Published on Aug 10, 2022

Olivier Simard – Co-Owner of the Farm Au Pré Bleu

For the past 15 years, brothers Olivier and Nicolas Simard have been the proud owners of the Au Pré Bleu farm, located in Ascot Corner. Well known among self-picking fruits and vegetables enthusiasts, you can pick strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and even sweet corn throughout the summer.

A Family Affair

Au Pré Bleu farm is really all about family. “Initially, it was our sister who owned the farm and we all worked hard together for a few years.” When their sister wanted to sell the farm in 2007, it was only natural for Olivier and Nicolas to buy it from her. The family involvement does not stop there, in fact, each member of the clan is involved in his or her own way. Some of Olivier and Nicolas’s children work in the field, others work at the farm’s sales stand. Their father guides the customers to the field and their spouses are also very present. “Nicolas’s wife prepares the bakery and pastry products that are sold at the stand,” explains Olivier. Make sure you stop by and stock up on provisions. The smell of freshly baked bread and pastries will surely convince you!

Expertise Developed Over Time and Through Hard Work

For more than 15 years, the Simard brothers have learned to grow berries and are proud of the quality of their fields and the products they offer their customers. “Our strawberries are much more beautiful than they were 15 years ago, we have better control over how we grow them,” says Olivier. He explains to us their respective roles, which highlight their strengths and interests. Olivier tells us that Nicolas is responsible for planning and preparing the fields. “Basically, he’s the one who makes sure that our next season’s fruit production will be great! As for me, I’m more in charge of the day-to-day management of our dozen or so employees, the administrative aspect of the business and of making sure that our customers enjoy their experience,” he adds.

A Favourite Family Summer Activity

At the Au Pré Bleu farm, families are welcome, and everything is designed to offer them a memorable experience. “I want the self-picking activity to be considered as a time spent with the family, enjoying nature and being outside together,” says Olivier. And above all, he doesn’t want people to feel supervised; “Here, we eat as many strawberries as we want in the fields! A child who leaves the strawberry field with a mouthful of fruit is, for me, the sign of a successful outing!”

Strawberry picking season generally lasts from approximately June 24 to mid-July, followed by raspberries until early August. Blueberries are picked from mid-July to the end of August. And if you want to try a new activity and pick your own sweet corn, you can come and harvest your own at the same time as the blueberries in August. To find out what fruit is available for self-picking everyday day, consult the farm’s Facebook page.

Pre-picked fruit baskets are sold at the stand you’ll find at the farm entrance. You’ll also find garlic, garlic flowers and rhubarb grown on site, as well as delicious baked goods.

So, how about heading out to Ascot Corner with the family to fill up on delicious fresh fruit?

Olivier’s Top Gourmet Picks

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