Monday, August 20, 2012

IFTA 2012 Quebec - Day 2 morning

July 27, 2012 - day 2 of the IFTA 2012 Quebec Study Tour began in the Vergers (Orchard) Denis Charbonneau in Mont-Saint-Gregoire, well, with breakfast in their crepe restaurant! (Choice of fruit crepes or a farmers breakfast -- eggs and meat.) Vergers DC is a large (125 acres) orchard-sugarbush-pumpkin patch that sells mostly direct market with close to 200,000 visitors per year. They do pick-your-own off 50,000 apple trees and have a variety of agri-toursim activities including a mini-farm, playground, and haunted house. They also have a Cidrerie, and despite the early hour, we had to sample some of their fine hard cider. Above left is a picture of the orchard and Mont-Saint Gregoire.

Moving on to two orchards with one stop in Saint-Paul-d'Abbotsford, we visited Thomson Orchards and Verger R.C. Guertin. First, at Guertin we looked at young plantings of Gala with fertigation producing high early yields. With 50 acres of these new plantings, Guertin orchard has invested in a mechanical harvester to improve profitability. I should also mention Verger Guertin includes a growing winery, Les Artisans du Terroir, for which they grow their own grapes.

2nd leaf Gala with high yield at Verger R.C. Guertin. Click here for full size image.
Mechanical harvester at Verger R.C. Guertin.  Click here for full size image.
At Thomson Orchards, the discussion focused on Dwarf vs. Semi-Dwarf? Dean Thomson believes with new chemical tools such as Apogee, ReTain, and SmartFresh, medium-density plantings of traditional varieties such as Cortland are a better bet. And they are highly productive -- for 2012, Thomson Orchards expects to produce close to 300,000 bushels of apples off 380 acres or orchard in nine different sites. Owner Dean Thomson is also the mayor of nearby Saint-Paul-d'Abbotsford, and says modernization of communication by cell phone is the only way he can handle the logistics of it all!

Owner Dean Thomson explains his philosophy,  re. Dwarf vs. Semi-dwarf. Click here for full size image.
IFTA President Mo Tougas and Phyllis enjoy the Quebec scenery at Verger R.C.Guertin. Click here for full size image.

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