Monday, September 26, 2011

Lentils Anyone?

Someone asked me recently, "Where do you source Saskatchewan-grown lentils?" The good news is, any lentil for sale in the grocery store (canned or dry) that is labelled a 'Product of Canada' is primarily grown in Saskatchewan. Currently, there are three kinds of lentils in my pantry:

Red split lentils (centre)
Diefenbaker Seed Processors of Outlook packages lentils under its label Kashmir Valley. I purchased these at the Medina grocery store on Central Avenue in Sutherland. See the Kashmir Valley product list

Small green lentils (right)
These were included in my food basket when I took the Food Bank Challenge earlier this month. According to the Food Bank, they were donated by a local farmer.

In have also sourced green lentils from Grandma Lou's, which are grown and packaged on the McDougall farm near Moose Jaw.

Black 'beluga' lentils (left)
These were a gift from a farmer. However, you can buy these and other lentils at the SaskMade Marketplace on 8th Street in Saskatoon.

Tomorrow... one of my favourite ways to enjoy lentils!


jj said...

I love lentils! I really like to throw a big handful of green lentils and a big handful of barley in my soups, to give it that extra sitck-to-the-ribs-ness - mmmmmm!

Andrew said...

Hi Amy,

I read recently that the principle of eating locally can be a double-edged sword, especially when it involves fresh produce in the fall, winter and spring months in Saskatchewan. Greenhouse production typically uses a lot of fossil fuels (way more than shipping them, in some cases).

What are your thoughts on this issue? Although I shop regularly for Saskatchewa-grown fruits and vegetables in the summer, I avoid them in winter because of the associated environmental costs. I think a cucumber shipped in from California is still better for the environment than one produced here in February.

Amy Jo Ehman said...

You're right, Andrew. Lowering one's environmental food footprint is much more complicated that simply counting miles, as one might count calories. For instance, we produce mountains of lentils in SK, but if those lentils go to Ontario for packaging, and are then shipped back to us, they're not all that virtuous from an environmental standpoint. Even more so if those lentils were grown with petro-chemical sprays (in other words, not organic).

However, there are other reasons to shop locally: supporting farmers and gardeners, the social connections, economic benefits, local self-sufficiency, fresher produce and tastier food. For me, these reasons as a whole trump the environmental shortfalls. As consumers, we all make our own choices in this regard. The final chapter in my book "Prairie Feast" takes a humorous look at this dilemma and how I’ve learned to navigate it day to day.

Andrew said...

Good points. I haven't read your book yet but I'm looking forward to it! Thanks.