Shelves nearly empty, plants sold when they are barely sprouted, baskets of $ 300 : traders and producers of herbs and plants know, in the midst of a pandemic, a record year of sales.
“A lot of producers in the province have doubled their sales compared to the same period last year”, explains the deputy director of the Quebec Green, Nathalie Deschênes, a body that represents the 8,000 businesses in the horticultural sector.
The fact that people may not be able to travel to the outside, the desire of parents to do activities with their children at the time of containment, the food insecurity experienced by the population, and the beautiful weather of the past few weeks behind this season unprecedented for this sector, according to Ms. Deschênes.
“Like a plant”
The producer of vegetables and herbs Sofiane Hamouche has fully lived this influx record, often working from 4 h to 23 h. “We was not able to meet the demand, lance-t-il. It was decided to cut a few of the quantities that we sold to each client to ensure that we can provide a minimum to all the world.”
Normally, Mr. Hamouche keeps his plants at least a week or two to germinate. “But there were so many requests this year. It was made like a factory, ” he adds. We planted our products in pots, they kept it one day and the next day it was sold.”
It is all the same very satisfied with the season, who was considering having to slow down its production with the health measures related to the pandemic.
Booth was almost empty
“This season is far ahead of our best years in sales”, says also the manager of the Kiosk Mont-Royal, Aurélie Leroy.
This is the first time in 10 years that she has been selling herbs and plants hardly sprouted to customers. “We had days where the booth was nearly empty, she said. While normally, we always have a wide variety of products.”
Since the beginning of may, the opening of the kiosk, the company has sold approximately 9000 seedlings of herbs and 13 000 annual plants, numbers two times higher than usual.
The customers of the kiosk often buy in large quantities to avoid going back several times. The bills of some consumers have even climbed up to $ 300, ” explains Aurélie Leroy.
“This is really a consequence of the pandemic, said Ms. Leroy. People buy a little of everything they found. They do not come back two days later for a simple pot of mint by example.”
For the moment, the producers have managed to hold out for the strong season, which typically runs until 24 June. Kiosks and garden centers should not miss products.
“The question that arises now is if the craze is going to remain the same after the June 24, because the pace is kept since may,” says Nathalie Deschênes of the Quebec Green.