by Morri Mostow
Early in June, Les Petits Fruits Léger opened to sell its first 3,500 bottles of alcoholic cider. This new business is a dream come true for former Montrealers Jeannie Layral and husband Claude Léger, who bought the 43-acre fruit farm in 1977. This 40-something couple, with two children, always wanted to return to the land. Were thinking ahead to our retirement, explains Layral. This project will help us make the transition from our jobs in Montreal. Layral is a psychologist; Léger, a federal civil servant.
Set amidst livestock farms, theirs is one of the few fruit farms in the Bromont area. They have 10 acres of apples, three of raspberries, and last year planted 3,000 grape vines for red wine. The cider operation is housed in a large building, which also contains a boutique and conference room. Groups can tour the operation and taste its ciders apple, apple-raspberry and apple-black current (cassis) priced from $7.50 to $12 a bottle. The boutique also sells fresh-baked fruit pies, fruit jams and jellies, and various produits du terroir, such as goat cheese, fresh lamb and other foods produced on farms in Brome-Mississquoi.
Les Petits Fruits Léger is at 331 Chemin Brome in Fulford. Open Wednesday to Sunday, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Telephone (450) 534-2753.
Last Thursday, a ribbon-cutting ceremony launched a new maple-products boutique, in Bromont, called Désirables (a play on the words desirable and érable, or maple, in French). This boutique cum café and art gallery, in owner Andrée Gadourys restored 1840s home, offers high-quality maple syrup, candy, fudge, jelly, caramel, cones, toffee and more. The syrup comes from a maple producer in nearby Shefford. The café sells a variety of fresh, homemade pies (including her specialty, maple pie), as well as baked goods like banana bread and croissants. Inspired by her three years in Eastern Europe, Gadourys art boutique showcases paintings, glassware and tablecloths, handmade in Romania and the Czech Republic.
Désirables is at 659 Shefford in downtown Bromont. Open Tuesday to Sunday. Telephone (450) 534-4785
Julie Gariépy, 29, enjoyed skiing and horseback riding in the Townships so much that she gave up her Montreal job as a systems analyst/consultant and opened Milimagémo, her own multimedia design company in Cowansville.
Since opening on June 1, just by word of mouth, Gariépy has landed more than half a dozen projects, including a corporate Web site for a division of DomcoTarkett and a multi-platform CD for the Agence forestière de Montérégie.
Gariépy offers a wide range of interactive computer services to small and medium-size businesses, including the conversion of documents to Acrobat Reader for easier access, Web site design and Java coding. In partnership with Quebec City-based Internet service provider clic.net, she intends to offer e-commerce-enabled Web sites in the near future.
Milimagémo is at 117 Québec Street in Cowansville. Telephone (450) 263-7915.
Knowltons Lakeview Inn scored several coups this week. It hired a new manager and sommelier, Jean Christophe Réquéro, to oversee the award-winning inns food and beverage operations and refine its wine list. Réquéro spent more than 25 years in the food industry, in France, Monaco, Guadeloupe, Monte Carlo and England. For the past three years, he worked at another prestigious Quebec inn. Hes a great addition to our team, says owner Ron Blair. We are constantly striving for excellence at the Lakeview and Jean Christophe will help take us to an even higher level.
On Tuesday, Patrick Couillard, a contributor to Midi Matin (a program on Videotrons Channel 9 in Montreal), spent the day enjoying the inns amenities, as part of his Escapade segment, which explores inns located within a two-hour drive of Montreal. This is Escapades first visit to the Knowlton area. Videotron subscribers in Montreal can catch this segment on July 4, between 9 and 11 a.m. In July, Don McGowan and his Travel Travel crew will stay at the Lakeview while filming a piece on the Townships for this popular CTV travel show.
The Lakeview is also on the cover of the Summer 2001 edition of North American Country Inns, a Canadian travel magazine about B&Bs, inns and resorts. A four-page feature with lavish photographs, most of them taken by Ron Blair himself, extols the many attractions of his first-class establishment. In August, the Lakeview will again be featured in Gourmet magazine, which mentioned the Lakeviews exceptional dining in its December 2000 issue.
Auberge Lakeview Inn is at 50 Victoria in Knowlton. Telephone (450) 243-6183.
© Morri Mostow & Associates, 2001.