Thousands of oyster lovers made the pilgrimage to Port Stephens on Saturday for the Love Seafood festival.
Farmers representing 40 local oyster growing families hit Nelson Bay to take part in the festival’s Farmers of the Sea event.
The event, held at d’Albora Marinas Nelson Bay, was a chance for seafood lovers to meet the Port’s “farmers of the sea”, to learn about the local oyster industry, the difference in how the oysters taste based on locations and the all-important secrets to shucking.
The knives were out and the competition fierce in the oyster shucking stakes.
Legendary oyster farmer or Worimi elder Uncle John Ridgeway opened 12 Sydney Rock Oysters in just 1.05 minutes.
Fourth generation oyster grower Dean Cole, from Karuah, opened, cut and turned 30 Sydney Rock Oysters in 3.20 minutes.
More than 250 dozen fresh local oysters were sold from farm stalls along the marina, with 60 dozen samples consumed.
Festival-goers had the chance to hold a dozen baby oysters in the palm of their hand for the first time and taste locally grown Pacific and Native (flat oyster) varieties, in addition to the popular local Sydney Rock.
“Blue skies and a wonderful community atmosphere set the tone for a great day out with our local oyster growers, in town to celebrate the premium local produce as part of this year’s Love Seafood festival,” Danny Eather, destination marketing manager for Destination Port Stephens, said.