Boyhood friends from Philadelphia turned oyster farmers and processors in the Canadian Maritimes…
In 1980, Barry Kratchman and Mitchell Feigenbaum were high school pals working part time at Delaware Valley Fish Company — the Kratchman family’s live eel business in Philadelphia. They never envisioned a future in the seafood trade.
After college, Barry managed restaurants for a prestigious national chain, while Mitchell obtained a law degree and pursued a legal career in Pennsylvania. The pull of the seafood business was strong, however, and in the early 90′s Barry returned to work with his father Sheldon; together they built the largest eel processor in the United States. When Sheldon retired in 2000, Barry persuaded Mitchell to become his partner and help expand the company into Canada. Mitchell left the law and moved north to manage the newly-acquired South Shore Trading — Canada’s largest eel processor.
The partners soon learned of the fine oysters in New Brunswick, and none were better than those being harvested at the nearby Little Shemogue Oyster Farm. These plump, flavorful oysters had a very fine reputation in the local area, but were not available beyond the region. Over time, vacationers to the area spread the word about this oyster to family and friends back home. The “Little Shemogue” became one of the most sought-after, exclusive oysters on the East Coast.
In 2006, the oyster farm in Little Shemogue became available for sale and Barry and Mitchell seized the opportunity to expand their product line. With their processing and shipping expertise, they have brought Little Shems to markets across North America. Operations have modernized but the essential elements which make the “Little Shemogue” taste so great remain unchanged — cool, Canadian ocean waters and five small rivers that form a pristine bay with a rich combination of salinity and minerals.
Try one and you will see why a Little Shemogue oyster truly is Atlantic Canada’s Ocean treasure.