Celebrating soy and Canada’s sesquicentennial

Last year, Canada turned 150. Ricardo turned 50.

For that landmark occasion, one of Canada’s favourite TV cooking-show hosts, Ricardo Larrivée, videotaped 52 of the country’s culinary treasures. One of them was soybeans.

Near Binbrook, Ontario, farmer Jeff Barlow hosted the Quebec-based chef in a video that shows the champagne-coloured soybeans at harvest. As soybean crops continue to advance across the country, finding their niche in new climate and soil zones, Ricardo unearths an interesting fact.

“If you turned the entire Canadian soybean crop into tofu, you’d have 10 million blocks of tofu every year,” he says.

I suggest viewing the three-minute video (https://www.ricardocuisine.com/we-are-the-best/video.php?id=9) so you can imagine entire football fields yielding enough soybeans to be pressed into high-protein blocks. According to Jeff Barlow, the quality of Canadian soybeans is such that a high percentage of tofu-grade soybeans are exported to Malaysia, China and Japan.

At Canada’s centennial, soybeans were just getting a foothold in southern Ontario. The Maple Arrow soybean cultivar – released in 1976 – inspired an upward trajectory so that today, soybeans are grown in Quebec, Ontario and all three prairie provinces.