Frequently Asked Questions
We are proud to use sustainable farming practices which consider the surrounding water space and marine wildlife. The mussels grow by feeding off the nutrient rich phytoplankton that naturally grows in the seawater. No need to fertilise or feed them – they are a natural product with no additives. This creates no damage to the environment or the ocean floor. Mills Bay Mussels are a sustainable choice of seafood.
Mussels are filter feeders and will typically filter up to 360 litres of water each day meaning the water quality is very important. Land run-off after rainfall can affect this. Several rain gauges are positioned throughout the mussel farm areas which are monitored by the New Zealand Food Safety Authority. The data collected determines which farms are open or closed for harvesting.
This is usually a result of either the mussel getting too cold, or the mussel has relaxed and is looking for food. The basic test is to take out the gaping mussel and leave on the bench for a couple of minutes, or just gently tap. If the mussel starts to close, then it is still live and delicious to eat. Mussels should smell like the ocean, if they are smelly then they are no longer fresh and should not be eaten.
The Premium Packs can be stored in the package in the fridge. For live mussels, drain any excess juice. If you’re putting in the fridge, you can simply put into a bowl and cover with a damp tea towel or cloth. The mussels should last for up to 5 days in the fridge. If storing in the poly-bin replace the ice pad and leave the lid on.
Yes! When cooking fresh Mills Bay Mussels, there is a chance they will not open when cooked. They sometimes need a knife flicked under the shell to detach the abductor mussel from the shell and you should find inside a delicious Mills Bay Mussel.
Small crabs sometimes live inside the mussel shells as it provides them with protection. When mussels are harvested they close their shells. If an unsuspecting crab happens to be inside a mussel at the time they become trapped. Once the mussels are cooked so too are the crabs. If you’re lucky enough to find one of these little crabs in cooked mussels have a try, some people consider them a delicacy.
The red/orange mussels are female and the white/pale mussels are male. No difference in taste though, both delicious!
They are found only in New Zealand and are one of the most successfully farmed mussels. Havelock in the South Island of New Zealand is the Greenshell™ Mussel Capital of the world.
As mussels can be harvested year round, the size will vary depending on the seasons. During the winter months especially, the mussel meat may be smaller than during the warmer months. They remain flavourful though and we are constantly monitoring quality. Just ring or email if you are curious about current condition.