Que. cherry producer backed for processing plant

Quebec’s first commercial-scale cherry orchard has picked up a federal loan toward building and equipping its new cherry processing plant.

Le Temps des Cerises, operating since 2000, grows morello cherries (griottes) on about 8,000 trees for processing into products such as dried cherries, jams, jellies, yogurt-covered cherries and chocolate-dipped cherries as well as juices and vinaigrettes.

The company, based at Charette, about 35 km northwest of Trois-Rivieres, launched its retail product line in stores across Quebec in late 2009 under the brand name Croque Cerise.

The “repayable financial assistance” of $211,154 comes from the tail-end of the federal Community Adjustment Fund, for which application and project completion deadlines have already passed.

The fund, delivered in Quebec by the Economic Development Agency of Canada with a $211 million budget, was meant to target economic diversification in so-called “one-industry” towns, such as those reliant on forestry or a specific sector of manufacturing.

The loan to Le Temps des Cerises was aimed at “construction of a food processing shop and acquisition of specialized equipment for the manufacture of cherry-based products,” a project already completed.

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