Go BarleyIt’s been a very busy summer here at Alberta Barley promoting delicious, nutritious food barley through a variety of exciting opportunities—and the fun is just beginning.
One of those opportunities was at the Calgary Stampede, where I made two appearances at the Co-op Kitchen Theatre. This year, I whipped up a zucchini lemon cake with barley flour and a decadent barley mousse with fruit topping for the audience, who were all invited to try the samples after the demonstration. I also had a chance to interact with several people who were very interested in the recipes and wanted to know about cooking with barley. It was so rewarding to receive such valuable feedback from the audience and it showed that people are getting excited about barley’s benefits and versatility.
Alberta Barley also sponsored the International Agriculture Committee’s International Room on the Stampede grounds, which hosts special international guests who visit the “world’s greatest outdoor show.” For the second consecutive year, we had a booth set up in the Agrium Agtivity in the City tent to promote barley’s feed, malt and food end uses. This year we were excited to have some of our directors and delegates at the booth over the course of the Stampede, including Region Five director Bryan Adam, and delegates Shawn Gorr, Charlie Leskiw, Jason Lenz and Brian Otto. Their knowledge and expertise were a tremendous addition.
I’m excited to say that I currently have a barley cookbook in the works with Pat Inglis, a home economist and food writer who has worked for major food manufacturers and has extensive experience developing educational media on food nutrition. The cookbook, titled Go Barley: Modern Recipes for an Ancient Grain, will include more than 70 recipes for tasty barley dishes, including appetizers, salads, entrees and desserts. I hope that this project will help more people to find interesting and healthy ways to cook with barley at home and work this versatile, ancient grain into their daily routines.
This August, we had the unique opportunity to host a Japanese delegation hoping to learn more about Alberta food production.
The delegation included members of the Japanese media, as well as “chef ambassador” Masashi Takeda, otherwise known as Mr. Barbecue. The delegation toured the farm of Alberta Barley Vice-Chairman and Region Three Director Trevor Petersen, where they learned what it takes to grow a successful barley crop.
The next day, Marty Carpenter from Canada Beef Inc. and I treated our Japanese visitors to a culinary demonstration and tasting of steaks, barley risotto and rustic Saskatoon berry pie made with barley flour piecrust. It was a great experience and an excellent opportunity to strengthen our relationship with one of our most important trading partners.
Alberta Barley was also proud to sponsor the annual field day in Lacombe and the 40th anniversary of the Field Crop Development Centre. Throughout June and July, we also sponsored the all crops’ walks across the province in conjunction with the Alberta Wheat Commission, Alberta Canola Producers Commission, Alberta Pulse Growers and Ducks Unlimited.
Through all of these consumer and producer outreach initiatives, we are continuing to promote barley in all of its forms, and the results continue to show. More and more people are cooking with barley and getting excited about its taste, versatility and health benefits. It’s barley’s time to shine.