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The Bedrock of Quebec’s Produce Trade — Montreal Rocks

“There has been continuing growth in the organic produce trend,” Perreault says. According to the Canada Organic Trade Association, the total value of the country’s organic food market has tripled since
2006, reaching $3.7 billion a year in 2012. Although only about two percent of Canadian farms are currently certified as organic, this number continues to grow. 


In addition to organics, Quebec produce businesses have also noticed a surge in demand for locally grown produce.

“The local-grown trend is very strong, and it was even bigger this year,” Perreault remarks. “Our Quebec government has launched a local food policy to make it even more popular.” She says many companies are placing the “Made in Quebec” logo on their locally grown products to attract consumers.

“More and more, Montreal consumers want locally grown product,” Plante confirms, adding that the QPGA spends $500,000 annually on its campaign, created in 2007 to promote Quebec-grown produce.

Back in 2003, the QPMA launched its “I love 5 to 10 servings a day” campaign to encourage Quebec children to eat more fruits and vegetables.  Plante says a number of organizations continue to do “promotions and advertising to sensitize consumers to buy local, and it works.”

To feed this locally grown trend, Plante says the QPGA (which already owns a public produce market in southwest Montreal) is in the process of building a second public market in southeast Montreal and has plans to build a third north of the city.

“We started two years ago with temporary ‘tent’ markets in these areas to see if customers were interested, and these markets were very, very popular,” Plante explains. “And with our other public markets, it’s full capacity every weekend. So in the future, we’re going to invest a lot of money in these kinds of markets, where consumers can buy locally grown product.” 


Because of the province’s cool climate and rather short growing season, many wholesalers are turning to greenhouses to fill the ever-increasing demand for Quebec-grown produce. Statistics Canada reports that Quebec now has the third largest greenhouse industry in Canada (after Ontario and British Columbia), with 2.6 million square meters of total greenhouse space.

“Every time there’s an investment in our market, it’s an investment in greenhouse,” Plante remarks, adding that the Canadian government has been providing more subsidies for greenhouse projects. “We see more and more variety in the greenhouse market in addition to the usual greenhouse tomatoes and lettuce.” He says some of Quebec’s major greenhouse growers also sell peppers and cucumbers—items that were not readily available five years ago.