Politicians and Island pork producers officially launched Porktoberfest, a celebration of P.E.I. pork, on Monday.

Fifteen Island restaurants are offering gourmet sausages made with Island pork throughout the month of October. People will get a chance to vote for their favourite

Paul Larsen, chair of the P.E.I. Hog Commodity Marketing Board, said five years ago there were about 100 hog producers on the Island. That's now down to about 25.

"The hog industry is still alive on P.E.I. and we are a major contributor to the agricultural economy and community and to make people aware that we do have a good product," said Larsen.


Five years ago there were about 100 hog producers on the Island. That's now down to about 25. (Facebook)

He said pork production is declining and prices are increasing due to the rising cost of feed

Larsen said it has been difficult to supply local pork on the Island since the hog plant closed down in 2008. He said currently 95 per cent of Island pork is sent to Quebec.

The P.E.I. government has provided about $7,000 to the campaign.

Agriculture Minister George Webster was on-hand for the launch.

"We can't export everything, we don't want to but we do need to export a lot of our crops as well, so there's a balance we have to find," he said

Island restaurants are hoping the campaign means better sales for their businesses.

Tough competition

The chef with the winning entry will have the title of "Best P.E.I. Porktoberfest Chef." 

And competition is tough.

Charlottetown's Gahan House is submitting the "Three Little Pigs" sausage that includes bacon, sausage and pulled pork.

Brent Byrnes, general manager for Gahan house hopes the promotion fills the seats in his restaurant.

"The 'Burger Love' campaign was a great success for the Gahan house, we sold almost 2,400 burgers and it was a great turn around for people, people came and they tried all the burgers all over the city and here as well."

At The Old Triangle they're serving up the "Stout and Snout" and Paul Mansour, co-owner of The Old Triangle, said they're considering a permanent switch to Island pork.

"This is something new for us, we haven't been using Island pork up til now but this could be a good catalyst to change that," said Mansour.

At the Old Dublin Pub, they're serving the "Irish Pig Pen," which is a seasoned, cornflake-crusted sausage, topped with crispy onions, spicy slaw, Siracha-Hoisin mayo on a bun.

Some of the other gourmet offerings include "The Red Baron," "Pork-Pourri," "Devil's Heat" and the "Boar-n-Berry."

The campaign runs until October 31st.