We are an Oyster farm
We are an oyster farm, we grow and harvest our oysters from centuries old oyster beds in Pyefleet Creek, Mersea Island in Essex. Our oysters grow on the river bed, not in cages or trestles, but giving them room to grow feeding with the ebb and flow of the clean, nutrient rich brackish water in our river and creeks.
Oysters have been grown here since the Roman times when Colchester was the capital of Britain and we are just the latest in a long line of oyster farmers. The rights to the river were first granted in 1189 by King Richard I and it has had many custodians since then. The modern day Colchester Oyster Fishery took over the lease to the river in 1966 and began selling oysters to restaurants and wholesale markets.
What Makes Us Different
We care about our oysters and your customers
We have invested in state of the art oyster equipment to ensure that our oysters are clean, correctly graded, safely depurated and delicious each and every time. Our oyster room houses one of the largest oyster depuration systems in the country, giving us the capacity to supply you during your busiest times. Once cleaned and graded, we depurate the oysters in purified seawater for a minimum of 42 hours.
How we grow oysters
Our oysters are a mix of wild oysters, grown from the brood stock we leave in the river and oyster seed that we lay on the oyster beds. The oyster beds are made up of hundreds of years of shell and stone that is laid down on top of the muddy river bed each year to catch the wild oyster spat and hold the oyster seed. We then let the oysters grow, checking them often to make sure they are growing well until they are big enough to eat.
How we harvest oysters
We have two options when it comes to harvesting our oysters. We can go at low tide by dory to the oyster beds and pick them by hand, selecting only the ones that are the size we want. The other option is to go by boat at high tide and carefully pull a dredge over the oyster beds and sort out the oysters on the boat putting back any that are too small or too big and taking the rest back to the Fishery to be graded and depurated.
Take a look at our oyster beds and come dredging with us.
Why Choose Us
Only The Best
We grow both rock oysters and native oysters.
We have millions of rock oysters growing throughout the 10 hectares that make up our oyster farm, all growing on different beds at different stages so we can be sure to have the variety of size that is required.
We are in the midst of regenerating our native oyster stocks after they were nearly all wiped out a few years ago, so we are leaving natives on the ground until there’s enough to take ashore, whilst leaving enough to produce more native oysters. In the meantime, during the native oyster season, we are sourcing natives from our friends in Whitstable to sell instead.
Rock oysters are available all year, they are our core oyster.
You can tell a rock oyster by its shape, the shell has a deep cup.
They are available in three sizes A, AA or AAA with A being the smallest size and a AAA is something that you would use to make a sauce as they are mostly considered too big to eat whole.
Rock oysters are delicious raw or cooked, steamed in the shell or cooked under the grill. The texture firms up and the meat becomes sweeter, much like a mussel.
Shell: Cupped and fluted
Smell: Salty and earthy
Taste: Zinc, mushroom and salty butter
Finish: Almost like a truffle
Texture: Creamy and silky
Availability: All year round
Native oysters are available from September to April.
You can tell a native oyster by its shape, it has a flat rounded shell.
They are available in three sizes, 1’s, 2’s or 3’s with 3’s being the smallest. As the shell is flat and there’s not much room inside, although big, 1’s are still a good size to eat.
Native oysters should only be enjoyed raw, they are becoming a rarity and as such should be enjoyed simply, with a drizzle of lemon or a dash of tabasco.
Shell: Flat and round
Smell: Fresh and of ozone
Taste: Sweet, ferric and complex
Finish: Samphire and seaweed
Texture: Meaty and firm
Availability: Months with an ‘R’
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Colchester Oyster Fishery
Nestled on the edge of Pyefleet Creek, the Colchester Oyster Fishery has been supplying the finest seafood since 1966. However, our oyster beds have been in use since Roman times, when Colchester was the capital of Britain.
Pyefleet Quay, East Road, East Mersea, Colchester, Essex. CO5 8UN