An oyster trip to Rock Shellfish

An oyster trip to Rock Shellfish

An oyster trip to Rock Shellfish

Porthilly, Cornwall

Whilst in Cornwall for the Padstow Christmas Festival, we booked in a visit with Luke Schofield, who runs Cornwall’s only oyster farm Rock Shellfish. Luke was kind enough to take us two Gills Gals for a tour of the farm (despite us both being incredibly ill equipped - sorry about the Vans and beige trench coat!) so we could understand a bit more about how he creates such stunning Cornish seafood.

The business now produces over one and a half million Pacific Oysters a year as well as growing clams and mussels too. The quality of the produce is clear, with the likes of Rick Stein, Nathan Outlaw and Paul Ainsworth all using the produce and raving about it. If three of our culinary heroes rate it, we had to check it out.

Rock Shellfish oysters in Cornwall

The setting is truly stunning (Gemma is pretty biased as she grew up five minutes away from here) but we can’t help but be jealous that this is work. To think we spend five days a week typing sat at a desk whilst Luke and his team are out here in the estuary! Though sure when it’s windy and rainy we wouldn’t be quite so jealous.

Rock Shellfish 2

Luke’s dad started the business over 40 years ago, and when Luke left school he decided to get involved. Using a large portion of his savings he decided to expand the business into mussels, but unfortunately they were too small and the crabs ate them all! He gave it one final chance and invested the remainder of his savings in a larger mussel and this time the crabs didn’t ruin it. The business took off from there, growing to produce over 100 tonnes of mussels each year.

On top of mussels the team have really invested in understanding oysters, and ensuring they have a consistent product all year round. We learnt a huge amount on our visit so here are just some:

  • The more times you shake an oyster bag, it means you keep the edge off and therefore it results in a deeper oyster

  • Diploid oysters have two chromosomes, vs triploid that have three - this means that triploids tend to be more hardy and grow faster, meaning consistent flavour throughout the year

  • Winter is the best time for eating shellfish - the colder the weather the better the oyster!

After a tour of the purification facilities we left with a huge bag of clams and mussels which we stuffed into cool bags for the train back to London. Getting back in to our flats and making a chowder with it all was the icing on top - it was almost unbelievable that they came from Rock that morning!

Mackerel and Dashi Udon Stir Fry

Mackerel and Dashi Udon Stir Fry

Eggs Troyale (aka Eggs Royale)

Eggs Troyale (aka Eggs Royale)