The Quebec Produce Growers Association held its end-of-season celebration in Montreal Nov. 16, where more than 500 guests donned some of their finest threads for the ritzy evening.
QPGA General Manager André Plante and QPGA's eatquebec.com spokesperson Isabelle Huot were co-hosts of the evening's program.
Ms. Huot has a doctorate in public health and nutrition and is passionate about sharing the benefits of eating Quebec-grown fruits and vegetables with consumers.
Elected for the 8th consecutive year, QPGA President Mario Isabelle addressed the audience: "We have to continue to be passionate about promoting consumption of our products."
Mr. Isabelle also discussed the possible merger of QPGA with the Vegetable Growers Association of Quebec. "We will be conducting consultations in the coming weeks on moving forward. As one voice, we will be stronger and better protect our joint best interests." The potential merger of the associations would have to be passed at the FPMQ annual general meeting in February and a special meeting of QPGA be called.
Stéphane Billette, member for Huntingdon, Quebec Liberal Party, Official Opposition critic for agriculture and fisheries was a guest of honor. "AJMQ is essential to the industry and I am honored to be here this evening," he said, speaking to the importance of the agricultural industry in Quebec. Mr. Billette also touched on the importance of stability, partnerships and innovation moving forward.
"The banquet is an opportunity - especially after a tough season - to see each other and rejoice before the holidays," said Mr. Plante. "We also take the opportunity of the gathering to honor an individual or company that has shown great participation and worked to advance the industry."
The Moisson d'or (Gold Harvest) Award for 2012 was bestowed upon Les Cultures de Chez-Nous, and Louis-Marie Jutras was present to accept on behalf the company.
"We're truly honored," he said. "What really matters to me is that despite our growth, we remain a very human company. It's all about the people."
The evening included a five-course meal featuring Quebec produce by Executive Chef Eric Robidoux. Comedian Sugar Sammy (Sam Khullar) had the crowd in stitches with his quick wit and humor. He also stayed to pose for pictures and sign autographs for a long line-up of fans after his set. The evening concluded with a lively band and a crowded dance floor.