In 1892 the McCallum family landed on Pakihi Island off the Clevedon Coast having made the journey from Lismore in Scotland. Callum McCallum represents the fourth generation of McCallums in the area. In 1986 Callum and his father John first started farming oysters, grown in the clean, clear waters of New Zealand’s Hauraki Gulf with a team of five. This team would harvest, split, shuck, package and deliver up to 200 dozen a day.
Clevedon Coast Oysters produces New Zealand’s premium brand of Pacific Oysters as they only harvest when the oysters are fat and juicy, normally between mid to late April and Christmas. The remainder of the year CCO harvests oysters for the fresh market only, but re-brand them as “Summer Harvest”, which reflects the natural spawning stage that the oysters are going through during this period. All oysters are naturally caught rather than artificially spawned, which makes more suited to the growing conditions.
CCO has low density stocking rates on its farms, and ensures when harvested the oysters are in great condition. When the oysters are being processed, any which aren’t up to standard are culled and used in soup, pate and other new products, so the half-shell that CCO produces is consistent and high quality. As well as half-shell (both fresh and frozen), CCO produces whole shell fresh oysters and fresh and frozen premium pots.
A food truck is also in the pipeline, as well as a commercial kitchen which will produce oyster products such as the already famous oyster soup, oyster pate, oyster and beef pies, oyster fritters and other culinary delights. This summer CCO are building a new holding freezer block to allow it to cater for its increased production and also will be aligning its product flow to allow for the development and construction of a café at the front of the factory to cater for the increase in customers into the shop.
CCO is constantly growing farming production, and is looking at going into partnership with local Iwi to establish new farms. Production has been steadily rising, and this year CCO is expecting to produce about 15 percent more oysters than last year. The local market is growing, and there is also a higher volume of exports to Australia, Hong Kong and China, while looking looking at more markets in Asia. CCO is also considering moving into fin fish farming, in particular Hapuka and King Fish.