A Burlington Tradition Since 1985

Call: (905) 639-4084

950 Walker's Line, Burlington, ON

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Oyster Facts

You’ll almost always find a selection of 5 – 6 species or more depending upon the time of year & the coastal weather & fishing conditions. We purchase our oysters from several sources, from Bob Paquin’s beds in the Okeover Inlet, B.C. & several local suppliers who scour the coasts in search of the best oysters. Since we serve over 150 dozen oysters each week you can be sure we’re only shucking the best for you!

The Oyster is a bivalve mollusk that has existed since prehistoric times.

More than 100 species of oyster live in colonies on natural sand banks that are to be found in most parts of the world

Oysters eat day & night. They are highly prolific, and, if left undisturbed, would undoubtedly fill the seas

What is an Oyster?
An oyster is a shellfish with 2 rough shells that hook together at one end. (The narrow end.) The oyster has strong muscles which hold the shell shut. It is very difficult for predators (like people) to pry open the shell. An Eastern oyster is usually 2 - 6 inches long. The inside of the shell has a purple mark where the oyster was attached. Be careful, the shell is sharp and can cut you!

How do they grow their shells?
Oyster shells are made of calcium carbonate (lime). The oysters must get this from the water they live in. They also have a sort of skin, called a mantle, which spreads to this calcium carbonate on the outside of their bodies to form a protective shell. Oysters only grow in areas where salt & fresh water mix together, like salt marshes. Oysters are born as free swimming microscopic organisms. When they grow up they find a place (on mud, coral, debris, or other oyster shells) to attach and grow. Once they grow their shells, they can’t move around anymore.

What about pearls?
The oyster’s mantle (skin) makes both an outer white crusty shell, and a smooth inner shell. The smooth inner part is called “narce” or “Mother of Pearl”. Sometimes a bit of sand gets inside the oyster’s shell. This is very irritating to the oyster, like getting an eyelash in your eye. So the oyster covers this bit of dirt with shiny smooth Mother of pearl. It keeps covering the dirt and rolling it around until it doesn’t cause any more irritation. This makes a pearl! The oysters that people eat in North America (Eastern & Pacific) hardly ever make pretty pearls. But there are other kinds of oysters, clams, mussels, conchs, whelks and even abalone that do make nice pearls. We think of pearls as being round and white, but they are often yellow or black, and many other colours and shapes.

How do oysters eat?
Oysters are filter feeders. They suck water in a filter out the plankton and detritus to swallow. Then they spit the water back out. Oysters have gills and get their oxygen from the water.

  • Jamie (Big Oyster) eats a delicious fresh oyster right out of the water on the west coast.

  • Skiffs filled with farm-raised oysters circa 1930.

  • A Northwest shucking house in the 1800's.

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