Good year for strawberries… despite falling sales

The 2022 summer strawberry season in Quebec is practically over. The quality was generally there and so was the quantity, but even so, sales were down about 15%, according to the Quebec Strawberry and Raspberry Producers Association. Why ?

Posted at 8:00 am

Stephanie Berube

Stephanie Berube
The press

“Because we compare with last year! », specifies David Lemire, president of the association, himself a strawberry and raspberry producer in Trois-Rivières. And last year was completely atypical because, as David Lemire explains, picking strawberries and visiting the kiosk were one of the only possible outings during the pandemic.

Strawberry veteran André Cormier, whose farm is based in L’Assomption, is happy with his season. If there has been a drop, in his case it will not be significant and the price has been maintained throughout the season.

People are more tense than before. It’s normal that they spend a little less on their strawberries.

André Cormier, strawberry grower in L’Assomption

In fact, at the start of the season there was the usual confusion about the price of strawberries, but that happens every year, explains David Lemire.

“It’s certain that consumers who walk into the grocery store and see two kegs for $5 will ask questions at the kiosk when they’re paying $5.75 a liter,” he explains. But the president of the Association of Strawberry and Raspberry Producers of Quebec can’t object to grocers’ massive buying of small Quebec fruit, making them loss leaders — and therefore selling the fruit for less than they just paid the producers for it .

It’s great for promoting Quebec strawberries, says David Lemire, who believes the craze for local produce that’s grown during the pandemic will continue.

Quebec is the country’s main strawberry province.

At the side of raspberries

The summer raspberry season is also coming to an end and the balance is comparable to that of strawberries. A slow start, especially given the much higher price of raspberries than strawberries.

Jocelyn Trottier, Producer at Oka, understands that consumers need to make choices, especially in the current context where overall costs are increasing. At the start of the season, the box of 12 x 250ml containers was $45. The price then went down a bit.

The farmer points out that there is enormous pressure on producers, who also have to cope with increases in input prices. Result: The profit margin decreases for the producer.

The price of fertilizer went from $600 a ton to $1100, sometimes $1200. You can reduce the amount, but not that much.

Jocleyn Trottier, raspberry producer from Oka

David Lemire confirms this meteoric rise in costs for berry growers. “The diesel has doubled,” he says. What cost me $25,000 last year will cost me $50,000 this year. »

Despite this, growers believe in this interim report that the 2022 season was still good and that the raspberries and strawberries were of excellent quality.

Fans can now turn to the fall strains, available through mid-October.

Learn more

  • 350
    The Association of Strawberry and Raspberry Producers of Quebec (APFFQ) has 350 members.

    SOURCE: APFFQ

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