Ever wondered why rain is such a downer for oyster farmers? We explain all in 3 simple steps.
1. Raindrops are the kiss of death for harvesting oyster farmers.
Ok, that’s dramatic – not quite. But they do mean harvesting must stop on oysters for a period of time after a heavy downpour. This is because run- off from surrounding areas effects water quality and changes the salinity levels in the water. Water quality is regularly checked during all times, but it’s checked meticulously after a downpour and farmers have to report to local and state bodies before they can reopen their rivers. A single oyster can filter up to 150 litres of water a day, so only when the water quality returns to normal can the oysters be harvested and are perfectly safe for consumption.
2. It’s also totally normal.
“It’s part of the Sydney rock oyster’s natural cycle to have rainfall events and changes of salinity,” Pambula producer Sue McIntyre says.”At this time of year, it’s really important for their breeding.” Warmer rains trigger the oysters signals to breed and release their spawn, which explains the old adage “Only eat oysters in months containing the letter ‘R’”. This was a Northern Hemisphere thing, so you should only eat oysters in the cooler months, but with the development of refrigeration and a variety of farms throughout Australia, it’s an oyster feeding frenzy all year round. Fresh rain water also means minerals are added to the water, which help give the oysters their unique flavours, so a little rain is all part of the ride.
3. Be alert but not alarmed.
Water qualities are religiously monitored throughout all our oyster farms across Australia and there’s a number of local and state government bodies our farmers have to report to. So while it can seem daunting to keep track of your little oysters whereabouts, stick to reputable sellers who sell freshly shucked oysters (as opposed to pre-shucked) and avoid chipping your own wild oysters off the rocks at your local rock pool for a pleasurable oyster experience!
Thanks ABC Landline!
We love that the Signature Oysters collective is made up of farmers from all over Australia, so we can consistently supply delicious oysters year round, rain, hail and shine! See which of our oysters are ready for market this week. ??