“The reception was wonderful,” said Doucet. “They can see how the broccoli grows at different times of the year and it really piques their curiosity.”
Les Productions Margiric expands capacity
Laval, Quebec-based Les Productions Margiric has doubled its acreage in Chatham, Ontario, bought another warehouse and outfitted it with new refrigeration.
“The Ontario chain stores insist that their produce be grown in Ontario,” said marketing director Mario Cloutier.
In Laval, Margiric has built a warehouse with three temperature zones, refurbished its packing line and tripled the size of its icing plant for broccoli.
“It gives us more room,” Cloutier said, “so when they say we’re going to harvest 15,000 instead of 10,000 today, we’ll have the space for it.”
The packing line with new flow pack machines can handle all the company’s peppers, romaine hearts and other chain store orders, he said.
Out in the field, the company is testing personal-sized watermelons and romaine hears.
“We think the chain market is going 90% with romaine hearts, so we’re going to transfer our lines,” he said.
“Next year we’ll probably do three full weeks of hearts and one week of romaine.”
Les Serres LeFort introduces Japanese radish
A Japanese turnip resembling a white radish is the newest organic vegetable from the greenhouses of St. Clothilde de Châteauguay, Quebec-based Les Serres LeFort.
“It’s sweet and refreshing,” said head of business development Andre Michaud. “You can eat it raw or cooked and also eat the leaves in a salad.”
To introduce the new turnip, sold under the Vog bio label, the company has worked with chefs for recipes on its website and promoted it on Quebec food shows.
Metro stores are also promoting LeFort products as part of their year-old local purchasing policy.
The grower introduced the first locally-grown greenhouse red peppers to the Quebec market last year and now offers organic peppers and cucumbers.
“We wanted to do something different,” said Michaud, adding it’s a challenge to keep yields high.
Another challenge is competing with field peppers in August and September. He said a late start for this year’s field crop could benefit his greenhouse peppers in July.