Over ten years ago, Mark Andrews, General Manager of South Australian Seafoods, searched the globe far and wide, from Spain to Argentina, to find the perfect location to raise and harvest the best mussels in the most pristine waters. Ultimately, he landed in Port Lincoln, where he grows Boston Bay and Spencer Gulf mussels.
The farm is located on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, where coastal savannah and rugged desert meet, creating ideal, protected conditions for sustainable mussel harvesting and processing. Clean, untouched waters mean Mark can catch baby mussels from natural settlements, rather than getting them from hatcheries.
The company is certified organic by NASAA, and meets the strict food safety standards of Biosecurity South Australia. As Mark puts it, “essentially, all we do is put a rope in the water that the mussel larvae attach to, and then strip them off – they stay in these same waters right through harvest, which is just about as organic, pristine and natural as it gets.”
Boston Bay and Spencer Gulf mussels are grown until they reach maturity, when Mark and his dedicated team harvest them, usually in the wee hours of the morning. From these waters, they are taken to a nearby factory where they are sorted, graded, de-bearded, weighed into 1 kilo or 500 gram bags and sent to market.
These live mussels have a long shelf-life (around 10 days from packing) due to rapid chilling and vacuum-seal packaging immediately after harvest. This gives a higher quality live mussel, and reduces waste. The mussels are also available blanched, which arrive on shelves scrubbed, de-bearded, cooked and conveniently packed, ready to heat and serve.
A natural upwelling from the Southern Oceans makes these mussels extraordinarily plump and delicious. Since they come at a great price point, are available year round and are easy to cook, this product is highly appealing to consumers. As a testament to their quality, Mark says his mussels are best when simply steamed quickly in a pot over high heat- no added water, just the succulent liquid that emerges when the mussels open.
Mark started his business from scratch, and South Australian Seafoods is now the largest producer of mussels in the state, harvesting over 850 tonnes a year. Despite the growth of the business, Mark makes a point to stick to his values, with his wife helping at his side, ensuring they have an approachable and reliable business with strong, transparent relationships, that continues to produce the most plump, consistent and high-quality mussels.