On August 17th and 18th 2010, more than a hundred growers from different Canadian provinces and American states participated to the NASGA Summer Tour 2010. This event, organised by NASGA (North American Strawberry Growers Association), consisted in two days of visits at the heart of the strawberry industry in the Montreal region.

The first day, the two buses left very early in the morning, filled with 110 participants, to discover the fascinating functioning of Montreal’s Central Market where transactions between farmers and wholesalers take place all night long until the early morning. They were then brought to the region of the Laurentides to visit the farm of Quebec’s largest strawberry producer, Fraisebec, where the assisted to strawberry harvesting, plug plant planting and to the presentation of Plastitech high tunnels. At noon, a contry-style lunch was offered by the DM Sauriol Farm during which were heard presentations by APFFQ (Quebec Strawberry and Raspberry Growers Association) representatives. The participants also visited the kiosk, which offered a generous variety of fruits and vegetables and heard the presentation of Michel Sauriol, owner of the place. The day ended with a stop at the Jean-Talon Market in Montreal where each one could take the opportunity to buy local products, which in fact, probably had been brought from the Central Market visited earlier that same morning...

The following day, the Montérégie region was visited starting with a delicious breakfast at the Denis Charbonneau Orchard where the participants were lucky – by pure coincidence – to see a hot-air balloon land right before their eyes on the orchard’s lands. Then, they visited the A.Massé nursery where the owner gave a presentation about the North American strawberry industry and presented different machinery used in bare-root plant nurseries. The participants then went back on the road towards Novafruit where they could meet with exhibitors and know their products (Dubois Agrinovation, Plant Prod, Hortau, Distributions Robert Legault (Berger), Récoltech). They also took advantage of the presence of the Vergers de la Colline to savour their ciders and drinks. Simon Parent gave a guided tour of his nursery and then invited the participants to walk towards the Chalet de l’Erable for a typical sugarhouse lunch with traditional music and dance... in the middle of August! The next stop took place at the Fraisière RouG.I. where it was possible to learn more about strawberry marketing through a varied supply of food products, and to see a demonstration of a mechanical destoloner proposed by Récoltech. To end this tour, the participants visited the strawberry museum and had a tasting of alcoholic strawberry drinks at Fraises Louis Hébert.

Here are some pictures of these pleasant moments... (Remember you need to be connected to Facebook to see these pictures!)

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