We left at 2 pm on the way to Goes. We heard there is a very famous point for oysters picking around Whileminadorp. This will be my first time picking oysters, and I'm excited about the entire experience.
When to collect Oysters at Zeeland?
The season goes from September to April, and it's free to collect up to 10kg per person per day for personal use, not for selling. You can find the complete list of rules on the page of the Nationaal Park Oosterschelde. before planning the time to go, check the tides. I used Tides near Me app, but any app will help.
I packed a couple of rubber boots a friend gave me as a present while I moved to Amsterdam: " I heard it rains a lot," - She said. Nothing for using rubber boots so far, but they come in handy for this special occasion.
Before going to Zeeland, what do you need to pick oysters safely?
1. A screwdriver with a flat end. Oysters are mostly attached and to rocks. The best way is to separate the one attached to the rock.
2. A hammer, but I find it more handy and safe for my hands to do it with a small rock I found on the place.
3. Gloves will allow you not to cut your hands with pointy or sharp ends of the shells.
4. Surfing boots, rubber boots, anything to protect your feet. Bare feet can lead to cuttings or breaking nails too. Be careful.
5. A bucket to collect your shells. I found it is easier with a bucket than with a bag.
6. If you really wait for low tide, you might not get wet, but bringing warming socks for coming back is wise.
Now that we are ready let's go!
We marked two places on the map. The first one and closer to Amsterdam is Oesterdam. To find this place, ride around 5 minutes further from Oesterdam Resort, and you will find a parking space to wait there when the low is tide. The tide was still too high when we passed this point, but I noticed the seaweed and many open oyster shells near the place.
As we were early and knew there were some friends already at Whileminadorp we kept riding towards this point. It is always better to wait a couple of hours with friends, right?
Whileminadorp is located in Goes, and the point we decided to put on Google Maps is named Het Goese Sas, when you arrived go until the end of the road, you will pass some boats, and then there is a small hill, go for it, and park when you are on the top. One side is perfect for doing a picnic while you wait, and the other side of this hill is the place for picking the oysters.
Natasha, a travel blogger I met while we both were creating Content for Serve the City Amsterdam, went a day before and told me, "really wait for low tide because there aren't that much anymore near the shore." And she was entirely correct, so the two-hour wait started.
What to do while waiting for low tide at Whileminadorp? Luckily there is a place with beer to go, and also fries and Kibbeling. If you are not familiar with kibbeling it is a fried fish, amazing with garlic sauce.
This picture is not at Whileminadorp but in Zaandam, but it shows how the kibbeling looks like. This is a medium-size and enough like an entire meal from my point of view.
I will skip at least 30 minutes of picnic with friends and some tequila too for warming purposes, but here it is our first oyster with beer and tequila too. Impressive, ha?
You can start going towards the water half an hour before low tide, but the wiser thing to do is wait until you see the locals coming. I know, they are wise and don't wait in the cold. We went a bit before and here is how it looked like. If you compare it with the first picture.
Now the next question is, now that I collected some oysters, how to open them?
1. Find the belly (the chunky side). That side goes down. The pointy side goes towards you.
2. Use a pointy knife and look for an edge on the side closest to you. Press up and down until it is open. Then clean your knife.
3. You are going to cut the entire oyster horizontally. When you reach 3/4 it opens entirely. Take out the knife.
4. This is the part when you need to smell the oyster. If it smells like death, it is dead and you should not eat it. Makes sense, right?
5. Then use the knife to unleash the interior from the shell, and enjoy it raw, with lemon, or tabasco. At least these were the three options we had that day.
Sharing with you more pictures of this incredible adventure in Zeeland. Remember if you go from Amsterdam there is a two-hour drive to Whileminadorp and 1h30min to Oesterdam. Both places are great to collect oysters.
One extra tip is How to transport your oysters from Zeeland to Amsterdam? or anything else when there is more than 1-hour drive.
This is how it works for us and the oysters were still alive the day after and fighting with us when opening. Yes, they are living species and the reason it is allowed to collect them is that they are damaging the ecosystem in this particular place.
We used plastic buckets, previously cleaned and out of the water, opened on the upper side. We limited the collection time to 1 hour, after that we drove back putting 2 kitchen towels with some seawater, but not dripping. The towels kept the humidity without being too harsh as ice usually is.
Then, we place it in the refrigerator extended on the racks without putting too many on top of each other. Still, oysters can be kept for days, so you must plan how to use them afterward.
About discarding the shells, you can crush them and use them on your compost, for your garden, or clean them and use them for crafts. I believe in second life for everything we have and that is what I am doing with the shells. Do you want to know more about this? Let me know in the comments.
I hope you find this post helpful and save this information for your future visit to Zeeland.
Have a great day!
Joanna, your Amsterdam photographer
(For now, only in English for a better understanding of all your wishes)