Cornish Oysters - Phase 10

Cornish Oysters - Phase 10

To gather the "delicious" but invasive Cornish Fal Rock Oysters from the Fal Estuary and hopefully the Helford too!

We did it!

On 5th Jul 2017 we successfully raised £120 with 3 supporters in 14 days

NEWS FLASH!

We have confirmed our next two Pop Up's where you can enjoy your oysters: 

Enys Garden FOOD JAM coming up in a week on 8-9 July 10am til 8pm

Port Eliot Festival THE WALLED GARDEN SEAFOOD BAR and the dates are 27-31 July

 

This is 'Phase 10' because this is my 10th year as an oyster gatherer (fisherman) on the Fal Estuary

I restored a 50 year old wooden oyster boat called Alf Smythers in 2008 (as seen in Beruit Band The Rip Tide Official) and then set up Cornish Native Oysters in 2009 so I could process and sell direct to the top oyster bars in the UK. I have supplied most of them at some point: Bentley's, Hix, Scott's etc. but occaisional courier problems, non payment for goods delivered or 90 day terms and poor value for a truly unique product 'Fal Oyster' (Native/European/Flat Oyster - Ostrea Edulis) meant I had to think outside the box!

In 2013 the Fal Oyster gained the Protected Designation of Origin status, joining 64 Protected Food Names in the UK: Molten Mulberry Pork Pie, Stilton Cheese, Cornish Pasty, Cornish Sardines, Cornish Clotted Cream etc. In Cornwall we have 4, 2 of which are PGI (produce, process OR package) and two are PDO (produce, process AND package) - Fal Oyster is right up there with Cornish Clotted Cream and Champagne!!

In 2014 I designed and commissioned a stunning high spec pop up oyster bar from a 20ft shipping container - Ostraca Pop Up (meaning oyster shell with writing on) was launched at a Pop Up Gatherings event and then went on to appear at: Rock Oyster Festival, Falmouth Oyster Festival Fringe on Customs House Quay, Truro Piazza and for the past two summer appeared as a resident Pop Up on Carlyon Beach St Austell selling Porthilly Rocks as the Fal Oyster is seasonal (September-April).

Sadly, someone else has taken the pitch this summer so I find myself 'becalmed' with no wind in the sails... I have sought advice as to the role of a sole director/employee and so everything is for sale in the hope of funding the big clean up of Fal Rocks, we may downsize, or if a business partner comes along we will look at the next phase, but if I can reach the target I do not need to sell anything and I can focus on both the fishery and the pop up...

I have also been an elected member of the Fal Fishery Management Committee since its inception in 2014. The committee were responcible for the new Regulatory Order for the public fishery on the Fal Estuary and we (licensed fishermen) are only allowed to fish in an SAC as the methods we use (hand, sail & oar) haven't changed for centuries. The environment and its special features have been created by the low impact of drifting with the tide and using the wind to control the boats direction, but its not only the environment that needs protecting, its the ethical food chain too!! I have applied to manage the Helford Oyster Fishery, but this may need another Crowd Fund Project when we prove this is successfull... 

However, in recent years we (the committee and licensed fishermen) have seen a massive increase in the  population of wild Fal Rock Oysters (Pacific Oysters Crassostrea Gigus) and being a licensed gatherer, having approved premises, authorised to operate and having succesfully amended the classification for harvesting to ensure the tracability and health mark are gurenteed I now need your help to extract the invasive species from the fishery before they take over the natural wild native oyster beds!

Pledge to help clean up so I can pay a fair wage to other licensed fishermen...

Pledge to purchase and try these delicious plump Fal Rocks either at one of our pop ups, in our own restaurant or at home...

Pledge to host a Pop Up Gathering and we will bring the crew, the menu and the venue to a special place near you...

Pledge to support the long term aims so we can recruit and employ the next generation of responcible fishermen and women...

 

Why £5k? Why not £25k? you can pledge as little or as much as you like, we need far more from the crowd, but it helps us make a start - Minimum Wage for one person is £15k PA - I have not paid myself for years and I do have a hernia operation due soon, so presuming no-one else works for nothing I will need some help hand gathering at the low tides for the next few months, then grading and processing plus the testing to ensure quality of the oysters and I also need to wait up to 90 days to get paid just 45p for each oyster from wholesalers. Your pledges will help pay in advance while we get paid in arrears, it will help book our Pop Up's and ensure we can continue to work on protecting our fishery by recruiting others. The more I can raise the more I can do so £50k would be my dream target - that's just 1000 x £50 pledges!  

To be continued...


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