Born in St-Hyacinthe, Quebec, Thomas Lavoie-Vigeant is the co-owner of Sucrerie Petit, a small maple grove in Saint-Mathieu-de-Beloeil, with his wife Marjorie, since July of 2019. In addition to producing maple products, they also have a farm on site, where they raise Galloway cows and Mangalica porks, to offer a range of pasture-raised products to their customers. All of it is sold at their store, in the maple grove.
Thomas discovered agriculture through his studies in sales consulting. At that time, one of his teachers referred him to a company in the industry and that is where he began his agricultural journey. It was through his clients, who passed on valuable knowledge, that he developed his passion for agriculture, and says he wants to be able to make a living from it one day. Unfortunately, not coming from a farming family, he had to learn everything “on the job”.
For the past 6 years, Thomas has been working for Granby Silo, a company in the Ange-Gardien community which sells ag equipment in the dairy field, including Zaxe products that he proudly sells. This is where his love for agriculture really took off !he says he has learned a lot in the past years through his work, and he even had the chance to work on a dairy farm, which only emphasized his desire to own his own farm. He also had the opportunity to get involved with the next generation of farmers. He was therefore surrounded by young farmers for some time and was able to learn more about the industry, but also the challenges and issues they face every day.
As mentioned above, Thomas is proud to represent and sell Zaxe products as part of his work at Granby Silo. Indeed, he characterizes our products as innovative and efficient, and that is what his customers are looking for ! Producers want to equip their buildings with state-of-the-art products in order to be more efficient, in order to optimize their production and income. It is therefore not surprising that Thomas offers Zaxe products to his clients. He says we judge businesses by the image they project.
For example, a company stands out from others thanks to its new and modern offices, its dynamic team, etc. And it shows in the products and services it offers. Nowadays, with all the new technologies of information and means of communication that we have access to, businesses can no longer rely solely on work of mouth to get the word out. It is through investments in innovation, development and, of course, marketing that a company makes a name for itself. According to Thomas, “a company that invests in these areas is a company that is willing to invest in its clients and its products as well. And this is what makes Zaxe an innovative company, which we want to encourage and whose products we want to make known to those around us.”
With a few years of experience in the ag industry, Thomas finally made the decision to have his own farm. But which one to choose? He chose to have a maple grove, and it was in the summer of 2019 that he and Marjorie took over at Sucrerie Petit, after working for almost a year with the previous owners. Why maple syrup? Mainly for its origin. In fact, Quebec is the only producers of maple products in the world (along with Vermont), and that is what guided Thomas the most in his choice. For him, a maple grove is also a synonym for family and tradition. Being a new father himself, he wanted to be able to pass his knowledge on to the next generation when the time came. Thomas finds the family side that attracted him so much in maple production on a daily basis, since he often receives help from his family for the management of the store and the products. It is a very rustic production, in which a lot of things are still made by hand. This was one of his main criteria: to produce something with his hands from A to Z, and to sell a product that resembles him!
Despite this, Thomas did not abandon his main job as a sales representative. Indeed, he divides his time between Granby Silo and Sucrerie Petit. Thomas succeeds brilliantly in reconciling his two passions of sales and agriculture, thanks to his expertise and extensive knowledge of his products. Having an established clientele that trusts him greatly helps him to better allocate his time, and to manage his schedule according to his needs. But it’s not always easy! In addition to the store, Thomas and Marjorie have to take care of their animals and their land, but also of all the administrative side of the business. That’s not to mention their daytime jobs. Their days are busy, and that’s also why their store isn’t open every day. But as Thomas says so well, “When you have the passion, it’s worth it!”
And passion is not what he lacks! At the maple grove, Thomas is fortunate to be able to participate in all stages of the process, from the raw product to the sale of the finished product, on a smaller scale. He also wants to reconnect people to agriculture, inform them and show them that it is humans who are behind the products they buy at grocery stores. He also strongly advocates mutual aid between producers. In fact, several products from other farms are available at his store, such as condiments, meats, and sauces. According to him, the feeling of community is much more important than mass productivity, and it’s this feeling that Thomas wants to bring back to society.
We invite you to visit their website and online store to discover their range of maple products and the meats they breed and produce. And if you want the full experience, head over to Sucrerie Petit every first Saturday of the month, to tour the farm and buy their products directly from the store. Also take the opportunity to speak with Thomas and Marjorie, and learn more about their journey. You won’t be disappointed, we guarantee it!
Shop local, from the farm to your plate !