Farmers and Cookbooks: A Longstanding Love Affair

Stacey Sagon loves using the products she grows on her farm in the kitchen. And she can’t wait to see what culinary students competing in this year’s Cooks the Books event come up with. As an added bonus, she has the honour of announcing this year’s winners as part of the prestigious Taste Canada Awards.

“This competition shines a great light on the new and innovative creations that are made using Canadian products,” said the Saskatchewan farmer and crops input manager.

As a canola producer, I have so much pride in the products I produce. So I can only imagine the pride these students have in the recipes they create!

Cooks the Books invites Canadian culinary students to compete for the title of Canada’s Best New Student Chefs. Teams must celebrate the diversity of foods grown in Canada and give their creations a global twist. The event is part of Taste Canada, a national organization that aims to inspire readers to discover delicious recipes and diverse food stories written from a Canadian perspective.

2019 Taste Canada Cooks the Books student competitors and judges.

Sagon said it’s easy to see the connection between farmers and their longstanding love of cookbooks. “Farmers are busy! I don’t always have time to come up with new recipes,” she said. “This is why I love checking out cookbooks with new, fresh ideas.”

Together with her husband and two children, Sagon operates a 100-head beef operation on the farm. They grow a variety of crops including canola, wheat, oats, barley, peas, and lentils. And she works off-farm too, so getting a meal on the table has to be efficient. 

“I’m always adding new recipes to a binder in my kitchen cupboard, with all my favourites,” she said. “Some are photocopies, some are printed from websites, and some are handwritten from friends and family. Some of my favourite recipes come from my hometown and my 4-H Saskatchewan cookbooks, they’re filled with tried and true submissions.”

The 2021 Taste Canada Cooks the Books is presented by Canola Eat Well. Winners will be announced in November at the virtual event.

Eat Well…Shel Zolkewich

Shel Zolkewich in a canola field | www.canolarecipes.caShel writes about the outdoors, travel and food when she’s not playing outside, on the road or eating at

Her adventures have included a trip to the tundra to serve as a cook at a caribou hunting camp and making a long-overdue journey to Ukraine with her dad Merv.

An avid angler and hunter and writes the hunting column in the Winnipeg Free Press (Winnipeg, Canada).

Shel’s written for Up! Magazine, Going Places, Canadian Gardening, Travel Manitoba, Outdoor Canada, Western Living, The National Post, West Magazine, Winnipeg Free Press, The Globe & Mail, EnRoute and various Websites.

Check These Out!

Comments are closed.