In 1893, George Corriveau left his small village of Frenchville, in the US, and moved to Caron-Brook, NB, where he built a flourmill driven by a waterwheel.
In 1916, he passed the business on to his son, Alfred Corriveau. In 1949, 33 years later, his buckwheat flourmill, sawmill, woollen mill and house were destroyed by fire. He rebuilt everything and then left for a short visit to Connecticut, USA, where he met his new wife. In 1952, he decided to step back from the business and handed over the reins to his son, Luc Corriveau, who raised nearly 35 acres of buckwheat flour each year. He owned a few cows and pigs, feeding the latter on the bran. He also sold around fifty piglets, mainly in Témiscouata, Québec. His sawmill turned wood into lumber for construction. In 1972, Luc began manufacturing and repairing barrels. He fabricated about 1,500 barrels a year and shipped them to potato farmers in New Brunswick, Québec and the US.
Luc died suddenly in December 1983. Guille Corriveau, the eldest boy among his six children, was already working in the business, and he took over from his father. At that time he was raising almost 80 acres of buckwheat. He sold flour for ployes (buckwheat pancakes) without any additives, but starting in 1985 he also sold ploye mixes. These were easier for the new generation because you just had to add water. To meet the growing demand from customers, Guille grew nearly 125 acres of buckwheat and more than 300 acres of grain every year. He still had a few cows and over one hundred pigs. He also continued manufacturing and repairing barrels. At this time he was still living in Caron-Brook with his wife Sandra and his four sons, Yves, Jamie, Joey and Willie. All of the boys in turn left to continue their studies, but his second son, Jamie Corriveau, showed an interest in agriculture and became his father’s right-hand man.
So on June 1, 2012, Guille transferred his business to his son Jamie. The business was incorporated at that time. Jamie and his father worked equally hard, growing over 175 acres of buckwheat. He wanted to extend his market in New Brunswick and Québec. Today’s modern Internet technology gave Jamie an open window to the world. The business also modernized its look with the new bags of ploye mixes released in October 2012. Les Industries Corriveau still have a flourmill. They keep over 50 cows and raise calves. They are planning to use beehives to pollinate the buckwheat plants and increase production.
I am also developing another market with microbreweries: buckwheat malt. Beer is traditionally and mainly brewed from barley, but every sort of grain has been used at some point. My goal is to make a true Madawaska Brayon beer.
Buckwheat ployes are an integral part of Madawaskan culture. In the past, ployes held a place of honour on the tables of large families.
The famous Madawaska ploye is much more than a pancake – it’s the symbol of a tasty aspect of Brayon culture. My ancestors worked hard to maintain this richness over the generations. I am honoured and proud to continue what the last four generations have built. It was by looking at my grandfather Luc and my father Guille that I developed my passion for our natural wealth. And I’m already very interested in passing my knowledge on to my children…