By Rand Hoch, Travel Editor
After a hearty breakfast at the Inn at Bay Fortune, Michael and I took the 20 minute drive to a grey shingled shack at the mouth of the Souris River in northeastern Prince Edward Island, which serves as the base of operation for the Colville Bay Oyster Company. We enjoyed the famed oysters at the Inn last night, so we wanted to spend some time with owner Johnny Flynn.
For the past seventeen years, Flynn and his family have been cultivating oysters in Colville Bay’s pristine waters, where the frigid, nutrient-filled currents flush and feed their young oysters. The uniquely soft, silty bottom of the bay adds to the environment in which these oysters plump as they mature.
Johnny explained that the shallow waters of Colville Bay contributed in several ways to the uniqueness of his oysters.
Being farmed so close to the ocean’s surface gives Colville Bay oysters their distinctive teardrop-shape and jade-green shells. In addition, the bay's periwinkle population routinely cleans the oyster shells. And since the water is teeming with plankton, the growing oysters are constantly being nourished.
Once they reach maturity, which may take up to five years, Colville Bay oysters are harvested, graded and packed – all of which is done by hand, often by family members. When we stopped by, Johnny was sorting, his daugher Sarah was rinsing and his son Tom was out in the bay harvesting.
Colville Bay oysters, which are only available in Canada, are among the world's most sought after oysters.
Click here for a slide show.
Johnny spends no money on marketing; relying in great part on word of mouth advertising by chefs -- and patrons -- from the nearby Inn on Bay Fortune.
Colville Bay Oyster Co.
Ltd.83 Lower Rollo Bay Road
Souris, PEC0A 2B0