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Industry NewsUSDA Canadian events celebrate the diversity of North American cuisine

USDA Canadian events celebrate the diversity of North American cuisine

img_2034-4706687From left: Marielle Hirwa, U.S. Embassy – Ottawa office; Susan Crystal, U.S. Consul General; and Maria Arbulu, U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service

The U.S Department of Agriculture (USDA) is promoting the diversity of North American cuisine and the importance of partnerships through a series of food events launched earlier this year.

The “Culinary Diplomacy Events” began early in 2022 and Grocery Business attended one of the most recent ones in Toronto that featured traditional Indigenous cuisine and was held in recognition of the National Day for Truth and Reconciliation.

The September 2022 event was held in partnership with the Ontario Produce Marketing Association (OPMA). Maria Arbulu of the U.S. Foreign Agricultural Service, and Marielle Hirwa of the U.S. Embassy in Ottawa, told Grocery Business that the idea behind the events is twofold: to celebrate the tapestry of cuisines in North America and to recognize the importance of partnerships with groups such as the OPMA.

“We respect that people like to purchase local foods, but when local foods are not available, they also recognize the value of importing from the U.S. for many products such as strawberries, sweet potatoes, corn and many other products. So, our message with these events is collaboration.”

A group of 30 people involved in various aspects of the food industry participated in the preparation of traditional Indigenous cuisines, guided by Indigenous chef and culinary teacher David Wolfman.

Earlier this year, the USDA held similar culinary events for Ramadan in Quebec City that featured traditional dishes developed by a Muslim chef, and events in Ottawa and Montreal to honour Juneteeth featuring African dishes.

img_2038-6374395From left: Sandra Ulewicz, OPMA; Susan Crystal, U.S. Consul General; Stephen Reid and Emilia De Sousa, OPMA.

img_2018-5536067Maria Arbula, U.S. Agricultural Service with Bev Wright, Fortinos

img_2026-9576530Alison George retired SVP of Argyle with Stephen Reid, president of the Ontario Produce Marketing Association (OPMA)

img_2043-9007490Chef David Wolfman looks on as U.S. Consul General Susan Crystal prepares one of the sauces on the menu.

img_2041-9682903OPMA’s Stephen Reid preparing BBQ pork tenderloin, one of the dishes on the menu made with strawberry sauce and served with citrus, pear and peanut salad with Choke cherry sauce

img_2021-9486820A traditional Indigenous pine tea

img_2052-3708292Samples of products from local, Indigenous and U.S. companies

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