The nutrient rich waters of Orongo Bay have a salinity level of 33.035ppt.
Sticks and bundles are put out to catch the wild spat. Once big enough, the spat is knocked off the sticks and ‘singled’ then either put into net long bags, pillow bags or trays.
Once the oysters are large enough, they are graded into net long bags that have a larger mesh size. From this point on, the oysters are occasionally graded before going into the deeper waters of the farm for fattening.
With 95% of the farm using traditional oyster racks well off the seabed, additional rope lines are set up with the bags on the sea surface, rather than on the seabed.
The surrounding landscape is seagrasses. Orongo Bay is a tidal bay with mudflats at low tide and most of the shoreline is covered in mature mangroves. Two small creeks run into the bay, and a thermal spring runs beneath the farm.
The entire farm is inter-tidal, so the oysters are washed twice a day, and exposed to the air periodically.
Over their life, they may be handled two or three times to ensure they are best positioned within the tray to access food. This sustainable approach has minimal impact on the eco-system.
Our oysters are harvested and sorted by hand by our on-water farm crew. Immediately graded for size and quality it is a labour intense process. No time is wasted getting these delicacies to market in generally no more than 36-48 hours from harvest.