Brent Petkau is the oysterman growing

An oyster revolution for Nelson

Nelson's oysterman spreads his revolution ahead of the oyster night at The Royal on Wednesday.

The oyster has earned itself a high-class reputation.

It has been known as the food of royalty and the wealthy but the oysterman Brent Petkau is on a mission to bring the oyster to every table.

“The best way to enjoy an oyster is with a bottle of wine on a beach wearing a straw hat with either your lover or your family. Not by myself,” said Petkau. “I eat them by myself but it just loves being at social event. It really loves that kind of setting.”

Petkau is an shellfish farmer who splits his time between his farm on Cortes Island on BC’s coast and Nelson.

“I found something that is a labour of love and it’s almost like when you find your soulmate,” he said. “The work I do is not easy it’s actually very challenging but very rewarding if you find the right market place. It comes to me easily. I absolutely love being an oysterman on the BC coast.”

Petkau moved to Nelson 20 years ago and for the past 15 years has been owning and operating his oyster farm.

“I knew right away when I had my first oyster that there was no food that could match that,” he said. “At that time I certainly knew that the word oyster actually meant something. It’s used in so many ways – Rolex watches, the Oyster watch, the subway in London. Oysters have just had this long, long history, really from the beginning of man starting to be civilized. I’ve known that it’s always been special so now I am owning a farm and growing thousands of oysters.”

But he isn’t just growing oysters he’s selling them to his exclusive market in Nelson.

“I divide my time between two very beautiful places,” he said. “I spend two weeks here and then spend 10 days and come back and forth back and forth. I do that every month.”

Petkau knows that what he does in Nelson couldn’t be done else where in Canada.

“What I do here I don’t think I could do in Victoria, Vancouver or Calgary,” he said. “Here people are very connected to their food and still do a lot of home cooking and cooking from scratch. They buy and use the oysters and accompany them with garden fresh produce. This community here is the best of the rural and urban combination.”

As Petkau prepares for Wednesday, April 18 showing of Shellshocked at The Royal as part of the Deconstructing Dinner Film Festival, he enforces that he’s going beyond growing and selling oysters, he’s promoting a revolution.

“The thing that I’m about right now and this is why the film festival is something that I treat as a real priority is that I want to promote a revolution,” he said. “I want to promote revolutionary radical thinking where you walk the talk with having this as a priority to support the farmers and the fishermen, protect marine ecosystems and educate about the history and current context of the oyster.”

Petkau will be doing a talk as part of the film festival night and will be shucking and serving oysters.


Just Posted

Kootenay fires grow — more evacuation alerts

Syringa fire prompts evacuation alerts plus HWY 3 closure and U.S. fire crosses into B.C.

Evacuation alert for Syringa and Deer Park

The Syringa Creek Fire grew Saturday resulting in evacuation alerts.

‘Beauty amongst such tragedy:’ B.C. photographer captures nature’s trifecta

David Luggi’s photo from a beach in Fraser Lake shows Shovel Lake wildfire, Big Dipper and an aurora

Smoke scraps MS Bike Challenge

The annual fundraising event cancelled its cycling Saturday because of poor air quality

Nelson’s mural festival: scenes from opening night

Crowds wandered the streets and alleys finding delightful surprises in unlikely places

‘We will not forget:’ Thousands attend funeral fallen Fredericton officers

Hundreds of officials marched in the parade, which included massed band, several police motorcycles

Lions give up late TD in 24-23 loss to Argos

B.C. falls to 3-5, fumbling away last-minute chance in Toronto

Eagle tree cut down legally a 1st for B.C. city

Planned eagle preserve ‘a first for City of Surrey’

Smoky skies like a disappearing act for sights, monuments around B.C.

Haze expected to last the next several days, Environment Canada said

Canadians react to death of former UN secretary-general Kofi Annan at age 80

Nobel Peace Prize-winning former UN leader died early Saturday following a short illness

44 drownings so far this year in B.C.

Lifesaving Society urging caution to prevent deaths while on lakes, oceans and in pools

Some of B.C.’s air quality levels worse than Jodhpur, India

Okanagan, northern B.C. seeing some of the worst air quality globally

VIDEO: Ground crews keep a close eye on largest B.C. wildfire

Originally estimated to be 79,192 hectares, officials said more accurate mapping shows smaller size

Most Read