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We are proud to have fantastic staff here at Scottish Shellfish who have a real passion for our produce, the Scottish outdoors, and who embody our sustainable and environmentally friendly ethos – we think they are so great we want you to meet them too!

We would like to introduce you to Wojciech Zdzisinski who is our AV Hall Manager, to give you a glimpse into the work he does for Scottish Shellfish.

Wojciech Zdzisinski

What does your role at Scottish Shellfish involve?

I help with sourcing the best raw materials based on quality and I also oversee the different stages of production and I manage some of our staff.

What do you enjoy most about working at Scottish Shellfish?

I really enjoy the challenges of the day to day production work in our factory, I enjoy the pace of the role and I am lucky to work with some really great people.

What have been the main changes you have seen during your time at Scottish Shellfish?

During my time here we have introduced part-automatization of one of the lines in the Final Pack areas of production. We have also introduced bio-degradable cases for some of our current lines and in future all live mussel products will have bio-degradable packaging.

What was your 2019 highlight?

I got a job promotion which was great!

If you could achieve one thing in 2020 what would it be?

We all need to do our bit to help the planet so on a personal level I am aiming to reduce the amount of waste I produce at home and recycle more.

Do you have a favourite shellfish recipe you can?

Scallops wrapped in bacon - wrap bacon around scallops then secure in place with cocktail stick. Drizzle lemon over the scallops and oven bake at 180 degrees until bacon is crisp – delicious!

What is your favourite Scottish Shellfish product?

Any product from the Coquille range – all really tasty!

Do you have a favourite Scottish holiday destination or place?

St Andrews, Glencoe and also the Devil’s Pulpit which is a hidden gem not a lot of people have heard about. It is in Finnich Glen, Stirlingshire and it is a must see!

Gordon Turnbull Oyster Farmer

Interview with Gordon Turnbull from Mull Oysters Ltd - September 2019 

Where do you live and where do you work?

I live near Dervaig on the Isle of Mull. I farm pacific oysters in the waters of Loch a Chumhainn.

How long have you been working at Isle of Mull Oysters Ltd?

It has been almost 10 years since I started working at Isle of Mull Oysters Ltd, a company which has existed since 1990. We have two full time members of staff and one part time, and my dad Nick who has now retired from the farm, but still comes along very occasionally to help us out.

What are the best parts of your job?

The best parts about my job are that I enjoy the challenge, the freedom and the constant improvements we make and the fact that unlike most farming there is no long tradition of oyster farming in Scotland so you really can be creative to do it in the best way you can.

I feel very lucky to be in a job which I really enjoy. I like being down at the shore where things are ever changing. It is an interesting job in a beautiful location. Each day is different and each oyster is unique in its own way.

What makes your product stand out?

The best thing about our produce is that it is sustainable and this is something we are very proud of. Oyster farming has been shown to actually improve the environment – something which is vitally important in the current environmental climate – and it also tastes fantastic!

One of the most positives things about being a shellfish farmer are the environmental benefits and the quality, freshness and uniqueness of our product. 

What changes have you seen in the way you work over the last 10 years?

My Job has changed a lot since I started but the fundamentals remain the same - produce quality shellfish. Over the last 10 years I have fine-tuned our way of working and made changes which have resulted in a better quality product which is constantly improving.

We have recently invested in new technology and we are learning on the job all the time. Better nursery care, expertise in positioning and years of knowledge and experience is helping us produce an excellent quality product.

What makes your products unique?

The thing that makes Scotland unique when it comes to producing shellfish is the nutrient rich and the pure waters, a unique coastline suitable for shellfish production. We can’t control the elements and we are in a remote location but I love working outside in nature. 

What are your favourite elements about shellfish farming?

Being a shellfish farmer has the benefit of being able to take home some fantastic produce for dinner! My favourite shellfish dish is oysters in a tempura batter which I would highly recommend.

I grew up on this coast and my father was a fisherman so we were always fishing, doing creels or around the shore in small boats so most of my childhood memories are centred on the coast. It is a privilege to be working in this same environment now and managing to provide for my own children.

What is the best thing about being part of Scottish Shellfish?

Mull Oysters Ltd has benefited immensely from being part of Scottish Shellfish, an organisation which strives for quality and is farm focussed. It is run by shellfish growers for shell fish growers and they have the unique understanding of our needs. Being part of a co-operative is very important to me as it is a principle I believe strongly in.

scot food fort 19

It’s the Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight from the Saturday 31stAugust until Sunday 15thSeptember 2019 and this year is special because they are celebrating 10 years of the fantastic fortnight that is dedicated to celebrating Scotland’s larder. 

The Scottish Food & Drink Fortnight is about the Scottish farmers/producers, makers and retailers celebrating all that is amazing about our nation’s outstanding food and drink products and the people behind them. The food and drink sector in Scotland is worth nearly £30b! 

Not just Whisky & Salmon 

Scotland is probably best known for its whisky and salmon but there is so much more to it than that, including some delicious and sustainable shellfish from our member farms situated in the pristine waters of the Scottish west coast and the Shetland isles. 

Our member farms fuel and satisfy the demand for shellfish here in the UK and abroad, we have blogs from our farmers that can be read here, and you can see where our farms are located on our map of Scotland by clicking here.

Produce 

Our mussels are grown on ropes suspended in the tidal currents and are deliciously plump and sweet tasting.  Our produce is with our retailers as quickly as possible allowing it to be as fresh as possible and our member farms produce a range of shellfish including oysters, crab, lobster, mussels, langoustines, scallops to name a few.  The following image is the journey of our mussels from the sea to your plate.  

sea to plate
Mussels - Sea to Plate

Get Involved

Get involved with #ScotFoodFort19 and tell us some of your favourite shellfish recipes, restaurants, farmers or what other Scottish products you like with your shellfish. Post on here, FacebookTwitterInstagram or LinkedIn.

Let’s celebrate our wonderful Scottish larder. 

Oysters with chilli, ginger
family business

Family Business

Gordon Turnbull farms with his father Nick (who has decided to retire and hand over the reins) on the North West of the Island of Mull.  The family home is on the site of the pacific oyster farm and it can sustain 3 million oysters at various stages of growth.

Education

Gordon has an MSC in Marine Resource Management and has driven the business into the 21stcentury. This qualification has given him the knowledge and ability to protect our coasts and oceans while oyster farming.  But also managing environmental, socio-cultural and institutional resources.

Oyster Demand

The family oyster farm was established in 1990, when demand wasn’t too high for oysters. It now produces in excess of half a million oysters each year! Gordon came on board in the family business in 2010, with the aim to continue to grow high quality oysters to meet the growing demand.

Family Businesses!

Kenny, who is Gordon’s younger brother, has diversified to create his own business fishing lobster, crab and prawns. Gordon (and until recently, Nick) has focused purely on the growing, management and production of oysters. They are always trialling new growing techniques from around the world, with the intention to produce the finest oyster possible.

Quote

Our produce is the best and most sustainable because of a combination of hard work, nutrient rich and clean environment that the oysters grow in and the traditional trestle and bag system we use. We have a proud tradition and have some of the healthiest and most productive waters in the world, which makes Scottish shellfish the best”.

mussels

Legend has it that you should only eat oysters when there’s an ‘r’ in the month. Indeed, some say this applies to all shellfish. But we don’t want you to miss out on the produce from our pristine lochs and coastlines during the summer months. That plate of fruit de mer and a chilled glass of white are just right for a leisurely al fresco summer lunch. We’ve got good news for you…

What’s the truth behind the legend?

Although for a time all shellfish were regarded with wariness, this legend was originally only about oysters. Oysters used to be shipped in by rail in wooden barrels filled with ice. In the heat of the summer the ice melted, and long before they got to their destination the oysters were spoiled. By gradual association, all shellfish became tarred with the same brush.

Eat our shellfish with impunity

The good news is that, in these days of modern refrigeration and chilled storage, you can happily dismiss this adage as pure folklore. And we should know. At Scottish Shellfish we’re the UK’s premier producer of finest quality shellfish. Our farmers take real care and pride in the shellfish they cultivate, and our mussel farms are independently certified by the Marine Stewardship Council.  You’ll find our produce in supermarkets and restaurants across the country.

Not only can you eat our mussels, crab, oysters and langoustines with impunity, by purchasing our products you’re doing your bit for the environment. The carbon footprint of our mussels is 19 times less than that of beef! Did you know that eating mussels is ‘better for the planet than being vegan’? Find out more here.

From sea to plate

Gone are the days of thinking a whole chicken, a rump steak or a salmon fillet start life pre-packaged in a supermarket. These days people are much more concerned about environmental responsibility and sustainability, and they want to know the provenance of the produce they buy. We’re entirely confident about the quality of our shellfish. And we’re entirely transparent about our whole process of cultivation and farming. We find that children in particular are fascinated by the journey from sea to plate. We’ve got the entire journey laid out for you in graphics. Check it out here.

Put another shrimp on the barby

Now summer is well and truly here, barbeque season is upon us. And we’ve got lots of great recipes for a quick, delicious healthy meal whether you choose oyster or crab, langoustines or mussels.

If you’re going to fire up that barbecue, what about grilled oysters with butter? Or you can make up your own skewers with different shellfish interspersed with fresh vegetables. We’ve got a great recipe for langoustines with a roast garlic and lemon butter. Or sticking with the oyster theme try smoky grilled oysters.

What’s your tipple?

Why not enhance your al fresco shellfish dining with a carefully selected tipple? Wine (both white and rose) is probably the drink most of us associate with fish and shellfish. But you might be surprised to know that champagne, gin and even stout can work well, depending on your recipe. Gin and tonic mussels anyone? Be adventurous.

Here in the UK, we can’t always count on the weather, so you might not be able to use your barbeque as much as you’d like, even if it is summer. But there are heaps of other recipes you can try if the weather drives you indoors. For a special occasion, what about lobster risotto or monkfish with mussels, leeks and courgettes? And if the rain’s beating down outside, there’s nothing better than a bowl of hearty mussel soup

Rain or shine, you can breathe a sigh of relief and eat shellfish freely, all year round.

shellfish farming A proud tradition

Traditional healthy fare

Historically, shellfish was the food of the masses, but today it’s often regarded as a delicacy. And because of the relative rarity of consumption, some regard shellfish with suspicion. But seafood in general and shellfish in particular give us oils and vitamins which can help reduce heart disease, and they’re an important part of a healthy diet.

Genuine fast food

Our reluctance to eat shellfish is partly because we don’t know how to prepare it at home.  Shellfish is a genuine fast food which requires little effort to prepare. And there’s evidence that this message is beginning to hit home.

An upward trend

Although production of shellfish varies every year (due to weather, market prices and poor growth) statistics show that the shellfish industry in Scotland (dominated by mussels, scallops and oysters) is growing. In 2016, for example mussel production increased by six per cent, pacific oysters are up by 31% from 2015, and queen scallop production has increased by a staggering 370% in the same period. The Scottish shellfish industry itself is valued at £11.7m. (Source: Scottish Shellfish Farm Production Survey 2016)

Sustainable Scottish fishing

Today, Scotland leads the way in sustainable fishing practices. Most seafood is farmed rather than hand-picked, although the mussels themselves are cultivated or rope-grown, and no additives or feed are used. Ropes are set up in a carefully selected clean water area and the mussels attach themselves to the ropes, to be harvested a few years later. Celebrity chef Jean Claude Novelli describes Scottish mussels farmed in Shetland as "the best in the world".

A family business

Traditionally, shellfish farming is a family business. Often established in remote coastal areas where employment opportunities were limited. Shellfish can’t be farmed intensively, cultivation requires specialist skills, sometimes honed over generations. Today there are nearly 200 shellfish farming businesses in Scotland, many of which are still family run.

Working together

Despite the focus on family-run businesses, our shellfish farmers often work together to market and sell their products at agreed prices.  These co-operatives keep marketing prices down, and the market buoyant and healthy.

The personal touch

Although we work together with a number of different farmers, we still believe in the personal touch.  All of our produce can be traced back to its original source. Our shellfish farmers are based on the west coast of Scotland and on Shetland, and their oysters, mussels and scallops have their own unique qualities depending on the skills and methods used and the farm itself. Our individual farmers’ stories contribute overall to the history of Scottish shellfish and are an important part of our own story. Click here to read our farmers' stories.

Next time you’re considering what to cook for a simple weekday supper, why not eschew the traditional pizza or spaghetti bolognaise and try mussels or scallops instead? We have lots of great recipes on our website which are quick and easy to prepare, and much healthier for you.

grilled oyster with butter
mother's day

Mother's Day is this Sunday (11th March 2018)! We hope you have got your card and flowers sorted to thank your Mum for all she has done for you.  Why not offer to cook her dinner?  We have pulled together 2 menu's that you could cook the special lady who raised you.

Menu 1

Starter - Tipsy Prosecco Mussels

Main - Lobster Risotto

Dessert - Mixed Fruit Tart

Menu 2

Starter - Langoustines with a Roast Garlic & Lemon Butter

Main - Gin & Tonic Mussels

Dessert - Lemon Sorbet

Gifts

Have you got her a gift yet? You know that Mum's always love homemade gifts right? Why not give one of these a go? Make your Mum smile knowing you have spent some time and effort on her gift.

Oyster Shell Candle

Mussel Shell Wreath

Share with Us

We would love to see the pictures of your Scottish shellfish inspired Sunday lunch for your Mum and any of the above gifts you have made from shellfish shells, there might even be a gift in it for you.