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Las Vegas hoteliers inspect Comox Valley shellfish firsthand
What happens in the Comox Valley is now looking to stay in Vegas, thanks to local shellfish growers and a connection from the famous Strip.
Buyers from the MGM Resorts in Las Vegas recently visited the Comox Valley on a mission to meet with local producers from the shellfish industry with an interest to add new sources to their menus.
"They met with members of the industry, had tours of the processing plants … and looked at numerous facilities," explained Roberta Stevenson, executive director of the BC Shellfish Growers' Association. "They are already using local shellfish, they just want more of them."
Stevenson said the quantities the company is looking for is "huge — everyone wants more than we can provide."
She added MGM Resorts feeds its 48,000 employees three times a day in addition to the many buffets and restaurants in its 15 properties in Nevada, Mississippi and Michigan.
In addition to sourcing more products, the buyers also wanted to personally meet the suppliers who provide their shellfish.
"Like many high-end restaurants, they want to provide a story about the products they use. They want to know about the oysters, where they came from and which farm," she noted.
"(The buyers) were mesmerized by the beautiful and pristine area. When they see Vancouver Island and this area, they of course want to get some of their food from here; it's quite different from where they come from."
Brian Yip, general manager of Fanny Bay Oysters, said having the buyers in the Comox Valley provided a good opportunity to see what shellfish farms are producing in the area.
"It was good exposure for sure," he added, and explained the two representatives were given tours of the processing plant, how the shellfish is harvested, packed and shipped.
"It was a good visit; we'll wait and see what come of it and what we can work out with the distributors."