L’amour est dans le pré is a Québécois reality dating show specifically created for farmers. The show has been running for over 10 seasons, with the current season set to air starting on January 26. This time around, you may recognize the Valley’s own Bobby Tolhurst as one of five farmers looking for love.
Tolhurst has been aware of the show for the past few years. One of his sisters is a fan and she pushed him to apply. “She didn’t force me to sign up or anything, but she strongly encouraged me,” he jokes. He had previously only considered the possibility of taking part but decided that this year the timing felt right.
He applied last April. Now, after a long wait, Tolhurst is excited to see what the show is going to look like on screen. Most of his segments were filmed on his farm, and he got to highlight some of the scenery the Valley has to offer. “We started with speed dating; that’s the first episode. They kind of tell you to find somewhere local that’s a nice spot, so we did it at Livingstone Brewery because it’s a really good-looking spot.” He is curious to see how these local spots will look after being edited and on screen.
Having cameras on him at all times came with an adjustment period for Tolhurst. “It throws you off for sure at first; you’re not really sure what you’re supposed to do … You have to always have your mic on, and the sound person can always hear you!” Eventually, though, he got used to this weird world of TV and was grateful for the production team that was present throughout filming. “I was pretty lucky with the crew that came to the farm. The production team was really, really easy to get along with.”
Dating shows seem to be all the rage right now, with shows like Love is Blind and Too Hot to Handle being some of Netflix’s most popular series. Tolhurst explains that the difference between these shows and L’amour est dans le pré lies in people’s motivation to apply. “In general, the farmers are just regular people. We’re genuinely just looking to find love.” He adds, “Oftentimes you wonder about the other shows and whether or not they’re genuine about it all the time.” A lot of dating shows are used for people to gain a social media following and status as an influencer but Tolhurst jokes, “I don’t have much of an Instagram and I don’t think I’m going to get a bigger one after this.”
Of course, being on the show brings its share of nerves. “You always kind of worry about how you’re going to come off. It’s a self-image thing, I guess. You hope that people find you interesting and want to cheer you on,” explains Tolhurst. He was also the show’s first anglophone contestant which added to his concern, in particular around his accent and “what people would think of me.” However, he says that everyone involved was kind and didn’t make him feel out of place. He laughs and says, “I’m already mediocre at dating, and now I’m doing it on camera in my second language; that was kind of tricky, but a nice challenge to have.”
The show airs on Thursdays on Noovo. Tolhurst recommends the experience to anyone who is even a little curious as to what it would be like to participate in a show like this. “I think any farmers who have seen the show and want to sign up for it really should. It really is the experience of a lifetime.”