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The big move in Montreal

bp montreal

Perhaps the most immediate news for the produce industry in Montreal is the relocation of the terminal market.

The Quebec Produce Growers Association (QPGA) BB #:162459 is moving from La Place des Producteurs to 9230 Pie-IX Boulevard in Montreal.

Executive director Jocelyn St. Denis says, “The move will happen in the spring, after being postponed a little due to a construction boom in Montreal. It’s going to be year-round 24/7 and will open up new possibilities for root vegetables, winter greenhouse product, and other items. The move will also help support the marketing of produce that is 100-percent Quebec-grown for those who are looking for it.

“Fruits et Légumes Gaéton Bono, Essex Continental Distributors, and Desjardins are some of the wholesalers we’re partnering with; they’ll have imported items as well. We want to create a one-stop shop that will provide more options for selling product at the best prices possible, which is part of our mandate,” St. Denis explains. “We’ll have brand new electric, refrigeration, and docks and doors for easy access for any type of vehicle.”

Joe Lavorato, president of Fruits et Légumes Gaétan Bono Inc. BB #:126385 of Montreal, says his company will move to the QPGA’s new terminal location on April 1.

Lavorato says that business has been good, and that in many cases he and his colleagues have observed sustained FOB pricing throughout the winter months.

Transportation, he reports, “is less of an issue than it has been in the past,” and with the move to a new terminal market location, “we’re absolutely looking at better food safety and cold chain capabilities.”

In the longer term, weather events, supply issues, and currency exchange rates will continue to challenge the produce professionals in Montreal and elsewhere.

“We’re always reliant on Mother Nature, and changes with weather will impact our industry from a volatility standpoint,” notes Lovaroto.

“We also have the fluctuating currencies to manage,” he continues, which is “why it’s so helpful to have experienced team members who understand and love this industry. I am privileged to work with the team I have around me at our company.”

Douglas Purdy, president of Belmont Fruits Inc., BB #:275250, Outremont, QC, echoes the concern about the impact of weather events on produce, citing the late September 2019 climate protest which brought an estimated 500,000 people to the streets of Montreal.

“In this new era of health-conscious, ecofriendly, and social awareness demanded by most in Canada, the food industries will be forced, as a whole, to evolve. The grocery stores, wholesalers, distributors, foodservice, and all affiliated companies will have no choice but to work together and evolve their supply chain infrastructure with fresh strategies in the midst of this new reality. Let’s keep our citizens and hungry tourists happy and healthy.”

This is multi-part feature adapted from the Montreal spotlight in the January/February 2020 issue of Produce Blueprints.