Montreal: Out-of-season tulip supply made possible by LEDs

It’s springtime in Montreal and while tulips won’t be blossoming outdoors for another month, tulips are already blooming inside a small indoor farm, La Ferme Nomade. La Ferme Nomade is a small-scale indoor farm located in Montréal, Québec and produces tulips under specialized LED lighting. La Ferme Nomade was established in 2018 and currently produces tulips mainly for Valentine’s Day and Easter but hopes to expand its production period in the coming years. La Ferme Nomade mainly distributes its tulips to local markets and florists.

According to founder Simon Roy, tulips are well adapted to intensive production under controlled conditions. Similar to outdoor production of tulips, La Ferme Nomade orders its bulbs in the autumn then refrigerates them throughout the winter. After this cold storage period, the bulbs spend only 3-4 weeks under LED light, which are specifically designed for tulip production and are high in red and blue light output. While tulips can be produced hydroponically, La Ferme Nomade produces its tulips in a peat-based substrate, with the bulbs and substrate placed in trays on multi-level racks. 

Simon explained that as La Ferme Nomade is still in its experimental phase, the farm is producing on a relatively small scale but intends to expand its production by building a larger cold facility for bulb storage.  “In 2019, we produced 600 units then quadrupled our production to 2,400 units in 2020. Due to some technical difficulties in 2021, we produced less but are poised to produce 4,200-5,000 units in 2022,” says Simon.

According to Simon, La Ferme Nomade has the advantage of being able to deliver its tulips to clients within hours of cutting them. With cut tulips, the most important qualities are vibrant colors, strong stems and freshness. With these qualities typically degrading with time and transportation, “La Ferme Nomade produces tulips of a high-quality. Our competitors cannot deliver within the same day,” explains Simon. 

For more information:
Simon Roy, Founder 
La Ferme Nomade 

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