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“To eat is to incorporate a territory” – Jean Brunhes, Geographer (1869-1930)
Do you know the solidarity cooperative Le PRÉ? The Monastère’s team is proud that our Executive Chef, Christophe Perny is one of Le PRÉ’s co-founders. It was by collaborating with Cavila Dubé, owner of Jardin des Arômes, located in Pintendre, that the idea for Le PRÉ was born. Together, they decided to create a new cooperative so that more restaurateurs could access fresh produce from the Québec City region.
Le Pré, an acronym for Producteurs Restaurateurs Écoresponsables (eco-friendly restaurateurs growers), was created in the spring of 2017. Its goal is to incite local farmers and restaurateurs to work together for the benefit of all, especially consumers who enjoy fresh produce on their plates. Le PRÉ allows producers to focus more on their harvests and production—and restaurateurs to meet their needs for fresh, quality local produce.
The cooperative currently has approximately thirty organic growers or growers practicing reasoned farming; reasoned farming means that the products are not certified organic but have been made using eco-friendly production methods. The cooperative’s members all respect the Earth and give love to what they cultivate. They are all located along the outskirts of Québec City.
To date, six restaurants in Québec City benefit from Le PRÉ:
- Le Monastère des Augustines
- Chez Boulay
- Bonne Entente
- La Bête
- Laurie Raphaël
- Hilton Québec
Le PRÉ will be pursuing its development. Breeders from the Québec City region, fishermen from Gaspésie and new restaurants in Québec City will soon join the cooperative.
The benefits of the collaboration
Le PRÉ makes it easier for farmers to make themselves known to restaurants and save time. For example, Le PRÉ intervenes to reduce individual contacts between agricultural producers and each restaurant—all while decreasing the number of intermediaries. Distribution to restaurateur members is also supported by the cooperative. Producers and restaurateurs can therefore focus on their respective areas of expertise.
Eco-friendly values that make business sense
Sourcing local products is an eco-friendly approach that also makes good business sense. On the one hand, the money spent stays within the local economy: it allows companies to remain financially healthy and create jobs. On the other hand, restaurateurs who are keen to introduce local products to their customers have access to fresh produce without the intervention of intermediaries, which, in turn, reduces costs for everyone. Producers also benefit from lower marketing and delivery expenses. These savings make it possible to offer very high-quality products at a fair price for consumers.
Freshness and flavour are the stars of the show
With the Le PRÉ cooperative, we reduce the environmental impact of transportation by favouring local sourcing. A short supply system requires fewer kilometers to drive, fewer trucks on the road, fewer carbon emissions, and so on. In addition, this approach ensures more freshness, which means consumers enjoy better quality food. In some cases, it can take as little as three days between picking and when the product ends up in restaurant kitchens. Unlike food imports, the waste associated with the storage process is prevented.
Le PRÉ develops the market for organic, reasonable and local catering. “In the longer term, we also want to educate cooking teams, customers and even children, because they are the future producers, restaurateurs and consumers,” said Christophe Perny, the Monastère’s Executive Chef. The ultimate goal is to transmit love and respect for the land in order to develop eco-friendly habits, promote the quality and the richness of Québec’s terroir, and cultivate the happiness and the pride of eating products from here.