What it means to be ethical at The Shack
What makes The Shack sustainable?
We grow a lot of our own fruit and vegetables on site and have our garden that’s tended throughout the year. We also do a lot of foraging, so both of those elements combined mean that, in so far as is possible, our produce is both local and seasonal, which are two other key criteria for The Oyster Shack and are part and parcel of ethical and sustainable sourcing. We speak to our suppliers daily, particularly when it comes to seafood, and our menu is amended accordingly – driven by what’s been landed locally – it’s about putting the ingredients first and building the menu around them. We also try to bring as many of the food preparation processes in-house as possible as well. For example, we have built our own wood smoker using reclaimed wood, and smoke all foods on site. That means using traditional preservatives, it means we can ensure everything is fresh, we can control the flavour, and we don’t use any unnecessary packaging.
What do we mean by local?
You won’t find seafood any finer than that in the South West. Our suppliers are within a 20 mile radius for over 95% of our produce, and, as we have mentioned, we speak to them daily to find out what’s been landed nearby. Our oysters in particular are the purest around thanks to a unique two-week purification process (compared to the two-day norm) they are the foundation on which our little dream was built – a working oyster farm where oysters were cleansed after maturing in the River Avon below.
‘Ethical’s is a bit of a buzzword in the world now, particularly when it comes to food produce, but saying it and doing it are completely different things. At The Oyster Shack it’s not a marketing gimmick but a founding pillar on which the whole experience is built – basically, it’s a way of life for us. So what does it really mean?
What makes The Shack ethical?
‘Ethical’ means all sorts of things, but when it comes to seafood it’s everything from how it’s caught to the quantities it’s caught in. For example, we use line caught fish usually, and if they are caught in netting we’re specific about the types that are used – there is much better regulation now so that the smaller fish can escape and have a chance to grow. Several things have come off our menu in the last couple of years including tuna and wild turbot because they are now over fished and endangered. When we serve those we are careful to research ones that have been ethically farmed. We also support two charities that are close to our hearts – The Fishermen’s Mission who care for hard working fishermen who do an extremely dangerous job for our benefit, and The National Lobster Hatchery who ensure the survival of baby lobsters in the wild, in order to protect numbers of this commercial species.