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From Farm to Table: Crafting Exceptional Canola Oil in the North

Mustus Agrifoods | La Crete, AB


The Wiebe brothers—Greg, Chad and Ryan—own and operate Mustus Agrifoods, a company that produces expeller-pressed canola oil without additives or preservatives, and it all happens on their family farm near La Crete.



“Growing up we didn’t farm; my dad owned a trucking business called Wiebe Transport. My grandpa Bergen, on our mom’s side, was a farmer,” said the youngest brother, Ryan Wiebe. “My two brothers became passionate about farming by helping our grandpa on the farm.”


In 2012, older brothers Greg and Chad followed their passion and started farming a single quarter of land (160 acres). Since then, the farm has grown to 2,500 acres.


“It wasn’t until the summer of 2022 that I started getting more involved with our farm. I had been working on the pipelines when my brothers asked me if I would join them in the canola oil operations,” said Wiebe.


Having farmed wheat, barley, peas and canola throughout the years, the brothers previously sold their canola to grain terminals in a more conventional fashion for agricultural purposes.


In 2020, the Wiebe brothers shifted their entire focus to canola production. They acquired a canola oil press and began honing their skills in the craft of making canola oil. But, before they could sell food grade oil, they needed to get their facility food grade certified, which is where Ryan came in.


“In 2022, it became my job and goal to get our facility food grade certified through the Canadian Food Inspection Agency (CFIA),” said Wiebe. “It took about a year to complete. This July, we will have been selling food grade canola oil for an entire year.”


Understanding the markets and the best processes to use for efficiency and quality has been a long road, but Wiebe has faced the task head on and enjoys the complexities of it all.


“It’s been quite the journey. I’ve done a lot of learning in the last two years. My understanding of the entire process has evolved into a real passion,” said Wiebe.

Most of the canola oil sold on the market goes through an intense refining process using a lot of heat, chemicals and additives to remove colour and scent and to make the shelf life longer.


“It’s important to bring awareness to how vegetable oils are produced and help people understand how the refining process affects the quality and nutritional value of the product,” said Wiebe.


Setting their canola oil apart from others on the market has been the main goal since the beginning, and Wiebe is proud of the process they use to create high quality oil that consumers will appreciate.


“We use an expeller press, which uses friction and pressure to extract the oil from the seeds without the use of chemicals or excessive heat,” said Wiebe. “The result is a pure, unrefined oil that retains its natural flavor and nutrients.”


According to Wiebe, their canola oil performs well in the kitchen and can be used in several dishes and cooking methods. Customers can expect a pure form, quality product with a high smoke point.



“People love to use our oil for frying. They notice a great taste with a light flavor,” said Wiebe.


To ensure the quality and purity of their canola oil, the Wiebe brothers are the only ones who handle and press their farm’s harvested canola.


“We are the only ones who touch our seeds. We do everything ourselves, so we can ensure we have the highest quality of canola,” said Wiebe. “It all happens on our farm—from planting, to harvest and bottling. Our product doesn’t leave our facility until it hits the stores.”


The brothers start planting in mid-May, and during harvest their entire family comes together to lend a hand.


“During the growing season, we do crop checks every week. We spray our crops to give them the best chance and the highest yield and quality,” said Wiebe. “We straight cut our crop, which makes it less prone to quality loss.”


Efficiency is vital and nothing goes to waste on the Wiebe farm, not even the canola byproduct. Known as canola meal, this is a premium byproduct that can be fed to local livestock.


“There are no other canola crushers in our area, so we have no issues getting rid of our canola meal,” said Wiebe. “Our byproduct tests at 32% protein, so we sell it to a couple livestock producers in our area.”


The Wiebe brothers remain committed to their journey of growth, maintaining a steadfast focus on delivering the highest quality of canola oil they can.


“We are still new at this, but we stand behind the purity and quality of our product. We are looking for more markets and sales as we continue to grow,” said Wiebe. “We are always looking for the next step and are excited for the future as we pursue our goal to produce the finest quality canola oil Alberta has to offer.”


Mustus Agrifoods Canola Oil can be found in local grocery stores in La Crete and will soon be available to purchase through their website mustusagrifoods.ca.


 

By Laura Hanna | Photography submitted

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