The Bernard SME employs 35 people and is almost one hundred years old. It is located in Gomiécourt, 30 minutes from the Arras train station, in the Hauts-de-France region on the vast plains of the Artois.
After 60 years of cultivating its land and producing Potatoes, this family company changed its business model in the 1990s. As a plant breeder, it moved upstream of the supply chain and developed its varieties. Osiris, Bernadette, Corne de Gatte, Blanche, Jeannette, Rose de France, Ulysse, Vitabella ... are all propagated here: to date, the Bernard company offers no less than 15 exclusive varieties, resulting from multi-year selection programs. They all had to prove themselves, as much for their taste characteristics, as for their resistance to disease and yield before being entered in the catalog or finding their way into fields and vegetable gardens. To develop its plant breeding capabilities, the company has recently invested in a highly innovative in-house laboratory dedicated to in vitro cultivation – a unique initiative for a private company of this size – which will enable it to shorten the time to obtain new varieties adapted to tomorrow’s world (climate change, anti-pesticide legislation, etc.).
For the production of seed potatoes, the company relies on its vocation as a producer, and as a logistics operator for their sale.
The company cultivates its 265 ha – 30 are organic – and complements its production capacity with local farming partners under contract to sell their crops to the company.
Its logistics and packaging facilities are organized for retail sales in trays of 60 or 100 seed potatoes, and they supply to garden centers in 3 kg bags. A few figures illustrate the scale of its activity:
- 8,000 metric tons sold per year
- 1.2 million packages
- A modern packaging center covering 3,000 m2 with a capacity of 3,000 metric tons/year
- A refrigerated area of 7,000 m2
Today, the SA Bernard brand holds a good 20% share of the French grower market.