Lucie Gemain, Maïsadour:
“Our challenge: getting a diversity of producers to work together in a common dynamic”
Maïsadour, a cooperative group based in southwestern France that specializes in food processing, currently gathers around 30 asparagus growers for a surface area of 310 hectares and an annual harvest of 1,500 tons.
These significant figures are made possible thanks to a large surface area: “Our producers are located from the extreme south of the Landes to the Médoc. A large territorial area that allows us to smooth out our production and to valorize each zone. In the extreme south, we benefit from the natural precocity of asparagus, which is less prevalent in the Atlantic region thanks to the gentle climate provided by the ocean. Finally, the Médoc arrives shortly afterward, allowing us to extend the season,” reports Lucie Gemain, head of fresh vegetables and new crops at Maïsadour.
Aerial view – EARL Candate 2021
Individual monitoring to achieve a common goal
However, the group’s absolute particularity is that it brings together very heterogeneous producers with production areas ranging from 1 to 45 hectares. “Our objective is to get small and specialized producers to work together and be part of a common dynamic. The challenge is to get everyone to share the same objectives and to find ways to mobilize them all towards a common goal. This requires an almost individual follow-up and means that we must constantly adapt to the needs of each structure. We want to give everyone the tools to grow asparagus, which is a very demanding crop. To do so, we share the means of production as much as possible. For example, all the asparagus produced by our producers are sent unprocessed from the farm to our packaging station in Herm where it is washed, sorted, and packaged. This way, the totality of the asparagus produced by our members is sorted by our station, with a very detailed attention to the quality since our asparagus is labeled PGI Asperges des sables des Landes”. Once sorted, washed, and packaged, all the asparagus is sold by the Priméale Group.
Incentives that allow asparagus growers to concentrate on their production
This organization presents several advantages for the producers. On the one hand, the shared production resources allow them to start growing asparagus without having to invest in specific production tools that might be too large at first. Then, with Priméale as a marketing partner, they also get a guarantee regarding the sale of their asparagus. Choosing to work with us also means that they can focus on production without having to worry about marketing or equipment, and they can also benefit from the PGI. Finally, we make sure to be up to date in terms of innovation to always remain at the cutting edge of technology.
Currently, the group is stabilizing its production at 1500 tons but is still looking for new producers to maintain its tonnage. As for the season, it has just started: “The first asparagus are here, with their typical sweetness. We are optimistic because the rains of the last few days should help to launch the season properly. We only hope that this year, the consumer will be there all the way”.
For more information: