A harvester suitable for fresh organic cranberries

The latest crop of fresh organic cranberries from Atocas Notre-Dame, from Notre-Dame-de-Lourdes in "Center-du-Québec", was marked by the acquisition of modern machinery designed to measure.

"It is wider and goes faster than we had. This is what allows us to make fewer passages in the fields. As it is on tracks, it generates less soil compaction and causes much less damage, "said one of the directors, Olivier Pilotte. He adds that the harvest is now 30% faster. To his knowledge, this is the first machine of its kind.

The mandate was awarded last year to a local agricultural equipment design company. "We took inspiration from the machine we already had here, which is from 1975, to design a more modern and efficient one that would allow us to harvest the fruits faster without damaging them," explains Mr. Pilotte.

Room to develop the industry

In Quebec, the sale of fresh cranberries represents only 4% of the market share. For Olivier Pilotte, this justified making major investments there. “When we look at other fruit productions, we see that the market share for fresh fruit is around 10%. As we are below 5% in cranberries, we figured there was room to develop the market, especially in organic, and we decided to invest. "

The director of the Quebec Cranberry Growers Association (APCQ), Monique Thomas, agrees. “The cranberry culture is after all very young in Quebec: it is less than 30 years old. We must continue to promote the different ways of consuming fresh cranberries, which remain unknown to many people, ”she said.

New varieties

In recent years, the Atocas Notre-Dame company has invested a lot in fruit genetics in order to cultivate varieties that are specially designed for fresh consumption and that allow better conservation.

"These fruits are not necessarily high-performance in terms of yield, but they are of incredible quality," said Olivier Pilotte, who dreams of one day harvesting fruit that will keep until Easter.

An agronomist from Fruit d'Or, the company specializing in the processing of cranberries which is responsible for marketing for Atocas Notre-Dame, has also confirmed, by analyzing this year's harvest, that the methods implemented place by the team will bring us closer to this goal.

source: La Terre de chez nous

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