Do you eat oysters? Do you like them raw (natural) or cooked?
During my pregnancy with my daughter the only time I was nauseous was watching co-workers eat raw oysters in New Orleans. I never imagined ever choosing to eat them.
However, I have learned to appreciate and enjoy oysters during the 11 years that my husband and I have been learning to grow them in our business. I even developed my own recipe for oyster patties recently. I’ll share it with you later in the post.
We began our business after strolling past a skip bin on the wharf where oyster shells had been discarded by the opening factories. My husband noticed small oysters attached to the discarded shells. He turned to me and said, “I wonder if those small oysters would grow if we put them back into the water?” That simple observation changed the entire direction of our lives. After years of research and development, my husband developed a process for reproducing and farming one of the world’s most sought after delicacies, The Bluff Oyster.
Anyone who has started their own business will testify that a lot of hard work goes into the project. There are many failures that can precede the successes. Failures bring you closer to success by showing you what does not work. Learning from what goes wrong, from barriers and problems is an important part of perfecting your trade. “The problems always point you in the direction of the solution” is my husband’s favorite phrase when facing process difficulties. So, there were many days where I wanted to just drop from exhaustion, there were tears and struggles to overcome over the past 11 years. Yet, we kept going, we made adjustments, we fell, we regrouped and we got back up.
As we would celebrate small victories, my husband use to tell me, “One day you’ll get to meet our Prime Minister because of the scope of what we are doing.” Can I make a confession right here? In the beginning, I would secretly think he was dreaming. I mean, the Prime Minister is the highest office held in NZ. So quite honestly, I had a few, “yeah right” moments. 😁 Yikes! But you know what they say, “confession is good for the soul”, right? As supportive as I have been throughout the whole journey, I had a few struggles seeing past the long hours, the sacrifices and how long it was taking to see results.
However, this week was a huge week for us. A week of excitement. A week of reward for all the hard work. The Prime Minister came to our little community and toured our oyster hatchery. And I met the Prime Minister of NZ. (My husband and I are standing right there in the background -big cheesy grins on my face.) He was delightful and engaging. He asked lots of questions and he enjoyed tasting oysters. He loves the Bluff Oyster. In fact, we’re pretty sure the nation learned something new about our Prime Minister this week – he eats oysters on toast for breakfast from time to time. He was also a good sport because he allowed us to take selfies to commemorate the event. We were honoured to have our Prime Minister visit New Zealand’s Bluff Oyster Co (2013). We would also like to thank our local MP, Sarah Dowie, for arranging the visit.
For those of you who do not eat your oysters raw, here is the oyster pattie recipe I promised to share:
1/2 Dozen Bluff Oysters, diced
1 tblsp diced onion
1 tblsp diced red bell pepper (capsicum)
1 tblsp shredded cheese
2 tblsp cream cheese
2 tblsp flour
2tblsp olive oil
Mix all ingredients (except oil) together until well blended.
Heat the olive oil in a non stick frying pan.
Drop oyster mixture by spoonful into the frying pan and cook until golden brown on both sides. This should take 2-3 minutes per side. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
This recipe yields 6 patties.