Sober Island Oysters can be found in coves along the Eastern shore of Sober Island, Nova Scotia. Collected from the wild by the Mi’kmaq and settlers alike, cultivated or “farmed” production of oysters in Canada began in the early 1800’s. The aboriginal Mi’kmaq made extensive historical use of oysters in addition to other shell and fin-fish in the region.
Sober Island Oysters are from the Atlantic Oyster species known as Crassostrea Virginica. The oysters have a smooth outer shell with a beautiful green tinge, is small to medium in size, and has a deep cup. Upon opening, the oyster has the pronounced aroma of fresh urchin mixed with some tidal overtones. In the mouth, the oyster gives off a big flavour punch, with high levels of salinity and pleasing fattiness. The lingering aftertaste is that of a soft ripened cheese such as a brie or a camembert.
The island itself is roughly 650 acres, and up until 1993 there was a large enclosed body of stagnant fresh water on the island called the Sober Island Pond. During a great storm in the following year, a hole was blown into the pond about 200 feet wide which flooded with ocean water. Soon afterward the residents began to notice marine life starting to grow within the pond. First mussels began to appear, and then the oysters. Given the isolated nature of this favourable oyster growing region in Nova Scotia, its unique marine environment must be protected from anything that might compromise the water conditions. This includes non-native diseases, parasites, ocean acidification, silting, pollution and climate change.