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Pacific Oysters are by far the most cultivated as they grow much faster than any other species. The spat is produced by specialist seed growers who then sell them to the Oyster cultivators. On receipt of the spat, they only measure about 4-5mm in size. The image here shows how small they are. At this stage, the spatula is placed in a very fine mesh container or bag. They can double in size every week. As the spat grows it is constantly transferred manually by the grower to larger bags with a bigger size mesh. Therefore a lot of time and effort is spent caring for the young oysters.

Oysters, mussels, and most other shellfish feed on plankton, so the better the flow of water the more they can feed and the quicker they grow. A general marketing size would be about 8-10 centimetres. Eventually placed in a large mesh bag and regularly thinned out to give plenty of growing room and cleaned of any accumulated silt. Another positive from a growers point of view is the pacific oyster doesn't spawn in the colder waters of the UK, and therefore can be marketed throughout the whole year,

There are several ways different growers proceed, but here in Brancaster, the oysters are cultivated in the marsh creek, where they benefit from the tidal flow both when the tide flows out and when it flows in again. The oysters open their shells to capture as much plankton as possible.

Although the water here is among the purist in the UK, the oysters are placed in the ultraviolet purification tanks before going to the market.

Oysters were first cultivated and farmed in Brancaster about 45 years

Brancaster Oysters and Mussels

Brancaster is renowned for its exceptional oysters and mussels cultivated in the marsh creeks, earning it a reputation as one of the finest in the country. The popularity of oysters has skyrocketed in recent years, posing a challenge to meet the high demand. However, the Brancaster Oyster Farm, a family-owned business, takes immense pride in their product. They are dedicated to delivering the highest quality oysters, ensuring that each one meets their rigorous standards. The farm's commitment to excellence is reflected in the care and attention they devote to cultivating their shellfish, resulting in a truly remarkable culinary experience. Whether enjoyed raw, grilled, or incorporated into delicious seafood dishes, Brancaster's oysters are esteemed for their unparalleled taste and freshness.

The native Oyster (Ostrea Edulis ) and the pacific Oyster ( Crassostea Gigas ) are the two most common oysters found in the UK. Native Oysters are still cultivated in the UK but are not a viable commercial option because they take twice as long to grow to market size. The Pacific Oyster, on the other hand, grows much quicker, taking about two summer seasons to grow to market size.

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5/16/20243 min read