I drove down to Cornwall to see if I could find some native oysters at the Fal Oyster Fishery. They have been harvesting oysters here for more than 500 years, and it is the only fishery, which only uses sailing and rowing boats, as far as I know, in Britain, or for that matter Europe….so very ecological, and one of the few places in Britain where you can buy the native oyster, Ostrea edulis. It was freezing when we arrived in Mylor. We were told to look for the boat with the red sail. And there it was out in the estuary, in an icy north wind, moving surprisingly fast, with another small white open sail boat. It was freezing on the shore…freezing. What it must have been like in the boat, on the open water, handling wet rope and metal and the rough shells I could hardly imagine.
Later, we caught up with Chris Ranger, the skipper and owner of two of the boats, as he was warming up in the bar. He sold me 6 of his large oysters to sketch and paint. You can contact him through www.cornishnativeoysters.co.uk
photographs by James Forshall © www.jamesforshallphotography.com