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QPMA hosts 31st Oyster Party

The 31st QPMA Oyster Party took place Nov. 4 at Le Rizz Receptions in St-Léonard. The warm and festive atmosphere was an ideal place for visitors to meet customers old and new, and socialize with friends and suppliers in the QPMA, which is at the heart of Quebec’s fruit and vegetable industry.

Roughly 530 guests were welcomed by QPMA Board President Roland Lafont of Verger Saint-Paul, convention chair René Saint-Louis of Metro, Oyster Party chair Patrice Alain of Metro as well as Sophie Perreault, the executive director of the association. Guests enjoyed their fill of three varieties of oysters, as well as an impressive variety of entrées featured in a gorgeous, gargantuan and typically Italian buffet. Games in the casino added to the fun, with fresh opportunities for contacts in friendly competition around the tables.

Earlier in the day, the QPMA held a special general meeting where Carole St-Pierre of the accounting firm Bourassa Boyer presented the financial results to the membership. The special general meeting also adopted two resolutions intended to ensure that all sectors be duly represented by members with seats on the board of directors.

Stephan Schmekel of Fresh Del Monte Produce/Canada, past QPMA board president (2015-16), thanked the executive committee for their major involvement during this past year in particular, under the ever-watchful eyes of interim directors Marie Gosselin and Robert Beauregard, while the chief executive officer was on leave of absence.

“We made sure to invest money conscientiously for the maximum concrete benefit to our member activities in business — that is, by pursuing our mission to promote and defend their best interests,” he said. Building the future “is done on the basis of sound, responsible and disciplined management of our finances.”

Perreault also took the opportunity at the meeting to present an activities report and the numerous projects ongoing or completed by the association.

The QPMA board of directors also took the opportunity to welcome new QPMA members present at the event: Cartel Marketing, Energy Fresh Express, Forino Produce Inc., Gendron Communication, Marcon, Orangeline Farms and Potager Mont-Rouge.

Ghislain Perron was the man behind the oyster party tradition, which started with 50 or 60 participants in a tavern in Anjou and later relocated to its present-day venue at Le Rizz Receptions. While the original party was strictly for serious oyster lovers, its format has changed over the years to accommodate more participants, with a gourmet buffet and an open bar.

Peter Fogarty of Metro Fogarty took over organization of the event in 1995. He passed the torch to Pat Calabretta in 2005, who handed over responsibilities to Schmekel in 2010. In 2014 and 2015, Chris Sarantis of Canadawide took over. Patrice Alain Metro had the job of ensuring its continued success in 2016.