Gérald and Clara were first featured in the Spring 2015 Edition of the NB Family Farmer
Gérard and Clara Hall are both experienced wild blueberry producers. They each own and operate their own farm businesses in Gloucester County. Gérard’s is called Bleuetière Nord-Est Inc., in Saint Isodore and was first incorporated in 1986. With over 1000 acres of land in wild blueberry production, the company also offers services for establishing, irrigating and harvesting other private fields. They are beginning to experiment with some additional varieties including high bush blueberries and haskap.
After working many years harvesting blueberries in the area and working with her husband, about 20 years ago Clara bought 600 acres with her sister and about 10 years ago she became the sole proprietor of Les Bleuetières Acadiennes. Clara says that she and Gérard make a good team and that they work together on many projects.
Typically, Gérard’s staff start the season by mid-May and about 20 people will continue to work the entire season until December. During the height of the harvest, Bleuetière Nord-Est Inc employs up to forty people in the area. Gérard says that since his business has been around for so long he has no trouble finding staff, some of them having worked with him for most of the past 30 years already.
When asked what he likes most about his work he responded freedom, working in nature and independence. He is semi-retired and finds it hard to transition to full retirement as every year when spring rolls around he feels rested from the winter’s break and re-invigorated to start the new season. Clara enjoys being outside most of all, being in the fields and seeing the new plants sprouting. She has had a varied career and has been dedicating herself full-time to blueberry production the past two years. She continues to do research and implement techniques that help protect nature including building shelters for pollinators so they return every year and planting wildflowers around her blueberry fields to attract and feed the bees.
Gérard and Clara have three grown children, all of whom have continued to work in agriculture. Two sons work in cranberry and high-bush blueberry production, one in NB and the other in BC. Their daughter is studying organic agriculture in Ontario. Gérard’s advice for new farmers is be willing to invest both time and money but most importantly to have a strong capacity to build partnerships. He says that the agriculture sector has huge potential but without the capacity to work together it will be too hard to compete with large companies.
Clara is a NFU member because she believes that the NFU works towards goals that are beneficial for farmers. Gérard is a member of the NFU-NB because he feels that too many organizations spend their time defending the interests and programs of government and he felt that the National Farmers Union defends farmers more and that they are not scared to speak out against government decisions.
If you are seeking consultation services for your blueberry operation call Gérard at Bleuetière du Nord-Est at (506) 358-2440.