East Cape Oyster Company posting quick growth out of Prince Edward Island base

East Cape Oyster Company Operations Manager Jes Trainor and Genera Manager Phil Enserink.
East Cape Oyster Company Operations Manager Jes Trainor and Genera Manager Phil Enserink | Photo by Cliff White/SeafoodSource
2 Min

Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island, Canada-based East Cape Oyster Company produced four million oysters in 2023.

Founded in 2016, East Cape Oysters began shipping product five years ago. It now has three brands – Sand Dune Select Oysters, Northern Belle Select Oysters, and Gowanbrae Select Oysters – and has a full packing and shipping operation that reaches customers across North America.

“Every oyster takes on qualities of the bay or river that it's grown in. Our Sand Dunes are all grown on the bottom of the Souris River, just free and loose, and they develop a unique bright green shell … and a sweet, vegetal flavor. A lot of chefs and oyster bars seem to love it because it kind of breaks up the colors on the bar, and it's a really good-quality oyster as well,” East Cape Operations Manager Jes Trainor told SeafoodSource at the 2024 Seafood Expo North America in Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.A. on 10 March. “Then in the same river, we grow the Gowanbrae, as these are grown in cages and have just a completely different flavor – briny and salty – even though they’re both raised in the same river due to the different growing method and the different nutrients available at different levels in the water column.” 

Oyster farming is growing quickly out of converted farms from Prince Edward Island’s dominant mussel-growing sector.

“PEI has recognition with the name, just because of the other seafood produced there, but we’re trying to do things to stand out and just be consistent,” Trainor said. “We always ship out a high-quality product, and we do everything we can to keep our good name associated with the brands.”

The Northern Belles are grown in North Lake on PEI’s northeast tip,and are East Cape Oyster Company’s newest brand – just a few years old.

East Cape Oyster Company General Manager Phil Enserink said the company has room to grow in PEI, with some additional farming space available in its existing permits and the ability to purchase oysters from other growers on the island.

Enserink said the company is “growing quickly every year” and is sticking with oysters for now but could potentially expand into clams and scallops, which are also abundant in the waters of Prince Edward Island.

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