The six main crops produced in Alberta are wheat, durham, barley, flax, peas and canola. If you look at your dinner table, this list makes up a big part of your dinner every night and you can learn more about them in Agrium Ag-Tivity in the City.
Let’s start with the wheat. At Agrium Ag-tivity in the City, you can see a mill turn wheat into flour, which is the main ingredient in most breads and baking. A common question I’ve been asked is what makes up all purpose flour, and there is only one ingredient – milled wheat.
As well you can see the process barley seed undergoes to become pearl barley – which involves removing the hull from the barley so that it can be used more easily for cooking and also can be turned into flour (commonly used in pancakes and some breads). Pearl barley is a main ingredient in Western meal-time favourites such as hamburger soup and Scotch broth.
In our post from Wednesday, July 14 “Everything you ever wanted to know about Agriculture” we discussed the importance of the Canola industry to Alberta and many of the products that are derived from this crop. Check out that post for more details.
Flax is a specialty crop and is used in foodstuffs and is high in fibre and healthy fat, and low in carbohydrates. Flax seeds can be added to yogurt, cottage cheese or smoothies and is a great addition to baking, and pizza or bread dough. Flax can also be turned into linseed oil, a main ingredient in paint.
Durham is another form of wheat and is the main ingredient in pasta; some of my favourites like spaghetti, ravioli and the eternal stand-by Mac and Cheese wouldn’t be part of dinner without durham.
Peas need little introduction – on their own, in the pod or in soup and many other dishes, they are a staple of a balanced dinner.
And of course, our chicken, pork and beef wouldn’t make it to the table without these crops being part of their balanced diets.
When you visit the Agrium Ag-Tivity in the City tent, you will also see the Twister grain bin, the primary means of storing these crops on the farm after harvest and before shipping to the grain elevators. Inside you will see models of past and present grain handling facilities and learn about their operation. Also on park, the Grain Academy in the Upper level of the BMO Centre is a great stop if you want to learn more about the field to fork process in the crop production business.
Remember all the farming and crops involved when you sit down to dinner tonight!