Jardins CousineauMartin Cousineau, director of sales, procurement and operations for St. Constant, Quebec-based broccoli producer Jardins Cousineau, says his company will have broccoli volume beginning in late June through early November.After one of the best seasons in 10 years, Quebec growers now face a more normal year, complete with a cold, wet spring and rain that just keeps coming.
Despite a two-week delay on some crops, summery temperatures have growers anticipating a good season, said Andre Plante, general manager of the Quebec Produce Growers Association, St. Leonard.
“Some producers didn’t get into the field until the last week of April or beginning of May,” Plante said. “But prices are good. There’s no pressure on price at the moment.”
The low Canadian dollar, trading around 92 cents, should also help make Quebec produce more attractive to U.S. buyers, he said, and there’s a huge advantage on freight rates compared to buying from the western coast.
Onions and potatoes
Quebec onion and potato growers have few complaints with the market.
“The price is really good for us right now,” said Pascal Guerin of Sherrington, Quebec-based Les Jardins A. Guerin.
“We’ll have onions until mid-July then a shortage for a week or two until the new crop begins in August,” Guerin said.
“I think it’s good, so grocery stores have time to sell all the old stock and start fresh,” he said.
Gabriel Isabelle, vice president sales and development for C. Isabelle & Fils, said the rainy spring made it difficult to plant potatoes, onions and carrots, but quality storage potatoes continue to command a good price.
The family farm, with 800 acres of potatoes, is 20 minutes from the New York border.
Rocky start for lettuce
Lettuce producers including Sherrington-based Veg Pro International, said they had a rocky start but caught up quickly, though rain remained a challenge.
“We anticipate a good solid season and hope the markets won’t go down too much,” said Pierre Dolbec, vice president sales and procurement.
“In a normal year New Jersey is usually first, then we come out,” Dolbec said. “This year it seems that everything’s going to come out at the same time.”
Veg Pro’s onion and carrot growers, who typically harvest in early to mid-July, now expect harvest from late July to the first week of August.
Mario Cloutier, marketing director of Lavel, Quebec-based Les Productions Margiric, predicts peppers will be on time in mid-July, a welcome surprise, and his cantaloupes could be ready around July 20.
Martin Cousineau, director of sales, procurement and operations for St. Constant, Quebec-based broccoli producer Jardins Cousineau, planned his first harvest the week of June 22 and expects to have broccoli until early November.