The temperature’s rising, fruit & vegetable stands are appearing roadside, and local fresh produce is piling up in the open-air markets — it’s summer time! And to celebrate most everyone’s favourite season, a team member from the Cascades Tissue Group in Candiac came up with an “appetizing” idea: Use the local plant as a drop-off point for fresh, organic vegetables! So now, as part of Equiterre’s “community supported agriculture (CSA)’’ initiative, Candiac’s Cascades location will be a place where employees and the public can pick up baskets of locally-grown produce on a weekly basis.
From farm to family
Equiterre has been coordinating the CSA network since 1995, to support ecological growers and provide access to locally-grown produce, direct from farm to family. This allows a community to support its regional farmers, and encourages increased consumption of “green” food. The concept is simple: Consumers partner with local producers and make a commitment to regular shipments of food. The choice of vegetables (or meat, depending on the farm) is up to the farmer… the best of the bounty then becomes a creative challenge for chefs at home, as each week they receive conventional favourites and more exotic choices, such as rapini, swiss chard, pumpkin, and white turnip! No worries — Equiterre has an on-line site with recipes shared by users, who can help even a beginner cook find ways to make delicious meals with just about anything in their basket of goodies.
Your farmer at the office!
This idea is tried and true, having been around for 15 years. However, the idea of having it available through local businesses is a new twist. Cascades is one of the early adopters of this new distribution model, along with RONA, Standard Life, Ubisoft and Metro Grocers.
In Candiac, the Jardins Bio-Santé farm (which has been growing and harvesting organic vegetables for 12 years) will be supplying produce to registered users beginning in July, 2012. If you live in the Vallée-du-Haut-Saint-Laurent area, it’s not too late to sign up for the 2012 summer season! It’s our pleasure to offer you weekly access to your basket of fresh vegetables, direct from our location at 75 Marie-Victorin Boulevard, in Candiac, Quebec.
“This initiative fits in really well with our commitment to sustainable development and to environmentally-friendly efforts, which has been a part of Cascades’ corporate philosophy since the very beginning. We’re proud to support this enterprising farm, just 50 kilometres away from the plant, and to encourage our employees to feast well on fresh food!” noted Martin Gravel, Human Resources Manager for the Candiac divison. Equiterre’s Project Coordinator,
Isaballe Joncas, agrees wholeheartedly: “The weekly baskets are a gastronomic adventure in discovering and sharing, as well as a passport to eating simply yet well.”
How it works
- Basket prices vary according to family size (1, 2 or 4 people) and according to the pricing policies of each farm. On average, a two-person basket costs $15-25 per week.
- The season is from 12-22 weeks, so your commitment to the farm, as a registered user, is about $340 per year. Note that some farms even offer winter produce baskets; usually root vegetables and other foods with a longer shelf life.
- In Quebec alone, this initiative means that 10,000 baskets per week are now distributed and brought home to 32,000 happy consumers. It’s the largest of its kind in the world!
A first location… that inspires others
Last but not least, the Candiac announcement is just another baby step in our big step to always being more environmentally-responsible as a company. Other Cascades locations also plan to jump in the project and might become fresh-food outlets as well! Stay posted to learn more…
Did you already know about Equiterre’s CSA program? Are you interested in being part of it? Or maybe you’ve already been involved, and have a story to share? We’d love to hear from you! In the meantime, enjoy the summer, and eat well.