BROME LAKE DUCKS

In 1920

The boutique in Lac-Brome

Quack quack!

by / Monday, 01 April 2019 / Published in FANZINE, OUR LOCAL PRODUCERS

NAME

Claude Trottier, President and Chief Operating Officer

 

COMPANY

Brome Lake Ducks, Canada’s oldest farm specialized in raising Pekin ducks.

 

PRODUCT

Brome Lake Ducks is a 100% Canadian company, the first in the country to specialize in raising Pekin ducks. They chose this breed, first imported into the United States in 1873, because of the unique qualities of its tender and tasty meat.

This world-renowned jewel of Quebec agriculture has become an industry leader in North America, offering a range of more than 30 processed products, in addition to the classic selection of raw products. Brome Lake ducks enjoy a diet based on grains and soy, enriched with vitamins and minerals, without antibiotics or hormones.

 

COMPANY BACKGROUND

Early in the 20th century, shortly after being brought to North America, the Pekin duck was in high demand. New farms sprang up around New York City to serve this emerging market, and a certain New Yorker named Henry Bates wanted to take advantage of the bird’s popularity. In 1912, he set up a farm on the shores of Brome Lake, with a mission to supply nothing less than all of Canada. When he died soon after that, it was his son Arthur who continued to develop the farm.

The First World War caused the farm great financial difficulty, and Arthur Bates had no choice but to sell. Senator George Green Foster (a hero of the war) and a few local residents decided to purchase the farm. They tried as best they could to get it back afloat, but to no avail. They declared bankruptcy in 1939.

This didn’t prevent Senator Foster’s son, lawyer George Buchanan Foster, from partnering with businessman Earle S. Spafford, then president of Imperial Tobacco Co. of Canada, to buy the company, in order to protect the area from industrialization and create jobs

Georges Foster’s family remained the owners for more than 70 years, until 2004. That’s when the current owners, Mario Côté, a major player in Quebec agriculture, and Joe Jurgielewicz, a veterinarian and Pekin duck farmer, acquired the farm.

Since 1991, Claude Trottier has been President and Chief Operating Officer of Brome Lake Ducks. He is the driving force behind the company’s remarkable expansion.

 

TRAINING

Brome Lake Ducks is very proud to perpetuate local know-how, and makes it a point of honour to use farming methods that respect the birds’ quality of life. For example, all ducks are raised naturally without force-feeding and can move freely in well-ventilated buildings, where they have access to fresh water at all times. They are fed neither antibiotics nor hormones. Training of all employees is entrusted to experts, among other things to ensure the birds’ well-being.

The company’s various accreditations attest to its cutting-edge expertise. These include HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) accreditation for food safety.

Isn’t that ducky?

In 2018, more than 16,000 ducks laid about 300 eggs each (do the math!). After being laid in the morning and manually collected twice a day, the eggs then spend 28 days in the hatchery, including 24 days incubating and three days hatching. They must be frequently turned over to encourage hatching. The ducklings are then taken to the farms, where they are raised in an environment in which they can move about freely and the temperature is strictly controlled. This is essential to ensure a quality product.

INITIAL SPARK

For Claude, who was a company shareholder from 1997 to 2004 and has been its CEO since 1991, the initial spark involved revitalizing Brome Lake Ducks and introducing the product to the people of Quebec. Today, 15% of production “flies” out of the country (to the U.S., Mexico, South America and Asia), 45% is sold elsewhere in Canada, and 40% remains in Quebec. A resounding success.

 

BIGGEST CHALLENGES

  • Maintaining biosecurity in all the farm’s buildings, in order to raise the birds without vaccines and antibiotics.
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  • Making duck available to all Canadians by continuously developing products that are high quality, healthy and easy to prepare.

 

NICEST SURPRISES

Quebecers’ appetite for duck and all duck products.

 

INSPIRATION

Inspired by trends in healthy eating, Claude has taken up the challenge of offering Quebec consumers a top quality product with more meat and less fat.

 

ASPIRATIONS

My goal is to sell one duck per Quebecer per year.

 

HIGHLIGHT

The fires in 2016 – three of them! – which forced us to start over nearly from scratch. We succeeded by rolling up our sleeves and never losing focus. Our processing plant in Asbestos opened in late 2016, allowing us to aim for production of up to 4,000,000 ducks per year, and we’re working hard to regain our market share across Canada and abroad.

 

ENFANTS TERRIBLES SINCE 2018


The farm in 1934
 

Website: canardsdulacbrome.com

Facebook: facebook.com/canardsdulacbrome

Instagram: instagram.com/canardsdulacbrome/

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