There is a great debate raging among oyster enthusiasts: which is better, wild vs farmed. These two types of oysters have different qualities and requirements for growing oysters. Those who raise wild oysters believe that they are better for the oyster because: wild oysters grow quickly (producing more oysters in a short period of time); they are able to grow in large quantities; their product is better quality (so they can produce more at a lower cost); and wild oysters do not lose their shape or size unlike farmed ones. Those who raise farmed oysters argue that: farmed oysters do not have the same qualities as wild oysters; farming takes away natural habitat; they grow slowly (which takes longer to produce a decent quantity of oysters); their product is of lower quality than when it comes from wild oysters (so they must sell at a higher price). So which is better?
The debate goes on. However, for the purpose of this article, we will focus on answering what is best for growing oysters – wild vs farmed. After reading this article, you should be able to decide which is best for growing your own oysters.
The obvious difference between the two types of oysters is that wild oysters grow faster and larger. They can grow up to 3 times their original size in one year. Contrast this with a farmed oyster, which has a life cycle where the oysters grow smaller over time. So, if the aim of growing your own fresh oysters is to get the highest quality at the lowest cost, then going with the wild type would be the way to go.
Wild-caught oysters also have a wider variety of food to suit all taste buds. Fresh water and saltwater oysters are both available, allowing a preference for whatever tastes good in your mouth. This is very different to farmed oysters, who must eat what is offered by farmers. This is not only inconvenient, but it is also not healthy. You are simply buying unhealthy food, for a considerably higher price!
Wild-caught oysters also have a longer growing season than farmed ones. It can grow for twelve months in fresh water, versus just four months for farmed oysters. And since the oysters are wild, they can also provide more enzymes to help improve the taste of the food. This, of course, comes at a cost. Freshwater oysters cost much less than their farmed counterparts.
However, the biggest question that most people have when considering the differences between the two is whether they are worth the money. How much does it cost? Actually, the answer to this question is pretty simple. Farmed oysters are more expensive because they are grown on a farm, where larger numbers are needed in order to keep profits up. When you grow them in a controlled environment and in a controlled water supply, you can get more oysters for the same amount of money. This is obviously not the case with wild oysters.
The final factor that many people consider is convenience. Do wild-caught oysters still taste as good as those that are shipped in from farther away? The answer is yes, but they do tend to have a much smaller selection. As a result, they tend to be more expensive. This is not necessarily a bad thing, though, especially when you consider the incredible nutritional value of a fresh, organic mussel.
Once you’ve decided these two factors are important, you’ll have a better idea how to grow your own oysters. And that’s probably going to mean you can grow them for much cheaper in the future, so you can enjoy the higher value of organics longer. So when you’re buying a mussel, remember to always weigh the cost against the enjoyment. The choice is ultimately yours, but knowing what you’re getting is a great starting point.