Brancaster Bay Shellfish - World renown mussels

Thomas Large’s family have been fishing off the Norfolk coast for generations. Today, he and Sarah continue the family’s traditional fishing methods and work to spread the joy of mussels in Norfolk and beyond…

“My great-grandad fished for oysters, sprats and whelks,” shares Thomas. “Then I began working with my father and have taken on the family business from him.

“We net and rake mussels by hand at Brancaster, fishing at high tide and coming back in at low water. You can walk out along the flats for three and a half hours and it’s so still in every direction – it’s just beautiful.

“We probably see about a 50/50 split of people coming to us who have tried mussels before versus those who are experiencing them for the first time.

“We attract people from all over the world, from Asia to Europe. Some customers from the Netherlands, Spain and France plan their week around what and when they can buy from us. We also had a family from Yorkshire reorganise their holiday so they could come and see us.

“In the winter, we have an honesty fridge at the top of our road here in Brancaster, where we sell mussels for people to cook at home. A kilo and a half will easily feed two people.

“Nowadays, people want to know more about where their food comes from. We fish our own seed mussels so we can control the quality of our produce. Our mussels are in the tanks hours before you purchase them so you know they are as fresh as possible and full of flavour.

“We have our mussel pod during the summer months at Brancaster, just down the road, opposite the Jolly Sailors Pub, plus a second one at Holkham.

“We’re also frequently at festivals across the UK, such as Lymington Seafood Festival, the Royal Norfolk Show at the end of June, the Dorset Seafood Festival in Weymouth (a particular favourite of Sarah’s), and North Norfolk Food and Drink Festival. So if you’re keen for a taste of our mussels again after visiting Norfolk, we also come to somewhere near you!

“If you’d like a taste in a local restaurant, we supply a number of businesses such as Gurneys Fish Shop and The Hoste Arms in Burnham Market, The Jolly Sailors Pub in Brancaster, The Victoria in Holkham, The Globe in Wells and many more.

“A new event we have also been running in the summer is taking the mussel pod to Chat Valley Vineyard on a select handful of Friday evenings, where you can try our classic Moules Frites with a glass of crisp white wine. These are very popular, so be sure to book in advance.”

Follow Thomas and Sarah at Brancaster Bay Shellfish on Facebook and Instagram to check their opening hours and see where they are this summer!