Our aim is to serve fresh local seafood at an affordable price. To ensure freshness we purchase direct from the local ports of Annalong and Kilkeel on a daily basis. Our Mussels, oysters and cockles are sourced from shellfish beds at Ballyedmond in Carlingford Lough.
Oysters have been a food source for man since Neolithic times. Records show that they were first cultivated by the Chinese as early as 850 BC. In Ireland two species of Oyster are farmed - the Native Oyster and the Pacific Oyster. The Native or Flat Oyster takes 4-5 years to reach market size and is prone to disease. For this reason the majority of growers now farm the Pacific oyster. The waters around our coast are not sufficiently warm enough for the Pacific to breed so they concentrate all their energy on feeding and growing! Our Oysters are bred in a hatchery in Guernsey. They arrive with us when they are the size of a small fingernail. They are held in plastic mesh bags on steel trestles that are placed low down on the shore. The Oysters are only exposed for short periods on Spring tides which occur every fortnight. These oysters will reach market size (70gms) after 18 months to two years. Oysters feed on Phytoplankton which they filter from the water. This means that growth is determined by sunlight, with the majority of growth taking place between late Spring and early Autumn.
Oysters must surely be one of the ultimate health foods. They are low in cholesterol and calories (6 oysters contain approximately 60 calories). They are an excellent source of Niacin, iodine and vitamin B complex. Oysters contain threes times as much iron as most meats and just three oysters will contain the daily requirement of Zinc. Zinc aids the body in cognitive performance, cell growth and repair, immune system protection, protein building, and promotes healing. It is crucial for male fertility which may explain the Oysters reputation as a powerful aphrodisiac!
Our mussels start life as plankton in the Irish Sea. The Mussel larvae settle out on an offshore bank off the Wicklow coast. After one year these Mussel spat are harvested and transferred to the rich beds within Carlingford lough. These mussels are then harvested after a further period of 12-18 months. Mussels spawn mainly in late Spring, so you may notice that during early summer the meats may be smaller than usual. We will always add some extra mussels to your pot to make up for this! From the end of June onwards the mussels will begin to fatten up and they will be in their prime by August.
While Mourne Seafood Bar strives to ensure the safety and provenance of their shellfish, patrons should note that there is always a risk attached to the consumption of raw shellfish.
Our shellfish beds are constantly monitored and all shellfish pass through a rigorous purification process.
By ordering any of these products all customers must accept this small risk.