Fine Foods

Southern Yorke Oysters

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Pete: When you think of oysters here in South Australia you immediately think of places like Coffin Bay but you might be surprised to learn that it all began in a spot only 200 k from Adelaide.

Yes, hands up if you love oysters!

I’m guilty as charged… so smitten in fact that I’ve made my way to ‘Shark Alley’ near Port Vincent with Paul Dee and his crew from Southern Yorke Oysters.

Conditions here are perfect, in fact the nearby town of Stansbury was actually known as ‘Oyster Bay’ until the mid-1870’s.

Paul’s family began farming oysters more than 15 years ago and right now he’s got literally millions of oysters going gangbusters in these pristine waters.

Pete: Paul everyone knows about the Eyre Peninsula for oysters, tell us about the Yorke Peninsula oysters?

Paul: Well Yorke Peninsula oysters, mate they’re beautiful, they taste so sweet, they’ve got this flavour all of their own.

In around 18 month to 2 years oysters are grown from a tiny seed or “spat” then harvested according to size, bistro, plate or beauties like these – which Paul calls ‘standard size’! (yeah right!)

Sometimes Paul’s juvenile pacific oysters are sold to oyster producers who in turn fatten them up in other waters. So the Eyre Peninsula oyster on your menu could have actually spent its infancy right here!

Paul opens oyster Pete: The shucking process, have a look at that.

Paul: I’ll flip him over for you, would you like to scoff that one down mate?

Pete: I’ll have a go. These are magnificent. That is unbelievable. That is beautiful, just beautiful. You can taste the sea. Superb.

Pete: Now Paul oysters are sort of ambiguous are they males, females, what’s their deal?

Paul: At the moment our oysters are pretty fat and they’re moving into a different cycle in their life, so they’re moving into the spawn cycle, and because of that they’ve got eggs, basically 100 percent of them are female at the moment, and when they spawn out which will be in February they could become male again. Does that answer that question – that is a weird question mate! (Pete laughs) You’re a strange fella!

Pete: I thought of that question for hours!

Pete: have you ever found a pearl in an oyster?

Paul: Mate I have. Come with me – come over to my office.

Pete: Alright.

Paul: And here you go Pete, here’s that pearl that you just asked me if we have pearls, and here’s a Port Vincent pearl.

Pete: Port Vincent Pearl, its a little fella, but it’s beautiful isn’t it?

Paul: And just the figure I’ve got in my head mate, one in 300,000 you should be able to find one pearl. We find pearls in the old shells.

To purchase a potential pearler for yourself just look for this roadside sign in Stansbury. Paul’s a passionate guy when it comes to his produce so why not pop in, say g’day, and buy some freshies straight from the sea.

Make sure you bring your shucker oh…and an esky too, because once you’ve tasted these babies believe me – you’ll want to stock up!

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