Achill Oysters - Special Irish Foods & The People Who Make Them

Hugh O'Malley - Achill Oysters

September is synonymous with the beginning of the native oyster season in Ireland and, whether or not they are native, all Irish oysters benefit from the PR boost that the “months with an ‘r’ in them” bring - and all varieties are at their best in the colder months.

Achill Island, Co Mayo, is a wonderful holiday destination but living in any remote area all year has its challenges and the enterprising nature and community spirit of the people are the qualities that make it possible to make such an island home.

Small food producers, such as Garry Hassett (Keem Bay Fish Products), the Calvey family (Achill Mountain Lamb) the O’Malley family (Achill Island Sea Salt) - all of whom are members of the Gourmet Greenway group and supporters of Achill Tourism, are earning a reputation for the island as a food destination.

Another is Hugh O’Malley (pictured) of Achill Oysters, who was the first seafood producer to win an award from Euro-Toques, at their 2016 Euro-Toques EirGrid Food Awards, where he described the history of his oyster farm as ‘achieving a dream.’ His venture is about creating a family business that stands for quality, sustainability and good practice with Achill Island at the centre of it.

Hugh is the fifth generation of his family to harvest oysters from the sea around Achill. The oysters he produces are Pacific Oysters (Crassostrea gigas) and they have a unique flavour owing to the peat landscape surrounding the farm and the high level of salinity in the water.

The oysters are the product of progressive sustainable aquaculture, making the most of the natural marine environment. ‘Taste the sea in every mouthful’ is the proud claim - and tasting is believing, so add a visit to Achill to your must-do list now.


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