Our Prince Edward Island (PEI) rope grown blue mussels (Mytilus edulis) are some of the cleanest, most consistently sized mussels available anywhere. Each and every day, fresh product is harvested from the briny, phytoplankton rich waters surrounding PEI. The mussels are grown out in “socks” (woven nylon netting which initially holds the mussels together and later serves as an anchor for the byssal threads), and these socks hang off of a backline (long-line) in the water column, allowing the mussels to continuously feed in the ceaseless current.
During the grow out process, the lines are checked periodically, giving our harvesters an opportunity to check on the grow-out progress and if necessary thin out the mussels. When this attention to detail is combined with the inherent benefits of the rope-grow-out method the resulting mussels possess a level of consistency which is second to none. Upon harvest, the backline is hooked to a winch, lifted out of the water, and the socks are hauled on board a ship (when ice isn’t covering the harvest grounds…In the winter months, trucks are driven out to harvest), removed from the long line, loaded into large totes, and brought ashore. The totes are then loaded onto a flatbed trailer, and immediately brought to our processing facility www.confederationcove.com, literally within minutes of leaving the ocean.
Once the mussels have been unloaded from the truck and brought into the facility, the first order of business is to strip them from the sock. It warrants noting that all of the machinery involved in processing at our PEI facility was custom manufactured especially for us, and has been implemented to maximize efficiency. After the mussels have been removed from the sock, they go through a pre-wash, which is essentially an initial “once-over” rinse. The mussels are then gently tumbled, effectively removing any biofouling which may have accumulated on the shells during the grow-out process.
After this initial cleansing, the mussels are put into totes, and transferred to our live holding system. Here the mussels are flushed with a constant flow of chilled seawater. This cleansing and hydrating of the mussels effectively flushes any sand and or grit both internally and externally, while simultaneously strengthening the mussels in preparation for the next step of their journey. After the mussels are removed from the holding tanks, they go through a de-clumping process. The mussels are conveyed through a tube, where a series of spindles separates them from one another by severing any byssal threads that may be holding them together.
Our PEI blue mussels are then gently gravity fed over a series of rollers which “de-beard” (remove the byssal threads from) the shells. A second set of rollers serves as a grading mechanism, and the mussels are sorted by size. Our rope-grown PEI mussels then go through a quality control screening where any cracked, broken, and or otherwise less than perfect mussels are culled out. Lastly the mussels are bagged, tagged, boxed and iced. A variety of packs sizes and weights are available in an effort to better serve your individual needs. The mussels are then loaded onto our own trucks, and brought to our Eliot, Maine facility for direct distribution to you.