Food is one ancient weapon modern war can’t do without. And Canada is one tremendous food factory
RAYMOND ARTHUR DAVIES
FIVE MILLION eight hundred and thirty thousand hogs is a lot of hogs. Nose to tail these porkers could form an unbroken chain stretching from Vancouver to London. If they were loaded in hundred-car freight trains you’d have to stand at a given point along the railway track for a whole year to see the “hog specials" speed by—one train every hour. This gives you some idea of the number of hogs Canada is raising in 1942 to send to Britain as 700,000,000 pounds of bacon and hams. Yet this is but one phase of one of Canada’s
main war efforts—the production of fighting food.
Even modern, mechanized, supermotorized war cannot be fought without food. Nothing can be done, not a wheel can turn, not a worker work, not a soldier train and fight without eating. Food is a vital sinew of war. In Canada alone the supplying of this sinew for our civilians, the armed services, Britain and our allies occupies more than
3.500.000 people, farmers and their families, on
785.000 farms, and in addition, keeps busy tens of thousands of packing-house and flour-mill workers, dairymen, cannery employees, fishermen and others in many thousands of large and small enterprises.
The food produced in Canada in an ever-rising tide is as much a weapon of war as tanks and guns.
This food fights.
It feeds the Canadian people who now eat from fifteen to twenty per cent more than before the war. More people are working. More work leads to more eating to replace energy expended. There is more money to be spent for food: our income
last year was the highest in Canada's history— $6,000,000,000. This food feeds our armies which must still travel on their stomachs. The men and women of our armed services are heavy eaters. They are among the best fed people in the world. Every minute, on the average, they put away 168 eggs, 165 pounds of potatoes, 110 pounds of bread, 100 pounds of beef. And as our armed forces grow so does the need for food.
On top of this, often superseding this, come the increasingly urgent demands from Britain, from Russia, from Greece, from allied war prisoners in Axis clutches.
To Britain alone Canada is shipping this year forty-five times more eggs than before the war; three times more bacon and hams; twice as much Canadian cheddar cheese; as much wheat as we shipped to the whole world in the average pre-war year; the whole of our canned salmon and herring pack.
In addition, as their share of the war effort Canada’s farmers are producing moro wheat on loss land; are turning out three times as much flaxseed (for linseed oil) and soybeans as before the war; a quarter again as much of feed grains; fifteen per cent more beef. Our farmers, like everyone else, have “gone to war.”
The job being done in producing food is big. Bigger than ever before in Canada’s history. Like
industry, agriculture has shifted to war production, to the growing of war crops. And along with the “mobilization” of agriculture went the rallying of the packing, processing and shipping industries for war needs. These food industries have performed industrial miracles. Despite the shortage of labor and other difficulties they have doubled and in many cases tripled their output.
Even the animals have responded to the challenge of war. Canada’s sows give more piglets; cows yield more milk; the hens lay more eggs.
TRULY our farmers are the unsung heroes of our war effort. They are coping with the new responsibilities imposed by war in a way previously considered impossible, despite the fact that hired help is increasingly hard to got.
They are straining their entire energies to produce more. The womenfolk and children have joined the farmer in his daily work. It is no rare sight to see dad leading with the plow and young sons in their teens following with harrows. Mother works night and day with the chickens and cows and the vegetable garden.
Monday nights the farmers get together in hundreds of forums throughout the length and breadth of the land to discuss problems which war brought to agriculture and to discover what they as
farmers can do to reinforce the war effort. These Farm Radio Forums contain the germs of the farmers’ coming demand for participation in the “people’s peace” which must follow the “people’s war.”
Fortunately the farmers are not alone. Behind them are tens of thousands of cityfolk who are rallying with will and vigor to help out.
Go down into the farm areas close to any of the big cities. A surprising and colorful scene will greet your eyes.
Working side by side with the farmer and his family you will see high school girls,older men, cityfolk on vacation, even soldiers and airmen on their free days.,
A few weeks ago sugar-beet farmers around Chatham, Ontario, faced such a severe labor shortage that the whole crop was threatened. They appealed to the city. Ads appeared in the local paper asking everyone to turn out for the week end. Although it rained, many hundreds of businessmen, workers, professionals reported.
The Ontario Department of Agriculture has organized nineteen camps in which city boys and girls and men and women working on surrounding farms may live under the supervision of the Y.M.C.A. and Y.W.C.A. In many cities definite places have been stipulated where people wishing to put in a day’s work on a farm may report. Farmers
drive in to pick up help in the morning and return them to the city at night.
In cannery areas mass meetings have been held at which housewives, retired folks and people who have never worked in canneries are asked to do at least some work to help preserve fruits and vegetables which are so vital to the war effort. Workers vho formerly flocked to the canneries, like farm help, are now employed in war industries.
By using these and other methods Ontario has obtained 40,000 additional workers for the farms this year. Similar measures have been taken in other provinces.
This is truly a people’s crusade to make the most of Canada’s crops.
Before the war Canada’s main crop was wheat. But we produced too much wheat, more than could he sold or used. Farmers produced much fruit, great quantities of vegetables. When war began and many of our foreign markets were lost, disposal of these products became a serious problem. But other foods were needed and could be sold which vere either not produced in sufficiency or not at all.
What are the needed things?
Wheat and flour, of course. Of wheat, fortunately, we have enough. So much, in fact, that we have been able to take men and land away from vheat for other crops.
Concentrated foods for Britain and our allies. Foods with a high protein content—meats, cheese,
dried eggs, dried milk. Foods which take least shipping space yet contain most food value.
Protective foods. Meats, eggs, milk, vegetables, fruits. Foods which go to improve the health of soldiers and civilians.
Oil-producing crops. Flaxseed and soybeans, to make up for sources of supply lost in Europe and Asia.
As you can well imagine, it was not easy to change over our vast and intricate agricultural system to war production. No easier than industry. Even after three years of war the task has not yet been completed. We are not yet at the hundred per cent mark. Nevertheless so much has been accomplished as to merit a war badge of honor for Canadian farmers.
The farmers have done a great deal by themselves in response to the needs of the hour. Much help has been given by the Agricultural Supplies Board set up by the Dominion Department of Agriculture soon after the outbreak of hostilities to organize agricultural production to serve war needs.
To carry out food agreements with Britain and to act as transmission belts in doing business between the British Government and the Canadian farmers, the Bacon, Dairy Products and Special Products Boards were set up.
They are doing a land-office business.
During the first two years of war $488,000,000 worth of food was shipped to Britain. In 1941-1942
alone, $337,000,000 worth is being sent. We’ll be asked for more next year.
Wheat and flour, bacon and hams, cheese and eggs account for ninety per cent (by value) of these shipments. Yet with the exception of wheat and flour, Canada had never produced for export as much as Britain asked for. This was the problem challenging the ingenuity of our farmers and processors. It had to be solved to help Britain keep on fighting. It has been solved.
SOS For Food
MOW WAS this accomplished? Take pork products as an outstanding example. Before the war Canada had 3,600,000 hogs. Exports to Britain hovered between 180-190,000,000 pounds. Some people said the limit had been reached.
Then came the war, the collapse of the Low Countries, Dunkirk. Came Britain’s urgent SOS for food. There was no time to lose. The farmers pitched into it with vigor. During the first year of war they produced and shipped to Britain
280,000,000 pounds of bacon and hams. The increase in hog production in 1939 was as great as during the whole four years of World War One. Shipments during the second year of war were almost twice as high. In 1942, the third year of war, shipments are still higher—aimed at 700,000,000 pounds. The limit has not yet been reached.
This achievement in so short a time is the result of a revolution in Canadian agriculture that is certain to have lasting effects.
To produce more hogs the farmers needed more feeds. Soon after the beginning of the war it became necessary to divert wheat lands to the growing of oats and barley which are the standard feed grains. The Government offered a two-dollar bonus for each acre of wheat land turned to the cultivation of feed grains and flaxseed. As a result, between 1939 and 1912 the area under oats and barley
increased by twenty-five per cent-.....4,000,000 acres.
The increase was most marked in Saskatchewan and Alberta where it was nearly seventy per cent.
The increased production of feeds enabled the farmers to produce more hogs. This was and is the profitable thing to do. It is also the patriotic thing to do. Britain needs more food to continue the fight.
But production has been spurred on even faster by British contracts which established a stabilized and fixed price for bacon and hams in advance. The farmer knew what he was working for. Uncertainty in the farm game has been greatly eliminated.
A further boost was given by the eastern provinces which pay a bonus of fifty cents to one dollar per hog or carcass. To prevent bacon escaping to the United States as a result of higher U.S. prices, the price to the British Government was advanced five shillings, supplemented by funds provided by Canada.
But even this was not sufficient. Canadians were eating too much pork and not enough was being left for Britain.
An “Eat-less-Pork” campaign was started in June, 1941. Retailers, restaurants, hotels, operators of dining cars, the public were asked to reduce their pork purchases by fifty per cent during the summer months. Following this the price of bacon paid to the farmers was raised a number of times,
advancing from $18.60 per hundred pounds in June, 1941, to $19.90 in October.
The results of all these measures have been spectacular.
The hog population grew from 3,600,000 in 1938 to 6,400,000 in 1941. The number of hogs sold for slaughter nearly doubled in the country as a whole. In Alberta it more than doubled; in Saskatchewan it tripled.
While 1942 figures are not yet at hand, it is believed that the year will show a further increase in the hog population of between fifteen and twentyfive per cent over 1941.
But to be of use the hogs must be slaughtered, cured, packed and shipped by the packing industry.
By borrowing production line methods from the motor car industry, they have been able to double and triple their output with a relatively small percentage of labor increase. In fact, packinghouse men say they could handle much more production if more hogs, calves, beef were available.
Follow us into the pork-cutting room of a Toronto packing plant.
Here before your eyes hog carcasses hung on hooks suspended from rails come out of the coolers. The carcasses are almost severed in half, entrails and skin have been removed. With one deft and curving movement of his long and razor-sharp knife a workman slices off the head, which he mounts on a peg for further processing. (Heads are sold at home.) Another workman completely separates the two halves and drops them on a conveyor belt.
The sides follow one another endlessly. Men and women workers cut off the legs, carve off protruding fat and pieces of meat, remove part of the backbone with electric saws, extract the shoulder blades by machine.
The sides then drop through a chute into the export cellar. There, in a temperature kept below freezing, they fall onto another conveyor. Workmen jab hollow needles spraying pickle into the sides.
Salt is slapped into the cavities. Each worker handles up to eighty sides an hour, 800 in a tenhour day.
The sides are stored for eight days in huge 55,000to 90,000-pound pickle vats. After this they are removed, stacked like cordwood along the walls, later to be examined, cleaned, stamped and packed.
The same scene can be witnessed in any of the 146 packing houses in Canada. The wonder of it all is that the increased production has been attained by adding only two to three thousand more workers. In 1938 the whole industry employed 12,503 men and women; in 1940 only 14,301.
To o M u c h W h e a t
ALTHOUGH the importance of pork products - in our exports to Britain is constantly increasing, our main food export still remains wheat —in the form of both flour and grain.
Unlike pork, with wheat the situation was the reverse. Here there was no scarcity. Nor is there any scarcity in sight. Canadian elevators now hold more than 400,000,000 bushels of wheat (without the 1942 crop), approximately four and a half years of Canadian consumption. Just how much this is can be realized best when we recall that the American surplus is only 650,000,000 bushels.
And still the flood of wheat continues. This year our grain elevators can accept only 280,000,000 bushels, yet the bountiful crop —on reduced acreage —may exceed 450,000,000 bushels. Again the farmers will have to store their grain at home.
Shipments to Britain are thought to be near the 200,000,000-bushel level, which was our average yearly export to all countries during a ten-year period. Recently it became known that quite a large percentage of this quantity has been going to Russia with Britain acting as purchaser for the Soviets. The Red Cross plans to ship 15,000 tons a month to Greece. Some wheat is also being shipped to the British Crown Colonies.
Essentially, however, the problem in wheat is that of restricting acreage to the actual and visible needs. Between 1939 and 1942 wheat lands have been reduced by 5,000,000 acres, an area as large as half of Belgium. Still further reductions are forecast. This is all the more necessary because of the urgent need to conserve every acre of land, every ton of fertilizer and every hour of labor for producing other things we need.
But wheat is exported both in the form of grain and flour— and flour milling is booming. In April, 1939, our flour mills produced 275,275 barrels of flour. In April, 1942, this rose to 1,127,974 barrels — an increase of more than 400 per cent! Yet this has been accomplished with a very slight drain on manpower. The number of workers in Canada’s flour mills is less than 1,500.
But pork and wheat do not exhaust Britain’s needs for essential foods. One product for which there is a constant and urgent call is cheese.
Let us think of cheese not merely as milk plus dairy labor, but as acres of grass for the cows, as meadows, barns full of hay, tons of feed, farm labor employed in haying, pasturing, caring for the cattle. If we do this we can easily perceive that to get more cheese we must have more labor and more land devoted to the raising of food for cattle. One of the sources of both land and labor is the wheat farm.
Cheese is a major “war baby.” With its concentrated high nutritive value, it is an important staple of the British diet, particularly of the
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workers in heavy industries—miners, dock workers, steel workers. There is no substitute for cheese.
Ontario is our main cheese-producing province. Quebec is next, in these provinces are located the main fresh milk and cream zones and modern butter and cheese factories.
In 1940-1941 Canada shipped to Britain 93,081,000 pounds of cheese. No one had believed the farmers capable of producing so much. But the farmers excelled themselves in 1942. They have been upping shipments by a third to a total figure of 125,000,000 pounds. Canada now sends to Britain as much cheese as we used to produce altogether and yet enough is left to cover our own needs of from 30-40,000,000 pounds a year.
It took some pretty shrewd manoeuvring to achieve this increased production. To encourage the farmers to use their milk for cheese, higher prices and cheese subsidies were established. Dominion and provincial subsidies of 5.6 cents per pound made the total price received by the farmer twenty cents, and in 1942, twenty-four cents. Cheese-making has become one of the most profitable farm operations.
In addition to cheese, during the first two years of war Canada sent to Britain 1,435,000 cases of evaporated milk. This year shipments are lower —668,000 cases. This is because the British Ministry of Food prefers to receive Canadian dairy products in the form of cheesein sofaraspossible. In addition, Britain is now receiving big shipments of powdered milk from the United States.
Biddy Lays More Eggs
ONE OTHER farm product looms important in Canada’s food production for Britain—eggs.
Before the war our farmers shipped to Britain only about a million dozen eggs a year. This year we are sending 45,000,000 dozen—a 4,500 per cent increase.
But increased exports of eggs to Britain tell only one side of the story. We now have ten million more chickens than before the war. Our egg production has expanded from 213,399,000 dozen to 244,154,000 dozen.
As in the case of cheese, greater egg production has been attained with the aid of a government bonus—in this case three cents per dozen of grade A eggs delivered for export, a higher price paid by Britain, and substantial contracts signed in advance.
Even Biddy herself is now laying 112 eggs per year instead of the prewar 111. This means an added production of more than two million dozen.
Every province has shared in the growing egg production, but Ontario is still ahead, followed by Alberta. Quebec and the Maritimes, which formerly imported eggs from other parts of Canada for their own use, now care for their own needs.
But the big headache in the shipments of eggs to Britain has been the lack of suitable transportation and
the slowness of convoys. It was therefore a new departure when on February 6, 1942, the British Government asked that all future shipments go as dried eggs.
Dried eggs are not new. They have been used both here and abroad in the hotel and baking trade but only rarely in the home.
Come with us into any one of the five full-time egg-drying plants which are in operation at Ottawa, Trenton, Belmont, Ont., Winnipeg, and Saskatoon.
Before you at long tables stand rows of girls clad in immaculate white uniforms. All these girls do is break eggs.
Before them are steel trays each about the size of a bakepan. Inside the trays are perforated grids. Across the top of each tray is a metal bridge with a knifelike edge.
The girls break the eggs on the “bridge” and let the contents drop into a cup. When two eggs have been broken, the girls smell the liquid, just to make sure . . . Only if the lack of odor indicates that the egg is fresh is it dropped into a ten-quart bucket.
Then the eggs pass through mixers, sieves and clarifiers from where they emerge as a smooth, yellowish liquid resembling rich cream. This liquid is poured into 10,000-pound stainless steel storage vats maintained at a constant temperature of forty degrees Fahrenheit.
From here the liquid is pumped under pressure of 4,000 pounds per square inch through a pipe so small in diameter that a pin could not penetrate it, and is blown in a fine spray into a large metal cone twentyfive feet wide by fifty feet high. On the opposite side hot air is driven in, the moisture in the spray is immediately turned into steam and the egg substance drops to the bottom of the cone in the form of powder.
The weight and volume of eggs in this form is only a fraction of eggs in the shell. The 45,000,000 dozen eggs being shipped this year would weigh in the shell 32,000 tons and require
for their transportation five or six good sized freighters. In dried form, however, these eggs weigh only 8,200 tons. The saving in shipping space is nearly seventy-five per cent.
Dried eggs don’t spoil, don’t break, and need no refrigeration. Their food value is equal to eggs in the shell. When properly prepared there is no difference in taste. One pound of dried egg powder equals about twenty-nine eggs.
The request to ship powdered eggs caught Canada more or less unprepared. Today new drying plants are being built in Toronto, Winnipeg, Calgary and Edmonton. One plant, at Gananoque, divides its time between dried eggs and powdered milk.
SIDE BY SIDE with heavy shipments of eggs and other farm products to Britain, Canada has been sending much canned herring and canned salmon. This year we are sending our total pack of both. There will be none available for sale to our consumers.
Canned herring is almost a new industry for Canada. The Canadian palate had never accepted canned herring to any degree and we neither ate nor produced much of it. In fact our total 1938 production on the West Coast was only 23,400 cases. But in 1941 British Columbia’s fishermen caught and canners canned 1,013,329 cases. Our total output of canned herring since the beginning of the war has increased elevenfold, all due to the heavy British demand.
Altogether in 1941 we sent Britain 1,565,000 cases of canned herring as against an order for 1,600,000.
Fishermen say that the herring is a friendly anti-Axis fish. Schools of herring are found in shoals not far off shore and herring fishing boats are relatively safe from submarine attack.
Before the war most of our small output of canned herring in tomato sauce came from the Maritimes. But when Britain began asking for greater quantities, British Columbia was
called upon to help out because of its modern methods of mass production —both in fishing and canning.
Along with canned herring in 1941 the fishing industry also undertook to give Britain two thirds of the anticipated canned salmon pack of some 1,700,000 cases. Actually last year we had our biggest pack in history—2,245,000 cases—and Britain received much more than had been expected.
There is almost no limit to which we could boost our canned salmon and canned herring sales. But the fishing situation has been complicated by several serious factors. The total number of fishermen is declining. There were four thousand less in 1941 than in 1940 and there are still less in 1942. The number of fish-processing workers, though, has slightly increased. Then the Navy has taken over some of the sturdier and faster fishing boats for its own use and the presence of enemy submarines in fishing waters off the East Coast has affected the catch to some degree.
In order to offset the growing shortage of fishing vessels the Dominion Government is subsidizing the construction of certain types in West Coast yards. But these vessels will hardly be completed in time to have any decisive effect on this year’s catch.
With canned salmon and canned herring unavailable, it is expected that the Canadian public will turn to other, especially lake, fish. But lake fish makes up only about a sixth of our total fish consumption and the prospects are not bright that this proportion can be raised to any degree.
One Canadian sea product has had to find a completely new market— lobster, eighty-five per cent of which we sent to Britain before the war. But soon after the outbreak of hostilities all lobster imports into the United Kingdom were banned. Our lobster fishermen were faced with complete ruin.
To find new markets a Lobster Control Scheme was developed and success was achieved to the point where the United States now absorbs nearly the whole catch and can absorb even more.
The sea has given Canada a new industry—the large scale production of vitamin codand halibut-liver oils. Most cod-liver oil is produced on the East Coast. But in terms of monetary value the big business is being done on the Pacific Coast where dogfish, halibut, red and black cod and other fish livers are utilized. West Coast production in 1941 was 2,400,000 pounds of vitamin liver oil, alone worth $1,250,000. In addition commercial oils were produced. Much of the vitamin oil is exported to Britain where it has become an important source of vitamin for children, hospital wounded and industrial workers.
That Beef Problem
SO FAR we have dealt with products the bulk of which we ship to Britain. Let us now survey the situa-
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tion in respect to some of the foods which form the mainstay of our diet at home.
In recent months one product has been on every housewife’s mind— beef.
Canada is a country of expensive beef production. We find it difficult and commercially unprofitable to compete for the British market, which is still primarily supplied by Argentina, Uruguay, Australia and Eire. On the other hand our vast fields of oats and barley permit us to produce cheap pork. So we sell the pork abroad and keep our beef.
Beef is an important element in our farming, in the diet of the Canadian armed services, in feeding the people. Production in 1938 was
769.600.000 pounds. This grew to
835.300.000 in 1941. In 1941 the armed forces consumed 40,000,000 pounds of fresh beef and in 1942 they will consume a minimum of 60,000,000 pounds.
Although the need is mounting rapidly, steers are much harder to raise than hogs. You can’t get in and out of beef very quickly, since it takes about three years to raise a steer as against twelve months for a hog. Effects of an expansion program can’t be felt on the market in less than two to three years.
A cow can’t produce as many offspring per year as a hog. For this reason the number of cattle in Canada is rising rather slowly and barely corresponds with the increased civilian demand for meat. In 1939, 1,183,305 head of cattle were killed or sold off the farms; in 1941, 1,344,794, an increase of fifteen per cent barely corresponding to the greater purchasing power of the public.
But, the question may be asked, if there has been an increase, why should there be such a shortage of beef?
There are three main reasons for this.
In the first place the removal of first-grade bacon and hams from domestic sale, as well as the withdrawal of canned salmon and herring and certain other foods with which Canadians varied their diet, is forcing the average family to eat more beef.
Secondly, the Army is taking more beef.
Thirdly, and this is most important, much of our best beef has been going to the United States. American tariffs permit Canadian farmers to ship up to 192,000 head of cattle per year to the United States at a reduced duty. So long as the American demand was low and the price lowrer or equal to ours there was no problem. Our farmers were quite satisfied to sell beef at home.
When, however, the American demand became heavy and the price rose above ours, then farmers began to ship their beef across the line.
There was a real danger that good quality beef could completely disappear from our butcher shops, creating a serious food crisis. This is when the Wartime Prices and Trade Board stepped in. Acting through the Wartime Food Corporation this summer it began to purchase all cattle offered for export up to the
192.000 head limit and to sell this cattle in Canadian markets at the
stabilized price. At the same time the price ceiling on beef was lifted to give the farmer and packer more money.
Latest reports are that the situation is now under control.
A similar threat of shortage, though for different reasons, faces our butter supply.
Because of the stress on cheese, farmers have been using their milk for
cheese rather than butter, with the result that this year butter production to June was running ten per cent below last year, with increased consumption. A serious shortage of butter threatens before March, 1943, unless something effective is done.
Something is being done. To encourage greater butter production the Wartime Prices and Trade Board
has announced a bonus of five cents per pound of butter which should encourage farmers to give more milk for butter production.
That this may have an adverse effect on cheese is realized. To prevent this, stress is being laid not on taking milk away from cheese but on producing more milk to satisfy all demands.
Cheese, butter, pork, beef are all farm products with a stable and growing market. But of all farm products in Canada vegetables and fruits have had to deal with a reduced market and general uncertainty. In addition they are suffering from a crucial shortage of labor which in many instances is leading, has led this summer, to the sacrifice of valuable crops of apples, cherries, peaches, even vegetables and sugar beets.
Because of the shortage of shipping space Britain stopped her imports of many fresh fruits and vegetables and has curtailed the imports of many others.
Nevertheless, during the first two years of war Canada sent Britain
1,200,000 barrels of apples, 430,000 cases of canned apples, 608,000 bushels of beans, 19,000 long tons of canned tomatoes and 1,100 tons of berries in sulphur dioxide solution (for preservation).
During the current year these exports have fallen off. Shipping space is required for more vital products. Domestic consumption, on the other hand, is holding its own and the armed services are increasing their purchases of fruits and vegetables by about twenty per cent.
The trouble with fruits and vegetables is their bulk and tendency to spoil unless properly refrigerated. Both are a bar to shipments to Britain and to our army overseas. The solution seems to be dehydration.
Take potatoes, for example. A sack of potatoes which weighs seventy-five pounds in the raw state weighs only twelve pounds when dehydrated.
A ton of cabbage dehydrates to 120 pounds and can be packed into twelve five-gallon containers, each being a little less than one cubic foot in volume.
British authorities have approached Canada many times regarding the possibility of supplying dehydrated vegetables, which are simply vegetables from which most of the water has been removed.
Much work has been carried on in recent months at selected plants to determine the possibility of improving the palatability, vitamin content, and quality of dehydrated vegetables. A few hundred tons of dehydrated potatoes, carrots, cabbage and turnips fully as good as the raw products have been produced.
Tests are still continuing into problems of packaging, storage, retention of vitamin content and preparation for the table. But despite important advances in this field, dehydration has not yet become an important factor in our production and processing of fruits and vegetables.
The Food Stuffs Division of the Department of Munitions and Sup ply is now experimenting with de
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hydrated and pressed vegetables and fruits as emergency rations. There are dehydrated cherries, grapes, apples. A preparation reminiscent of pemmican is being tried out. Unlike the pemmican of old, this does not consist of meat, hut is composed of fruits and vegetables plus fat. The aim is the same—to sustain the
fighter in emergencies.
Along with producing food that fights, Canadian farmers have made important wartime contributions in other products. Outstanding among these are flaxseed and soybeans from which valuable oils are extracted. Although these oils are not food, in the strict sense of the word, by producing them the farmers relieve the strain on oils and fats which are items of the diet.
Advances in this field have been considerable. In 1939 all of Canada produced only 2,044,000 bushels of flaxseed. In 1941 6,412,000 bushels.
Total acreage under flaxseed increased eightfold, from 298,000 acres in 1939 to 2,531,600 in 1942. The star performer is Alberta which boosted flaxseed acreage from 187,200 in 1939 to 1,090,000 in 1941.
In recent years about 20,000 acres of soybeans have been grown. It is anticipated that in 1942-1943 Canada’s minimum requirements for soybeans for oil and livestock feeds will be 600,000 bushels. Current acreage is about 30,000, of which 20,000 acres is in Ontario, 5,000 in Quebec and the balance in British Columbia, Alberta and Manitoba.
To expand our vegetable oil production further, experiments are being conducted into the production of sunflower-seed oil. For this purpose recently 30,000 pounds of Giant Russian sunflower seed were purchased by the Government.
Getting It There
IN THIS WAY the farmers of Canada contribute to the struggle. Together with them the packers, the flour millers, the canners, the fishermen, the carriers (railway and steamship lines), the seed-growers and many, many other industries are working without respite to supply the food for victory.
Nor are the problems of getting
this food to the fighting fronts to be forgotten. The problem is not only to produce and process but to deliver.
Take bacon as an example.
Early in 1941 the British Ministry of Food asked the Canadian Bacon Board whether it would be possible to send bacon in unrefrigerated space.
The reason? Pretty obvious. Many refrigerator ships had been sunk and yet the volume of perishable and semi-perishable foodstuffs moving to Britain kept on growing. The slow and cumbersome convoy system sometimes kept vessels in port for weeks; goods which normally would have reached Britain in good condition spoiled because of the time spent at sea.
Shipment of bacon in unrefrigerated space was not the answer.
The problem was given to the National Research Council at Ottawa. Within a short time scientists developed a portable refrigerator unit which was installed in a hold of 55,000 cubic foot capacity in a vessel. This was in June, 1941.
Some 400 tons of bacon were sent overseas in this hold. The shipment arrived in fairly good condition. Work continued to further improve the installation. In August a second trial was made when 1,000 tons of bacon were shipped in stowage refrigerated by the improved unit. The test was an unqualified success.
On the third trip, however, ship, bacon and refrigerator unit were lost through enemy action.
Nevertheless the value of portable equipment had been proven. The cost of installation was less than shipping in regular refrigerator ships. Equipment proved easy to assemble and move from ship to ship.
As a result, the British Ministry of War Transport has now fitted many vessels with this equipment.
In this case science united with the farmer, the packer and the shipper to get the food to where it can fight.
The job of producing, processing and shipping Canada’s food products has been done well. All the more so since the farmers have worked under the constant pressure of a diminishing supply of labor. Labor is the headache of agriculture and there is no doubt that this headache will grow even more painful in coming months.
But this does not stop the farmers. In the countryside everyone works for victory—the farmer, his wife, his children.
They set a pattern to follow for the whole of Canada.
Cure For Car Static
STATIC electricity in an automobile, which causes radio interference and static shock, can be eliminated by a powder, developed by United States Rubber Co., which is blown into each inner tube. The powder remains in suspension like dust, and it is said one tablespoonful is sufficient to neutralize the static in the radio under all conditions. A special applicator blows the powder into deflated tubes while they are on the car, and any loss in case of a puncture would be so small that it would not alter its effectiveness.— Popular Mechanics.