Ferme Marineau: 100 years of family farming.
In 2021, Ferme Marineau celebrated a century of farming know-how. Since the early 1920s, there have been five generations of farmers on the Laval farm. Today, the third (Roger Marineau), fourth (Louis and Martin Marineau) and fifth (Matis, Roxanne, Alexis, Justin and Audrey Marineau) generations of the company are still hard at work to keep the adventure alive. We farm 175 acres of land, the equivalent of 100 football fields, operate 18,000 square feet of greenhouses, and are a popular agri-tourism destination for thousands of visitors. With great pride and respect, we draw inspiration from our past to shape our future and to innovate.
The legacy of Odile Jolicoeur – First generation
The impressive history of Ferme Marineau began in the ’20s. Joseph Marineau married Odile Jolicoeur, a woman with an astute business sense. She grew tobacco and daisies on leased land. With profits from her sales at the Saint-Jean-Baptiste market in Montréal, the family was able to acquire the land for future generations.
The early harvests of Josephat Marineau and his big family – Second generation
Josephat Marineau and Irène Jolicoeur had 14 children. Being ambitious and competitive, Josephat Marineau was quick to adopt the hotbed growing method as a way to stand out. This innovative technique enabled him to harvest early lettuces just in time for Easter and plant the other vegetables well before the summer season arrived. Early vegetable production became so prominent that even Radio-Canada (the French service of the CBC) would announce the name of the farmer who had the first lettuce crop every year; Josephat was often the winner.
Hotbed cultivation involves building a wood frame and spreading a mixture of soil and horse manure on the bottom to plant the seedlings. This frame is then covered with removable glass frames that allow light to pass through and create a greenhouse effect to warm the soil. If needed, the frames are opened or closed to control temperature and humidity.
In addition to field cultivation, 1,500 hotbeds were used by the Marineau family until 1990. It is interesting to note that at the turn of the ’40s, Île Jésus (whose municipalities later merged to become Laval) had 20,000 hotbeds throughout its territory. A hotbed is installed in our display area to show visitors what it looks like.
A first fruit and vegetable stand and strawberries for Roger Marineau – Third generation
When their father passed away, Réal, Josephat Jr. (Bouboule) and Roger Marineau joined forces to found Marineau et Frères. The first fruit and vegetable stand was set up. Roger’s wife, Louise Saint-Pierre, ran this farmer’s market with passion. In 1989, Roger and Louise went out on their own to start a U-pick strawberry business and annual flower production in greenhouses.
To this day, Roger is still involved in the work on the farm, especially during corn planting season, and Louise is never far away if extra help is needed. They have also passed on their love of the land to their sons Louis and Martin (fourth generation).
A return to their roots for Martin and Louis Marineau – Fourth generation
Although Louis and Martin Marineau initially chose to grow and sell dried flowers, they quickly went back to market gardening to create Ferme Marineau as it is known today, with its stands on Dagenais and Samson boulevards. With a constant desire to grow and reinvent themselves, they come up with new ideas every year, much to the delight of their customers. In addition to being a go-to place to buy fruits and vegetables and homemade products and U-pick produce, Ferme Marineau now offers a true agri-tourism experience in an urban setting.
A dedicated future generation – Fifth generation
Martin and Louis Marineau’s children, Roxanne, Audrey, Matis, Justin and Alexis are already very involved on the farm, and their contribution is essential to the expansion of the business. In 2021, the two eldest, Roxanne and Matis Marineau, set up the artisan ice cream stand and the U-pick pumpkin patch, both of which are a huge success. They are also actively involved in the U-pick sunflower project and other initiatives. The many strengths of these young people are also an undeniable asset in the summer, in the fields, at the stands or at the computer.