Despite covering one-third of Canada's landmass, the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Yukon have just 100,000 residents, making them the least populated part of the country, but no less hungry. Traditional foods such as bannock, fish, potatoes, eggs, and wild game are prominently featured on the menus in many restaurants and homes.
Hunting, fishing, and trapping is a way of life for many in the Northern Territories region. Communities create delicious meals with wild harvested ingredients, satisfying even the most adventurous taste buds. Let's explore one of The Territorial Agrifood Association’s most unique commodities, eggs.
We are a family-owned egg farm located in Hay River dedicated to providing the Northern Territories with the freshest eggs possible.
Since the launch of Polar Egg in 2012 we have successfully grown to a 5 person operation that grades thousands of eggs a day for sale in the Northwest Territories, Yukon, and Nunavut.
Of course, there are challenges with producing eggs in the Northern Territories, like extreme temperatures, labour, and road closures, but they are challenges we are happily meeting and embracing to propel our farm forward.
“It’s a nice feeling to be able to say that we provide something for the North that nobody else can – and that’s fresh eggs."
It takes a hen 24 to 26 hours to produce an egg. An average hen lays 300 to 325 eggs per year.
We are first generation egg farmers. My dad, Glen Wallington, brother Michael and myself, run Choice North Farms and Hay River Poultry out of Hay River, Northwest Territories. Our sister plans to join us as a veterinarian when she finishes her schooling. Together these farms are home to 118,000 hens, making us the largest egg farm in the Northwest Territories.
We are really excited about eggs, but not just eggs. We are excited about locally produced goods. Most of the food that we consume travels a long way to reach us. If we can produce some of that food in the North, it creates jobs and opportunities for local people to make a living and provide goods and services that are fresh.
One of the family’s favourite parts of egg farming is providing neighbours with locally produced food. Most things in the North are shipped in but Choice North makes sure the eggs are always fresh.
Sustainability is the capacity to endure. We have a responsibility to be good stewards of our communities and the environment. Each action has an impact that can lead to consequences; good or bad. Sustainability is an important part of our business model. We make sure that Polar Egg is supporting the local community. All team members are residents of Hay River, including 5 that are high school graduates of the Northwest Territories. It is important to keep our communities vibrant and alive. By involving our local citizens, we give them an opportunity to be a proud part of bringing eggs back to the North.
Crispy wonton chips are topped with cheddar cheese, Mexican-spiced black beans, and baked until cheese is melted, before being topped with an over-easy egg. Serve with homemade Pico de Gallo.
This sugary dessert gets a fibre-rich makeover thanks to the addition of white beans. A fun take on the popular Thanksgiving treat, you'll never know this delicious pie is made with beans!
From fish and wild game to greenhouse vegetables and freshly baked goods, the Northern Territories have great food experiences that can be found just about everywhere. See how our featured chef likes to cook with beans in the great North.
Canadian beans, grown in Canadian soil by Canadian Farmers are the most versatile, affordable, sustainable and delicious protein source available in Canada.
Plant-based protein (beans, lentils and other pulses) is the food-fuel of the past, and of the future. Plant protein is not a new idea or trend; it is how our ancestors survived and thrived. Returning to affordable, accessible, and sustainable sources of protein is vital to meet the nutritional needs of our growing population. Beans, lentils and other pulses are tasty, healthy and very affordable sources of protein. Our ancestors knew this and we’re finally coming back full circle to artisan-style eating. My job as a Chef is to teach home-cooks how to keep nutrition and flavour in the forefront of every dish. Adding high quality protein, like beans, to familiar dishes boosts nutrition without sacrificing flavour. I have so many tricks to hide beans in everyday food that my kids never knew they were eating them!
Life in the Yukon, NWT and Nunavut means 8-9 months of winter (or more) and a very short growing season. Most of the food eaten in northern communities has to be trucked or flown in. Food costs more to transport to the Northern Territories than anywhere else in Canada. Dried beans and other pulses are lighter and cheaper to transport, and are a fraction of the price of an equivalent protein serving of meat.
Sustainable farming, rising inflation, environmental concerns and increasing population makes food security more unpredictable for everyone, but no one experiences that more acutely than Canadians in the Northern Territories. I work every day to teach people how to feed themselves. Beans may be playfully called the “musical fruit” but in fact they are the unsung heroes of every Canadian meal made on a budget.
Who doesn’t love a good, refried bean recipe! Using dry beans makes this dish infinitely better tasting and the end result is a rich, dark, silky pot of plant-based goodness. Your vegetarian and meat-loving friends alike will be very thankful for this protein rich, delicious, party-starting appetizer.