We conduct our business in a larger water area at Trälebergskilen, north of Lysekil. On a smaller agricultural property, we breed endangered native breeds and grow potatoes and vegetables.
To utilize the water area on the farm we have been growing mussels for a few years. We also have access to wild oyster banks which we harvest gently without making excessive withdrawals. Interest in oysters and mussels as food has increased over the years and there is also a growing market for experiences and activities as a product. This led us to begin offering mussel and oyster tours in 2010.
Oysters live on shallow salt water and feed on plankton, which they filter from water through the gills. The oyster is double-gendered - it begins life as a male and later changes sex, which is a perennial process. They can become over 30 years old, and over 30 cm in diameter. The oyster is low in fat and rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals. Oysters have been grown for at least two thousand years. On the west coast in Sweden they have been harvested at least since the 17th century, but were an appreciated delicacy as early as the Middle Ages. However, the oyster became more common in the 18th century, with the introduction of the French kitchen.
Swedish oyster cultivars have the advantage that parasites that kill oysters in warmer water do not thrive on our, slightly colder, latitudes. The species of Swedish oyster (Ostrea edulis) occurs only on the west coast and is relatively rare in the wild. During periods of warmer climates, including during the Bronze Age, the oyster population was significantly larger. The Swedish oyster is the most expensive oyster variety in France, as it is considered to be the most tasty. The Japanese giant oyster Crassostrea gigas was sampled on the west coast in 1970, with poor results, but in 2006 it was discovered in the wild, and in the years thereafter it was abundant. However, the cold winter of 2010 led to many of these oysters freezing to death, as they are generally more sensitive to cold than the Swedish counterpart.
Mussels consist of a hard outer shell, an inner shell, mantle tissue and soft tissue. They live in sweet, brackish or salty water and are divided into a large number of species - between 20,000 and 30,000. Mussels were already here 560 million years ago and the food consists of plankton. They are mainly stuck on rocks and rocks, but some species may move. They do this by lightly pressing the shell together, creating a small jet of water. Only a few species can produce pearls.
The mussel is an effective filter. They can filter five liters of water per hour, and is especially effective against eutrophication as it feeds on the kind of plant plankton favoured by eutrophication. When harvesting a ton of mussels, about 8 kg of nitrogen and half a kilo of phosphorus are removed