The oyster season is open! And collecting oysters has been on the rise lately. Not only in Zeeland, but also in other parts of the country. Such as on the Wadden Islands or in the province of Groningen. Where is the best place to find them? And what is allowed and what is not?
More and more people need to know where their food comes from. We choose more for local, fresh and organic. What could be better than picking up your own food from the beach yourself, with your own hands? And then eat the oysters when you get home while enjoying a glass of champagne?
This is what you need to know about collecting oysters
When collecting oysters, it is best to wear rain boots and work gloves. In addition to a basket to collect the oysters, experienced oysters also take a screwdriver with them, because in the wild the oysters often grow against each other or against rocks. Don’t forget your oyster knife if you prefer to open and eat the collected oysters right on the spot. Please note: you cannot smell a good oyster. If you open the oyster and smell a strong sulfur smell, it is better to skip it. You cannot keep the oysters for more than a day.
The oyster season lasts until April (if the ‘r’ is in the month). In the Netherlands you can pick up oysters at various places on the coast, from the province of Zeeland to the Wadden Islands. There are a number of rules for picking oysters in the Netherlands:
• You can take up to 10 kilos per person at a time (for your own use only, so you can’t sell the oysters later).
• You may not stir, shovel or scrape the bottom.
• You are not allowed to step on the mud, not even to walk to the oyster beds.
• You may not damage plants or weed while collecting.
• If a stretch of beach has been cordoned off (because it has been rented out, for example), you are of course not allowed to collect oysters.
Where can you get oysters?
You pick oysters at low tide. So check the tides before you go out. Oyster beds can be easily recognized via Google Earth as the ‘dark spots’ along the beach.
Where you can (legally) collect oysters can often be found via the websites of nature parks and/or other local (nature) organizations. Think of the wild-picking guide. Holiday homes search engine Holidu has listed eight well-known and lesser-known places in the Netherlands, which are considered good destinations for collecting oysters.
1. The Oesterdam – Zeeland
The province of Zeeland is one of the Dutch provinces with a long coastline and many beaches, both on the North Sea and the Oosterschelde. It is a province where in general a lot of fish, shellfish and crustaceans are caught and farmed, such as the Zeeland mussels. In addition, there are several good places on the Oosterschelde to pick oysters, including the Oesterdam. This is a dam in the Oosterschelde that runs between Tholen and Zuid-Beveland. Besides the fact that you can find and collect oysters here to your heart’s content, the Oesterdam is also known as a good diving site.
2. Yerseke – Zeeland
Yerseke in Zeeland is also known as the ‘oyster capital’ and can therefore absolutely not be missed in this list. Yerseke was originally a real fishing village. That is not surprising, because it is located, just like the Oesterdam, directly on the Oosterschelde. Along the beach you will find numerous oyster beds where wild picking is allowed.
3. Wilhelmina Village – Zeeland
Another place in Zeeland that is known for collecting oysters is Wilhelminadorp. Wilhelminadorp is located in the municipality of Goes and has about 745 inhabitants. The village is located on the Goes canal that flows into the Oosterschelde, which explains why you have a good chance of finding oysters here. Walk down the Westhavendijk or the Oosthavendijk to the Goese Sas and start picking immediately! You will also find plenty of oysters on the beach around restaurant Katseveer. You can also find them on the menu…
4. Scheldeoord – Zeeland
The last Zeeland destination in this list is Scheldeoord. Unlike the previous 3 destinations in Zeeland, Scheldeoord is not located on the Eastern Scheldt but on the Western Scheldt. Here too, you can pick up oysters to your heart’s content on the beach and enjoy a natural, healthy meal that you have also gathered yourself.
Collecting oysters outside Zeeland
5. Mok Bay – Texel
De Mok or Mokbaai is a bay in the south of Texel, between De Hors and ‘t Horntje, not far from the village of Den Hoorn, where you arrive by boat from Den Helder. Because of the sheltered and shallow water in the bay, the Mok Bay is an ideal habitat for shellfish such as the oyster and the mussel. Until 1990 you mainly found mussels, but in 1990 the Pacific oyster, also known as the ‘creuse’, was introduced in this area, after this oyster species was already introduced in Zeeland in 1960. Since then, this has been a perfect place to pick oysters.
6. De Cocksdorp – Texel
On the northernmost tip of Texel you will find De Cocksdorp, a village with approximately 1,185 inhabitants where you can pick up good oysters in the vicinity, such as around the dike body (Lancasterdijk). Some local oyster tours also start from this place. While you’re there, you might want to try one of the Texel recipes with oysters: oysters au gratin with Texel beer. Enjoy your meal!
7. Wadden dike near Oost-Vlieland – Vlieland
It is not only possible to collect oysters on Texel, you can also find your own meal on Vlieland. The best turnip spot on the island where wild picking is allowed is the Waddendijk south of the village of Oost-Vlieland. So you are walking on the mudflats and collecting oysters at the same time.
8. Lauwersoog – Groningen
Zeeland and the Wadden Islands may be places that immediately come to mind when you think of collecting oysters, but did you know that you can also find oysters in the province of Groningen, in Lauwersoog to be precise? On the Zeedijk, where the ferry to Schiermonnikoog also departs, there is a wild picking area for oysters. While you’re there, visit the Lauwersmeer National Park immediately, and you’ll be amazed by the nature in the ‘far north’.
Need another great recipe for your oysters? Subway‘s colleagues Culy came up with something delicious.
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8 great places to pick up oysters (and what's allowed and what not?)
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