Shop Like A Canadian!
So you want to Shop Like A Canadian. Me, too. For a whole lot of reasons. Local food is better for the planet and keeping our producers and processors in business and reviving the entire sector which, for a number of years, seemed to be on life support is actually fun. It whets our culinary curiosity and defines who we are as Canadians.
So in honour of Canada’s 149th birthday, we’ve chosen 149 ingredients to help us all Shop like the Canadians we are. Now we’re into a full year of partying, the list is being updated. However, till that happens, you’re still in good hands as this is one of the most patriotic shopping lists you’ll ever find.
Before beginning, I needed to find out about the rules around labelling. There are dozens, both at the Federal and Provincial levels. It’s like like sifting wheat from chaff to find out how to read them. But I think we’ve nailed it. Maybe not perfectly. But that’s where you come in. We look forward to your feedback.
According to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, a “Product of Canada” label means that all, or nearly all, of the food, processing and labour used to make the food is Canadian. These foods were
- grown or raised by Canadian farmers
- prepared and packaged by Canadian food companies.
Note that a food can still be labelled “Product of Canada” if it contains small amounts of imported food, such as spices, food additives, vitamins, and flavourings.
Made in Canada is where it could get confusing and unless you carry a magnifying glass to the grocery store, a few manufacturers would like to keep it that way. But it’s also where makers of gorgeous jams, for instance, cannot call what they create Product of Canada because the bulk of the preserve is sugar from outside the country. The chaff-sifting continued.
The words “Made in Canada from domestic and imported ingredients” on a food label mean that
- a Canadian company was involved in some of the preparation of the food and,
- it contains some food grown by Canadian farmers, and some food that’s been imported.
The words “Made in Canada from imported ingredients” on a food label means that
- a Canadian company was involved in some of the preparation of the food; and
the contents of the food were imported.
A Maple Leaf on the Label – often is a decoration more than an origin stamp. Check the “Made in” status. This is what we call Canada-washing. Sure was in the ketchup debacle earlier this year.
Now what’s “Local” mean on a label? We think it’s pretty intuitive but the CFIA has had to adopt a policy, albeit interim, on Local Food Claims which recognizes “local” as food produced in the province or territory in which it is sold, or food sold across provincial borders within 50 km of the originating province or territory.
If you want to do some reading along with me, check out this link.
So, all that being taken into consideration…and with a healthy understanding that this list is only a beginning…here you go.
There’ll be surprises, I’m sure. Suffice it to say that I am very proud of those culinary nationalists who care enough to risk being in the food business either as a grower, a processor or as a manufacturer! Canada IS food and the world is richer for it.
149 Canadian Ingredients & Products
A Shopping List to help
Set the Food Day Canada Table!
What to drink!
- Tap water
- Birch water
- Westholme Canadian Tea – Vancouver Island – our first official tea ‘plantation’
- Cherry Lane Cherry Concentrate from Niagara cherries
- Apple cider – locally pressed
- Craft Beers – by Province (See the links below)
- Spirits – by Province (See more links below and check out BC Distilleries where there’s been massive growth recently).
- VQA Wines / Wines of Nova Scotia – both appelation programmes showcase our best. Note that “Cellared in Canada” means that the wine from other countries is not from Canadian grapes and is merely bottled here.
- Fruit Wines and Ciders – both relatively new on the beverage scene, cider businesses are growing quickly, particularly since some growers have planted orchards that are specific to this industry.
- Maple liqueurs – there are a few distilled, mainly in Quebec, from this very Canadian ingredients…Sortilege is one of the originals but check out Domaine Kildare’s La Crème and Domaine Acer which distills maple sap and Deep Roots Distillery (PEI) that makes an east coast version of maple liqueur.
- Bitters – B.C.’s Bittered Sling & Ontario’s Dillons have seen an opportunity and are making mixologists across Canada very happy. FUN!
Look for these and use them! They’re OURS!
Look for these products in various formats….dried, tinned and some like peas and chickpeas are even milled into flour. For fun you may want to take the Pulse Pledge.
- Yellow Split Peas / Green Split Peas
- Large Green Lentils / Small Green Lentils
- Whole and Split Red Lentils
- French Green Lentil/ Beluga Lentil
- White Pea Bean “Navy Bean” /
- Pinto Bean / Cranberry Bean
- Dark Red Kidney Bean / Light Red Kidney Bean / Small Red Bean
- Great Northern Bean
- Chickpea “Garbanzo Bean” and Chickpea (besan) flour
Our Farmers ROCK!
- Hemp hearts and hemp oil – check out Manitoba Harvest and Mettrum Originals in Ontario.
- Flax – milled or whole & flax oil — 99% of the flax sold in Canada in from our farms.
- Pearl and pot barley — barley’s not just for beer…it makes a killer risotto instead of rice and it tastes infinitely better.
- Prairie-grown sunflower & pumpkin Seeds — these limited production seeds are sometimes difficult to find but are worth sussing out.
- Wild rice & wild rice flour – primarily from Saskatchewan and Northern Ontario.
- Quinoa – Ontario & Saskatchewan (Katan Kitchens / Quinta Quinoa) Saskatchewan (Canadian Quinoa).
- Canola oil both traditional that most restaurants use for deep frying and cold-pressed where we’d be remiss we didn’t give a shout out to two of the originals…Jason Persall’s Pristine Gourmet (Ontario), Tony and Penny Marshall’s Highwood Crossing (Alberta).
- Pressed to order Sunflower oil – with the closure of the last sunflower pressing plant in Manitoba, we now rely on smaller processors.
- Camelina oil – Three Farmers — love this oil’s flavour…grassy and fresh!
- Beef is very regional! There’s Golden Beef and Beef North in northern Ontario where hay is the major field crop. There’s fabulous beef from both Alberta and Saskatchewan and Atlantic Beef from the Maritimes. Can’t forget Ontario Corn Fed beef, either.
- Cloth-wrapped, Mennonite-style summer sausage found in many farmers markets and smaller grocery stores, especially in rural Canada.
- Pingue’s prosciutto – this Niagara-based company produces the best in the country.
- Ranch-raised Bison – even in Northern Ontario (at left), Venison, quail, squab, pheasant…
- Local lamb – there’s great lamb from one coast to the other, some of it feasting on salt grasses, while others bounding through vineyards trimming the grape vines.
- Wild game…from a northern neighbour’s freezer – rabbit, moose, caribou.
- Duck confit from Restaurant Les Fougères. We love it and it’s now distributed in select stores in the Ottawa region! Worth the trip to Chelsea, Quebec though.
- Canadian Pork – check the labelling as there’s a good deal of cheap American pork on our market. Maple Leaf Canadian Craft cold meats are amazing and all Canadian! Maple Leaf Brands has over 1000 products made in Canada by Canadians. Love their Canadian whisky and apple bacon!
- Good Back Bacon – love the handmade products at local butcher shops.
- Poultry – Because chicken and turkey are ‘supply managed’ the chances are that most of it is Canadian. It must be labelled.
- Quail, squab, pheasant…even wild turkey if you’re lucky.
- Eggs – lots of them – virtually all eggs sold in Canada are from Canadian farmers. The array of choices is amazing.
- Wild Pacific salmon (Chinook, coho, pink, chum, steelhead)
- Pacific halibut is sustainable with snowy white flesh
- Sablefish (a.k.a.Black Cod) – arguably the most delicious wild-caught fish in the Pacific
- Kokanee salmon – fish for these fabulous land locked salmon with a wonderful flavour in B.C.’s interior
- Hardy Boys candied salmon nuggets – from northern Vancouver Island
- St Jean’s canned wild Pacific salmon from Nanaimo, B.C.
- Smoked farm-raised sturgeon
- Caviar – two producers – Northern Divine / Acadian Sturgeon
- Whitefish and Lake trout – we love it from Georgian Bay
- Arctic char – wild and farmed
- Lake Diefenbaker trout
- Lake Erie perch
- Pickerel (walleye / doré )
- Smoked albacore tuna
- Snow crab from one coast…Dungeness crab from the other
- North Atlantic shrimp & west coast side-striped prawns
- Atlantic lobster
- Oysters – Fanny Bay, Raspberry Point, Colville Bay, Bras d’Or
- Honey Mussels & Salt Spring Island Mussels
- Cultured scallops
- Good Cream
- Ice Cream – Labelled with cute little Blue Cow
- Yogurt (See notes that follow below)
- Sour cream
Two surprises – at least to me!
- Carnation Milk – I grew up on Carnation desserts!
- Eagle Brand Milk – so amazing for squares and baking!
- Avonlea clothbound cheddar (at right) – PEI
- Baluchon – F.X. Pichet – Quebec
- Bella casara – Ontario mascarpone
- Old Growler – aged Gouda, Nova Scotia
- Sylvan Star Gouda – Alberta
- Dragon’s Breath blue – Nova Scotia
- Laliberté – Fromagerie du Presbytère
- Gunn’s Hill cheeses (below left) – Five Brothers
- Five Brothers – St John’s
- Glasgow Glen – PEI – mild gouda
- Maple Dale – Ontario – extra old cheddar
- Farmhouse Naturals – B.C. – cheese curds!
- Halloom frying cheese, a new cheese on the Canadian market and it’s terrific. Look for either Cedar or PC brands.
For your Salads and for Preserving the Harvest
- Apple Cider Vinegar – Reinhart’s unfiltered & unpasteurized! Filsinger’s Organic Cider Vinegar – Ayton, Ontario
- Venturi-Schulze Balsamic, Vancouver Island
- Nova Scotia Boates apple-balsamic vinegar
- Spinnakers malt vinegar – Victoria, B.C.
- Verjus – Featherstone 12 Brix
- Mustard – dry mustard powder “flour” and prepared Kozlik’s, Caplansky’s, Gravelbourg.
- Maple Syrup
- Maple sugar
- Honey – 100% Canadian – watch the labelling
- Ice Syrup – Vidal & Cabernet Franc …made from ice wine juice before fermentation.
- Birch Tree syrup
- Big leaf maple syrup
- Granulated Sugar – Rogers/Lantic refined from sugar beets.(code on bottom begins with 22…ie. From Taber)
- Hazelnuts – Fraser Valley in particular
- Ontario-grown peanuts (OAC Garroy) & Ontario peanut butter!!!!
- Black walnuts – Jewels Under the Kilt
- New Potatoes
- Summer sweet corn
- Cucumbers – field and greenhouse
- Cultivated Mushrooms – a massive variety
- Wild-gathered mushrooms, fresh and dried.
- Frozen cranberries
- Venosta dried cranberries, Quebec – sweetened with maple syrup!
- Wild and domesticated Blueberries
- Haskap berries – Saskatchewan and PEI
- Saskatoon berries / service berries
- Partridgeberries / Lingonberries
- Bakeapples / Cloud berries
- Prairie cherries – fresh or pitted & frozen (at left) sold primarily in Saskatchewan where they were developed by Dr. Bob Bors
- Niagara dried cherries (Cherry Lane)
- Black cherries (BC & Ontario)
- Rhubarb – in the back yard or frozen – shout out to Our Compliments™
- Niagara peaches & nectarines and B.C.spricots – freeze them, can them, eat them with the juice dripping down your chin.
- Early apples for applesauce – we like the Transparent variety, old-fashioned and tart OR storage apples from the previous year.
- Plums – Early yellow but if you’re lucky you’ll find some old-fashioned Damsons
- Buckets full of frozen Niagara sour cherries
- Tomatoes (hot house) and field
- Sweet red, yellow, orange peppers (hot house)
- Sweet & hot peppers – field grown (Shepherd peppers) to cherry bombs and green Thai chilis
- Romaine, butter and leaf lettuces
- Kale – curly & dinosaur
- Fresh green, yellow, purple beans and fava beans
- Dark Harbour dulse, Nova Scotia sea vegetables, PEI Irish Moss (at right)
- Canadian-made pastas – Catelli (1867), Primo (1956), Italipasta
- Oak Farms: Rye, Flours, Barley, Spelt, Corn, Cornmeal, Millet, Flax
- Buckwheat flour
- Wild Rice & wild rice flour
- Robin Hood and Five Roses Flours
- Rogers roti flour (ap+bran) – whole grain flour
- Micro-milled flour – There are artisans all across the country…K2 Milling (Beeton, ON); Arva Flour (lovely local varieties), Oak Manor (Ontario), Anita’s Milling (B.C.), Speerville (N.B.), La Meunerie Milanaise Inc., Quebec.
- Oats….Quaker( large flake / quick / steel cut ) Rogers (huge array including steel cut)
- Zinda couscous, a made in Montreal product using our durum semolina. Comes in both fine & medium.
- Phyllo and kataifi pastry…this wonderful Middle Eastern pastry is usually produced for private labels by Produits de Pâtisserie Orientale.
- Salt – Windsor and Sifto are the originals (yes, there ARE salt mines) but Vancouver Island Sea Salt, Salt West Solar Sea Salt from Sooke and Newfoundland sea salt are great new entries from a nation with the longest coastline on earth.
- Herbs/ spices – culinary lavender, coriander, fenugreek, Mt Scio Savoury
- Canned tomatoes – Aylmer & Unico brands whole tomatoes – some crushed as well. Read the labels!
- Lakeside Packers Pickles… Love the Bread and Butter and Dills. S.W. Ontario still supplies lots of cukes to U.S. makers which our major grocers buy back. Duh!
- Sunshine Pickled asparagus…using the variety, AC Millenennium, that has put Canada into the forefront of asparagus breeding on earth.
- Awesome, Half-sour pickles – Jewish Deli, St. John’s NFLD
- Ketchup, Primo or homemade — the earlier ketchup debate left out one component of the story. Only Primo is MADE in Canada from Canadian tomatoes.
- There’s lots of popping corn around that’s local and if you’re buying potato chips try Lay’s, Old Dutch, Old Yorke – you must check out the frying medium as most commercial grade sunflower oil is not from Canada but the salt and the spuds sure are!
Some of the Ice Cream brands having 100% Canadian milk products :
- Scotsburn Dairy
- Cornell Creme
- Shaw’s ice cream
- Laiterie Coaticook
- Reid’s Dairy
- Coppa di Gelato – Farm Boy
Some of the yogurt brands (including frozen yogourt) having 100% Canadian milk products :
- Hans Dairy
- Hewitt’s Dairy
- Vital Green Farm
- Farm House Natural
- Donia Farms
- Shepherd Gourmet Dairy
- Sheldon Creek Dairy
- David Chapman’s (frozen)
- Reid’s Dairy (frozen)
Some of the cheese brands having 100% Canadian milk products :
- Fromagerie les rivières
- Bothwell Cheese
- Quality Cheese – Bella Casara
- Fromagerie St-Albert
- Fromagerie du Presbytère
- Fromagerie l’Ancêtre
- Fromagerie La Station
- Pine River Cheese
- Cows Creamery
- Natural Pastures
- Arla Foods Tre Stelle
- Arla Foods Dofino
BC Distilleries http://bcdistilled.ca/british-columbia-distilleries
http://winesofnovascotia.ca/ Includes the Tidal Bay appellation: To obtain the Tidal Bay designation, all wines must be made from specific grape varieties, include 100% Nova Scotia grown grapes, follow a strict set of standards and be approved every year by an independent blind tasting panel.
Our Fabulous Craft Beers
- http://bccraftbeer.com/ – Holy…there are 70 members!
Some Shout Outs to those who’ve been on the FRONT LINES for what, to me, seems like forever! The people who are at the helm of these organizations deserve massive credit!
Hug a Farmer; Kiss a Chef; Eat Real Food!
And don’t forget to