Being the author of a blog entitled ‘Jersey Girl’, it may be slightly inappropriate to admit this here but, I’m afraid I have fallen a little bit in love with Guernsey, and it’s newest venture, Guernsey Oysters.
Some very brave friends of mine have recently taken on the adventure of a lifetime, taking the helm of not one, but two businesses. Herm Oysters Limited and Rocquaine Sea Farms will be collectively managed by Charlotte, Justin and Leo, becoming known as Guernsey Oysters combined.
Since taking over just a couple of weeks ago, the team have been seriously hard at work to get the businesses operating at the highest standard, and I mean 12 hour days, 7 days a week kinda’ hard! So when the opportunity arose to go over and join them and see what they had been up to, I couldn’t resist!
I hopped on a flight on a Friday evening and jetted off to explore the other island. It was dark when I arrived, so I didn’t quite get to see the beauty of the island, instead I headed straight to Beaucette Marina where I would be staying on the boat all weekend.
After a quick dinner, drinks and a catch up on the boat, we all headed to bed, ready for an early rise to capture some beautiful views in the morning.
The marina was truly stunning in the morning light, there really isn’t a better way to be woken up than with the waves lapping up against the stern of the boat and gently rocking you up, ready to climb outside and admire the sunshine and peaceful ocean all around you. I could happily wake up this way every morning.
I rose early at 6:00am, ready to get out and about with the boys to see what they got up to. We started with a trip to pick up Oysters for deliveries to various establishments around the island, as well as bags of mussels to lay on the beach. It was some view from our collection points too!
The boys loaded up what they needed and washed and counted out the Oysters for delivery. The Oysters in Herm are fed by the clear nutrient rich waters of the Gulf Stream, with sea rushing through and over the farm site twice daily, which is why it produces some of the finest tasting Oysters in the world. Whilst the mussels are sourced from grade A sites and held on the Rocquaine site, ready for delivery.
We literally drove round most of the island making the Saturday morning deliveries, a testament to how popular the quality produce is that comes out of Guernsey Oysters.
After a long morning learning about the process involved in getting the Oysters to consumers, it was time for a bit of a light lunch. I left the boys to it and went back to the boat to join Charlotte, before setting off in search of sustenance!
We finally settled on the Sea View Bar at La Piette Hotel. Knowing we had plenty of other jobs to be getting on with in the afternoon, we opted for a quick sandwich to keep us going!
The Sea View Bar has such a lovely view out to sea if you can get a window seat, and there were plenty of options to choose from. If I was to visit again, I think I’d have to try out their freshly baked pizza’s, they seemed to be quite popular!
On the way back to the boat to continue our afternoon of work, we took a little detour to take in some sights and came across the most amazing view across the valley. Just one of the stunning sights I encountered on the way around the island.
It is glaringly obvious that the people of Guernsey take so much pride in their island and strive to maintain its natural beauty, even in the most densely populated areas; they have taken great care to ensure it remains protected.
The rest of the afternoon was spent hard at work on our laptops, bobbing around in the marina and enjoying the peace and quiet that you would never get in the office!
We had hoped to be able to visit Herm on the Sunday, so I could actually see the Oyster tables that the team had been working so hard to perfect, but unfortunately it was not meant to be and other things took priority. They did however, send me some great pictures so I could see what they are up to over there, so here they are for you to enjoy too!
The farm site is fully visible at low water spring tides but is virtually unknown to most people visiting Herm Island. It has been given an exceptional status for the quality of the water and, due to its isolation, it avoids many of the problems that some other Oyster farmers experience, which is great news for all you Oyster fans!
The team grow Pacific Oysters (crassostrea gigas) and all baby oysters, known as seed or spat, are sourced from Guernsey Sea Farms. This means that the Oysters are grown, tended, and harvested on the site and do not leave its boundaries until delivery – a truly local business!
Hopefully I will get to visit the Herm Oyster site myself when I return to Guernsey, the whole process is totally fascinating and I can’t wait to see how far the team have come by my next trip!
If you would like to follow their progress also, you can find both companies on Facebook at Herm Oysters Limited or Guernsey Oysters at Rocquaine. Alternatively, you can visit their website, Guernsey Oysters, where you can find info on how to get in touch with them.
I can’t wait to update you on my next visit to this beautiful island. Guernsey, I will be back!