Sapphire Coast oyster farmers banding together at Whale Festival

Local oyster farmers have banded together under a new name, ‘Sapphire Coast Wilderness Oysters’, and will be a big part of the Eden Whale Festival on Saturday, November 1.

Oyster farmers will be on hand to offer festival-goers freshly shucked oysters from a number of estuaries along the coast, as well as running the annual oyster shucking competition.

Sapphire Coast Wilderness Oysters represents oysters farmers from the four major oyster producing estuaries in the Bega Valley Shire – Wonboyn Lake, Pambula, Merimbula and Wapengo.

The association recently changed its name from Bega Coast Oysters and has developed a new logo that will be on display in the oyster tent at Snug Cove on Saturday.

Sapphire Coast Wilderness Oysters’ aim is that the community associates the new name and logo with environmentally sustainable farming, clean waterways and wonderful oysters.

“Local oyster farmers work together on a number of fronts – advocating for good water quality to grow healthy oysters, educating school groups about oyster farming and promoting their produce to the community” oyster EMS implementation officer Sue McIntyre said.

“At the Whale Festival, people can taste and compare the unique flavours of oysters from different estuaries along the Sapphire Coast, talk to farmers about the local oyster industry and learn how to open oysters.”

Together with the Love Our Lakes program, Sapphire Coast Wilderness Oysters will also be running the annual Eden Whale Festival Oyster Shucking Competition.

There will be events for both amateurs and professional shuckers.

Professional shuckers will vie for the coveted Eden Whale Festival Shucking Comp perpetual trophy.

Amateurs will be given a few shucking tips prior to taking to the stage for their chance to win the $50 cash prize, bag of oysters and handmade opening knife.

“The shucking comp is always fun and with a few pointers from the pros – there is never too much blood.” Stirling Cullenward, Merimbula Lake oyster farmer and Sapphire Coast Wilderness Oysters member, said.

The oyster opening competition is scheduled to start at 3.45pm on Saturday at Snug Cove.

Interested competitors can lodge their names with organisers at the Sapphire Coast Wilderness Oysters tent prior to the event.