Did you know that Canada is one of the largest agricultural producers in the world? That’s pretty amazing considering that only about seven percent of our land area is suitable for farming! We make great use of the land we’ve got, and produce a rich variety of nutritious foods that we cultivate, farm and grow on our fertile lands. From a bounty of grains, seeds and beans, to fresh berries and salmon, Canada’s food scene is bright and brimming with nourishing potential. Here are the all-stars from across the nation.

The East Coast

We have to thank the eastern provinces for lobster, Atlantic salmon, snow crab and shrimp, which are all great protein options. Bonus: salmon is very high in omega-3 fat, which is good for heart health. Approximately 72,000 Canadians make their living directly from fishing, so buy local when you can!

Atlantic Canada accounts for over 40 percent of Canada’s potato growing area. Potatoes have a bad reputation because they are often made into fries or chips, which are ultra-processed foods. But the actual potato – when roasted, boiled or baked – is brimming with fibre, vitamin C and potassium. A small potato makes a great side dish.

Ontario and Quebec

The big crops here are wheat, soy and corn, which are used to make many foods, including bread, pasta and tofu. Quebec has the largest crops of blueberries, cranberries and nuts in Canada. These foods are rich in vtiamins, fibre and antioxidants, which are important for good health. Quebec is home to the highest number of dairy farms in Canada. If you enjoy calcium-rich milk, cheese or yogurt, it may have originated in la belle province.

Ontario farmers grow over 50 types of vegetables and fruits sold across Canada. Highlights are greenhouse cucumber, tomato and peppers, hardy squash, beets and kale. Salads would not be complete without amazing Ontario farmers. This province also grows more apples than any other area in Canada.

The Prairies

The majority of Canada’s farmland is found in this region, with the biggest area in Saskatchewan.

Fields of barley, peas, wheat, chickpeas, oats and lentils are aplenty in the prairies. Add some vegetables, and you’ve got the foundation for a plant-based diet, which is good for human health and beneficial to the planet. The prairies are known for growing hemp, canola, flax and other edible seeds, which are used as food or to make oils.

Alberta is synonymous with beef, and this area is home to more than 18,000 beef cattle producers. While many people are moving away from meat for ethical, health or environmental reasons, red meat remains a staple to many Canadians, and is a good source of iron, zinc and protein. It’s your choice.

The West Coast

We double-dip on salmon in this country! Pacific wild salmon is abundant in BC, and boasts omega-3 fats similar to its eastern-area cousin. BC’s famed Okanagan Valley is well-known for its fertile land and many fruit trees. BC produces over 80 per cent of Canada’s apricots and sweet cherries, and about 40 per cent of our plums and pears.

And don’t forget the grapes, which are used to make exceptional wines. In moderation, alcohol can be part of a healthy diet. Remember the rule of thumb: no more than one drink a day for women, or two drinks a day for men.

What a glorious food tour across Canada. We truly have the fixings for a nutritious diet from coast to coast!

What’s your favourite homegrown food?

Cara Rosenbloom

Author Cara Rosenbloom

Registered Dietitian Cara Rosenbloom is the president of Words to Eat By, a Toronto-based nutrition communications company specializing in writing, recipe development and nutrition education. Read her blog and connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.

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