Atlantic Edge Oysters – Pure, wild and fresh – Now Available on the Pesky Market
At the inception of Pesky, we couldn’t tell one fish species from another. However, what we did know was that there was an entire industry of amazing, sustainable fishermen whose fortunes could be dramatically enhanced if they could access the millions of buyers further up the chain.
With the opportunity and benefit being so obvious, we launched Pesky with the single goal of creating a sustainable seafood industry – using our market platform so that buyers, like you, could be the change agents of this new industry.
That’s why today is such a special day. With so many Pesky buyers now calibrated to the palate-busting brilliance of fish that’s come directly from the boats, we’ve been busy determining all the other British species and producers that we can provide access to through our market. Today, Andy Woolmer’s Atlantic Oysters are another step on this brilliant journey.
3 years since we first met on Angle Beach in Pembrokeshire, Andy’s ambition for the cleanest, purest and most delicious Oysters has been an incredible challenge. However, as you’ll see when you taste them, it’s one that warrants every 25 hour day he’s put in. Nestled in the Class A waters of Pembrokeshire in West Wales – waters that, despite already being Class A, have continued to get purer and purer over the last 3 years – every single element of these Oysters has been engineered beautifully.
Their most striking attribute is their flavour profile. While it’s almost a cliche in the seafood industry, they literally taste unbelievably ‘fresh’. Why? While Andy could describe this much better than we could, these Oysters grow up in an area with an enormously dense amount of seagrass. For anyone who’s had a Hendricks with cucumber, this is almost exactly what they taste like. There’s none of that metallic after taste or even overt saltiness. Exactly like the waters they’re in – they’re just beautifully pure.
WHY ATLANTIC EDGE OYSTERS?
There are so many volumes to the story of these Oysters, which is exactly why we are so proud for them to be the first ones on the Pesky market. Andy blends his background in marine biology with a character that could have made for a great TV chef – albeit without the ego. His passion – often a word that’s wildly overused – is so evident in every step of his production process.
Andy’s farm is based in Pembrokeshire, a county famed for its pristine marine environment, and sit’s amongst seagrass beds within a Marine Protected Area and is operated to the highest level of environmental care to produce high quality Oysters. The only thing between the farm and the open Atlantic is the headland of the Angle peninsula. It’s a truly stunning location.
Andy’s approach to growing Oysters is unique. He started the oyster farm with the aim of producing the very best Rock Oysters for market and to support restoration efforts for the native oyster. He’s supported by Ben Cutting, who works alongside him carrying out the constant care and hand grading stats so vital to produce high quality Oysters.
The values that he’s built his business on totally align with our own. We started Pesky Fish to provide access to abundant sustainable seafood, working with British inshore fishermen and small scale producers like Andy who have a passion for protecting the marine environment and the species that live in it.
They grow their Oysters by hand, from small seed Oysters to market size in under 2 years using a modern oyster bag system. Like all of our producers the team at Atlantic Edge work hard to look after the Oysters throughout the year, grading by hand to maintain quality, whatever the weather.
For those familiar with Oysters you’ll know that the taste and flavour is determined by the environment in which they grow. Whereas a wine has a ‘terroir’ an Oyster has a ‘merroir’, impacted by the body of water it’s grown in.
The pristine marine environment around the Pembrokeshire coastline is what makes Andy’s Oysters so special. The Oyster farm is surrounded on three sides by seagrass beds which are rich in the minerals that support the growth of the Oysters. The famously powerful twice daily tides bring fresh pure Atlantic waters directly into the farm, flushing the Oysters. And when you combine this with the complex geology of the coastline and the estuary, these competing influences produce a taste that’s almost indescribable. But I’m going to try…
There are three steps to eating an Oyster:
Step 1 – As you put the Oyster into your mouth you’re instantly hit with a beautiful smooth and fresh taste.
Step 2 – As you chew (You must chew Oysters! None of that ‘just get it down the hatch with a load of tabasco nonsense), the flavour is released, which is where you can really taste the flavours of the seagrass and hints of cucumber.
Step 3 – Once you’ve swallowed it, you’re left with an aftertaste in your mouth and on your lips that can best be described as “kissing the sea”. There’s no salty or metallic taste, instead yoru pallet is left tasting fresh from the minerals. And it’s simply sensational. Once you’ve tasted one, you’ll be desperate to get hold of the next!
Creating a healthier marine ecosytem is at the heart of everything Atlantic Edge do. Rather than taking from the sea, oyster farming can actually have a restorative effect on the surrounding waters by removing excess nutrients and providing a habitat to create a healthier ecosystem for other marine life.
To run the farm within a Marine Protected Area Andy and the team have to operate with the lightest of touches, so they’ve developed ways of growing Oysters that leave the smallest of footprints. From their seed oyster supply throughout the whole production process to the packaging, like Pesky Fish, they strive to use the most sustainable approaches and are always looking for ways to improve them.
A key part of the business, and the reason why Andy originally started the farm was to support Native Oyster Restoration. The slow growing Naive oyster (Ostrea edulis) were once the mainstay of our historic local oyster fishery and they are working to bring back stocks with fishermen and conservationists.
By growing native Oysters they contribute to wild stocks by supplying Oysters for restocking and hosting researchers. The Oysters on the farm do their bit by spawning each summer – each oyster can produce 1.5 million larvae which at their stocking levels equates to 150 billion larvae released from the farm every year.
We’ll be selling Andy’s Atlantic Edge Oysters on the market every Wednesday, right up until midnight, and they’ll be delivered to your door on Fridays.
When your box arrives, you won’t have a standardised box of 12 Oysters that have gone down a production line. Far from it. Instead, Andy will have hand graded and packed every single oyster in your box. Every one. He’ll also have done this on the morning that the box leaves for your home, meaning they could be as little as 24 hours out of the water. We’re able to do that because of the relationship we have with him and the commitment he’s taking to make sure you enjoy every shell that arrives at your door.
As, when we started, we know very little about Oysters other than that which we’ve gleamed from Bobby Groves in his book Oyster Isles. However, what we do know is that we have a phenomenal product here – inside a phenomenal category of British seafood – that needs to be made so much easier to understand. That’s why we’ll not only be making the best British Oysters accessible to you on the market, but we’ll be going to town to make every person an Oyster expert. We’ll show you just how phenomenally sustainable Oysters are – not only in terms of the species but the amazing effects that have on the surrounding marine environments they’re in.
This will be the first of many introductions to the Pesky market between now and Christmas, but they’re only possible on account of the amazing support and solidarity you’ve shown for the market. This isn’t a sob story to protect an industry from dying out. This is the beginning of an entirely sustainable industry – one that you are enabling and building with every purchase. It’s great to have you on board.