The End is Nigh!!
The end of the Native oyster season is upon us...
In the case of the Native Oyster, there is is an old adage that is true. It holds that:
'Native oysters should only be eaten when there is a letter r in the month'
This means that you should avoid eating them between May and August, or alternatively that the season for eating Native oysters is from September until April.
But why is this the case?
The basic answer is biology. As a native species, with the lengthening of the days and the warming of the sea, the Natives are in breeding mode. All their energy is directed in to spawning and as a result they are not in a good condition to be eaten.
The Native oyster has fascinating breeding behaviour (do you know they can and do change sex?), and are unusual compared to oyster oysters in that they retain their fertilised eggs for a time before releasing them into the the sea. Oysters in this condition are said to be 'black sick' or full of 'black sick'. There is also a 'white sick' stage! At some point we shall write a more detailed post on all of this behaviour.
What about Rock Oysters?
Well these are a non Native species and where we are in the North West of Scotland it is too cold for these oysters to complete a breeding cycle. That means that they are available year round from our farm.