From Field to Table

Dietitians of Canada’s 2010 National Nutrition Month focuses on celebrating food – from where it is grown and harvested to the delicious and healthy food on our tables. All across Canada, dietitians are encouraging Canadians to celebrate the wide variety of food grown and harvested in this country. Canadian food production ranges from fisheries to fruit; meat to milk; and grains to greenhouse crops.

Canadian dairy farms produce some of the best dairy cattle in the world. The Canadian Holstein is one of the top producers of milk. Just slightly less than 1 million dairy cattle supply Canadian and international markets with milk. Canada’s dairies produce more than 665 different kinds of cheese from goat, ewe and cow milk. Quebec alone produces 477 varieties of cheese!

Canada has the longest coastline in the world. Most of the seafood sold in Canada comes from the Atlantic fishery. Our country supports more than 160 species of fish and seafood, including lobster, crab, shrimp, scallops, salmon, clams and herring roe.

The red meat and meat products industry makes up the biggest part of food manufacturing in all of Canada. It includes beef, pork, lamb, venison and bison. Canada’s poultry farms produce top quality chicken and poultry products.

The wide-range of fruit grown in Canada includes peaches, pears, plums, cherries, grapes, as well as many different types of berries. Apples are the largest fruit crop in terms of weight. Blueberries are the most valuable crop. Potatoes make up one third of the total sales of vegetables.

The durum wheat grown by Canadian farmers is milled into semolina flour, which is the main ingredient in pasta. Other field crops include barley, oats, rye, flax, canola, soybeans, corn and pulses. Pulses are the dried seeds of legumes such as peas, beans, lentils and chickpeas. Canada exports more mustard seed than any other country in the world.

Despite having a great variety of food grown, harvested and produced in Canada, the Canadian Community Health Survey (Statistics Canada 2006) indicates we are not choosing the healthy bounty our country provides. The majority of Canadians do not eat enough vegetables and fruit. Adults and youth do not consume the recommended number of milk and alternatives. More females than males do not eat the minimum number of servings for grain products. For teenagers, 25% of all calories come from “other foods” with soft drinks on top of the list.

There is a place on our tables for the foods grown, harvested and produced in Canada. Be sure to visit Dietitians of Canada’s website at www.dietitians.ca/ and click on Eat Well, Live Well for ideas on how to enjoy the pleasures of good food and healthy eating.

WRITTEN BY THE PUBLIC HEALTH NUTRITIONISTS OF SASKATCHEWAN

Originator: Heather Torrie

References:

Dietitians of Canada, 2010 Nutrition Month Campaign Reference Manual for Dietitians.