choices affect farmers, our land, and our water resources, as well as animal welfare and greenhouse gas emissions.
The List of Crops Grown in Canada
A lot of people know that wheat is a crop grown in Canada, but not everyone knows just how important it is. Wheat has been the number one crop grown in the world for centuries, and today it’s still an important part of Canadian agriculture.
With about 7 million acres under cultivation, wheat is an essential part of our food system and economy. In 2014 we produced about 27 million tonnes of this cereal grain which was used as animal feed and consumed directly by humans across Canada.
Ontario, which is home to almost half of Canadian wheat production, ranks third after China and India when it comes to wheat production globally, but first among all countries for export volume.
Saskatchewan accounts for more than 60% of total Canadian exports and also produces a large amount of durum wheat which is used in pasta and couscous.
Other grains grown here include barley, oats, rye, spelled, and triticale (a cross between rye and wheat).
As Canadians enjoy their breakfast cereal or evening toast with jam on top, they can be assured that these foods are made possible thanks to the hard work put into growing wheat.
In Western Canada, canola is the most common oilseed crop. Historically, it has been an important source of vegetable oil and biodiesel fuel. Today, canola oil is used by food manufacturers as a cheaper substitute for olive or other vegetable oils in many commercial foods.
In eastern Canada, canola is used for forage and animal feed. Although Canadian farmers have used it as a rotational crop since it was first introduced into North America, its popularity has grown exponentially in recent years.
It is well-suited to regions with short growing seasons and low humidity levels; however, planting canola requires large amounts of fertilizer to maintain high oil yields.
Furthermore, yields are heavily dependent on weather conditions. When planted after wheat, barley, or oats, canola provides a harvest that is usually ready before frost hits. Farmers grow canola because it is less expensive than other oil crops like soybeans and palm trees require more land.
Canada’s most popular crop is the potato. Potatoes are grown on every Canadian farm and can be found in nearly all Canadian grocery stores. In total, more than 200 varieties of potatoes are grown in Canada, each a unique product with its own special qualities. Farmers can choose from early, late, heavy, or light varieties.
They can also plant potatoes that mature at different times throughout the year so they always have something coming up out of the ground,
From a culinary perspective, potatoes are available year-round and are sold in different forms from fresh to frozen, including different sizes and shapes. They can also be shredded, sliced, diced, and cut into French fries or baked potatoes.
They have many uses beyond just eating plain. Try mashing them up with butter and milk for a delicious mashed potato dish or chop them into small pieces (French fries) and toss them on your grill for a tasty snack.
It’s also rich in dietary fiber which helps with weight loss by regulating the digestive system.
If you are suffering from diabetes or obesity, barley can help lower your blood sugar levels and reduce insulin resistance.
In fact, barley is a wonderful addition to any diabetic diet as it supplies minerals like manganese, selenium, and magnesium which reduce oxidative stress linked to type 2 diabetes.
Glucose oxidation can be reduced by high amounts of manganese found in, not only barley but other plant-based foods such as broccoli, spinach, and nuts.
If you’re on an animal-based diet (vegetarians), this mineral is more difficult to come by so find ways to add these vegetables into your daily meals!
The most popular corn grown in Canada is a white variety of sweet corn. The stalks grow up to 3 feet high, and the ears average about 12 inches long. When harvested, the ears are husked, then shucked for consumption. Corn is also processed into cereal, flour, and other products. Corn kernels are available fresh and canned or frozen.
Sweet corn is a summer crop and can be eaten fresh as a vegetable on its own, with butter, or cooked in casseroles. Green, unripened sweet corn will cook faster than mature cobs. Look for fresh ears of corn that are plump and heavy. The husks should look bright green and there should be silky threads at each end of each row of kernels.
Canada is a country with a diverse landscape, and that diversity is reflected in our crops. From apples, berries, and cherries to oranges, plums, and peaches; from cranberries, grapes, and blueberries to apricots, figs, and nectarines; there is an abundance of delicious fruits grown right here at home.
For example, did you know that cherries from British Columbia are eaten fresh, canned, and turned into juice? It’s true; fresh cherries can be found year-round, as well as delicious bing and heart-shaped sour cherry varieties. Apricots are also an incredibly popular choice for fruit connoisseurs.
Broccoli, cauliflower, and cabbage are three of the most popular vegetables grown in Canada. Cauliflower is a member of the cabbage family, which makes it taste similar to broccoli. Broccoli is known as a superfood because it has so many health benefits.
Tomatoes are a popular choice for home gardeners, as well as farmers. They’re versatile and easy to grow, which is why they’re so common. In fact, Canadians eat more tomatoes than any other vegetable! Eggplant and pepper varieties include banana pepper, Anaheim chili, and bell peppers of various colors.
Approximately 70% of crops grown in Canada are grown on farms located within Ontario, with another 25% of Canadian crops being produced on farms located within Québec. Most of the remaining 5% is grown on farms spread across the other provinces and territories.
Canada’s agriculture primarily focuses on commodities such as wheat, soybeans, canola, corn, beef cattle, and pork.
Canadians enjoy a wide variety of fresh fruits and vegetables. Fruits and vegetables are grown every season and come from all over the country.
Eating seasonal foods has many benefits such as improved nutrient intake and less waste. What are your suggestions about these crops grown in Canada? Please leave a comment below.