The Romance of Oysters
Merimbula has had a love affair with cultivated oysters for well over 100 years – it’s one of the earliest forms of aquaculture, although local Indigenous middens (shell mounds built up as a result of countless meals) found around local estuaries, date back thousands of years.
(pictured above – Mrs Pitt Warn, original owners of Wheeler’s Oysters, at Merimbula Jetty)
Merimbula & the Sapphire Coast are known for producing world-class Sydney Rock Oysters (Saccostrea glomerata), an oyster species endemic to Australia and New Zealand, although local farmers are now branching out into growing another Australian species commercially, the Angasi (Ostrea angasi) – also known as the flat oyster.
Local oyster farmers now export to many parts of the world.
(pictured above, view to Merimbula Bridge around the 1930’s)
Oysters are bivalves and feed by filtering algae and other nutrients from the sea water in which they live. One oyster can filter at least 0.25 ML of water. In NSW alone, farmed oysters can remove over 1 million tonnes of suspended material, mostly phytoplankton, in their lifetime.
The pure waters of our local estuaries enable us to “direct harvest” – take oysters directly from the lake for consumption, and local oyster growers adhere to strict guidelines and environmental practices, plus volunteer activities, to ensure the health of our estuaries continues. Rigorous water testing is large part of commercial operation.
But never mind these details … how about the taste, that gorgeous briny, sweet & creamy taste!! Once you start it’s hard to stop eating them – lucky they are naturally high in many essential vitamins and minerals including protein, iron, omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, zinc, and vitamin C.
There’s a lot to learn about growing & harvesting oysters, if you want to delve into the mysterious world of the oyster, take a tour which includes a taste of the freshest oysters in the world:
Wheeler’s Oysters have tours from Monday to Saturday at 11am – no booking required, just arrive shortly before 11am.
Or get out on the water with Captain Sponge and take the Magical Oyster Tour!
If you want to skip the tour and get straight to the eating part, you’ll find beautiful fresh oysters done a-la-natural and prepared a number of ways in a wide variety of local eateries:
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