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New Zealand Pacific Oysters now in Season

06 June 2013

NEW ZEALAND - Pacific oyster farmers around the country are starting to harvest this season’s crop after 18 months of meticulous care, according to New Zealand Oyster Industry Association chair Callum McCallum.

“Pacific oyster farming in New Zealand is a craft that has been honed over 30 years,” Mr McCallum said.

“Farmers have developed the knowledge and techniques to nurture an oyster through its growth cycle to produce a delicacy at its absolute best.

“After a long hot summer, the waters are cooling and bringing the oysters into condition and farmers begin their harvest just as they reach perfection.

“Harvest is a time of great pride for farmers because they see all of their experience, care and hard work pay off in the form of a plump, succulent oyster nestled within a deeply cupped shell.”

However Mr McCallum said recent growing seasons have resulted in a constrained supply across the industry ultimately resulting in a lower number of oysters available.

Pacific oysters are predominantly grown in warmer waters around Auckland, Coromandel and Northland. Although oysters take their flavour from the terroir of their local waters and tastes differ from bay to bay, New Zealand Pacific oysters in general are prized in fine dining markets around the world and exported to 24 countries.

Rachel Taulelei of premium domestic seafood sourcing company Yellow Brick Road and the extremely popular Oyster Saloon, said now was an exciting time for oyster lovers.

“You wait from Christmas, waiting, waiting to see them coming on, and if the first round of oysters are good, you know they are going to get better and better as the waters get even colder,” Rachel said.

“The first oysters have been very good so you know it’s going to be an excellent season.”

Rachel also said Pacific oysters were in demand from discerning New Zealand chefs.

“The New Zealand Pacific is a delicate oyster, packed with a clean briny flavour and carrying a sweet finish. It’s perfect oyster for someone starting in the oyster world. They’re not overwhelming, they’re easy, approachable and ultimately a really enjoyable experience.”

TheFishSite News Desk



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