Milette said the expansion will double office and warehouse space and incorporate Courchesne’s two sister companies, Bar Imex and Bercy Foods, which handles organic produce.
“We want to regroup our companies under one roof to maximize space, limit transportation between the companies and see how we can improve the way we do things, ” he said.
Since all three companies now package produce, the change will create one large packaging department to maximize efficiency and food safety, he said.
Plans also include an expansion of Courchesne’s banana ripening rooms.
“Our weekly capacity now is about 48,000 boxes a week,” he said, “and we want to increase that to 65,000 boxes per week.”
C. Isabelle and Sons offers Zip Zap potatoes
Potato, onion and carrot grower C. Isabelle and Sons, St. Michel, Quebec, has introduced 1-pound bags of small yellow, white or red potatoes under the Zip Zap brand.
Vice president Mario Isabelle said the potatoes cook in the microwave in 8 minutes.
The three varieties are being sold in independent fruit and vegetable stores in Quebec for $1.50-2.
Jean Yves Boileau puts pear varieties on trial
Danny Boileau, a partner in Havelock, Quebec-based Jean Yves Boileau and Sons, has planted several new varieties of early pears, one a club variety, as part of a large-scale trial.
Believing there’s a market in Quebec for early pears, Boileau said he expects to have some fruit to sell next year to gauge consumer reaction.
“It won’t be a big volume,” he said, “but enough to show what we can do.”
The trial will also determine if the new varieties are suited to a northern climate and how the harvest would work with apples and pears, Boileau said.
Lassonde Specialties vacuum-packs fresh corn
For the first time, fresh Quebec corn will head across the border in the middle of winter.
Whole bicolor Sunbites cobs, vacuum-packed in Quebec within hours of harvesting in August, are now on sale in Metro stores and will appear in U.S. supermarkets in 2014.
Jean-François Bourdeau, vice president of marketing for Lassonde Specialties Inc., Boisbriand, Quebec, said local retailers are excited because the Canadian-grown corn offers summer-fresh flavor year-round with no added salt or additives.
The corn is reheated by boiling in its food-safe bag or by microwaving or grilling for a minute or two.
Response at the PMA Fresh Summit in New Orleans in October was so positive, Bourdeau said Lassonde may run out of corn.