They’re perfectly plump and possibly our best yet.
The exceptional quality of Greenshell mussels coming out of New Zealand waters has some experienced farmers praising the current crops as the best the industry has ever produced.
“What we’re seeing is the mussel performing at its absolute best and enabling the industry to deliver an exceptionally high quality product to the market consistently,” said Marine Farming Association president Rob Pooley.
“It’s due to the super growing conditions and the achievements of the farming sector and shows the industry is in tune with the environment.
“The mussels we’ve seen over the past year have some of the older industry players talking about the best performing mussels they’ve ever seen – fast growing, clean shell and delivering excellent quality meat condition. A premium product by anybody’s standards.”
Even by the standards of New Zealand’s highest ranking public official, The Governor-General, Sir Jerry Mateparae, who ate several raw mussels fresh out of the water while on a tour with Sanford late last month.
“I cooked some up for the Governor-General and they were in extraordinary condition,” said Sanford Aquaculture Manager Ted Culley.
“The quality of the product has been better than what we’ve had in the past few years where the La Nina weather patterns weren’t conducive to favourable growing conditions.
“Our harvest managers are saying the current crops are as good as they’ve ever seen.
“The yields through the factory are excellent, consistently running at over 50% where 47% is considered a good year.”
Rob said the quality of the crops hadn’t been lost on consumers.
“The best ever conditioned mussels are delivering the highest value in some years,” he said.
“It’s a clear message that given the opportunity to grow, the industry can be a truly wonderful contributor to the New Zealand seafood basket and the economy.”
Kono CEO Don Everitt said the price reflected the true value of the product.
“We’re enjoying a great production year…but we’re also seeing the collective industry doing a better job telling the story about premium nature of the products,” he said.
“We can be very pleased that value and quality have become more important than volume.”
Talleys are also reporting exceptional mussel condition and European market manager Stu Dixon.
“We’ve got very good growth and great, great quality mussels at the moment. In my mind we produce the king of mussels,” Stu said.
“New Zealand has been farming them for over 40 years’ now and we’ve become very good at it.
“Every company is striving for better quality and it’s definitely a premium product.
“In places like Russia and the Middle East and South-East Asia, there is more wealth and the growing middle class are discerning and they want to try different things. They don’t want to just stick to the one type of seafood.
“They’re willing to pay a premium for our mussels over their local mussels because they recognise the quality of the products.”
OPC’s Andrew Selby said it shows the industry was heading in the right direction.
“Quality will always beat quantity and all through the chain, from collecting spat to harvesting, we need to maintain that focus on delivering quality, premium products.”