Hello again, after my good friend and mentor, Kim Cooper, decided to officially retire this month, I decided that I would be part of a team that continues with his weekly farming article. And yes, it really does take four of us to replace one Kim Cooper!! This article is dedicated to Kim Cooper, and for all of the hard work and sacrifices he made for over 40 years in Chatham-Kent. I will forever be thankful for our friendship and in awe of the wisdom he shared.
For my second CK Agriculture article, I am going to highlight some of the great achievements in our CK agriculture sector and tie it in to something that I know will get everyone’s attention: tacos! Yes, tacos! In fact, when I was telling my two boys, 13 and 14 years old, about all of the great things that our agriculture sector produces here in CK, and why that matters, it really only sunk into them how important it was when I tied it in to their love for tacos.
So, what is the deal with tacos anyways? A taco, by definition is a traditional Mexican dish consisting of a corn or wheat tortilla folded or rolled around a filling. A taco can be made with a variety of fillings, including beef, pork, chicken, seafood, vegetables, and cheese, allowing great versatility and variety. tacos are generally eaten without utensils, often garnished with salsa, chili pepper, avocado, guacamole, cilantro (coriander), tomatoes, onions, and lettuce. After reading that definition and cleaning up my drool, I look at all of the typical ingredients and continue to appreciate our agriculture sector even more. Lets look at these ingredients and recognize where they come from.
First, we have a corn or wheat tortilla. Well, I will tell you first and foremost that Chatham-Kent is the number 1 producer of seed corn in Canada. Not just Ontario, but the entire country. No seed corn, no tortilla!
After the tortilla, we add beef. Chatham-Kent is home to a number of beef farms and processors like Buis Beef, J&E Meats, Schinkels, Lenovers and many more.
Now we have our shell and beef, and if you’re adventurous, fish, let’s load this taco up! I would add lettuce, peppers, cheese, salsa, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions and chili pepper. Proudly, I will also tell you that our Agriculture sector in CK has that covered too. Here are some more facts:
- Chatham-Kent is the number one producer of tomatoes in all of Canada
- CK is the number one producer of field peppers in all of Ontario
- CK is the number one producer of cucumbers in all of Canada
- CK also has the world’s largest fresh water commercial fishing port (Wheatley) in the world
Just think, if Chatham-Kent decided to stop being a national leader in producing these bountiful meats and vegetables, we would have a taco shortage. Imagine that! I cannot even bare the thought.
Here is some more food for thought in Chatham-Kent’s Agriculture sector. Chatham-Kent:
- Is the number one producer of Brussels sprouts in all of Canada
- Is the number one producer of black tobacco in all of Canada
- Is the number one producer of pumpkins in all of Canada
- Is the number two producer of sugar beets in all of Canada
- Is the number one producer of green peas in all of Ontario
- Is the number one producer of quail in all of Ontario
- Is the number two producer of asparagus in all of Ontario
- Grows over 70 different crops
- Is 90 per cent rural by area, but only 30 per cent of the population of 104,000 live in rural areas
- Soybeans, corn, and wheat are the three major crops in Chatham-Kent in terms of acreage
- Agriculture is responsible for over 16,000 jobs in Chatham-Kent
- Each farmer in Chatham-Kent produces enough to feed 120 people
- There are over 2,000 farms, which account for four per cent of Ontario’s total farms
So there you have it, I was able to talk about my love for both Chatham-Kent’s agriculture community and tacos. In fact, you can’t have tacos without our agriculture. Both are exciting to talk about, both feed families, and both taste great!
I will also request that we as a community continue to support our local famers and shops that sell these wonderful foods. Remember, Amazon is great, but they won’t support your children’s hockey team or sponsor you in a run for charity!
Hint. For those of you attending the League of Business Trivia event in Wallaceburg, on August 28th, some of this information may be important to you.
In closing, I will say that while I also profess a life filled with fitness, Right now, I am also about fitness’ whole taco in my mouth!
Remember that here in Chatham-Kent “We Grow for the World.” Check out our community agriculture website at wegrowfortheworld.com
Anthony Wilson is an Economic Development Officer with the Municipality of Chatham-Kent, and can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org