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New flower producer association propagates awareness

If you’re looking for locally grown flowers, Au Beau Pré in Saint-Anicet is one of the best-known spots. With tons of different varieties of flowers, tubers, and their own original dahlias, Au Beau Pré has a diverse range of products and knowledge all about flower production.

Earlier this year, Au Beau Pré was part of the launch of the APFCQ (Association des productrices et producteurs de fleurs coupées du Québec). Owner Sarah Beaupré shares that “We came together officially this year because the idea of being a flower-cutting business is relatively new in Quebec. There are about 150, but each year more emerge.”

The hope of this organization is to raise awareness around what it means to be a flower producer and help strengthen the community. “We had the goal to professionalize the domain and to make it feel more serious. And to unite us, so people get to know us and better understand the job,” she says.

There are a lot of misconceptions about being a flower producer. Quenneville says, “A lot of people think that growing flowers is wearing long linen dresses and sun hats … [but] there’s a lot to do, and a lot of qualifications.” She’s heard many times how people fantasize about having a flower farm in their retirement, but she stresses that it is much more work than just tending to a garden.

Quenneville hopes that this organization can be a jumping-off point for people to become more educated. Ideally, it’ll also help flower producers be a part of conversations surrounding agriculture. She mentions that there has been a shift towards buying locally when it comes to fruits and vegetables, but that shift hasn’t really been made when it comes to flowers. “In grocery stores and at the florist, it’s almost all imported. There are very few local flowers.”

Moving forward, Quenneville says, “I hope florists in the region start to buy our flowers, but right now that’s not the case. Ninety-five per cent of our flowers go to Montreal.” Ideally, the shift will start with consumer demand, which will show florists the need for sourcing locally. “For florists to buy from us, their clients have to want local flowers, so it’s really reliant on word of mouth.”

At Au Beau Pré, Quenneville is often working on creating new dahlia varieties. It can be a long process because experiments involve analyzing colour, aesthetic, and scent, and then the tuber must be isolated and grow the same way the following year. Though they have no new flowers this year, she is hopeful that next year there will be: “I have one in mind that will be very beautiful if it works out.”

To learn more about the association, you can visit apfcq.ca.

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