P.E.I. food companies scramble during power outage

Power outages have made it tough on those in food-related industries.

Companies improvise to save food from spoiling

The lobster plant in Abram-Village was without power from Saturday night until Monday night. (Laura Meader/CBC)

Recent power outages have left those in the food industry scrambling to keep their products from perishing. 

Acadian Supreme Inc., in Abram-Village in western P.E.I., had to stop production lines during the power outage, and had to rewire a generator normally just used for the live storage to help power the frozen storage area, too. 

"During the worst of the storm, we lost the water coming into our storage," said Eric Arsenault, chief engineer at Acadian Supreme Inc. "It was a little scary." 

Lobster is "a very perishable product," he said.

They had tried to find another generator for the plant but couldn't so they chose to rewire their generator. 

"It's a Band-Aid," he said. "It could have been a lot worse." 

Kirk Lea, who is a partner with Glen A. Lea Inc., donated the freezer trailer for local businesses to use. (Laura Meader/CBC)

Arsenault said the plant had to get electricians in to create temporary service. Staff were glad power was restored Monday night since fishermen are continually dropping off lobster. 

Sisters Jackie Myers and Jenny Myers, who own the Lobster Barn restaurant on the wharf in Victoria, said they had to throw out thousands of dollars worth of food from their fridge.

But a trucking company donated a refrigerator trailer and parked it nearby for anyone who wanted to use it. The sisters filled it with frozen product and said they still felt lucky that their freezer items were saved.

'Chain gang' of help

Jackie Myers said they put a post on Facebook telling people in the community they were welcome to use the trailer as well. 

Jackie Myers said there was a "chain gang" of help when it came to getting stuff to the truck. 

"I didn't want to take my sunglasses off because I was crying," she said. "It was really nice." 

Jenny Myers said families, the general store and several restaurants all used the trailer, saving about $5,000 worth of frozen food just for Myers alone.

Jackie Myers says though they had to throw out stuff from their fridge they were grateful to be able to save everything from the freezer, thanks to the trailer. (Laura Meader/CBC)

"It made a huge difference, it would have all been garbage," she said. "It's probably fairly devastating for some people who didn't have that option."

She said when the power went out, she never thought it would last for three days.

Trucking company wanted to help

The trucking company Glen A Lea Inc. donated the refrigerator trailer. Kirk Lea is one of the partners and also a cousin of the Myers sisters. 

He said he had offered his refrigerated unit to anyone who needed it, but didn't have any takers. When he heard about the situation in Victoria, he said it made sense to bring it there. 

The Myers sisters say the trailer saved thousands of dollars worth of frozen food.

"I fired up the truck and took it down," said Lea. "I'm third generation in this business, family is a big thing for me."

Lea said he was glad the Lobster Barn and other food-related businesses were able to use it and he would do it again if ever needed. 

"I just hope I was able to help them out." 

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