Pierre Dolbec of Vegpro International on Montreal industry, Quebec and beyond
Pierre Dolbec of Vegpro International, Sherrington, Quebec, about 30 minutes south of Montreal, gives an update to Northeast editor Amy Sowder of The Packer. ( Screenshot by Amy Sowder )

They say what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger.

The Montreal area's produce growers and marketers are applying that adage to their business and the industry at large more than ever.

The 2020 local growing and marketing seasons of spring and summer have been the hardest in recent memory for the area's produce leaders, but they're getting by, and learning along the way, they say.

"We had a very challenging season here in Quebec. And challenging is a little bit of an understatement because we virtually had it all," said Pierre Dolbec, vice president of sales and procurement for the commodities division of Vegpro International, based about 30 minutes south of Montreal in Sherrington, Quebec.

Besides the new coronavirus pandemic with its resulting foreign labor delays and shortages, there was the weather: spring frosts, six extreme heat waves, drought-like conditions and heavy rains.

These conditions affected the yields and volumes available on the market, but some of this lower supply means prices haven't dipped too much, Dolbec said.

The COVID-19 infection rate dropped low enough for Montreal's restaurants to re-open by June 22.

"As far as we can tell for now, fall is looking stable," he said.

Dolbec delves into the details of this issue and more in the video interview. 

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Quebec growers battle a 'season to remember'

Video: See the farms, pack houses of these Quebec produce leaders