I Spy, With My Little Eye…
What do you see on your road trip through the prairies?
There’s an old adage that the Canadian Prairies are so flat, that you can sit on your front porch and watch your dog run away for two days.
Admittedly, driving Highway 1 from Alberta to Manitoba isn’t particularly exciting. But these endless prairie fields hold symbols of our roots in the agriculture industry, as well as symbols of the future. Notably, old grain elevators line the railway that runs parallel to the highway. Most bear the name of the current or former town in faded white paint on a sun-washed green canvas, standing tall in the middle of unvaryingly green, yellow, and in the fall, golden brown fields.
From these fields, we ship some of the world’s highest quality grain product to the far reaches of the globe.. We exported 75% of our wheat crop, and contributed to 14% of the world’s total wheat exports last year.
The difference may not be immediately seen from a moving car, but we grow several different varieties of wheat in Western Canada, each serving a different purpose. Some varieties, like soft wheat, have a lower protein content ideal for making crackers and cookies, whereas the higher gluten content of winter wheat is more ideal for milling or making bread. We also grow varieties like durum (sometimes referred to as “macaroni wheat”). As the name suggests, it’s ideal for making semolina and pasta.
So, while you slog through the never-ending journey through the Canadian Prairies, and you pull out snack bars for you and your children, stop and think. Look out the window to your left or look out the right. There is a chance that your snack bar could very well be a product of the enduring fields adjacent to your vehicle.