Melon producers seem to be faced with a number of challenges this year. But despite the difficulties encountered, the family business Les Rubis de Lansac, run by Serge Mannoni and his three sons Alexandre, Christophe and Maxime, stays positive about the situation. “It was complicated early in the season until July 5th regarding yields, especially due to the cool temperatures of April which did not help the flowering. As for melon prices, they dropped considerably. We did not expect such low prices. But that’s the way it is, we must adapt to the market. We are doing alright, given the situation, and our clients are as satisfied as always with the quality of our melons,” explains Maxime.
“We favor quality over performance”
“We chose varieties that are more qualitative than productive, because for us, quality is what matters most. Regardless of the price of the product, it is important for us to always offer the best quality to our clients, because in the end, it is what clients remember. This year, clients are happy because they find good products at good prices, which allows us to retain our clientele.”
Always for the sake of quality, all the melons of Les Rubis de Lansac are planted each year in new ground. “Our production is not organic, because we think it’s a shame not to be able to tend to a sick plant, when the case presents itself. But we are still inspired by some organic farming practices, in order to respect the plant as much as possible. Producing in new ground, for example, allows for less treatment of the melons, which are less prone to diseases. The consumer does not trust conventional products anymore because there have been abuses. Here, we only treat when it is necessary. And our clients know that.”
“We only produce what we need”
“We have no overproduction problem, simply because we only produce what we need. It is not because we have a good season one year that we will plant double the next. We do not gamble, we always produce according to our clients’ demand.”
The family business recently acquired a new packaging line. “This way, we are never congested. Naturally, we work faster, but we can also offer quality until the very end. Because, although 90% of the work is done in the field, the finishing touch is done through packaging. It is for example important for us to sell the day’s production, so we almost never have to store anything.”
The melons of Les Rubis de Lansac are available from May until September, with a production of 15 hectares in greenhouses which comes before the production of 85 hectares in open fields. “In order to stretch the season, we offer greenhouse melons as early as May. We are young and ambitious, so my brothers and I prefer not to produce Spanish melons but to offer a product that is 100% French. The Spanish melon is much more competitive in terms of price than the French melon, but we manage to sell our melons because of their quality and despite the prejudices about greenhouse production,” explains Maxime.
Currently at the peak of their production, the family is expecting a good harvest.