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Canola was developed in the 1970s by Canadian plant scientists and is now the oil of choice for millions around the world. Canola grows particularly well on the prairies, where cool nights and hot days allow it to develop its unique fatty acid pro le. Canola seeds are about 43 per cent oil. Low in saturated fat, the oil is used for cooking and baking at home, as well as in restaurants and food processing. It’s also used in place of petroleum to make biodiesel (a more environmentally-friendly fuel) and green plastics. Canola meal (the part left over after the seeds are crushed and the oil extracted) is used in animal feed, pet food, and fertilizer.
Courtesy of FFC Saskatchewan
Pulses and specialty crops
The eight major pulse crops and specialty crops grown in Canada are peas, lentils, beans, chickpeas, mustard, sun owers, canary seed, and buckwheat. Canadian production of these crops has increased from about 1 million tonnes in the early 1990s, to 5.9 million tonnes in 2015. During that same time, Canada has become the world’s largest exporter of lentils and peas, and one of the world’s top  ve exporters of dry edible beans.22
Pulses are the dry, edible seeds of plants in the legume family – legumes are plants whose fruit is enclosed in a pod, like beans and peas. Pulse crops are very high in protein and  bre, and have virtually
no fat. They also contain high levels of minerals like iron, zinc, and phosphorous, as well as folate and other B-vitamins. They have even been shown to lower bad types of cholesterol, and to reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. Overall, pulses are an extremely healthy food choice.
Pulses also play a big role in sustainable food production. They are referred to as
a “nitrogen- xing crop” since they draw nitrogen from the air, and store it in their roots, meaning that farmers don’t have to apply that type of fertilizer on their  elds. Pulses then leave that nitrogen in the soil for the next crop, further reducing the amount of fertilizer farmers subsequently need to apply.
Canada is also a world leader in the
production and export of mustard, with
Saskatchewan responsible for 74 per cent
of the country’s production.23 Farmers Courtesy of Sask Mustard in that province grow 390,000 acres of
the crop in three different types: yellow, brown, and oriental mustard.
Québec and Ontario produce a wide array of coloured beans, as well as white navy beans. Manitoba also produces beans, as well as peas and lentils. The largest producer of peas, lentils, and chickpeas is Saskatchewan, and the province has a small but growing bean industry. Alberta produces beans with the help of irrigation systems for watering them, as well as peas, lentils, and chickpeas.
Wanda Pleckham
The Real Dirt on Farming 19

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