Friday, August 10, 2012

IFTA 2012 Quebec - Day 1, Vergers Lussier and Stevenson

Last stops on Day 1 were the orchards of Gérard Lussier in Rockburn and Bill Stevenson in Franklin. At Lussiers, run by Gérard and Paul (pictured below with their friend Win Cowgill), we were warmly greeted by much of the family (including the women!) who were all clearly proud of their orchards! Also, at Lussiers, Nathalie Tanguay (left, with the Lussiers), the orchard's private pest management advisor, explained some of their pest management challenges. The Lussiers hopped on the Honeycrisp bandwagon 8 years ago, and are continuously planting and growing high-quality Honeycrisp to meet demand despite it's difficult horticultural requirements. Pictured far below is a 2012 planting of Honeycrisp with the characteristic telephone pole mega-support system often seen in Quebec. The Lussiers have also had to install deer fence to keep their valuable new plantings protected from unwanted 'pruning!'
Gérard and Paul Lussier with friend Win Cowgill (click here for large image)
Honeycrisp planted in 2012 at Lussiers (click here for large image)

Very last stop for IFTA 2012 Quebec Day 1 was Stevenson Orchards. Bill, recently retired IFTA Director and his Fred -- well, there is so much good to say about them! Including the fact that Bill was a principle instigator and oh-so helped organize this Tour. We enjoyed an explanation of their maple syrup making (they have 4,500 taps); their premium stem-clipped Honeycrisp growing; both retail and wholesale selling; UV-sanitized fresh cider making; and their membership in the SweeTango club. One thing you could definitely say about Stevenson Orchards, all was top-notch. Although not mentioned yet, the larger Quebec orchards such as Stevenson are starting to use platforms in their dwarf orchards to increase labor efficiency. Here we saw a brand new Orsi platform being demonstrated in a SweeTango orchard.

Orsi orchard platform in SweeTango block at Stevenson Orchards (click here for large image)

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