The warm, shallow, rich bays and estuaries of the North Cape Region provide excellent conditions for the Malpeque oyster. These oysters, like fine vineyard grapes, take on the natural tastes and variations of the region they are grown, making each oyster as unique as the bay itself. The special flavour of the Malpeque oyster was recognized as the world’s tastiest oyster at the Paris Exhibition in 1900 and has remained popular with connoisseurs ever since.
Hundreds of oyster fishers and growers call Western Prince Edward Island home with significant oyster production taking place in the Malpeque and Egmont Bays. The spring and fall seasons, lasting May until mid-July and mid-September until November prove quite busy along our shores. During this time, convoys of fishers diligently tong for oysters in a scissor-like fashion from their dory boats. Oysters are also grown in the water column in special floating bags or baskets using seed oysters collected from the wild.
After harvest, the oysters are culled, cleaned and graded before being processed. Some harvested oysters may also be returned to floating baskets making it possible to retrieve these salty delights throughout the year – even through the hard winter ice.
Oysters are an important livelihood for many Islanders. This region is the leading oyster producer in Eastern Canada and is responsible for over half of North America’s oyster consumption. Over 1,000 Islanders are involved in this fast growing industry, making it an essential Island way of life.
Whether you enjoy oysters baked, broiled, or on the half shell, the journey from tong to table is one filled with salty adventure.