Stéphane Van Winden of Delfland examines his lobok redish crop. ( Amy Sowder )

NAPIERVILLE, Quebec — Most commercial growers in Quebec do some kind of mix when it comes to selling their produce to domestic customers and exporting to the U.S. and beyond.

This season, the market is really tight on shallots, said Stéphane Van Winden of Delfland, Napierville. 

“France and Holland didn’t have a good year, and storage is running out. We’re still packing last year’s crop until our new harvest. We try to manage our stock, so we always have stock available to our customers,” he said.

About half of Delfland’s carrots, onions and shallots are exported, and the rest stays in eastern Canada.

Also in Napierville is the Les Fermes Hotte and Van Winden, where Jean-Bernard Van Winden walked through rows of romaine with his son, Marc-André. 

The farm began about 40 years ago with 100 acres, and now has 780 acres. Half of it is iceberg and romaine lettuce, a fourth is onion and the last fourth is bok choy, napa cabbage, yellow beets and celeriac. 

The farm’s Highlander yellow onions were expected to be ready July 25.

Some of their crops are processed for fast-food chains Taco Bell, Burger King and Subway, while others go into bagged salads for retail.

In winter, what they grow in Florida is processed in Quebec before traveling six hours south to the New York market.
In their farm, 75% of what they produce goes to the U.S., 20% to Vegpro in Sherrington to be processed for bags for Quebec’s main retailers — Loblaw, IGA and Metro — and 5% goes to the fresh market. 

About 80% to 85% of Saint-Roch-de-l’Achigan-based Ferme A. & R. Turcot’s market is in the Quebec province, and the rest is exports into the U.S. Northeast.

At Ferme GNC, 70% of the produce goes to Quebec, and 30% is exported to the U.S., said Guillaume Henri. Customers are processors, retailers, food sellers and wholesalers — all with different packing needs.

“The biggest portion goes to retailers in Quebec and the rest of Canada. But we need our U.S. customers,” Henri said.

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