Faces of the Sligo Food Trail

The Sligo Champion - - NEWS -

THE twin themes run­ning through Glenn Hunter’s life are clearly the sea and me­chan­ics. To­gether they have com­bined seam­lessly al­low­ing him to travel the world and earn a liv­ing back home.

The quin­tes­sen­tial ‘ boy’, Glenn was al­ways fas­ci­nated by en­gines and me­chan­ics. As the son of a dairy farmer, he grew up around trac­tors and agri­cul­tural ma­chin­ery learn­ing both to op­er­ate them and how to trou­bleshoot when things went awry. Af­ter fin­ish­ing school it was a nat­u­ral pro­gres­sion for him to study agri­cul­tural en­gi­neer­ing and this took him to Nantwich in Cheshire (of cheese fame). Two years there left him with a qual­i­fi­ca­tion which would take him wher­ever he wanted to go.

He took full ad­van­tage of the pos­si­bil­i­ties, spend­ing a year each in Aus­tralia, on Van­cou­ver Is­land in Western Canada and in San Fran­cisco in­ter­spersed with pe­ri­ods back in Sligo. While at home he worked as an agri­cul­tural con­trac­tor and also got in­volved in the shell­fish enn ter­prise, orig­i­nally called Coney Is­land Shell­fish, which his fa­ther and other lo­cal busi­ness­men had set up. While abroad he worked as a me­chanic fix­ing all man­ner of ma­chin­ery.

It wasn’t all work while Glenn was trav­el­ling the world. Along with a friend he spent a mem­o­rable six months in Cen­tral Amer­ica ex­plor­ing ex­otic coun­tries which most peo­ple could barely pin­point on a map. They trav­elled through Mex­ico, Gu­atemala, Costa Rica, Hon­duras and Colom­bia. Glenn’s favourite was Columbia, tech­ni­cally the north­ern­most coun­try of South Amer­ica. Con­quered by the Span­ish in the 1400s it is one of the eth­ni­cally most di­verse coun­tries in the world with 68 dif­fer­ent lan­guages and is stun­ningly beau­ti­ful.

On an is­land off Hon­duras Glenn did a two week PADI course, qual­i­fy­ing him as a SCUBA diver which opened up the world of the ocean from a fishes eye view. He was hooked and div­ing has since.

All good things come to an end how­ever and ten years ago Glenn re­turned to Sligo, for good this time. Coney Is­land Shell­fish had evolved into Wild At­lantic Oys­ters where he has worked ever since. The wa­ters off the west coast of Ire­land are amongst the best in the world for grow­ing been his pas­sion ever shell­fish; ev­i­denced by the fact that al­most 100% of their mar­ket is in Asia. Twice weekly chilled bulk loads of oys­ters wing their way across the world and 36 hours af­ter leav­ing Sligo are on the ta­bles of five star restau­rants in Hong Kong and Sin­ga­pore.

Back home Glenn also runs the Wild At­lantic Oys­ter Cart, his own brain­child which first saw the light of day at the All Ire­land Fleadh in 2014. From it he serves sea fresh oys­ters in the shell, surely the most nat­u­ral food in the world. Since then Glen and the Cart have been in high de­mand at elite events and up­mar­ket wed­dings all over the coun­try. You could say the world is his oys­ter….

www.sligo­food­trail.ie #Sligo­Food­Trail

Left: Glenn Hunter of Wild At­lantic Oys­ters. Above: Wild At­lantic Oys­ters fresh from Coney Is­land! #Sligo­Food­Trail

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