The 2022 season at Les Fruits du Poirier begins on Saturday, June 18, with a free grand opening event at the site near St-Eugène.
New to Les Fruits du Poirier for 2022 is a large retail space stocked with fruit and honey products from the farm, along with offerings from at least 15 other local food producers. Owner Robert Poirier says more products are being added. With huge diversity of fruits for local shoppers rotating throughout the year as they come into season, the fruit farm will continue operations throughout the summer and fall until October 19.
Products made from fruits grown on the farm include a variety of items containing haskap, or blue honeysuckle – a tart fruit similar to a large blueberry or grape in appearance. Haskap pies, fruit rollups, and – new this year – haskap soda, are among items being sold in the retail outlet.
“I think we have a winner,” owner Poirier says of the sweet taste of the new haskap soda, noting proudly that all of the products in the store are locally produced. “Anything you see, you’ll know where it comes from.”
A mechanical engineer by profession, Poirier opened Les Fruits du Poirier 12 years ago. Haskaps, gooseberries, raspberries, jostaberries, grapes, pears, apples, plums, Nordic kiwi, and sea buckthorn are among the so-called ‘super-fruits’ cultivated on 25 acres of the 58-acre property. Everything is grown using organic permaculture and windbreaks of oak and spruce trees separate the fields. Les Fruits du Poirier is open for pick-your-own customers and also produces fruits for the commercial market.
Poirier has four full-time employees at the farm – all from surrounding communities. They include Martine Légaré, a culinary student at Collège La Cité, who is responsible for the homemade products sold in the retail store, including the haskap pies. On a recent weekday afternoon, other employees were mowing grass between rows of fruit bushes, or getting ready to cover bushes with nets to prevent birds from stealing the merchandise!
Poirier has also given two aspiring vegetable farmers the opportunity to begin production. This year, Diego Occhione and Rami Sader are growing vegetables on Les Fruits du Poirier property. Both are recent graduates in Farm Management and Technology from the Macdonald Campus of McGill University in Sainte-Anne-de-Bellevue and have started a business called Hearty Basket Farm. Presently, their products will be sold at Les Fruits du Poirier, the farmer’s market in Pierrefonds, and possibly Vankleek Hill. Occhione said the space at Les Fruits du Poirier is allowing he and Sader to put their education into action.
“Now we’re going to put it to a test and see what works out,” he said.
In addition to the grand opening open house on June 18, Les Fruits du Poirier offers a community garden space, a picnic area, guided tours, and the opportunity to be part of the honey harvest. Fees apply for some of these activities. Reservations are required for the grand opening and other activities.
To make a reservation and for business hours, go to https://lesfruitsdupoirier.com/ or call 514-792-3599. Les Fruits du Poirier is located at 2535 Concession 3 in East Hawkesbury. To reach the farm on all paved roads, follow Cunning Road north from County Road 10.