Alberta Barley, a farmer-directed, not-for-profit organization representing Alberta’s barley farmers, will once again be on the Calgary Co-op Kitchen Theatre stage (July 7 & 10 at 12:30 p.m.).

Linda Whitworth, a home economist, presents on behalf of Alberta Barley and she recently shared some information about herself, the wonders of barley and provided a favourite recipe.

LindaWhitworth_ AlbertaBarley

Calgary Stampede (CS): Briefly tell us a bit about yourself and what your typical day looks like.

Linda Whitworth: My name is Linda Whitworth. I graduated with a degree in B. Sc. (Home Economics) from the University of Alberta in 1977. Through the years I worked with a variety of organizations (Alberta Beef, Alberta Egg Producers (now Egg Farmers of Alberta) and came to work in 2011 with the Alberta Barley Commission.

I spend my days looking for new markets both domestically and internationally for barley, in order to increase the amount of barley grown in the province. Alberta Barley is a farmer-lead, not-for-profit organization whose mandate is to fund research and market development opportunities. I am the food spokesperson for barley and therefore contribute to our website

I make media appearances to promote food barley both in Alberta and across the country. We currently have a cookbook Go Barley: Modern Recipes for an Ancient Grain that we are promoting both on media and at farmers markets throughout the province. As part of my job, I have been to Japan trying to build the food barley market and have coordinated a number of our board members and staff trips to identified markets throughout the world to increase barley exports.

I am so fortunate to have an amazing position that allows me the opportunity to travel both at home and abroad, and work with farmers research scientists, importers and exporters all in pursuit of increasing the market for barley.

CS: What do you love about your job?

Whitworth: I love talking to people about barley. I am passionate about increasing the consumption of barley because it tastes fantastic, and it is SO healthy. Since we received our Health Claim in 2012, we have been working hard to get people to think of barley as more than just beef barley soup and beer. I have be so fortunate to be able to talk to people via television, radio and through participation in great opportunities like the Stampede Co-op Kitchen Theatre.

CS: Do you have a favourite memory of the Calgary Stampede or Kitchen Theatre? 

Whitworth: I’ve lived in Calgary all my life and have wonderful memories of being a child and my mom making my sister and me matching square dancing dresses so we could go downtown to rope square and dance and then wear them to Stampede. I cooked the first time on the kitchen stage back in the early 90’s for Calgary Co-op, and I remember being so impressed by all the volunteers who work behind the scenes, especially Mary McIntyre (who was my high school Home Ec. teacher). Today, as well as cooking on Kitchen Theatre stage, I love to volunteer at Window on the West.

CS: Do you have a recipe you would share with our readers?


Whitworth: Wow, we have so many recipes that I love. The new cookbook has a ton of great recipes. One of my favourites is our chocolate cake that we’ve made at Kitchen Theatre in the past – but for a new and different recipe I’d recommend is our Chorizo and Kale Sauté with Cannellini Beans. Here’s a How-to video followed by the recipe:


1 cup (250 mL) water
Pinch of salt
¼ cup (50 mL) pot or pearl barley
¾ lb (350 g) chorizo or Andouille sausage
8 sun-dried tomato halves, thinly sliced, or ½ cup (125 mL) thinly sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced, or to taste
6 stalks kale
1 (540 mL) can cannellini (white kidney) or Romano beans*, drained

In a medium saucepan, bring water and salt to a boil. Add barley; return to a boil, then cover and reduce heat. Simmer for 40 minutes.

Heat a large non-stick skillet. Meanwhile, dice sausage and then toss it into the pan, stirring to brown lightly. If dried tomatoes are very firm, soak for several minutes in warm water; drain and thinly slice. Add to the skillet. Then stir in garlic and sauté briefly. Remove ribs from kale and thinly slice leaves. Add to skillet along with cooked barley and cannellini beans; cook until kale is slightly wilted.

Makes 4 servings.

Sprinkle with crushed red pepper, if you’d like more spice.

*Romano beans used in photo for more colour.

Nutritional Information (per serving):

Calories: 600
Protein: 33 g
Carbohydrate: 43 g
Fibre: 10 g
Sugars: 5 g
Fat: 33 g
Saturated Fat: 12 g
Trans Fat: 0 g
Cholesterol: 75 mg
Sodium: 1601 mg
Potassium: 911 mg