Barley was once a dominant crop on the Canadian Prairies, with farmers planting nearly 14 million acres of the golden grain in 1971. By 2017, however, the number fell to just under six million acres. Farmers, faced with depressed prices and slowly declining yields, have been switching to more profitable crops.
Alberta agricultural products have a global reputation for high quality. Naturally, residents and visitors alike increasingly want to taste dishes and drinks made with locally grown ingredients. Published by Touchwood Editions, Food Artisans of Alberta by Alberta Food Tours owner Karen Anderson and Matilde (Tilly) Sanchez-Turri is a substantial guide to food industry entrepreneurs on-farm and off, as well as farmers markets and watering holes.
Most of us want to eat good food that’s grown responsibly. This natural impulse has spurred a growing hunger for information about farming and food production. As you indulge in sunny, backyard barbecue sessions this summer, you may wonder what the story is behind the craft brews so nicely iced in your cooler. Who grew the premium malting barley that gives these drinks the distinctly delicious qualities the brewers worked so diligently to capture?
Public interest in the origins of food crops is at an all-time high. Understanding the provenance of the wheat in your bread, the barley in your beer, the vegetables in your salad and the steak on your barbecue is certainly satisfying and somehow makes these foods taste just that much better. For the complete picture, visit the rural areas where our food is gown and meet the people who farm it. As you plan your recreational roadmap this summer, consider making Alberta farms and agricultural attractions part of your itinerary.
More than 120 farms will formally throw open their gates to the public on August 18 and 19 as Alberta Open Farm Days celebrates its sixth year. Vegetable growers, grain and oilseed farmers, ranchers, cheesemakers, beekeepers and more are among the event’s host farmers who will showcase the diversity of the province’s agricultural industry.