It’s about more than simply producing and selling fruit trees.
Our nursery is our mission, our way of life, and our passion. It involves the effort, care and great attention to detail of a diverse team of people; working every day in the aim of making a better world.
Our greatest desire throughout the adventure that is this nursery, is to see fruit trees growing all over the country. We hope that one day it might become the norm to have an apple tree, a pear tree, a plum tree, hazelnut trees, berries and other food-producing trees at home. This is already a reality in many countries; why not adopt such a worthy tradition ourselves?
The seed for our story was the curiosity of a young boy. The nursery was not born with a business plan or a loan from a bank. In fact, its existence is almost an accident. It could be said that the first spark that foretold of a future nursery occurred in 1975, when a young boy named Eric de Lorimier, then in third grade, chanced upon a picture illustrating the word ‘grafting’ in an illustrated Larousse dictionary. No more was needed to pique the interest of a future nursery-man.
During the harvest season, mainly from July to September, each mealtime ends with a period of taste-testing. Along with measuring, weighing, photographing and measuring the Brix degree, each fruit is tasted by the group. We evaluate its flavour, texture, acidity, sweetness and we mark it from 1 to 5 for overall appreciation. These tests, made over several years, allow us to evaluate the most interesting fruit, to see their regularity over the years, and to decide to offer new cultivars when some of them stand out.
Research and experimentation is at the heart of the nursery. Each year, Eric adds close to a hundred new cultivars to the collection orchard. The objective is to test these many existing cultivars, and select those that are the most cold-resistant, vigorous, and disease resistant; the easiest to maintain, the most productive and especially, the most tasty.
Ultimately, as a very long-term goal, the aim is to make hybrids of cultivars that offer exceptional characteristics, and to create new and superior cultivars, hardy and flavourful, adapted to northern Canadian winters. This is very much a long term project that will take several decades to complete, but that would allow us to take a small part in changing the face of fruit-growing in northern Canada.
It is certainly not impossible to grow flavourful and delicious fruits in the Northern Territories and northern Alberta, but few people have yet put their minds to making it a reality. Research centres tend to concentrate on more clement regions, and the areas in zones 1, 2 and 3 are not usually considered. We have decided to do our part in this challenge as we believe that each family, no matter where they live, should be able to feed themselves and to have access to trees adapted to their region.
This nursery is part of the way of life of a small community. It involves many different humans from wide-ranging backgrounds, held together by a common goal and vision: to create a better world. Our various strengths are all put to use for the sake of this shared goal, and to benefit the group as a whole. Here we would like to introduce the people that make it possible to send fruit trees all over Canada.