This is my friend Raewyn who I went to visit.
She and her husband Clive, who is an oyster farming consultant...
Were oyster farmers in Russell, Bay Of Islands, New Zealand...
And expanded to Australia
This is the overall Port Stephens area...
It's a big harbour...
Tilligerry Creek is part of the bigger harbour.
The star * marks where they are...
The little orange house is where the camping ground
that I stayed in is situated.
It was a short 5 minute walk along this road
to Raewyn and Clive's oyster processing sheds and
water access and where they live.
Other oyster farms continue along the road to the end.
Raewyn and Clive hard at work.
Their life is governed by the tides...
When they can go out and lift the oyster
baskets and when they can put them back.
This is the grading table.
The oysters get covered in what is known as
'Over Catch' the wild spat oysters.
This needs to be scrapped off with a very sharp knife,
they are then graded into sizes to either sell or go back in the
water to grow some more.
These are how Raewyn and Clive buy their
oysters from the hatchery.
They can be bought at any size but these
are 4ml to be put into baskets with 3ml holes.
The hatchery sources oysters to breed from
that are big, a good shape and have a deep cup.
They are put into warm water and spat at about 36 degrees.
They spurt eggs and sperm into the water
and join together in the water to form an 'Iyed Lave'
similar to a small tadpole.
They swim around for up to ten days...
They are all males who change to females.
They have a sucker foot that sucks onto a piece of fine
sediment about the size of a grain of icing sugar.
Then they don't move or swim any more.
They just sit and grow bigger.
In the hatchery they are fed plankton which varies
according to the size of the oyster...
And some grows shell, some grows meat.
They are grown to various sizes for various markets
and all have different names.
Clubs... Are the smallest size 32-42ml
Bistro - the next size 42-50ml
Buffet - 50-65ml (the pics above)
Standard - 65-70ml
Grunde - over 120ml
These are standard...
These are Grunde - compare them with Raewyn's hand!
And this is the treasure hidden inside the muddy shells...
This crate is cleaned and graded ready to go back into mesh
baskets and into the water again.
Ohh look... There is one opened for me to eat!
I dont' need to be offered them twice... I love them.
Yum, yum... Any more?
Raewyn opened these for dinner.
About 4-5 dozen in this pot.
She dried them on paper towels,
rolled them in rice flour and cooked...
For a few minutes only... Delicious.
But I still like them raw best, straight out of the shell.