TOP IMAGE – Fall Recipe: Mushroom, Apple, and Walnut Stuffed Acorn Squash © Courtesy of Mushrooms Canada
Fertilizer is an important input that feeds crops so they can reach their yield potential. Just like houseplants and the vegetables you grow in your garden, dry beans and other field crops need to be fed. Through soil testing, farmers ensure they are applying the exact amount of fertilizer needed for the crops to flourish and produce high yields.
Farmers have been able to reduce their need for fertilizer over the years through crop rotation, cover crops (e.g. growing nitrogen-producing cover crops before corn), and by adding alternative sources of nutrients like livestock manure. Unfortunately, there is not enough manure from animals to meet the demand of all the crops being grown in Ontario, and nutrients aren’t as measurable in manure as they can be with commercial fertilizers.
You may have heard reports in the news about Ontario farmers’ dilemma regarding fertilizer purchased from Russia before the onset of the war with Ukraine. Russia is the world’s number one exporter of nitrogen fertilizer and the second largest in phosphorus and potassium fertilizers. At first, it wasn’t certain the needed supply of fertilizer (ordered well before the war started) would make it here. Thankfully it did arrive, but it came with a 35 per cent tariff which was meant to be punitive against Russia. Russia didn’t even notice, but Ontario farmers sure did. The cost of fertilizer had already doubled—and in some cases tripled—over the last couple of years.
These costs have significantly impacted Ontario farmers’ ability to compete in the world market. Ontario exports 90 per cent of its bean crop, and the tariff will give a competitive advantage to the U.S. and other countries over Ontario farmers. No other G7 country has applied a tariff to fertilizer. Additionally, this increases the cost of food during a high inflationary period.
What can be done? Farmers would like to compete on an even playing field and have the tariffs removed like other countries. Alternatively, our government could support the development of domestic fertilizer production, which would be a huge win for farmers and Canada’s food security. We shouldn’t have to rely on other countries for the inputs needed to produce food here, and we will always need fertilizer.
Make Your Meals Better with Beans
Beans truly are the world’s most versatile ingredient. They can go from superstar main dish to supporting role in a snap. No matter how you serve them, you can feel good knowing beans are a nutritional powerhouse and an important part of a healthy lifestyle.
In just half a cup serving there are up to nine grams of protein and high levels of iron, zinc, folate, magnesium, and potassium. Beans are also a great source of fibre. Diets high in fibre have been associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and a reduction in the risk of diabetes and colorectal cancer.
The majority of beans found on store shelves are grown in Canada by local Canadian farmers, whose commitment to quality and sustainable food production is second-to-none. Just look for Product of Canada on the label.
This fall recipe is a classic creamy Tuscan soup made with Italian sausage, potatoes, kale, and beans is the perfect weeknight meal and is chock-full of healthy nutrients.
Servings: 6 (2¼ cups per serving) • Prep Time: 15 minutes • Cook Time: 35 minutes
- 1 tbsp. (15 mL) canola oil
- 4 hot Italian sausages, casings removed
- 1 small sweet onion, diced
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tsp (5 mL) red pepper flakes
- 4 cups (1 L) sodium-reduced chicken broth
- 2 cups (500 mL) water
- 3 medium white potatoes, cut into ½-inch (1.25 cm) cubes
- 1 (540 mL) can romano beans, drained and rinsed
- 1 bunch kale, roughly chopped
- 1 cup (250 mL) heavy cream (35%)
- Optional: sour cream
- In a large dutch oven or pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add sausage and cook, breaking up with spatula, approximately 5 minutes, or until browned.
- Add onion, garlic and red pepper flakes; cook 5 minutes, stirring often.
- Add broth, water and potatoes. Bring to boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
- Add beans and kale, and cook until wilted, about 5 minutes. Remove from heat, and stir in heavy cream.
- Ladle into bowls and serve with a dollop of sour cream if desired.
- Can’t handle the heat? Omit the red pepper flakes
- Use no salt added romano beans to further lower sodium content
- Use 2% or 3.25% milk in place of heavy cream to lower the fat content
Cooked, stewed, or blended, beans add fibre and great taste to everyday meals. Learn more about this amazing superfood and find heart-healthy recipes at ontariobeans.on.ca
Mushrooms Make Meals Better
Nutrient-rich and easy to cook, fungi have been loved for centuries for their great taste and excellent health benefits.
Mushrooms are packed with a ton of essential vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins such as niacin, riboflavin, and pantothenic acid, which provide energy by helping break down proteins, fats, and carbohydrates. They are also a great source of minerals like selenium, copper, and potassium, and are the only source of vitamin D in the produce aisle.
Mushrooms are almost always readily available in the produce section of any grocery or health food store, making them an accessible and inexpensive option for mealtimes. As well, the meaty texture of mushrooms makes them an excellent protein replacement for vegan and vegetarian recipes, like this savoury stuffed squash recipe that will be a welcome addition to your autumn dinner table.
MUSHROOM, APPLE, AND WALNUT STUFFED ACORN SQUASH
This fall recipe with savoury stuffed squash is an easy accompaniment to a festive meal or casual weeknight dinner.
The meaty mushrooms add beautiful texture to the stuffing, while the apples add a layer of tartness and bite.
Servings: 4 • Prep Time: 10 minutes • Cook Time: 45 minutes
- 4 small-medium sized
acorn squash, seeded, cut in half lengthwise
- Salt and pepper
- 2 tbsp. (30 mL) olive oil
- 8 oz (227 g) fresh mixed mushrooms (portabella, shiitake, oyster), coarsely chopped
- 2 celery stalks, thinly diced
- 2 locally grown apples*, peeled and finely diced
- 3 tbsp. (45 mL) butter
- 1 tbsp. (15 mL) fresh sage leaves, finely chopped
- 1 cup (250 mL) vegetable stock
- ½ cup (125 mL) walnuts, roughly chopped
- 1 small loaf of day-old sourdough or French bread, cut into ¼-inch cubes (approximately 5 cups)
- Preheat oven to 350°F/175°C.
- Cut acorn squash in half lengthwise. Remove the seeds. Season the inside with salt and pepper. Place cut side down on a baking sheet lined with parchment. Bake for about 30 minutes or until soft.
- Meanwhile, in a large saucepan, heat olive oil. Add mushrooms and sauté for 3-4 minutes. Add celery and continue to sauté for 5 minutes. Lower heat and add apples. Continue to cook until apples become tender, about 5 minutes. To the pan, add butter, sage, and vegetable stock. Heat just until butter is melted. Remove from heat and allow to cool.
- Place chopped walnuts and diced bread in a large bowl. Pour warm vegetable stock mixture over bread. Using your hands, toss the bread until it is well-coated and most of the stock is absorbed.
- Remove squash from oven and turn it cut side up. Divide the stuffing among each squash in half; spoon the stuffing into the cavity of each squash until filled. Return to 350°F/175°C oven and bake until stuffing is golden brown, approximately 15-20 minutes.
- Serve hot alongside a festive ham or with a weeknight roast chicken.
*Tip: Use Ontario Idared, Golden Delicious, Honeycrisp, or Empire apples.
We know there’s a lot of pressure on you at mealtimes—they need to be quick, nutritious, and delicious. Head to mushrooms.ca to learn more about how mushrooms can make your meals better!
Mushrooms Canada advocates food safety, healthy nutrition and the proper care and handling of fresh Canadian mushrooms. The Ontario Bean Growers (OBG) is a not for profit organization representing the approximately 1000 farmers in Ontario who grow dry beans on an average of 120,000 acres annually.