The 1st of September sees the start of the Native Oyster season. While you can get rock oysters all year round, it is the native oysters that are most highly cherished. As the name suggests, they are the native oyster of the British Isles – slower growing, with a smooth shell and a firmer texture that the rock oyster.
The natives breed during the summer so the meat is soft – but by September they have gained back their strength and are ready for eating. By contrast the rock oysters don’t breed in the cooler UK waters and as a result are available to eat all year round.
We source our Natives from Rossmore oysters who manage the oyster fishery in Loch Ryan on the East Coast of Scotland.
This is Scotland’s only wild fishery, having remained in the possession of the Wallace family since 1701 when the oyster beds were given to them by King William III. There is reportedly a letter from Julius Caesar stating that Loch Ryan oysters are the best in the world, and more recently the Association of Scottish Shellfish Growers awarded the Wild Native Loch Ryan Oysters as the Best in Scotland 2010.
The fishery is sustainably and productively managed, providing 95% of Scotland’s native oysters. The expected harvest is about 300,000 oysters per season. They harvest the largest 5% of the stock, with the rest being put re-laid on the loch bed. This simple and sustainable method is greatly increasing the stock and providing a stable future for the native oysters.
Oysters will be available from the shop this Friday for £1.20 each