After it became clear last month that Stéphane Roy, the president of the Quebec tomato growing company Savoura, and his teenage son Justin did not survive a helicopter crash, many tributes were paid to the entrepreneur and his son.
Stéphane Roy founded Nouvelles Serres in 1995 and later on acquired the Serres Sagami, Saguenay, in 2000. In the field of greenhouse, organic and soft fruit production the 26 hectare company became one of the forerunners of the industry.
After leaving from a fishing trip in a helicopter on July 10th, Stéphane and Justin were missing for two weeks, until the wreckage of the helicopter and their bodies were found on July 25th.
"Stéphane Roy died as he lived: doing what he loved, and with his son Justin who was his greatest pride", Agro Quebec writes on their website. "By leading the company to new projects all the time, Stephane made a success of Sagami, Savoura and Savoura Bio and placed Québec on the front line of the North-American greenhouse production, especially when it comes to the organic industry."
"I've had the privilege to meet Stéphane Roy - a visionary who has been building his company since 1995 and has been passionate about his company, eventually resulting in a greenhouse facility with over 400 employees", François Legault, premier of Quebec, stated, offering his condolences to the family. "Quebec loses a true entrepreneur."
"Stéphane Roy has always been an entrepreneur at heart. His legacy to horticulture is that he saw things differently and always tried to find solutions and possibilities while no one else saw them", Sylvain Charlebois, professor with Dalhousie University writes.
"After all, the greenhouse industry is a hard one. It is capital- and energy intensive and you need a constant eye on your production and management costs, as both can be extremely high. But from the beginning, he felt controlled agriculture was the future. Given climate change and the food safety challenges in the organic industry, he was absolutely right."
"Across the country, the investments in greenhouse production are rising, especially in Ontario. For many, one of the most important sources of inspiration is the Sagami Serres."
"In 2017, Stéphane Roy refrained from saying no to cannabis production and reminded us that we had to reduce our dependence on fruits and vegetables from outside. Our vegetables are 17% more expensive now than a year ago. This message remains relevant in the light of our new Food Guide and our collective desire to follow a healthy diet."
"Without Stéphane Roy, the company is orphaned. Without knowing it, every time we bought their Savoura tomatoes, we were spoiled by his expertise and his passion for tomato growing. It is a privilege to enjoy these throughout the year."
"Merci, Monsieur Tomate."