There is fresh and there is local... and then there is something that elevates the concept one step beyond. Audrey Lapointe (above) is all of these things and more. The young entrepreneur, based in Gatineau, is growing seasonal crops including garlic, potatoes, herbs and a variety of vegetables from her half-acre plot based at Élevage Fabie in Quyon.
This is Lapointe's first year in business and her attitude to gardening matches her determination.
"Michel (Allen, owner of Élevage Fabie) said he had been dreaming about a garden, so...!" recalled Lapointe. "He turned the land for me with the horses."
"They needed the work," added Allen with a smile. The breeder currently has 45 legendary Canadian horses on the property.
Lapointe firmly believes in the concept of the sol vivant, the living earth. "The garden is organic, no-till permaculture," she said. "I am building life in the soil; that's the dream."
According to www.kulafarm.ca, permaculture (also known as permanent agriculture) is "a philosophy and practice which uses conscious design principles to build regenerative agro-ecosystems [...] intended to mimic the diversity, stability and resilience of the local natural landscape ecology and be resource-building rather than resource-depleting. Permaculture emphasizes the harmonious integration of landscape and people, providing their food, energy, shelter, and other material and non-material needs in a sustainable way."
"It's a new movement, although it's kind of back-to-basics,' said Lapointe. "I am building the soil health and will add a cover later this year to keep the soil warm and the bugs [micro-organisms] happy. When the bugs are happy, the gardener is happy!"
For now, Lapointe is working the garden and the stall single-handedly. "I need to learn the business,' she acknowledges. She is growing a variety of produce, from basil to garlic to eggplant to squash. An heirloom tomato variety known as the The Beauce is keeping her busy right now: the fruit can weigh up to one kilogram.
"Some people run 10 kilometers a day after work," Lapointe remarked. "For me, at the end of the day, I've had my exercise."
The Jardin de Fabie is currently open to the public from 3:30 to 7 p.m. on Fridays and from 9:30 am to 2 pm, maybe later, on Saturdays.
Look for the sign! And if you can't find Lapointe, look in the garden.
Jardin de Fabie
3999 Route 148, Quyon (Beechgrove)
819 209 2243