“Folie furieuse” for Quebec Christmas trees [PHOTOS AND VIDEO]
Plantations BL Christmas Trees is one of the biggest players in the Christmas tree industry. From last week until the beginning of December, the company will export 400,000 trees, the vast majority to the United States.
Share November 12, 2020 7:48 pm Update at 8:23 pm Share “Folie furieuse” for Quebec Christmas trees [PHOTOS AND VIDEO]
Jasmine Rondeau La Tribune Quebec's Christmas tree capital, the Eastern Townships is busy these days when nearly 2 million Quebec Christmas trees will have been sent to our neighbors to the south within a few weeks. And the year promises to be particularly prosperous for producers, who will benefit from the wave before it runs out of steam.
At one of the biggest players in the industry, Plantations BL Christmas Trees, trailer trucks have been converging since last week. Through its few loading yards, 425 trucks will transport 400,000 trees, in particular towards Texas, Florida, North Carolina and even some Caribbean islands. Indeed, even vacation destinations have not reduced their orders despite the pandemic.
In its largest loading yard, in Saint-Edwidge-de-Clifton in the Eastern Townships, we have even implemented a system to bundle up to 50 trees on a single pallet, and thus fill the trailers almost three times faster. On the trees: labels from the hardware chain Lowe's, the producer's biggest customer. Some will sell for up to US $ 65 in stores.
Émilie Turcotte-Côté, agronomist for Plantations BL Christmas Trees and vice-president of the Quebec Christmas Tree Producers Association. Photo La Tribune, Maxime Picard
The frenzy is palpable, since demand has been particularly great in recent years, explains Émilie Turcotte-Côté, agronomist for Plantations BL and vice-president of the Association of Christmas tree producers of Quebec. “Every year for the past two or three years, it's been the best year ever for producers, and not just for us. I've been in the business for ten years and when I started, it was difficult years. The growers were selling their trees at very low prices and there weren't a lot of markets, because in the United States there was an abundance. Currently, it is the opposite. There are not enough producers to meet demand, ”she said, emphasizing the importance of this tradition across the border, where no less than 98% of Quebec exports are sent.
Especially since Quebec plantations, because of the colder climate, are often of better quality and suffer less infestations, she explains.
In 2019, Quebec Christmas tree producers, who hold nearly three quarters of the Canadian market, increased their exports by 36% compared to 2018. According to Ms. Turcotte-Côté, we can certainly expect to another record year for 2020. “We have had orders reserved since January 2020 and it is certain that with the pandemic, all local production is more fashionable. With the Association, we receive a lot of requests locally, and it doesn't stop. “
Good news despite a year marked by late frost, drought and heat in November, which threatened to dry out already cut trees if they were not covered.
But the good days may not last for producers, who have to deal with long cycles for their plantations, and thus anticipate demand 10 years in advance. “We take advantage of it while it goes, because it is sure that we will see reductions in income eventually, we do not hope, but it may happen,” predicts Ms. Turcotte-Côté.