The Lussier Family: Maple Syrup Runs Through Their Veins!
The Lussiers have been maple syrup producers and farmers for five generations. They draw their strength from the land, the woods, and the remarkable bond they share. So let’s meet this dedicated family of maple enthusiasts.
Maple syrup season hasn’t yet begun, but the Lussier clan is already busy working on the 206 acres of sloping woods it owns in Saint-Damase, at the foot of Mont Rougemont. They invite us to meet them in a large building set in a landscape of snow-covered fields and wooded areas where they produce 4,300 gallons of maple syrup each year.
As you walk through the old train station, a historical monument the Lussiers have completely renovated into a gourmet store, you immediately feel like you’ve been invited to a Sunday dinner with them all. René, the father, sits at the table gently teasing France, his wife, who’s working at the large wooden counter testing a new sugar pie recipe which she intends to sell at the Jean-Talon Market, where the Lussiers have had a kiosk for the last 32 years. Also present are two of the couple’s grown children, Andrée-Anne and Alexandre who will eventually take over the business. Andrée-Anne helps her mother in the kitchen, while Alexandre sits by the wood stove cradling Adam, his adorable nine-month-old baby.
Laughter and chitchat flow. We quickly understand what makes the Lussiers, who work together every single day, such a united and harmonious family: they all share a vibrant passion for maple products. “We’re driven by our craft,” confirms France. “The kids were born in syrup. Alexandre literally fell into it when he was little!”
Was this sweet accident the reason why Alexandre decided to continue the family tradition? An aficionado of skateboarding, motocross and urban living, Alexandre was a bricklayer when he and his sister decided to join the family business. “I learned everything with my grandfather and my father,” he explains later, while showing us around the 11,000-tap maple forest he knows like the back of his hand. “It’s like my dream intertwining with theirs, which is very rewarding.”
He smiles, content with his choice, much like Andrée-Anne who gets up almost every day at four in the morning to run the market kiosk. “It’s all very natural to me,” she says. “I never get tired of it, I’m always happy to be there. There’s always a lot of action at the market, and we are a high-energy family!”
But there’s more to the tightly-knit Lussier clan. At the market, Andrée-Anne works with her cousins, aunts and friends. And the ancestral tomatoes they sell at the kiosk come from the land located just across from the sugar bush, owned by her other brother, Dominic. Family is indeed very important to the Lussiers.
A Family in Constant Motion
Yet it doesn’t mean that the Lussiers are bound to tradition. The old wooden sugar shack has been replaced by modern facilities, and the business is expected to receive its organic certification next year. France and Andrée-Anne can’t stop coming up with ideas to expand the line of maple products they sell at the market. “This year we’ll offer syrup in bourbon barrels at the boutique. We’d also like to concoct maple butter with fleur de sel or coffee. How about that?” says the dynamic Andrée-Anne.
Probably not a bad idea, considering we shortly learn that Alexandre’s maple butter – his specialty, after all he’s just as talented at transforming as producing! – is so popular that more than 10,000 jars are sold each year. “It’s simple, it’s almost all I do all summer long in order to meet the demand!”
In the end, the family energy is focused on one thing only: to develop the best possible products while following, and even anticipating, trends. Just one look at the family members’ portraits drawn on the labels of maple syrup bottles and you’ll quickly understand that family is at the heart of everything they do, from the sugar bush to the finished products. “We make everything by hand, and we wouldn’t have it any other way,” says France, taking her yummy-smelling sugar pie out of the oven. It’s time to treat ourselves to the magic of this sweet family!
Quick Questions to Andrée-Anne Lussier
Describe the market’s vibe in three words…
Oh, it’s hard to sum it up in three words. I’d say family-friendly, diverse and producers-customers oriented. As for our kiosk itself, I’d say young, dynamic and welcoming.
Your best memory of the market…
There are so many. For example, when I was a kid I remember when my dad would arrive at the market with the day’s sweet corn. It was funny to see all the Italian moms kinda running behind the truck to make sure they got some!
Your favourite food when you were a kid… Why?
I’ve always been a carnivore, I love meat. But in our family, we all really like tomatoes. That’s probably why my brother Dominic grows them today!
To get to know better the Lussier family, visit them at their year-round kiosk at the Jean-Talon Market and follow their adventures on Facebook, Instagram and even Tik Tok! Want to taste their famous maple butter without having to leave your home? It’s easy with the new online store, where you’ll find all sorts of products from the market!
Text by Sophie Ginoux, magazine Caribou Translated by Marie-Andrée Parent Photos: Daphné Caron Producers, merchants and artisans together make up the Montréal Public Markets’ extended family. For years, often for generations, they’ve been getting up early, experimenting, sometimes starting over, nurturing, harvesting and flourishing! Day after day, they stand proudly behind their stalls as if by their own dining-room table, inviting us to feast. They’re the heart and soul of the markets – their very essence – and the reason we keep coming back. The Family Portrait series aims to pay tribute to all the pillars of our public markets.
Text by Sophie Ginoux, magazine Caribou
Translated by Marie-Andrée Parent
Photos: Daphné Caron
Producers, merchants and artisans together make up the Montréal Public Markets’ extended family. For years, often for generations, they’ve been getting up early, experimenting, sometimes starting over, nurturing, harvesting and flourishing! Day after day, they stand proudly behind their stalls as if by their own dining-room table, inviting us to feast. They’re the heart and soul of the markets – their very essence – and the reason we keep coming back. The Family Portrait series aims to pay tribute to all the pillars of our public markets.This project is funded through the Programme Proximité of the ministère de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation, a program implemented under the Canadian Agricultural Partnership according to an agreement between the governments of Canada and Québec.