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Published July 5th 2022
The best oysters experience in Eyre Peninsula
MasterChef on Sunday has just taken us to experience oyster farming in Tasmania. We in South Australia do not need to go interstate to get a taste of it. Our state is blessed with an incredible coastline with amazing produce from lobsters to oysters. You will find oyster farms along the coast from Kangaroo Island, Yorke Peninsula all the way to the Eyre Peninsula. Some farms are open for shed door sales only but some oyster farmers are starting to welcome oyster lovers to experience and taste the oysters straight out of the ocean. You can't get oysters fresher than this.
I was very lucky to have joined the Shuck 'N' Sip tour run by SA Premium Oysters. We arrived at their business at Sandy Creek Drive in the morning. The owners Jeff & Colleen Holmes welcomed us immediately. Colleen gave us some introduction and got us prepared to go to their oyster farm. She wanted to make sure we would be protected from splash & wind. I wondered why. After a bit of wait, we were told that SA Premium Oysters was a working farm and the oysters needed to be removed from the barge before we could hop on and go to the actual farm. Then, I realised the barge right in their business was a vehicle that would take us somewhere in the water. We all chipped in to help out especially we were very keen to start the tour as soon as possible.
The barge was still loaded with oysters when we arrived.
After the barge was cleared, each of us was given a life jacket. We were assigned to sit at either the front or the back of the barge. Then, the barge was towed for about 1km or so. I have never imagined that I would sit on a moving barge on a road. Once the barge was towed to the water, it slowly moved off the coast and travelled another 3km in the ocean. Sitting on the barge, there was no door, no window, no roof between us and the surrounds. The sky and the water right around us almost had the same shade of blue that it reminded me of the movie scene in Bruce Almighty when Jim Carrey & God walked on the water. This 3km trip was simply unforgettable. I just couldn't stop myself from taking pictures but I had to remind myself to soak up every moment of this unusual journey.
When we got closer to Jeff & Colleen's oyster lease, we saw a platform standing in the perfectly calm ocean. Wildlife was already waiting for us when we arrived. Colleen skilfully swept the pups off the platform. They hopped off the staircases and dived into the water. We hurriedly climbed up the staircase before the pups came back to secure the perfect sun-baking spots.
Can you spot the pup in the middle of the staircase?
Once we got to the platform, Colleen started preparing the table and poured some bubbles for us. Jeff shucked open the oysters for us and showed us how to open ourselves. Jeff's oysters have taken us to the foodie heaven. The oysters were fresh, rich, creamy and filled with ocean flavour. We could see miles and miles of oyster lease around us. We were right in the middle of the world of oysters.
We were in the world of oysters. There is no end of oyster lease in sight.
While we were enjoying the freshly chucked oysters with bubbles in our hands, Colleen shared with us how they got into oyster farming 30 years ago, the oyster industry, everything about oysters and most interestingly the story behind the platform that we were standing on. It is the only platform that is in the middle of the ocean for dine & wine in South Australia. I reckon it is most likely the only one in Australian waters.
The pups have secured their perfect spots shortly after we left the barge.
Colleen is such a lovely lady and we felt that we went to someone's home and they showed us the best they have. The tour was very social when everyone was enjoying themselves and had a great time on the platform. We also did the usual tourist selfies, watched the sea birds fly & pups swim. There was ample time for us to enjoy ourselves before we headed back to shore. I truly didn't want to leave there as I could imagine myself spending the entire afternoon reading a book & wouldn't miss the world.
Oysters sorting & grading inside the SA Premium Oysters.
This Shuck "N" Sip tour is so much more than a farm experience. At the conclusion of the tour, I was so excited and overwhelmed that I said to Jeff "You own a piece of heaven on earth and I felt so grateful that you shared it with me." SA Premium Oysters also sell other merchandise. I bought a kilo of oysters from them because they are the best.
If you wish to put an aquaculture experience on your bucket list, this is the one. Bookings are essential, especially SA Premium Oysters is a working farm and there are only that many seats available on the barge.