Sylvain Tapp and Élaine Côté, both from Gaspésie, met in 1985 in an organic farming course in Saint-Jean-sur-Richelieu. With all that they shared in common, it was love at first sight! After their training in organic farming, they returned to the Gaspé Peninsula in 1988 to found Les Serres Bio-sols, where they grew organic tomatoes and cucumbers.
As organic farming was still relatively unknown in the 1980s, the founding couple quickly realized that they would have to help educate people on the benefits of eating organic before they could make a living from it.
Photo : Archive Serre Bio-Sol 1989
Photo : Gaspesie Gourmande 1998
The long winters and high heating costs in the Gaspé did not make it easy for them, however; the greenhouse tomato and cucumber season was just too short and expensive!
Despite everything, they wanted to take on their crazy self-imposed challenge: make a living from organic farming all year round in Gaspésie! Sylvain and Élaine therefore began simmering the idea of processing vegetables. They were already making kefir, sourdough bread and lacto-fermented cabbage at home. Following meetings with the co-owner of the Jardin des Gnomes, they directed their efforts towards a very specific product: and it was in the winter of 1994, in the basement of Douglastown home Sylvain and Élaine built, that the first Tapp Sauerkraut literally came to life!
Les Produits Tapp, founded in 1995, was one of the pioneers of lacto-fermentation in Quebec! Foods like sauerkraut and kimchi were still almost unknown in the province. With the aim of educating the population on the benefits of organic farming and lacto-fermentation, Sylvain took part in endless fairs and tasting events.
Les Produits Tapp would encounter two major obstacles in the course of their entrepreneurial journey: the marketing of a little-known product; and eventually, as they were pleased and surprised to find: the challenge of meeting demand.
They redoubled their efforts, convinced of the quality of their product, but knowing there were no guarantees.
Photo : Archives, TV Ricardo, 1996
From one cabbage field to another
Photo : Our team Fall 2020
Year after year, the land we have becomes less able to compete with the growing demand for our sauerkraut. So, already well known in the local industry and socially involved in the region, Sylvain and his family have turned to local producers to develop partnerships, both for the loan of land and for the purchase of vegetables from the Gaspe.
All this not only helps to encourage local businesses and create regional employment, but it has a province-wide stimulating effect, economically speaking of course.
In 2016, with a BAC in business administration in hand, Julien Tapp (son of founders) left Montreal and returned to the Gaspé to have a trial year in his hometown, and time to consider and understand his involvement before committing. After that year of reflection, he decided to join as co-owner of the family business as director of operations.
With his experience in operations management, he had the company expanding at an unexpected rate.
We believe here at Les Produits Tapp, that we have always tried to adapt to the times. And now we continue to evolve and innovate thanks to the complementarity of father and son.
Photo : Radio Gaspésie, prix de la relève agricole 2017
Photo : Éric Labonté MAPAQ
NOWWay, way beyond
To date, Sylvain and Élaine and the children are part of the team. Even their children’s spouses and all their offspring are in the game! All family members occupy different but complementary positions within the company. We still learn something new every day, and continue to have humility that keeps us grounded.
We are so grateful! Thank you for supporting us all these years!
12 employees seasonal and full time
4 different types of sauerkraut
26 years in business
Family owned and operated in Gaspesie
Grow and transform organic vegetables
Carried in more than 300 stores accross Québec !