Recognition of Agneau de Charlevoix as a Protected Geographical Indication (PGI) was granted on March 21, 2009 by the Ministre de l’Agriculture, des Pêcheries et de l’Alimentation du Québec in legal notice 1967 published in the Gazette officielle du Québec, volume 141, no. 11.
Agriculture, including livestock raising and fodder production, has left its mark on the landscape of the Charlevoix region over several centuries. The geographic isolation brought about by the region’s rugged natural features, its valleys, and the substantial widening of the St. Lawrence in this area of Québec have all contributed to a distinctive regional agriculture. The Agneau de Charlevoix PGI is in keeping with this regional character, favouring local resources. The history of local agriculture and the constraints on intensifying production in this region demonstrate the importance of developing an activity to spotlight this specific geographic area. Lamb production helps maintain the landscape through the cultivation of fodder crops. All this explains why sheep farming has been an important activity in Charlevoix for many decades.
Key certification requirements
Meat certified as Agneau de Charlevoix must come from lambs born in Charlevoix and raised there in a sheep barn until the end of their fattening. Their staple diet – barley and oats produced in the delimited geographic area plus fodder mainly grown by the farmers themselves – is adapted to regional characteristics. The development of distinctive Charlevoix lamb meat has led to corn being excluded from the animals’ feed in favour of regional resources. These regional production choices have resulted in an animal of small size with lean, tender, pinkish or pale red meat. Agneau de Charlevoix is marketed either as unfrozen carcasses, or as processed, fresh or frozen cuts.
The specifications manual describes the connection between the product and the area of production and sets out the characteristics required to ensure that the product is genuine Agneau de Charlevoix.
Geographical area of the designation
Production of Agneau de Charlevoix is confined to the lowlands and intermediate plain, the sole area of Charlevoix in which agriculture is practicable. This geographical production area is delimited to the south by the St. Lawrence river, to the east by the Saguenay river, to the north by the high plains of forests and mountains, and to the west by the western border of Charlevoix. It contains the municipalities of the Charlevoix RCM (Petite-Rivière-Saint-François, Baie-Saint-Paul, Saint-Urbain, Les Éboulements, Saint-Hilarion, L’Isle-aux-Coudres) and those of the Charlevoix-Est RCM (Saint-Irénée, La Malbaie, Notre-Dame-des-Monts, Saint-Aimé-des-Lacs, Saint-Siméon, Clermont and Baie-Sainte-Catherine).