HOLLIE WOOD OYSTERS
Farmers: Greg and Hollie Wood
Place: Baynes Sound, Denman Island British Columbia
- Hollie Wood: their signature oyster, x-small, Beach Grown
- Satori: Petite, Beach Grown
- Glacier: Large, Tray Grown
- Zen: Petite, Tray Grown
*Hollie and Greg Wood started their oyster business in the late 90's in the Comox Valley on Vancouver Island. As 3rd generation island inhabitants, they grew up surrounded by oyster farming,and of course also enjoying the fruits of their labour. When they started up on their own, Greg and Hollie saw oyster farming as an opportunity for growth, and a way for them to participate in the protection and preservation of the Baynes Sound waters that surround Denman Island. As Greg succinctly describes, "I saw the shellfish industry way to reverse the damage caused by over fishing, and part of the solution to a more sustainable way to make a living in my community. The more oysters we grow, the cleaner Baynes Sound becomes!" Oysters can filter large amounts of water, so simply by having the presence of shellfish in the Baynes Sound ecosystem, their natural filtration system is an important building block for the health of a thriving marine environment.
In order to provide their customers with variety, they produce both beach grown and tray grown oysters. For one, the taste profiles of each are very different. The beach grown oyster has a briny taste, whereas the raft grown oysters have a sweeter flavour profile. They also cannot be shipped the same, due to the delicate nature of the raft grown shell, they can only be shipped shorter distances whereas the hardened shell of the beach grown oyster can be shipped long distances. Their customer base runs from right at home in BC all the way to Eastern Canadian provinces and beyond to California .
Not only do Greg and Hollie care about the well being of the marine ecosystem, they are also committed to the growth of the local economy. By providing local jobs at the farm site, it in turn encourages other local businesses to grow such as rope manufacturing, aluminum welding, marine engine sales, and of course the restaurant industry. Their work for the community is greatly appreciated as recently, Greg and Hollie were awarded the 2014 Agricultural/Aquacultural Business of the Year for the Comox Valley in B.C. In hopes of preserving the area for future generations and to celebrate the local bounty of the area they hold Ocean of Plenty Gala dinners. Events like these help build awareness with neighbouring areas and encourage community minded growth. They hope one day to begin car sharing and bicycle rental programs, solar and other eco projects to help build an even more sustainable economy. This will give the local community more control over their own energy usage and food production and sustainability.