Extreme weather has hindered produce production on Île Jésus so far this season.
In the wake of one of the coldest winters in a century, Mother Nature hit Laval’s agribusiness industry—an oft-forgotten but nonetheless significant contributor to the city’s economy—with a one-two punch: a frigid April, followed by the warmest May on record.
The fickle climate has affected small and large producers alike.
“The weather has been rough,” acknowledged Productions Margiric marketing director Mario Cloutier. “Early growers like romaine and lettuce are all done. Right now we’ve moved on to broccoli, cauliflower, celery and field cucumbers.”
“It has been extremely rough,” he affirmed. “Vegetables grow through the night and with warm temperatures of 10-12 degrees, they didn’t grow as rapidly as they were supposed to. That has really affected volume.”
“Demand is outstripping what I can supply,” Cloutier said. “It’s a nightmare for the chain stores and it’s a nightmare for me as well.”
He added that it remains to be seen how this month’s weather will affect the harvest of July produce like green peppers and cantaloupes.
“We’re hoping that summer temperatures will arrive soon.”
Margiric (www.margiric.com), owned by the Gibouleau family, is a big player in Quebec’s agribusiness industry. It is the biggest owner-operated farm in Canada, and supplies fresh produce to the big supermarket chains like Loblaws, Métro, IGA, Provigo and Sauvé, including stores in Laval.
“All of them,” Cloutier affirmed. “We’re the largest family-owned vegetable grower in the country.”
The non-profit organization Saveurs de Laval provides a handy guide in English on its website www.saveursdelaval.com to places on Île Jésus where you can buy—or pick for yourself—locally grown produce and flowers.