Friday 17 June 2011

That's not a canola field

“That’s not a canola field.”

Boy, when I was younger, I heard that all the time from my Grandpa. We’d drive by these giant fields on the way to his farm, and I’d point to the yellow flowers and say, “Look at that canola field, Grandpa!”

Turns out they were dandelions.

The same weeds I used to pick for my Mom because I thought they were “pretty flowers.” * shrug *

It’s been a few years since I mistook dandelions for canola (and not just because the weeds burst in early spring and canola blooms in July), but as the potatoes and peas in Grandma’s start sprouting, I can’t help but get excited. It won’t be long before the Alberta landscape becomes a checkerboard of canola fields…

And if you’re travelling in southern Alberta you might see another yellow crop - mustard! 

So how do you tell the difference?

Good question.

Grandpa says it isn’t easy. The flowers on a canola plant are a little bigger and a paler yellow, while mustard seeds are small and a slightly darker in colour.  Honestly? I think I’d need to hold them side by side to really know the difference, and even then I’m not sure I’d be able to tell you which one is the canola plant…

But Canada’s known for both – since most of the mustard seed goes to make Dijon mustard in France and hot dog mustard (my favourite!) in the US, and the canola goes all over the world…

Luckily, Grandpa never gets tired of answering these questions for me.

Gotta jet!

- Chase Superman Duffy

PS - 15 sleeps until WordsWorth! STILL not registered? Better hurry!

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