Quebecers were guaranteed lots of local strawberries for the annual June 24 St. Jean Baptiste holiday — at a price.
The season ramped up June 16 with berries priced 40% higher than imports, said Gilles Motard, director of logistics and operations for Montreal foodservice distributor Hector Larivée.
As Motard predicted, the price has dropped as supplies have increased from across the province.
Quebec Produce Growers Association general manager Andre Plante said the Association of Quebec Strawberries and Raspberries has done such a good job promoting local berries that consumers await their arrival and will buy them even at double the price.
Yourianne Plante (no relation), who’s replaced Caroline Thibeault as executive director of Longueuil-based association, said more and more growers are using plastic tunnels, called bâches, to jump-start their season.
This year’s harvest began about a week later than last year, Yourianne Plante said, but it’s normal compared to the past 10 years.
Growers are reporting good quality and good-tasting berries with little insect pressure, she said, and harvest is expected to continue until October thanks to the newer day-neutral varieties.
Popular varieties include seascape, albion, wendy and clery.