Interview with Louis-Marie, president and founder of Les Cultures de chez nous farm 5265 29b1e101-a7e9-4e05-acdc-d0af8acbea0e article Serge Serge Sur le terrain /media/pmfhqhk2/louis-marie-jutras-producteur-agricole-poireaux-president-les-cultures-de-chez-nous-cote-affiche-ferme.jpg Découvertes 9/15/2023 11:03:22 a.m. Fall

Les Cultures de chez nous is a family affair! I had the chance to chat with my father, Louis-Marie Jutras, the founder of Les Cultures de chez nous farm in Sainte-Brigitte-des-Saults. In this article, I present my interview with the man who saw me grow up and who, with his family, brought fabulous leeks to Quebec thanks to their determination, passion and good humour!

The beginnings of the Cultures de chez nous farm

Serge: How did your adventure in agriculture begin?

Louis-Marie: I started farming on weekends in 1978. In those days, after the priest, the doctor and the notary, the farmer was highly regarded, so I got caught up in the game!


Serge: How did your passion for farming begin, and what do you love most?

Louis-Marie: I wanted to work outdoors, and my father-in-law was a dairy farmer. He had the farm next door to the one we bought in 1981. He told me so much about it that he influenced me to start farming. I particularly like innovation, the different seasons and seeing the fields evolve.


Serge: What motivated you to start a vegetable farm?

Louis-Marie: I was motivated to start the farm by my instinct. I wanted to build something that was my own.

Aerial view of Les Cultures de chez nous farm and leek fieldsAerial view of Les Cultures de chez nous farm and leek fields
Photo credit: Louis-Martin Houle


Fruits and vegetables grown at Les Cultures de chez nous

Serge: At Les Cultures de chez nous, have you consistently grown only leeks and asparagus?

Louis-Marie: No, we haven’t. We started by growing asparagus, garlic, French shallots, Brussels sprouts, strawberries and raspberries. We also processed garlic, making jars of minced garlic in oil to keep us busy even on rainy days when we couldn’t harvest.


Serge: How did you come up with the idea of growing leeks?

Louis-Marie: The idea of growing leeks came to me entirely by chance. I had a planter who could grow leeks when I stopped growing garlic!


Serge: Why did you choose to grow leeks and asparagus?

Louis-Marie: We chose to grow leeks and asparagus to provide income for a more extended period and to be able to guarantee our employees year-round work. We have good employees, and I’ve always been concerned about how to keep them. So, we have several crops at different times of the year.

We start with asparagus from mid-May to the end of June, then pick your strawberries, raspberries and blueberries in our fields and sell them at our fruit and vegetable stand during the summer, and finally, leeks, which we start harvesting in August and keep in our refrigerators until the end of February. We’re very proud to produce leeks from Quebec and to be able to offer them to consumers for as long as possible. I often joke that the first leek we plant, or the eight millionth we plant, there’s as much love in that gesture. We also grow a few varieties of squash.

Leek shoots are ready to be planted by hand in the fields.Leek shoots are ready to be planted by hand in the fields.


Daily life on a vegetable farm

Serge: What does it take to become a farmer, and what advice would you give to someone who wants to start farming?

Louis-Marie: To become a farmer, you need patience, but you also need to be adaptable, imaginative, eager to learn and acquire knowledge, and a good administrator. You have to know how to adapt and start slowly but surely.


Serge: What does a typical day on the farm look like for you?

Louis-Marie: I’m up at 5 o’clock! I plan the day, meet the employees and talk to them. Anything can happen in a day, so you have to be able to adapt!


Serge: What do you like best about everyday life on the farm?

Louis-Marie: I like change, the possibility of doing several different tasks in a day, and innovation.


Serge: What is your proudest accomplishment?

Louis-Marie: My most incredible pride is to have started with nothing and to see where we are today.


Serge: How did you come up with making bags of sliced, washed and ready-to-cook leeks?

Louis-Marie: We wanted to give a second life to decommissioned leeks. For leeks, as for other fruits and vegetables, there are precise sizes, shapes, and specifications to be respected to sell them in grocery stores. So, we researched and tested to make sliced leeks less straight or too small for grocery stores but just as tasty. This has enabled us to reduce waste and make maximum use of the leeks we harvest.

250g bag of sliced leeks made directly at Les Cultures de chez nous farm.250g bag of sliced leeks made directly at Les Cultures de chez nous farm.


Les Cultures de chez nous, more than just a family farm

Serge: How do you see the future of Les Cultures de chez nous?

Louis-Marie: With the next generation, I see excellent continuity!


Serge: What’s it like working on the farm with your children?

Louis-Marie: It’s not that easy! They all have their own characters, so you have to adjust, but it’s worth it and helps ensure the business's continuity. Family is essential to us, and it’s a value we live by among ourselves and all our employees.

Antoine, Louis-Marie, Valérie and Alexis Jutras, agricultural producers at Les Cultures de chez nousAntoine, Louis-Marie, Valérie and Alexis Jutras, agricultural producers at Les Cultures de chez nous
Photo credit: Élodie Kergal, Le Studio K


Serge: What is the strength of Les Cultures de chez nous?

Louis-Marie: Our flexibility, product quality, and available quantities. We’re also a big family with our employees. We work hard, and then we have fun! I like to say that you must remain human in size and how you do things. Just because we plant many leeks doesn’t mean we’ll lose our human touch with all our employees.


Serge: What’s your favourite recipe?

Louis-Marie: My favourite recipe is canapés with leek butter, to make them more popular than garlic bread! I swear, it’s a winner!

Canapés au beurre de poireaux, Louis-Marie Jutras' favourite recipe!Canapés au beurre de poireaux, Louis-Marie Jutras' favourite recipe!


What I learned from my interview with Louis-Marie

Louis-Marie is a guy passionate about his job as an agricultural producer. He’s a man full of ideas, for whom family (his immediate family and his employees) is essential. I could spend hours listening to his anecdotes and stories; he’s so fascinating. If he hadn’t started growing leeks in 1981, I certainly wouldn’t be here telling his story. I owe him quite a debt 😉. 

To learn more about Les Cultures de chez nous and this great big family, I invite you to listen to the Parcours inc. episode on Les Cultures de chez nous (in French) filmed on the farm by NousTV Drummondville (in French). You can also get more anecdotes and stories from Louis-Marie and his daughter Valérie during their appearance on Saveurs et plaisirs d’ici, filmed at the farm a few years ago.

Until we meet again, enjoy the many leek recipes on Crazy Leeks! Like me, you’re likely to think of Louis-Marie when you cook his delicious Quebec leeks 😊.