My column, Eating Niagara, runs every second Wednesday in the St. Catharines Standard, Niagara Falls Review and Welland Tribune.
One of Oscar Rivera’s first tasks when he arrived in Canada 10 years ago was to convert his backyard into a corn field.
The former agricultural engineer from Guatemala City did it in a quest to find the perfect kernel. Each seed he planted promised possibility. Collectively, they represented the new life Rivera was cultivating for himself and his family, including four children, who left their homeland for the safety Canada promised.
His plan was to grow corn ideal for grinding. He’d sell his harvest to a tortilleria that would turn his season’s work into a taste of home. He search for the right maize lasted two years. All the while his wife, Arminda, lamented the loss of her lawn.
“My wife almost killed me,” Rivera, 56, said with a smile. “We had grass there but I had to erase it to plant corn.”
After all his research, the buyer he had lined up for his crop fell through. So Rivera, who was dismayed at the additives he found in corn tortillas available in Canada, decided to make the Central American staple himself.