Who’s Yer Father?
In case you’re as nosy as any good Islander, here’s a brief story of who we are and where we came from.
FROM THE WATERS OF SOURIS, PRINCE EDWARD ISLAND,
into the hearts and bellies of oyster fans around the world, East Cape Oyster Company carries on the legacy of the original founder of the Sand Dune Selects brand, Tommy Joe MacDonald.
Tommy’s journey began in 1975 when he was granted a number of leases in waterways around the eastern end of PEI. He would sell some of them off over the years, but he held a particular spot near and dear to his heart: the leases near his family home in Souris.
The nutrient-rich water in this area has always produced a very high quality oyster, which Tommy branded as “Sand Dune Selects.” It wasn’t long before these oysters began making quiet waves in the oyster industry. They even became wildly popular at a well-known restaurant in Toronto, Rodney’s Oyster House, which still carries Sand Dune Selects to this day.
“It doesn’t get any better. That, my friend, is a perfect oyster.” -- the infamous Rodney Clark [pull out quote]
Tommy spent 30 years as a teacher and vice principal at Souris Consolidated School, all the while experimenting with growing oysters using different methods on his leases. It was a hobby that turned into a passion, and with that passion grew a vision which we now strive to fulfill.
Long story short, in 2016, we had the honour of taking over his leases and thus, East Cape Oyster Company was born.
And now, whether it’s a quick phone call for a tip or a hilarious story from “back in the day,” Tommy helps us out on a daily basis with his vast self-taught oyster knowledge. He knows the leases like the back of his hand, and we’ve been very fortunate to have him along for the ride as we learn the ropes and share his passion for growing amazing oysters.
There’s no denying that it’s a ton of work, but we have a tight knit crew that makes for good vibes on the water each day. When we get to see those oysters being shipped out after years of cultivating and watching them grow, it makes it all worthwhile. And we wouldn’t have it any other way.