It is that that time of year again, so time for a wee round up of what we have been up to over the last 12 months.
As usual, the year got off to a slow start as the weather in Scotland was awful, but then some would say that is how it always is. The upshot is that the poor weather conditions in combination with bad light mean that for the first quarter of the year things are always quiet on the farm and we are in what you may call a holding pattern.
So, it was a case of doing essential maintenance and keeping our wholesale and retail food operations ticking over.
Unsurprisingly, there is usually a spike in demand for eating oysters around Christmas but we usually find that volumes are lower at this time, in comparison to the summer. This is somewhat ironic because the end of the year, and perhaps the early months of the following year, are when oysters in the Northern Hemisphere are at their best.
Easter ramp up
By Easter it was a different story, and we then found ourselves busy, very busy indeed. At this point the Glenmorangie DEEP project came back online and between Easter and early summer we fed the project 20,000 mature adult Native European Flat oysters (Ostrea edulis) for relaying in the Dornoch Firth.
If you are not aware, European Native Oyster Restoration is a European wide effort to try and save the oyster (Ostrea edulis) and by doing so, reap all the environmental benefits that come as a result.
Oysters are a key ecosystem builder and can play a crucial role in helping to recover environments that have sadly been destroyed or degraded by human activity. We have a page that provides some background here.
Firth of Forth
Then came a new exciting restoration effort called #RestortationForth.
This is a WWF and partners sponsored project with the aim of restoring a Native European Flat oyster (Ostrea edulis) bed to the Firth of Forth in Scotland.
This is an iconic effort because the the oyster beds in Firth of Forth once covered an extensive area of approximately 166 km², thus making them arguably the largest European Flat oyster (Ostrea edulis) beds in the world. At this point they are functional extinct, a direct result of post industrial revolution human activity.
This is a fascinating, if somewhat tragic tale, and if you are interested we produced a series of small articles that detail the topic:
Part 1 - Firth of Forth Oysters – Pre Industrial Revolution
Part 2 - Firth of Forth Oysters – Fisher Folk
Part 3 – Firth of Forth Oysters - Extinction
And finally a ‘good news’ article that covers the first deployment of Native Oysters back into the Firth in over 100 years!
For us this was a very special moment and we so excited to be invited to take part in helping laying them out. A fantastic day for all involved and hopefully just the start of something very special.
As t-fhoghar (The autumn)
Before we knew it the autumn was upon us, and it was back to the Dornoch Firth and the Glenmorangie team. Fighting the oncoming poor weather we were kept extremely busy feeding them more adult Natives for relaying.
There was even the opportunity to give them a hand laying out the oysters in the Firth, which as mentioned previously, is always a satisfying thing to be involved in.
So that was the year 2023. All in all we delivered over 38,000 adult Native oysters to the restoration projects we work with. Really hard work but very satisfying and a perfect example of sustainable aquaculture in action.
This year has been somewhat of a milestone for us in terms of output, but it also more than that, the company has now become an environmental restoration business. Next year we continue and ramp up efforts.