It’s the time of the year when the warm weather is finally upon us and friends and family descend from all parts of the country. We take to our backyards, beaches and parks across the province.
In our house, family and friends visiting throughout the summer are the norm, and after the inevitable trip to Peggy’s Cove comes the request for a lobster feed, a shellfish beach boil or a trip to witness Nova Scotia’s “real” seafood sources in action.
For Nova Scotia residents who’ve been around for a while, we know it’s not very easy to get direct access to the best local seafood sources. While terrestrial ecosystem have grown by leaps and bounds, to the point where we can provide a backgrounder for the meats and vegetables that make their way to our barbecues, it’s never been that easy for our seafood. But it doesn’t have to be that way! With a little effort and insider know-how, it’s easy to pair up your road trips with stops to check out our magnificent Nova Scotia seafood sources in action.
If you’re heading to Taylor Head Provincial Park, 100 Wild Islands or Clam Harbour Beach, then a must stop is Aqua Prime Mussel Ranch (14108 Hwy 7, Ship Harbour), one of the last sources of Nova Scotia mussels. Depending on availability, they’ll also have soft shell clams, Wolfe Islands oysters and Sober Island oysters.
Stop in to the Mabou Farmers’ Market (186 Mabou Harbour Rd, Mabou) on Sundays to meet oyster farmer Jeff Lee. He’ll even shuck you one of his oysters. Further north in Neil’s Harbour is Victoria Co-op Fisheries (426 New Haven Rd), an amazing source of lobster and snow crab.
On the North Shore of Nova Scotia, near Tatamagouche, you’ll find Bay Enterprises’ Malagash and Tatamagouche Bay naturally grown oysters and clams (2642 Malagash Rd, Malagash). The Purdy family is home to the oldest oyster lease in Canada. A hospitable family-run operation, this is where you can stop in to purchase shellfish direct from the farm. You can “tong your own oysters” and dig your own quahogs on site, too!
Until mid-August, see one of the last commercial weirs in action, The Bramber Weir, run by father and daughter Darren and Erica Porter. If you’re lucky, you’ll see some sturgeon wrestling, too! The daily catch could be anything from herring, to mackerel, to shad, to flounder, to squid. Get in touch with them on their Facebook page.
At the tip of the province, about 20 minutes from Yarmouth, you’ll find Eel Lake Oyster Farm (Nova Scotia Trunk 3, Ste. Anne du Ruisseau), home of the Ruisseau oyster. The farm is located on a tidal lake. Call ahead for tours.
The last stop before Halifax should be Ryer Lobsters in Indian Harbour (8494 Peggy’s Cove Road). You can buy lobsters to take home or have them cooked on site. Ask for a bib!
And if you find yourself in Halifax, Dartmouth or Bedford this summer, you can get home-delivered barbecue seafood packages from Afishionado to wow your out–of-town guests on Fridays and Saturdays. Order online at afishionado.ca, or email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.
Happy road trippin’!