If you’re an oyster lover, you’ll certainly have heard of Achill Oysters. They are some of the most popular Irish producers for oysters in Ireland, served in an abundance of restaurants across the nation, and winning countless awards.
We had a chat with the founder of Achill Oysters, Hugh O’Malley, all about the business, their passion for sustainability and everything in between.
Achill Oysters are part of the Euro-Toques Ireland community of Irish producers.
Can you tell me about your own background in the food industry?
I grew up in a household of fishermen. It was from my earliest memory that there was a fishing boat in the house. The conversation was always related to the sea at some level.
What inspired you to set up your business? Did you notice a gap in the market?
Wild catch is dying and in order to create a sustainable industry we have to look to aquaculture. The gap I saw and now see is that the oceans are dying and without our stewardship there is no future for the human race.
How did you set up the business and how has it been growing over time?
I started with a small plot that was only ever supposed to be a sideline. It now takes my every waking minute. It has become an obsession.
Where do you source the ingredients used to make your product(s)?
Everything we produce comes from our own farm or the small group of farmers I work with.
Can you tell me about some of the benefits associated with your product(s)?
The oysters are nutritious and high in life sustaining zync.
How has working with Euro-Toques Ireland impacted your business?
Euro-Toques was the springboard to a lot of learning in our business.
What has been your favourite part of working with Euro-Toques Ireland?
Working with the amazing chefs that steered us when we were getting going.
How important has social media been for you in spreading the word?
Social media is central to everything that we do.
What makes your product unique?
Where can people get your product (shops, restaurants?)
Online at achilloysters.com and in any of our amazing partner restaurants
Are there any other small Irish food producers you admire?
Irish Premium Oysters and Carlingford Oysters
What are the biggest challenges you’ve faced since going into business?
The pollution that is destroying our environment. Everything else is surmountable.
What do you feel is your biggest achievement to date with this business?
Staying open in the face of the destruction of our oceans
What does the future hold for your business?
We are at a crossroads globally and how we deal with the next decade will define us a civilisation – the business is only along for the ride.