Posts Tagged ‘seafood’
8:30 am is too early to be eating oysters. Well so I thought. Sometimes you have to take a hit for the team and given the opportunity to “research” the freshest oysters possible – 8:30 doesn’t sound good, but it could be worse.
People rave about Get Shucked at Bruny Island but this outing was so much better. You see, Andrea’s dad knows a guy from the pub who runs an oyster farm on Bruny Island and he was happy to take us out on the boat and show us the farm. In this case “show us out” is french for, we can tag along while Jeff gorges himself on oysters. Happy to oblige.
Oysters are the sort of thing that most people probably have no idea how they are farmed, but the process isn’t complicated and seems to be extremely gentle on the environment.
The farm is in a reasonably protected bay on the “open” side of Bruny island. It consists of a series of baskets suspended on frames about 30cm above the low-tide line. This is the most common way of raising oysters and provides the best way to access the oysters for grading and harvesting. The oysters aren’t attached to anything, they are just kept loose within the baskets.
There are also a few “deep lines” which are a set of similar baskets hanging from a float out in the middle of the bay. The baskets are suspended 2m-5m below the water and the oysters grow much quicker on these lines however smaller oysters can’t be grown in them as they get washed out of the baskets and there is a lot more work involved hauling the oysters out of the water.
All the oysters start their life on the farm as small 10c piece sized oysters and are raised in small baskets standing in a protected area of the bay. Over time, these oysters get larger and every 8-12 weeks are graded and sorted into larger baskets with other oysters of similar sizes. As they get larger they get moved into a more open area of the bay. Water flow is important for the growth of the oysters and as the day progresses the swell picks up and sweeps through all of the baskets.
It was quite a surprise to me to learn that it takes approximately 18 months for an oyster to grow to a saleable size. There isn’t a lot of complexity in the actual growing of them but there is a constant maintenance aspect of grading, monitoring the health and making sure they aren’t growing too large – if they do the shell can be chipped back. There is a limited market for over-sized oysters (generally Asia) so keeping them to a standard size makes them much easier to sell.
While we were there the oysters across the farm had just finished spawning. This is their mating period and the oysters lose all of their fat and go from being a lively pearl colour to a pale translucent colour. During this time the product is barely sellable and for these 6 or so weeks business for an oyster farmer isn’t great. It’s definitely something to look for when purchasing them yourself.
Thankfully the oysters had started recovering from this and we were able to sample a good range of different sizes and take home a good lot ready for some kilpatrick deliciousness that evening. I think I might be forever scarred from seeing Andrea’s father having to take 3 bites and a good amount of chewing on 1 particularly large, steak-sized oyster.
The majority of the oysters from this farm are shipped off weekly, unshucked to Christies seafood in the Sydney Fish Market.
Have a look at the rest of the photos. I reckon there’s some crackers.You should follow me on Twitter.
Having been given the recommendation of a now closed restaurant, Amulet in North Hobart we were left on Elizabeth St searching for a place to eat. We were standing outside a busy seafood restaurant called, Fish 349 which looked good and didn’t disappoint. I would certainly recommend it to anyone looking for good seafood at a reasonable price.
The restaurant is a really casual affair, the kid-friendly dining room (with colouring-in books) meant that there was a lot of small children around they weren’t disruptive, instead keeping the atmosphere light-hearted. The orders were taken at the counter, which I’m not a fan of, but the wait-staff had warm smiles and a great tableside manner and were happy to bring new water bottles and the tables were cleared quickly.
The food was impressive. The oysters were big, fresh, served quickly and cheap ($19.50 a dozen).
The Pistachio Dukkah Encrusted Blue-eye ( was perfectly seasoned and the mash and seafood dressing worked exceptionally well. Blue-eye Trevalla seems to be the most common eating fish in Tasmania, it has a mild flavour and a firm, meaty texture making it a great fish. I’ll be looking for it at the market.
The Grilled Flathead was cooked perfectly, the texture of the flesh was really firm and flavoursome. This was served on an olive mash with a capsicum puree which was sensational. The puree was nice and spicy and the olive mash is definitely the sort of thing I’m going to be reproducing at home.
I didn’t taste the Surf and Turf, it was a lamb sausages and prawns and looked amazing.