Grades and Sizes

Oyster Grades

Our Malpeque Oysters are sold in several grades and sizes as determined by regulations. These grades, mainly determined by the size and shape of the individual oyster shell are a good mirror of the content. The minimum market oyster size is 3″ regardless if its choice or standard.   Provided is an overview of our grades.

Choice Oysters

With the best looking shells, ideal for serving on-the-half-shell, these oysters tend towards a rounded shell, with a deeply cupped bottom shell ensuring a full plump oyster cupped in its own natural liquor. While an excellent choice for serving on the half shell, these oysters are also excellent for presentations when cooked, or served with sauces or garnishes. Choice Oysters are much easier to open and tend not to break or spilt or crack when opening and have a bit longer shelf life.  Our Malpeque choice oysters are offered in various brands and sizes (Small or Large) included in our “Product Brands” Section.

Standard Oysters

The standard oyster resembles a longer, more irregular shell shape that has a distinctive “cup” on the bottom shell, but not a deep as Choice. Standards provide good value and high quality meat which has the same Malpeque Oyster taste and high quality as other grades. These are offered in several sizes under our Cooke’s Cove Brand.

Selects or Premium

These are Howard’s Cove Shellfish own hand selected brand of a choice oyster and only selected from the finest shaped choice oysters that we process. They are sourced from both farmed and wild oysters during the year. These are excellent for serving on the half shell and really presents as the perfect shaped and cupped oyster. They have a perfectly rounded shape, with a deep cupped bottom, ensuring a full plump oyster in its own liquor. Only the finest choice make it to these brands of ours! Check out our Indian Creek and J’Adore Premium/Select Brands.

Cocktail Oyster

The cocktail oyster is an undersized Eastern Oyster which measures less than 3″ in length (50 mm or more and less than 76 mm) as per requlation.The Cocktail Oysters are grown off bottom from seed or spat stage on non commercial leases (non public) and are strictly controlled through a DFO permit and policy on harvesting between non commercial fishers and registered processing plants. It generally takes 2-3 years for the Cocktail Oyster to reach their market size. They off round, consistent size ,very plump meats and an extremely good shelf life.  Cocktails oysters are popular among first time oysters samplers, oyster bars and restaurants.

Our Quahog Sizes and Counts

The minimum legal size for harvesting and marketing quahogs here in Prince Edward Island is 2 inches.  We only procure regulatory size quahog form fishers before using a sizing and sorting machine to separate in their size categories.  Quahogs are packaged in polyethylene mesh bags  by size and count as per customers needs. Listed below are the name/size category and counts available to our customers.

Size Categories.

Little Necks – A 2″ to 2 1/2″ quahog,
Top Necks – A 2 1/2″ to 3″ quahog,
Cherry Stones – 3″ – 4″ quahog
Chowders or Jumbo – 4″ and bigger quahog

Available Counts

Little Necks – 100 ct., 200 ct. and 400 ct.
Top Necks – 100 ct. and 200 ct.
Cherry Stones – 150ct. – 160 ct.
Chowders – 100 ct.