Published on Jun 29, 2022

Marthe Tremblay - Founder and Coordinator of La Mante du Carré

Valuing Local Products in all Their Aspects

Founded by Marthe Tremblay, a fourth-generation farmer, the Mante du Carré, in Danville, is a non-profit organization, where the region’s producers can sell their products and see them being valorized. The objective: to offer quality local products to the population all year-round.

A Public Market . . . and Much More!

Basically, the Mante du Carré is a market that is held every Saturday of the year. In order to provide even more space for the producers, their products are also taken on consignment and sold on the site. Over time, this has evolved into a well-stocked grocery section, where 80% of the products come from within a 150 km radius of Danville, 15% from the rest of Québec and 5% elsewhere in Canada. The only foreign products on the shelves are chocolate, tea and coffee! A restaurant and café offer has also been added to the project, with the primary aim of maximizing their products’ use by processing them onsite. “The advantages are numerous,” explains Marthe. “Limiting losses during the season when produce is plentiful, demystifying certain foods by preparing them and making them accessible, as well as encouraging greater participation by producers.”

Food Production on a Human Scale

“The mission that has guided me from the very beginning is to bring food production back down to a more human scale,” she says. “And the Eastern Townships is the perfect place to accomplish this. It’s a very accessible and central location which has been able to retain its human quality, and this is what I especially like about the region.” The strategy: to offer consumers fresh local products, sourced directly from producers, and to raise awareness about the importance of buying local. The project has made everyone become more conscious of the impact they can have through their purchases. “We also transform some of the products rather than sell them in their raw form. This allows us to give them an added value by offering them in different ways, as well as making use of expertise and knowledge that sometimes tend to be forgotten,” explains Marthe. For example, some vegetables, such as carrots, parsnips or beets, can be processed into sugar, in the form of syrup. Canning, using the ingredients in all the dishes served in the restaurant, and processing them; all these strategies serve to maximize the output of each product. We also prioritize small-scale producers, rather than large-scale industrialists.

Ensuring the Mante’s Sustainability

Marthe talks about all these projects with great passion. She wants to contribute to keeping her community alive, healthy, and to provide it with a certain degree of food autonomy. By learning and reminding people where their products come from, the effects are far-reaching.

It’s also why Marthe wishes to see her project continue over time, and to ensure its sustainability. “I’m slowly beginning to pass the torch on to my co-coordinator Christian Perreault, who has been involved in the project for several years. He’s just as motivated as I am to make sure that the mission of the Mante du Carré is carried out for a long time to come! In fact, a sign that it’s thriving, in just a few years, the Mante has gone from 2 to 32 employees!

“I’m really proud to concretely contribute and inspire people and help them rediscover our local products, by helping them learn to cook these foods and by processing them. Sometimes we can benefit in surprising ways from well-known raw products,” she concludes.

So, head out to the Mante du Carré in Danville to stock up on fresh products while making amazing new discoveries.

©Daphné Caron

Marthe’s Top Gourmet Picks

  • Maple sugar, for its much greater versatility than people might think, and for the boost it offers when cooking with maple.

  • The fruit and vegetable sugars made on site at the Mante; proving that you can do without using refined sugars by substituting them with a healthier and tasty product.

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