Today, we invite you to explore the ins and outs of our fresh vegetable packing activity with a visit to the Bro Dreger packing station. Located near Paimpol in Northern Brittany’s Côtes-d’Armor department, Bro Dreger is one of the four packing stations of Les Maraîchers d’Armor. This vegetable cooperative was founded in 1974 and is affiliated with the Prince de Bretagne group. The Bro Dreger station grades and packs around 50,000 tonnes of vegetables each year. What is its history? Which vegetables does it handle? What quality processes do its employees follow? Let’s head to Bro Dreger!
Bro Dreger: the fresh vegetable packing station for the Trégor area
The Bro Dreger station, which opened in November 2000, was created by merging smaller stations and their associated cooperatives. It covers the region stretching from Trébeurden in the west to Tréguier in the east. Today, the station employs 26 staff members and processes an average of 50,000 tonnes of vegetables every year, or around 100,000 pallets. More than 170 conventional and organic producers deliver their harvests to this packing station.
Tomatoes and vegetables under cover (lamb’s lettuce, cucumbers, courgettes, strawberries, etc.) represent a large part of the activity. Nevertheless, the producers of the Trégor also work with alliums, as well as open field vegetables.
“We’ve always produced the historical vegetables: cauliflower, artichoke, coconut and potato, but there has been a great diversification of varieties, particularly in tomatoes.”
Xavier Thépaut, cabbage and artichoke market manager, Les Maraîchers d’Armor
IFS Food certification: quality control from field to truck
Like all Prince de Bretagne growers, Trégor vegetable producers place a high priority on ensuring the quality control of their vegetables. This takes place year-round in the field according to specifications established for each type of production. Packing station product managers support producers by providing advice with an emphasis on education. Once they have been delivered to the station, vegetables undergo an additional grading process before being packed. For optimal traceability, producers’ names are included on each package. The digitisation of the processes makes it possible to precisely track each package and pallet. In addition, the Bro Dreger station was the second in the Prince de Bretagne group to obtain IFS Food certification.
Quality of vegetables and quality of service
Every day, vegetable growers inform the station of the quantity of vegetables they think they will harvest the next day. Knowledge of the area and its growers enables product managers to adjust these forecasts in order to guarantee a fair price for producers and flawless quality for consumers while remaining competitive. When they arrive at the station, the vegetables are graded and then packed according to buyers’ specifications. Pallets are made up on demand: 30/25, 20/20 or 20/24, etc. Most of the vegetables are shipped the day they are harvested in order to guarantee their freshness.
Now, in May, the cauliflower season is nearing its end, and the strawberry and tomato seasons are just beginning. The next package of fresh vegetables you receive may have passed through the Bro Dreger station, whose name and processes you’re now familiar with!